10+ Ways To Add More Fun To Your Maine Road Trip Itinerary

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Wondering what to do in Maine while making your way up coastal Maine? The “Vacationland” offers an abundance of fun for nature seekers and foodies, and it is a perfect addition to your cross country road trip. Consider this bucket list of exciting activities while planning a road trip around the coast of Maine. These adventures promise to give you an unforgettable Maine experience!

Maine Road Trip Itinerary
Planning your first Maine road trip? This New England state has so much to offer. From lighthouses to lobster catching to whale watching, Maine will amaze you in so many different ways. Click to discover bucket list ideas for your next Maine road trip. #roadtrip #newengland #usatravel #summertravel

First time visiting Maine? These Maine travel resources will make your trip planning a breeze: 
eSIM: Knowroaming and Airalo both have affordable USA data plans.
VPN: Boost your privacy and internet security with NordVPN.
Car rental: Discover Cars is great at finding and comparing the best car rental deals.
Flights: Find the most competitive price through Expedia!
Hotels: Expedia usually has the best rates (plus, members earn additional rewards!). We also recommend comparing prices on Tripadvisor.
Tours: Here are some of our favourites…
Set sail on a windjammer & enjoy Maine’s coastal scenery on this sailing tour
Travel to Maine’s best whale feeding grounds to see whales, dolphins & puffins!
Hop on a Boothbay Harbor cruise to see playful seals & picturesque lighthouses!
Stroll through Bar Harbor and taste your way through town!
Self-guided audio tour through Acadia National Park (no internet connection required!)

1| Chasing Lighthouses

One of the fun things to do in Maine is lighthouse hopping. With more than 60 lighthouses dotting Maine’s coastline, you will not run out of lighthouses to visit.

In the past, these lighthouses guide ships toward safe harbor away from dangerous rocks; today, their purpose is more aesthetic than practical. Some of the most photogenic and famous Maine lighthouses are Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park, Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, Owls Head Light in Rockland, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol, and Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth.

Instead of self-driving, there are many Maine lighthouse tours you can join. We highly recommend Summer Feet Cycling’s 5 Lighthouse Bike Tour that takes you to five iconic lighthouses on the shores of Casco Bay by bike!

Interested in seeing all the famous Maine lighthouses? Click here to view the Maine lighthouses map!
Lighthouses Maine Road Trip Itinerary
Portland Head Light

2| Take A Lobster Fishing Trip

Summer is the best time to visit Maine for a good reason – the lobsters!! Even though Maine lobster season runs year long, mid-summer to mid-fall is when Maine lobsters are abundant and have the best flavor!

It’s true that you can’t go lobster fishing in Maine without a license (which is not easy to get for non-resident), but it is still possible to go lobster catching. The trick is to join a Maine lobster boat tour with a licensed lobsterman.

Lucky Catch Cruises is a reliable operator running lobstering excursions from Long Wharf in Portland, Maine. Outside Portland, Boothbay Harbor and Stonington are the best coastal towns in Maine to go lobstering.

Maine Lobster Boat Tour
Lucky Catch Cruise

3| Follow in Nearings’ Footsteps and Live a Good Life

Living a simple life, intentionally and on purpose, seems to be the trend these days. But the philosophy isn’t entirely new. In fact, there is a massive “back-to-the-land” movement in North America back in the 1960s and 1970s. It was advocated by Helen and Scott Nearing who eventually moved to Brooksville, Maine and built The Good Life Center.

The hand-built stone home is a demonstration of their self-sufficient homesteading lifestyle. 20 years after their passings, The Good Life Center still attracts thousands of people from around the world each year to come to learn practical homesteading skills and discover ways to live in harmony with nature.

In the summer months from June to October, The Good Life Center is open to the public to tour the organic gardens, stone home, and wooden yurt to get a glimpse of the Nearings’ simple sustainable living.

Goodlife Center Maine
Good Life Center

4| Kayak in Bioluminescent Bay

You don’t have to go all the way to Florida or Puerto Rico to observe bioluminescence. You can see the natural phenomenon of glowing blue waters right here in Maine!

