19 Best Places to Visit in Maine & Where to Stay (2023)

With a nickname like Vacationland, it’s safe to bet that you’ll find plenty of incredible vacation destinations in Maine!

This gorgeous state is known for its rugged and rocky coastline that is dotted with historic lighthouses, and the vast wilderness that has been dutifully conserved and has some of the most scenic drives and best hiking in the East.

Any trip to the Pine Tree State will be a good time, but you can use this list for a guide to some of the best places to visit in Maine, and where to stay!

Best Places to Visit in Maine

Kennebunkport ME

The front of a white boat in the blue water next to a restaurant on the rocky shore
Editorial credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com; Kennebunkport is always one of the top Maine vacation spots, especially in summer.

Kennebunkport is known for a few things: the water, the seafood, and the Bush family. Their Kennebunkport place has long been the favored summer home for the family and was coined as the Summer White House while the elder Bush was in office.

To this day, it is still maintained as a family vacation spot, and with all the fun things to do there, it is easy to see why. There’s sailing, whale-watching, kayaking, lobster tours, swimming at the beaches, and so many more ways to enjoy Maine in the summer!

Downtown Kennebunkport has plenty of art galleries and cute shops to keep you happy browsing and buying unique Maine keepsakes from your visit, too.

Kennebunkport is also home to many excellent restaurants, including some stellar seafood places. Try The Clam Shack, popular for their lobster roll; it was named by Food & Wine Magazine as one of “America’s Best Lobster Rolls!”

There are also some incredible places to stay while in town, but if you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path, look into glamping at Sandy Pines Campground. Their glamping cabins and tents are absolutely fabulous, and the heated saltwater pool will perhaps be a bit more inviting than the chilly waters of the Atlantic!

If it’s more of a hotel vibe you’re interested in, check out The Boathouse. This boutique hotel on the water is also home to one of the best places to eat in town!

Of course, Kennebunkport is a cool spot to visit in the winter, too; not only does this little town basically turn into one of those perfect “Hallmark Christmas Movie” towns, but their Christmas Prelude is considered one of the best Christmas celebrations in all of New England.

You don’t have to be a member of a political dynasty to see Kennebunkport is a perfect setting for a Maine getaway!

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Rangeley ME

Body of water with trees and mountains in the far distance on a sunny day
Rangeley is an excellent option if you’re looking for the best place to visit in Maine to see moose!

Located in the mountains of Western Maine, Rangeley is all about the great outdoors! One of several small towns nestled in amongst the Rangeley Lakes Region, this popular Maine vacation destination is the perfect retreat into the wilderness of Maine. 

There are so many things to do in the area! In the warm weather months, there’s kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, fishing, hiking, boating, and swimming, and it’s also one of the best places in Maine to see moose.

Want to see it all from above? You can even take a Rangeley Lakes Region Seaplane Tour!

As the weather turns colder, there’s the Rangeley Lakes Trail Center in town for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and fat biking. For alpine skiing, just half an hour up the road is  Saddleback Mountain, newly revamped after a multi-year hiatus. Just a bit further out is the always popular Sugarloaf.

Rangeley is a pretty quiet little rural town, but there are a few spots you’ll want to check out while in the area. Ecopelagicon is the general store that sells locally produced Maine staples like maple syrup and candy, blueberry jam, and skincare products from Rangeley Balsam. This unique Maine company utilizes the ever-abundant balsam firs in the area; anything from Rangeley Balsam would be a great souvenir!

There are several dining options, but it’s hard to beat a meal or a stay at The Loon Lodge Inn if you’re into extra-inviting, ultra-comfortable, old-world inn vibes. There’s also Rangeley Saddleback Inn with its indoor salt water pool, too!

One of the best places to visit in Maine in the fall, just driving the Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway is one of those quintessential autumn experiences and is a must-do if you’re visiting Maine as the leaves are changing.

