Maine is a magical place indeed. It’s full of amazing animals, gorgeous scenery, and so much to do that it would be nearly impossible to fit it all into one trip. We highly recommend visiting Maine anytime you get a chance. That said, we also highly recommend making a Maine bucket list before you do.
Why should you make a travel bucket list before visiting Maine? Creating a list of places to visit and things to do while in the state will help you get a very clear idea of what is most important to you. It’ll also ensure you remember which things you wanted to see as you make your travel plans, and it comes even more in handy if you happen upon some free time during your trip.
What is a Bucket List?
Wondering what a bucket list is? Essentially, this is just a list of things you want to see and do before you kick the bucket. Many people have one master list that contains ALL of their aspirations for their lifetime. However, we prefer to make a separate travel list for every place we plan to visit.
In this article we will share our Maine bucket list with you, so you can gather bucket list ideas for your own Maine to-do list, ensuring your visit to the Pine Tree State is an absolutely amazing one.
— Bucket List Vacations: Maine’s National Parks —
Let’s start by listing our favorite national parks sites in Maine. In our opinion, any attractions run by the National Parks Service are bound to be bucket list-worthy, and the NPS sites in Maine are no exception. Be sure to add these amazing spots to your travel list for when you visit Maine.
#1. Acadia National Park
One of the top 10 most visited parks in the NPS system—and one of our own favorite national parks—Acadia is a must-see for anyone visiting Maine. This gorgeous park protects the highest rocky headlands across the Atlantic coastline. It plays host to a number of different habitats and teaches visitors about the rich cultural heritage of the area.
#2. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Another great place to see a variety of Maine habitats, Katahdin Woods and Water National Monument is a lovely place to spend some time. Here you will witness the magnificent beauty of Mount Katahdin, explore rivers and streams, and learn about the native flora, fauna, and geology.
#3. Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Campobello Island was once a favorite vacation spot for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He visited as a child and into adulthood, enjoying a number of amazing outdoor adventures. Today, the island has been dubbed the Roosevelt Campobello International Park and serves as a memorial to this amazing man, as well as a symbol of the United States’ cooperation with Canada.
#4. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site
Saint Croix Island is where French presence in America first began. The beginning of the French expedition on American soil was a rough one. In 1604, the party of 79 men were iced in on Saint Croix Island, cut off from both food and water. 35 of the men died. The other 44 made it through the harsh winter, moving on to settle in this new land.
— More Maine Bucket List Experiences —
Of course, the NPS sites are just some of the incredible things to do in the Pine Tree State. You’ll want to add some other things to your list, and we’ve compiled a collection of our favorites to get you started. Pick and choose from this list and you can’t go wrong.
#5. Explore Old Port in Portland
Considered the heart of Portland by many, Old Port is an amazing place to find shopping and dining in Maine’s oldest and biggest city. The historic buildings and cobblestone streets here are charming, and the hustle and bustle is energizing.
#6. Ski at Sugarloaf Ski Resort
While most people choose to visit Maine in the mild summer months, those who decide to brave the cold Maine winter will be rewarded with fantastic skiing at Sugarloaf Ski Resort. This is the largest ski resort east of the Mississippi, and is perfect for skiers of all levels.
#7. Admire Art in Ogunquit
An adorable little village, Ogunquit is the perfect escape from city life. Not only will you find all kinds of small-town charms, you’ll also find several art museums and galleries, making this the ideal stop for art lovers and artists looking for inspiration.
#8. Hike in Camden Hills State Park
Maine is chock-full of beautiful natural places. One of the most popular spots is Camden Hills State Park. We highly recommend hiking while in the park. That said, there are a variety of other activities available, including skiing, camping, scenic drives, and ferry rides.
#9. Visit Dock Square in Kennebunkport
A beautiful historic port town, Kennebunkport is definitely worth visiting. While you’re there, be sure to make time for Dock Square. This is the heart of the town and is filled with art galleries, cafes, and adorable boutiques that you’re sure to love.
#10. Have Lobster in Rockland
No trip to Maine is complete without at least one lobster meal, and Rockland is the place to get it. This town is considered the “Lobster Capital of the World,” and for good reason. The town’s economy is based entirely on lobsters, meaning this is where you’ll find the freshest lobster around.