The quaint seaside village of Castine in midcoast Maine is one of the few special places to watch mesmerizing bioluminescent plankton light up the shoreline. Castine Kayak Adventures runs bioluminescence night paddle tours in the summer for those who’d love to witness the mother nature’s most stunning aquatic light show! It truly is a magical experience to do on your New England travel!

Bioluminescent Bay in Acadia Maine
Bioluminescent Bay in Acadia / Photo Credit: Benjamin Williamson

5| Go Ashore for a Picnic

Maine is blessed with a wild and dramatic landscape, take advantage of that! When the weather gets warm, go ashore for a picnic and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the rocks.

Find a spot with a lighthouse in the background to create an extraordinary experience. Portland Head Light and Fort Williams Park have several picnic tables and benches seaside for you to take in the views.

For a more secluded experience, we recommend embarking on a scenic drive in Maine and heading up north to the midcoast. There are plenty of beautiful spots for a Maine coast picnic. Giant’s Stairs in Harpswell is one of our favourites as well as the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park in Bristol.

Giant's Stairs in Harpswell Maine
Giant’s Stairs in Harpswell / Photo Credit: Stacia Gorelov – Visit Midcoast

6| Stepping Back In Time at Fort Knox Historic Site

History buffs would love a trip to the Fort Knox Historic Site. Located in the town of Prospect in Down East region, Fort Knox played an important role in the northeast border disputes with British Canada back in the 1800s. In 1844, the fort was built to protect the area from British naval attack.

Fort Knox is Maine’s largest historic fort, serving as a wonderful place to relive the history of the troops who served to protect American interests in the past.

Fort Knox State Park Maine
Fort Knox State Park

7| Stay Overnight at a Century-Old B&B

If you’re into unusual accommodations for your vacation, we’ve got one recommendation for you: the historic Pentagoet Inn in Castine.

This bed and breakfast in coastal Maine started its life more than 100 years ago as an elegant 3-story, Queen Anne-style mansion. It doubles as an antique shop, with antiques and collectibles featured throughout the entire inn.

All the rooms are uniquely themed, each tastefully furnished with vintage lithographs and old-fashioned floral coverlets, and comes with its own private baths. It is journey back in time!

Pentagoet Inn Castine Maine
Pentagoet Inn

8| Take a Gardening Class at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Fancy to pick up some gardening skills? Join a class at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Most people visit the botanical gardens in the summer to relax and admire the beautiful plants. But being actively involved in the gardening process can be just as soothing. (we’re not bluffing – studies show gardening can benefit your physical and mental health!)

Here, at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, you can buy tickets to learn the basic parts of plants, incorporating edibles in traditional landscape, constructing garden tuteurs, gardening with ornamental vines, and more!

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens / Photo Credit: Stacia Gorelov – Visit Midcoast

9| Give Potato Donuts a Try

Everyone loves a deep-fried donut, but have you ever tried a donut made with mashed potatoes?

Holy Donut in Portland, Maine replaces flour with mashed potatoes to create a healthier version so that people don’t need to feel guilty anymore for eating these sinful sweets.

By substituting mashed potatoes for flour, the fried treats actually retain more moisture and yield a denser texture. What a guilt-free way to indulge your cravings!

Holy Donut Portland Maine
Holy Donut

The city of Portland has so many delicious eateries worth discovering. If you’re into the food scene, use our 36-hours foodie itinerary in Portland as the inspiration for your trip planning!

10| Sample Everything Blueberry

Do you know that Maine is the largest producer of wild blueberries in the world? The state grows so many Maine blueberries that you can find this antioxidant superfood in all sorts of dishes!

Blueberry pies and blueberry pancakes are nothing special. Eateries can get really creative when it comes to inventing blueberry recipes. Blueberry sour cream ice cream, blueberry margarita, and blueberry chutney are some of the most unusual food ideas we’ve come across. We challenge blueberry lovers to try as many blueberry dishes as possible on your Maine road trip along the coast!

Sandys Cafe Blue Hill Maine
Blueberry Stuffed French Toast from Sandy’s Cafe

11| Have a Close Encounter with the Whales

Whale watching in Maine is a once-of-a-lifetime adventure. It gives you a spectacular up-close encounter with the humpback, pilot, minke, finback and right whales. 