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Portland ME

Streetlights and traffic surrounded by downtown buildings
Portland is an obvious when it comes to Maine places to visit.

Maine’s largest city (not saying a whole lot, but still!), Portland is all that is cool, creative, artsy, and innovative. There’s some pretty fantastic scenery, too!

You’ll find lots of awesome things to do in Portland; they like to say you’ll “run out of time, never things to do.” There’s the Portland Museum of Art, cool shopping in Old Port and South Portland, and so many fantastic ways to get out and explore beautiful Casco Bay!

Here’s the other thing you have to know about Portland: It is a foodie destination and you will be in food heaven while sampling fresh-caught seafood like lobster rolls, farm-to-table goodness, and creative fusion cuisine. Seriously, check out these Portland restaurants and bakeries!

Also, their craft beer scene has some serious game and Portland is considered a craft beer destination, too! There are great breweries, but if you’re looking for somewhere that has a distinctly unique “Portland” flavor, head to Urban Farm Fermentory. Brewers forage for the ingredients they use to make their beer and other fermented goodies, including cider, kombucha, mead, and other unique brews.

Interesting options abound for where to stay in this cool Maine city, too, including beautifully reimagined historical gems, like Blind Tiger, which began as a prohibition safehouse before becoming the gorgeous guesthouse it is today.

Portland is such a cool Maine city and worth a visit, whether it’s just for 1 day or 5!

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Read Next: How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Portland Maine

Rockland ME

A white sailboat in brilliant blue water next to a rocky shore
One of the top places to visit in coastal Maine, Rockland is absolutely gorgeous.

Beautiful Rockland is one of those classic coastal towns and a definite Maine must-visit spot.  What better way to experience a coastal Maine town than to get out on the water, and you can do just that sailing on a traditional schooner via a Windjammer Cruise. You’ll make unique memories that you will be sure to remember all your life.

If sailing isn’t your jam, there’s plenty on land for you to do, too! Visit Farnsworth Art Museum, The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, or any of the art galleries downtown. If you’re looking for breathtaking views, take a walk to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. This lovely lighthouse has been so carefully restored and is an excellent lookout point to take in the spectacular ocean sights.

There are a ton of great restaurants in Rockland for you to choose from, and several lovely options for where to stay, but look at Berry Manor Inn for a historic B&B stay with a fireplace in every room!

Plus, their “evening sweets” are the spectacular, made from scratch pies that the same “Pie Moms” who were featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay in 2007 make daily! The pie-baking aficionados were also featured in an episode of Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs that covered Maine’s blueberry industry.

The Berry Manor Inn might just be the perfect landing pad for your visit to beautiful, artsy Rockland.

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Freeport ME

Oh, Freeport! This cute little town is very close to Portland but is a vacation destination in its own right. It has a few interesting claims to fame, one of the most well known being The Boot.

Yes, The Boot. Located at the L.L. Bean Flagship Store, The Boot is an astronomically sized 410 replica boot that is a definite must visit during your Freeport visit. I mean, where else will you ever see a size 410 boot? Nowhere but Freeport, Maine!

There are lots of great outdoor recreation opportunities too, like hiking and exploring at Wolfe’s Neck State Park, but there’s a much more unique outdoor attraction to visit here, too. 

Have you heard of the Desert of Maine? Well, it’s in Freeport and it’s fantastic. Made of glacial silt, it’s hard to make sense of this desert in coastal Maine, but you’ll learn all about how it came to be onsite! There’s also a 1700s barn, the 1800s farmhouse, a 1920s Model T, 1930s-themed gift shop, natural playgrounds, nature trails, and more.

Refresh at one of Freeport’s popular breweries like Stars & Stripes Brewing or Brickyard Hollow Brewing Company, then head out to the outlets to shop till you drop! When it’s time to drop, book a room at lovely Harraseekit Inn, just steps away from some of the best shopping in town. If you’re visiting in cooler weather, be sure to request a fireplace room!

