In this article I'll give you the top 10 great things to do and places to go in Maine for your summer vacation.

1. Baxter State Park

Baxter State Park is one of the least developed places on the entire east coast.  In the 327 square miles that make up the park there is only one primary, single lane, dirt access road.  It's also home to Mt Katahdin, the northern most point of the Appalachian Trail as well as a bounty of other mountains and trails to explore.  The lakes and mountains of Baxter make a beautiful setting for any outdoor adventure whether it's hiking, backpacking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, or just camping.  Don't forget to keep an eye out for moose and black bears, you're likely to see either.


2. Mount Desert Island

Mount Desert Island is home to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor (locally pronounced Ba-ha-ba), and Southwest Harbor.  Acadia alone hosts 45 miles of rustic carriage roads perfect for both bikes and horses, a beautiful sand beach, Thunder Hole, and Cadillac Mountain.  If you're feeling mellow you can drive to the top of Cadillac, but if you're in the mood of a good hike, you can still take the original hiking trail to the top.  The truly adventurous will enjoy the Precipice trail which crosses narrow ledges and assents ancient metal rungs in the rock for 1000 feet to reach the summit of Champlain Mountain.  Finally if you want to get more vertical, there are plenty of cliffs to challenge anyone from the first time climber to the masters of stone.  Bar Harbor and Southwest harbor host many fine restaurants and shops with the quaint atmosphere only possible in coastal Maine.  Don't forget to try the famous popovers at the Jordan Pond House.

3. Camden

Camden has one of the most vibrant downtowns in Maine.  There are gourmet restaurants like 40 Paper Italian Bistro & Bar for the connoisseur, boats in the harbor, and Camden Hill State Park for a hike or picnic.  The Camden breakwater which protects the harbor makes a fun walk while you're in town.  If you end up one of the brave few who visit Maine in the winter then don't miss the World Toboggan Championships.

4. Portland's 'Old Port'

If you want to see a bit of nightlife there's no better place in Maine.  Nestled in downtown of the largest city in Maine, the Old Port is known for its cobble streets, but it's also home to musical venues and bars for every taste.  The historic State Theater is a great place to catch a show or check out and of the bars on Fore St.  While you're in the area it's not a long drive to head over to Portland Head Lighthouse.

5. Fort Knox

Fort Knox in Maine was America's first Fort Knox.  The fort was finished in 1869 to protect the Penobscot River and the valuable lumber trade which had previously been occupied by the British.  Today it opens for tours during the summer months.

6. Eastern most point of America

If you're already in the eastern most state of the US, why not visit the eastern most point in the country as well?  Tick off the eastern most incorporated city, Eastport, the eastern most incorporated place, Lubec, and the eastern most point, West Quoddy Head in an afternoon.  Don't forget the iconic red and white stripes of the West Quoddy Head Light which has guided ships around the rocks since 1858.

West Quoddy Head

7. Popham Beach

Popham Beach might be most known right now for the fact that it's disappearing.  In recent years there has been massive erosion and dune loss threatening to pull the beach into the ocean.  Don't worry, it's completely safe to be on the beach and you'll find all the amenities are in working order.  Just make sure to visit before it's gone.

8. Belfast

Belfast is another of Maine's beautiful coastal towns, but don't think that it means they are all the same.  Belfast is home to the Moosehead Lake Railway, Harbor Fest, and the historic Colonial Theater.  While in town stop by Marshall Wharf Brewing Company to sample some of Maine's finest craft beers.

9. The Forks

If you're idea of a fun is 7,000 cfs adrenaline pumping whitewater, then this is your top thing to do in Maine.  Although The Forks isn't even large enough to be considered a town, it is the epicenter of whitewater sports in Maine.  Several commercial rafting companies start trips from the Forks, but if you're not up for serious whitewater you can also splash around in the flatwater.

10. Island & Lighthouse Tours

What's a vacation to Maine without a tour of a few of the 4,613 coastal islands.  The best place to start is Stonnington where you can get a ferry to Deer Isle and Isle au Haut.  Just don't expect to see many cars on Isle au Haut, there's no auto ferry.  A lighthouse tour can also bring you to 8 lighthouses in a 12 mile stretch of coast!

For more information:

Maine Lighthouses Map - Illustrated Guide
Amazon Price: $6.95 $2.71 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 9, 2013)
Explorer's Guide Maine (Sixteenth Edition) (Explorer's Complete)
Amazon Price: $22.95 $14.43 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 9, 2013)
Maine: The Wilder Half of New England
Amazon Price: $30.00 $22.63 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 9, 2013)