Maine whale watching season starts as early as mid-April when hungry whales arrive to feed on sand eels, copepods, plankton, and fish. Most of them leave around late October to the south for warmer waters.

Maine whale watching tours depart from Kennebunkport, Portland, Boothbay Harbor, Milbridge, Lubec, and Bar Harbor, Maine. Don’t miss out on this precious opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in the wild!

Whale watching Bar Harbor Maine
Whales spotted at Bar Harbor / Photo Credit: Amy Humphries

12| See Puffins Up-Close

Whales are not the only wildlife you can see in Maine. Puffin watching is another popular thing to do in Maine in summer.

These little clown-like birds are very shy. They live only on outer islands, away from people. To see them, a boat ride is inevitable.

Where to see puffins in Maine? Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region is the most popular destination to go puffin watching in Maine. Machias Seal Island, Matinicus Rock, Petit Manan Island, and Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge also host puffin colonies. Puffin tours in Maine depart from Jonesport, Cutler, Bar Harbor, Millbridge, Stonington, Rockland, Boothbay Harbor, New Harbor, and Port Clyde.

Excursions start running in late May, but the best months to see puffins in Maine are June and July.

Puffins / Photo Credit: Kristel Hayes

There’s truly no shortage of incredible things to do in Maine. Above are just a few unique ones we picked out for you. Be sure to make room for these activities on your Maine road trip itinerary!

Disclaimer: This post is written in partnership with Visit Portland, Midcoast Maine and DownEast Acadia. As always, all opinions on For Two, Please are our own and we only recommend brands that we 100% stand behind.

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11 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I am planning a trip to the North Eastern US at the moment and I want to do all these things. Wow, what an amazing place Maine is. I love the idea of lighthouse hopping. This is exactly the kind of thing we love to do on our road trips. Fort Knox Historic Park is definitely on my list as we love history and this looks fascinating. I really hope we can spot some whales while we’re there too.

  2. Maine is one of the last states that I need to visit, then I have visited all 50! (You could say I’m saving the best for last!) I had no idea that Maine has a bioluminescent bay. I would definitely want to check that out first. That juxtaposed against the lighthouses is so beautiful! I think fishing for lobster and whale watching would also be great iconic, bucket list activities to do in Maine. I love that this area has such dramatic landscapes and thrilling activities for travelers.

  3. That’s a great list of things to do in Maine. You got me at kayaking at bioluminescence, it will be so cool! I would also love to stay at a century-old BNB and chase lighthouses. I’m sure I’m going to have a great time in Maine.

  4. These are some cool and a very diverse list of things to do in Maine. My top bucket-list item would be to see the bioluminescence. Must be an ethereal visual experience. The whale watching tour will be second on my list. The panoramic views from the lighthouses must be spectacular.

  5. I would love to kayak in the bioluminescent bay. It looks more like a Lite Brite than a sky! And I would love to stay at Pentagoet Inn and be a part of history!

  6. There is so many beautiful light houses along the Maine coastline, Portland Head Light is a stunner. I’ve never been lobster fishing, sounds like a fun activity. For me, the kayaking in the bioluminescence bay would be top of my list of things to do in Maine, I’d never heard of this! The Pentagoet Inn looks like a very cool place to stay! Really enjoyed learning more about Maine from your blog.

  7. Oh my..so many lighthouses adorning the coast! Just wow. It is a shame that I wasn’t aware of this place and the possibility of a road trip. Kayaking to watch the bioluminescence would definitely top my must-d-things. And, as a history buff, I would love to stay at the Pentagoet inn for sure.

  8. Wow what an incredible road trip to Maine. Chasing lighthouses would be fun and there are 60 in that trip which sounds very unique. Bioluminescent Bay is truly magical and a lifetime experience. I would surely go for a night paddle trip to observe this Mother nature’s miracle.

  9. Your post gave me goosebumps by looking at the monstrous lobster picture . Oh and how much I would love to live in that wooden chalet in the middle of nowhere . This place has all the list of possible activities which I would have ideally opted . Thank you for sharing

  10. Loved this post! Keep it up 🙂

  11. Pingback: 36 Hours In Portland, Maine: Foodie Edition | For Two, Please

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