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 Acadia National Park

A hiker with a hat and backpack standing on the rocks at the edge of a body of water surrounded by green trees
Acadia is often the site of the best Maine vacations, it’s true.

A visit to Acadia National Park will be a Maine vacation full of adventure! Beautiful Acadia National Park is full of outdoor things to do like fishing, biking, hiking, camping, and taking in all the spectacular sights that Acadia National Park holds. Thunder Hole is a definite must see!

Acadia is always a beautiful place to visit, but autumn is considered to be one of the very best times to visit as fall colors blaze bright throughout the park. Mount Desert Island is one of the best places for Maine leaf peeping!

There are so many great options for where to stay while visiting Acadia National Park. There are hotels, vacation rentals, cabins, and more. Many people opt to stay in Bar Harbor because there are so many cool things to see and do in this neat little town.

Check out this 3 Day Itinerary for Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor for some great suggestions, but you honestly can’t go wrong just getting out and about and exploring in Bar Harbor! Bar Harbor has a ton of awesome restaurants, too.

A stay at historic Bar Harbor Inn is an opportunity for ocean views from your room and easy access to their waterfront dining and gourmet, locally-inspired dishes!

Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the US.

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Old Orchard Beach ME

Shimmery blue ocean with a dock and buildings jutting out into the water
OOB will always be one of the best Maine vacation spots!

Old Orchard Beach (affectionately dubbed OOB) is absolutely adorable and is even considered one of Maine’s cutest small towns! This cute little coastal community has another great claim to fame, too: it is home to the very last surviving beachfront amusement park in New England!

Palace Playland has rides, attractions, and a 20,000 sq ft+ arcade that has both vintage and modern arcade games and so much more.

Of course, there’s also the 7 miles of soft, sandy beach! One of the best beaches in Maine, OOB has great amenities for beachgoers, Easily accessible restrooms, lifeguards, and nearby food options make it easy to spend the day at the beach.

Old Orchard Beach Pier, the 500-foot wooden pier that features great restaurants, souvenir shops, and even a nightclub with a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean, is another draw of OOB.

This cute Maine beach town has plenty of options for lodging. Alouette Beach Resort can offer everything from comfort economy to luxury suites with outstanding ocean views, depending on your splurge level. Old Orchard Beach is the perfect location for a Maine beach vacation!

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Bangor ME

Small downtown area with traffic on a sunny day
Editorial credit: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com; Bangor, one of the best places to travel in Maine.

Bangor was once known as the “lumber capital of the world,” so the 31-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan that watches over downtown Bangor commemorates that part of the town’s history.

Another claim to fame for this town that presides over the Penobscot River as the Queen City of Maine is that it is the home of Stephen King. In fact, a visit to Bangor to take a Stephen King tour is one of the items on our Ultimate New England Bucket List!

In addition to Paul Bunyan and Stephen King, there’s plenty more to explore in beautiful Bangor. The Bangor City Forest features over 680-acres of forest and wildlife habitat, with a boardwalk that lets visitors travel through the Orono Bog with dry feet.

After you’ve worked up an appetite walking the boardwalk, head back to Bangor’s downtown. You’ll find many excellent restaurants, inns, and hotels available in and around the heart of the city.

Pro tip: Fairfield Inn is convenient to lots of fun Bangor things to do, and guess what? It has an indoor pool and it’s pet friendly!

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Boothbay Harbor ME

Deep blue water in front of a group of buildings including a church and steeple in front of fall trees
Editorial credit: Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com; looking for Maine trip ideas? Boothbay Harbor, for sure!

Beautiful Boothbay Harbor is a great place to visit for anyone that wants to experience Midcoast Maine. Take a tour of the Burnt Island Light House, only accessible by boat, and explore the craggy coastline of the tiny island it sits on.

How about a sunset sail aboard Schooner Applejack? This could be a beautiful way to end a day exploring Boothbay Harbor!