#11. Take a Lobster Boat Tour
Speaking of lobsters, another great thing to do while in Maine is see how they catch those lobsters you love to eat. A lobster boat tour will allow you to don an orange apron and a pair of gloves and try your hand at lobster catching. This is an experience you won’t soon forget!
#12. Discover the Grand Canyon of Maine
Often referred to as “The Grand Canyon of Maine,” Gulf Hagas is made up of three miles of rock walls that tower 500 feet above the river below. Although this gorge is not as large as the Grand Canyon, we have to admit that it is pretty impressive and lovely, and the trails and waterfalls found all around are well worth seeing as well.
#13. Ride a Ferry to Casco Bay Islands
The Casco Bay Islands are some of the most fun places to visit in all of Maine, and the ferry ride to get there is just as exciting. The ferry makes multiple stops, making it possible to explore any or all of the islands. Be sure to stop at Peaks Island, where you can rent a bike to go sightseeing before relaxing on the beach.
#14. Pick Wild Blueberries
Did you know Maine is home to dozens of blueberry farms? It’s true, and the berries from these farms are absolutely delicious. We highly recommend visiting a farm to pick your own berries if you happen to be in the state in the month of August.
#15. Kayak the Allagash Waterway
A huge 9-mile stretch of crystal clear waters, the Allagash Waterway was created by several interconnected rivers and lakes. This is the ideal place to go kayaking. Marvel at the gorgeous scenery along the way as you enjoy this beautiful, shining body of water.
#16. Stroll the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden
One of the most popular attractions in the state, the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. With 270 acres of property, there is no shortage of pathways or plants in this enormous and beautiful garden. Be sure to take a tour and learn something new while you’re there!
#17. Visit the Portland Observatory
The Portland Observatory is an interesting place with a fascinating history. This is the country’s last standing maritime signal tower, and now serves as an educational attraction with some outstanding views of the harbor. Be sure to stop in while you’re in Portland!
#18. Enjoy a Whoopie Pie
When you’re in Maine, it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing a whoopie pie. These things are sold in grocery stores, gas stations, and at bake sales. They are insanely popular with the locals, and when you taste one you’ll understand why. These cake sandwiches are absolutely delicious and they come in a wide variety of flavors, meaning you can find the perfect one for you.
#19. Seek Out Lighthouses
Nothing says Maine like a lighthouse. Perhaps this is because the state is home to a whopping 65 of these beacons! Many of Maine’s lighthouses are now considered historic buildings, and all of them are photo-worthy. Why not go on a scavenger hunt to see how many you can find during your getaway?
#20. Go on a Whale Watching Tour
From mid-April to October, a huge number of whales can be spotted just 20 miles off the coast of Maine. Your trip to the Pine Tree State is your opportunity to see these amazing ocean mammals in person. Whale watching tours can be found up and down the entirety of the Maine coast. Hop on one and see what kinds of whales you can spot!
#21. Get Away on a Maine Windjammer Cruise
Penobscot Bay offers some of the most beautiful sailing waters in the world. See them for yourself on a Maine Windjammer Cruise. The boats used for these cruises are restored historic schooners, and those who head out on one of these multi-day cruises will get to experience firsthand what sailing one of these vessels would have been like while enjoying breathtaking sights.
#22. Spend a Day at the Beach
Featuring tide pools filled with animals, gorgeous views of the rocky coastline, and gorgeous glistening waters, the Maine coast features some seriously beautiful beaches. Be sure to make time for relaxing on these beaches while in the state. In particular, we recommend Old Orchard Beach, Well Beaches, and Ogunquit Beach, but any beach you choose will be wonderful.
#23. See the Maine Maritime Museum
Last but not least, we must mention the Maine Maritime Museum. Considering the state’s rich maritime history, it only makes sense to visit a museum to learn about it all. This museum is incredibly well done, with lovely exhibits and some really cool artifacts.
Yes, Maine is without a doubt an awesome place to visit. That said, it can be difficult to find a central place to stay in order to see the entire state in a single visit. For this reason, we think staying in a Maine RV rental is the way to go. This allows you to stay right in the middle of the gorgeous scenery Maine has to offer while also giving you the ability to move from place to place as you take in the Pine Tree State.
Why not check out your rental options today and book your favorite? From there, you can get to work on your Maine bucket list and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.