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Maine is touted as “Vacationland” for a reason. It’s home to dreamy coastal towns, has one of the best national parks in the United States and boasts downright incomparable cuisine that has rightfully helped it earn its place as a top vacation destination. Bar Harbor, Portland and Kennebunk are often top visited areas, but Maine is overflowing with so much more. Take a look at these less talked about slices of heaven in Maine.
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One of the best places to visit in Maine, Castine is a deeply historic coastal town about halfway down the state. Brimming with adorable places to stay like the quaint Castine Inn, the small village provides just enough amenities to make it effortless to stay a few nights. From cafes with impeccable lobster rolls to little cafes that also serve as cozy bookstores, Castine is perfect for an escape along Penobscot Bay. Explore surrounding nature via kayak, or delve deep into the past via museums and old architecture.
Deer Isle is situated on tons of granite and is pleasantly secluded, while still having the healthy oceanside town of Stonington. Stonington has great little breakfast spots like Harbor Cafe, which also serves up flavorful scallop stew. The Pilgrim’s Inn is the most impeccably restored 1700s era Inn with artisan, local eats and plush, cozy rooms. All the special touches like afternoon cookies and pond-side seating are there. Deer Isle is loaded with quirky jelly shops, granite trails and kayaking terrain.
Cutler wraps closely against Little Machias Bay, joining beautiful rocky elevation featuring some cool traversing terrain. Neighboring Machias’ wild blueberries, which typically surface in July, are abundant amongst the foliage. Cutler is best for nature focused travelers since there’s not much on the touristy side of things, but this keeps the purity in the quintessential fishing village.
Rangeley is a mountainous lake haven in the west side of Maine. Every season is a good one in the town that boasts year-round outdoor activities. The surroundings are stunning, as stark white snow or a rainbow of wildflowers contrast with the abundance of surrounding h2O. Hike to the overlooks, stop by rushing falls, head to the top of Quill Hill for 360 panoramic views. Fall, winter, summer, spring—there’s not a bad season to visit Rangeley.
Grand Lake Stream
Grand Lake Stream is on the edge of Canada, known for having some of the best fly fishing in the entire world. It’s literally surrounded by lakes and streams, hence the name and the gorgeous area is a fisherman’s haven. Plenty of lodges, such as Weatherby’s Lodge, and cozy cabins are available to those looking to retreat to the water surrounded town.
Monhegan Island is the ultimate hidden gem, as it is separated completely from the mainland, and remains only accessible by ferry. On the island you’ll find stunning cliffs and nature trails, but no paved road or passenger vehicles. One can totally disconnect here, like many artists and eco-tourists do. A couple of quaint inns provide accommodations through various seasons, and the lack of overly gimmicky shops allows the true Maine feel to shine through. Try to catch a glimpse of sunbathing harbor seals and enjoy an old fashioned lobster dinner.
Belfast has a historic downtown laden with cafes and local art galleries, while there are many ocean excursions, given it rests on the ocean along the mid-coast of Maine. For some of the best scenery, you can explore Harbor Walk, which covers a handful of parks and shipyards where you’ll see shiny wooden yachts being worked on. Ride the historic train or just explore the wheelchair accessible rail trail. Belfast is a special, excellently located town between Bar Harbor and Portland.
Blue Hill is a small town with little surprises around every corner. Situated seaside beside Blue Hill Bay, the views are as picturesque as any other along Maine’s coast. Art shops where you can purchase locally made pottery or sculptures dot the streets, along with a wine shop, and co-op where you can get local, organic goodies. For expansive views of the entire area, and even as far as Acadia, venture the Blue Hill Mountain Trail. Blue Hill Inn is a charming, quaint place to stay.
Greenville is situated beside the largest lake in Maine, Moosehead, appropriately named as its one of the best places around to see moose, especially during the spring event, Moosemania. Visitors can even go on a moose safari. The precious small town sits on the water’s edge and is surrounded by the sloping mountains in Maine’s highland area. Bike to the top of Mount Kineo, ride around the lake via a 1914 steamboat and explore Lily Bay State Park, then fish, swim, ski, snowshoe or ice fish. You can even see a dog sledding race. Accommodations are downright charming, with places like the Blair Hill Inn and the Lodge at Moosehead Lake epitomizing the cozy offerings.