If you’re visiting during the summer, reserve a day out at the Cabbage Island Clambake. This unique Maine vacation experience offers a chance to enjoy clambake culture with fresh-caught lobster, Maine chowder, blueberry cake, and the headliner: clams!

Between the months of May and October, you can also go for a combo whale-watching/puffin cruise to see some of coastal Maine’s wildlife… Maine is the only place in the country where wild puffins nest, so take advantage and see them in their natural habitat!

Boothbay Harbor has plenty to do and see, and fantastic places to stay.

For a waterfront stay, look into Harbour Towne Inn on the Waterfront. This lovely restored Victorian-era inn lands you squarely within easy walking distance to Boothbay Harbor’s downtown restaurants, shops, and art galleries. It’s hard to beat that waterfront view, too.

Boothbay Harbor offers a midcoast Maine experience that is sure to please!

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Greenville ME

Located in the Moosehead Lake region, Greenville is the place to visit in Maine for year round fun! You’ve got summer fun on the lake like fishing, swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, etc, and come winter, there’s snowmobiling, ice fishing, and skiing at Big Squaw Mountain.

Greenville is gorgeous, and there’s plenty of opportunity to get out and explore! Hike Mount Kineo State Park, pay your respects at the B52 crash site memorial, and when it’s time to rest and refuel, head to the Stress Free Moose. Drinks, pub food, and live music – what’s not to love?

To really get a good vantage point of this beautiful area of the Maine Highlands, consider booking a seaplane tour. There’s just no view that quite compares!

As for where to stay in Greenville, the Lodge at Moosehead Lake is absolutely gorgeous.

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Damariscotta ME

Seals relaxing on a rock at the edge of a river
This cute little coastal town is definitely one of those unique places to visit in Maine.

This lovely little town is typically a little less crowded than some of the other high-tourist spots in Midcoast Maine, but still has plenty to see and do!

Referred to as the Damariscotta Region (Damariscotta is connected to a twin village, Newcastle, by a bridge over the Damariscotta River), this area celebrates its prosperous oyster industry with two oyster festivals each year.

There’s also the Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site where you can see a giant midden, or oyster shell heap, from hundreds of years ago. Another way to explore this area’s thriving oyster industry is by trying them for yourself, of course! Check out Damariscotta River Cruises, where you can indulge in an Oyster and Wine Tasting Cruise while sailing down the sparkling river at sunset.

Enjoy the quaint, coastal Maine vibe of Damariscotta’s downtown by checking out shops like Sheepscot River Pottery and Maine Coast Book Shop and Café.

In addition to all the restaurants and lovely little inns that Damariscotta has to offer, you can also make a quick 10-minute drive up to Red’s Eats. This is one of Maine’s most popular lobster shacks. Yeah, you’ll probably have to wait in line, but that lobster roll is worth it and it is definitely one of the best places to visit in Maine for lobster!

Looking for a place to lay your head? How about on a boat? Maine Bed & Boat provides a unique opportunity to stay in a floating vacation rental. Who could pass that up?

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Bethel ME

A river threading through the trees and rocky shores
Bethel is one of the best places to visit in Maine.

Nestled in at the edge of the White Mountain National Forest, Bethel is a sweet little town on one of the most scenic driving routes in Maine.

A mix of active outdoors lifestyle and calm mountain respite, this Maine village offers a little something for visitors of all persuasions. Looking for some outdoorsy fun? This is the spot, with kayaking, hiking, and fishing any time of the year. Come winter, there’s plenty to do in the snow here, too, especially at Sunday River Ski Resort.  You also have Grafton Notch State Park nearby for some wonderful waterfall hikes!

Bethel’s aesthetic is laid-back, and you’ll find plenty of options for mountain village dining, lodging, and shopping. Check out Elements Art Gallery, where you can pick up a locally-made art piece to take home with you, and Sunday River Brewing Company to pick up some artisan-fired pizza and fresh-made donuts!

Bethel’s location at the base of the White Mountain National Forest gives major bang for your buck when it comes to scenery, so no matter what you do in Bethel, you’re sure to have a great scenic backdrop while doing it!

As for where to stay, may we suggest The Elizabeth Guest House & Restaurant? This historic inn has nothing but charm – and delicious onsite dining – waiting for its guests!

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York ME

Buildings sitting up high on a rocky shore next to the ocean
One of the best places to visit on the Maine coast, for sure.

Known as “The Yorks,” this area of the Southern Maine coast includes York Village, York Beach, York Harbor, and Cape Neddick, all a part of York, ME. York is the kind of place that has a little something for everyone. Looking for history? Check out York Village, where you’ll find well-preserved historical buildings like the Old Gaol, built in 1656 as Maine’s first prison.

York Beaches are some of the most gorgeous beaches on the coast, with soft sand and beautiful vistas. York Harbor is home to great views along the fantastic Cliff Walk and Cape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse is considered to be one of the most famous lighthouses on the east coast. While there is no public access, views of Nubble as it sits impressively perched on the rocky island are always pretty awesome!

This beautiful spot is also considered one of the best places to enjoy the sunrise in coastal Maine. Set your alarm (or stay up all night for it!) to sit on the soft, sandy beach and watch as the sun slowly rises to greet you. You’ll have no problems finding great little restaurants and awesome places to stay in this popular coastal destination, and the memories you’ll make here in this lovely little town are sure to last a lifetime.

Psst! Looking for where to stay in York? Sea Turn Motel is right across from Long Sands Beach!

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Peaks Island ME

A small boat in a body of water close to the land
One of the best Maine destinations is Peaks Island.

A beautiful Maine island that is just a short ferry ride away from Portland, Peaks Island is a great summertime getaway. No need for cars, most people travel the island by foot, bike, or golf cart. You can rent a bike at Brad’s Bike Rental and take in the ocean views as you pedal your way around this idyllic island.

If you’d rather explore by sea, tour with Maine Island Kayak Co, learning all about the natural geography and manmade points of interest to be found here. Do you have an interest in the paranormal? Then head to the southeastern side of the island to the Battery Steele Military Reserve, considered one of the most haunted places in all of New England!

Better bring a friend (and your courage) because people have reported some pretty intense paranormal activity while inside the tunnels.

If you’d rather have a little more lighthearted experience while on the island, check out Down Front for some delicious hand-dipped ice cream and other sweet treats. If you’re in the mood for something a little more filling than ice cream, you can find restaurants on island or hop back on the ferry to check out some of the stars of Portland’s thriving restaurant scene.

The Inn on Peak’s Island is a gorgeous place to stay, and their onsite dining is superb!

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Augusta ME

Have you been to the capital city of Maine yet? If not, add it to your list of Maine places to visit! Augusta is a town full of history, culture, and fun indoor and outdoor recreation.

Catch a show at the historic Colonial Theater, then stroll Capitol Park and admire views of the Maine State Capitol Building. Then it’s on to the Old Post Office! Yes, that’s right… the Old Post Office. One of the last remaining Romanesque Revival style buildings in the state, it looks more like a castle than a post office!

Augusta is also home to Fort Western, the oldest wooden fort in the US and a National Historic Landmark. It’s a great place to visit if you’re on a family trip!

As for where to stay in Augusta, consider the Senator Inn & Spa! This gorgeous hotel has a full service spa, mineral indoor lap pool, outdoor heated pool, jacuzzi, and so much more.

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Ogunquit ME

Many boats in a harbor at sunset
Editorial credit: Keith J Finks / Shutterstock.com; one of the most beautiful places to visit on the Maine coast.

One of the most popular beach vacation destinations in Maine, Ogunquit means “Beautiful Place by the Sea.” You’ll realize why the moment you arrive!

Ogunquit is a beach town that is known both for its white soft sand beaches and adorable downtown, particularly Main Street. You’ll find fresh-caught seafood, great shopping options, and fun things to do, like taking in a show at the Ogunquit Playhouse.

No visit to Ogunquit could possibly be complete without spending some time on Ogunquit’s beautiful beaches. Ogunquit Beach has 3.5 miles of soft white sand and excellent beach amenities like lifeguards, public restrooms, nearby restaurants, gift shops, and plenty of paid parking for easy access!

Footbridge Beach is another local favorite, with a picturesque footbridge that takes you over to that section of beach. This gorgeous beach paradise has plenty of fantastic options for where to stay, like Mariner Resort.

It’s not so much where you stay in Ogunquit that matters, but rather how much time you spend out exploring this Beautiful Place by the Sea!

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Brunswick ME

Fall foliage surrounds a blue lake on a sunny day with whispy clouds
Beautiful Brunswick is a great Maine place to visit!

With all the cool college town vibes that a small Midcoast town can offer, Brunswick is definitely a cool place to visit in Maine!

Home of Bowdoin, the first college in the state of Maine, you’ll find a plethora of arts and culture associated with this notable institution. There’s the Museum of Art, housing multiple collections and exhibits, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, where she lived and wrote for two years. Today it is a National Historic Landmark and a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site.

Of course, a visit to this coastal Maine town also means beach time! Thomas Point Beach is a well kept sandy beach with plenty of space for exploring, camping, swimming, and just enjoying tranquil coastal Maine beauty.

After a day at the beach, consider swinging by Flight Deck Brewing for a bite and a brew before retiring for the night. When it comes to where to stay in Brunswick Maine, consider a stay at Brunswick Hotel, an adorable boutique hotel that is historic, warm, and oh so welcoming!

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Camden ME

Camden is a definite must visit town in Maine! This Penobscot Bay gem is only about an hour and a half from Portland, so consider a side trip, too.

You’ve got great hiking at Camden Hills State Park, a cute historic downtown with art galleries and shopping, and Laite Memorial Beach Park if you’re interested in a stroll by the water.

Camden is also home to several incredible restaurants that are sure to impress your inner foodie, so come hungry! Marriner’s Restaurant should definitely be on your list, and their outside seating is directly over scenic Harbor Falls, so you get great views and eats.

And of course, one of the best things to do in any waterfront Maine town is to get out on the water. In Camden, you can book a Windjammer Classic Day Sail that will have you out on the open sea in no time!

Camden has plenty of great places to stay, but Camden Maine Stay Inn is a romantic B&B that’s perfect for couples.

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Lubec ME

A red and white striped lighthouse and lightkeepers house sit perched on the water
Lovely Lubec and it’s popular red and white striped lighthouse!

Lubec is the perfect place to visit in Maine if you’re looking to go just about as far as you can in coastal Maine without leaving the US! Right on the border of Canada, Lubec is a very small Maine town that has over 90 miles of craggy coastline with dramatic ocean views. It is home to the West Quoddy Lighthouse, the distinctive red and white Maine lighthouse that has graced so many Maine postcards for so many years!

Visit downtown Lubec and their small museum of the town’s fishing history, and then go sample some of the goods at Lubec Brewing Company.

The perfect place to stay in Lubec is the Inn on the Wharf, a restored and renovated 100+ year old factory on the water. Today, it is a cozy, welcoming inn and its restaurant, Fisherman’s Wharf, is one of the best places to eat in town!

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The rugged beauty of the Pine Tree State and the plethora of outdoor activities (even in winter) mean there’s something for everyone in a Maine vacation. There’s a reason we call it Vacationland, right?

Maine also has some really cool cabins,  lovely hotels, and neat Airbnbs that you can check out for interesting places to stay while in the state. Wherever you end up going, you’re bound to have a fantastic time on your visit to Maine!

Read Next: PS if you’re looking for things to do in Maine this weekend or what to do in Maine today, be sure to check out this events calendar to find the best Maine fall activities to do during your visit!

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