The Outdoors is Maine’s History and Heritage
Here are the facts: 542,629 acres of state and national park land; 5,500 miles of coastline and 2,000 coastal islands; 32,000 miles of rivers and streams; 6,000 lakes and ponds; 500 miles of alpine ski trails, and more than 200 mountains with trails. With four seasons and coastal and mountain landscapes, Maine has no equal when it comes to outdoor adventure opportunities.
As an added bonus, the Registered Maine Guides program certifies experienced, professional guides who can be hired to enhance your outdoor experience in Maine.
Alpine and Nordic Skiing and Snowboarding
- There’s a slope for any level of skier or boarder at Maine’s 17 ski areas. They rangefrom small family-oriented municipal mountains where beginners can perfect their snowplow to major resorts with high speed lifts, glades and superpipes, and great nightlife. Average snowfall at ski areas ranges from 60 to 90 inches, and many locations also make their own snow.
- Aroostook County is the premier destination for Nordic skiing. Vast stretches of fields, forests and rolling terrain are ideal for cross country adventures. Most ski resorts have groomed Nordic trails on site or nearby. A growing winter activity in Maine is biathlon, the Olympic sport that combines Nordic skiing and target shooting. The Nordic Heritage Sport Club in Presque Isle and the 10th Mountain Ski Center in Fort Kent host regional, national and international biathlon events and offer clinics to the public.
- The Eastern Trail is a 62-mile bike route under construction along Maine’s south coast. The trail will run from Kittery to South Portland and pass through 12 cities and towns.
- The carriage road system of Acadia National Park is a good option for riders with hybrid or fat tire bikes. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated the land and planned the construction of the 45 miles of motor-free broken stone roads.
- Route 11 in northern Maine from Ashland to Fort Kent and Route 27 in the western mountains from Kingfield to Eustis are routes for road cyclists who like hills.
- The Bicycle Coalition of Maine organizes bicycling events throughout the state and provides information about biking routes and trails.
- Explore Maine by Bike is a comprehensive guide to bike trails throughout the state. The guide allows you to chart your own course using the helpful maps, or to take one…or all of the 25 tours outlined.
Paddling, Whitewater Rafting and Boating
- Kayaking is the ideal way to explore Maine’s ocean bays, harbors and tidal rivers. From Kittery to Eastport, kayaking outfitters offer half-day, full-day and overnight adventures. Bring your own kayak or rent one locally. Guided trips and instruction are always available.
- From the 89-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway to a trip through downtown Bangor, canoeists have many paddling options. Birds and animals at inland wildlife sanctuaries are most easily seen from a canoe, and it’s the perfect way to get photographs of brilliant foliage color reflecting off a lake or pond.
- Whitewater rafting on the Kennebec, Dead, and Penobscot rivers offers some of the most exciting and scenic raft waters on the east coast. The rivers, located in central and eastern Maine, are dam-controlled and provide high-water rafting from late April through mid-October.
- Sailing in Maine is in one word “spectacular.” Day sailors or private charters can be found at most major harbors along the coast. Take in views of the coastline, islands and marine life while someone else does the navigating.
- The AT and the IAT Maine is home to 267 miles of the Appalachian Trail beginning near Goose Eye Mountain in Oxford County and ending at the trail’s northern terminus in Baxter State Park. From Baxter Peak, hikers can begin a new journey on the International Appalachian Trail, stretching 100 miles to the New Brunswick, Canada border and continuing to Belle Isle, Newfoundland.
- The Camden Hills State Park trail system offers some of the best small mountain coastal hiking on the east coast.
- The Bold Coast Trail along the rugged Downeast coast is the longest stretch of undeveloped shorefront on the eastern seaboard. The trail has six and 10 mile loops, camping and dramatic vantage points as much as 150 feet above crashing ocean surf.
Maine’s golf courses have a secluded feel, whether the setting is a 4,000- foot mountain range, rolling farmland, or the edge of the ocean.
- The nine-hole Mount Kineo Golf Course awaits guests on an island in Moosehead Lake.
- For a taste of Scotland, The Links at Outlook in the southern town of South Berwick features rolling dunes and scattered sand bunkers on a 140-acre layout set in open fields.
- The 1893 Poland Spring Country Club is the oldest resort course in America, while the three-year old Sunday River Golf Club in Newry was chosen as one of Travel + Leisure Golf’s Top 10 Best New Courses in the World.
With a network of 13,000 miles of well-maintained snowmobile trails crisscrossing the state from Kittery to Fort Kent, when the snow flies it sometimes seems there is suddenly more to Maine. Snowmobiles allow effortless access to remote parts of the state that take on even greater beauty with a coating of snow.
Fishing and Hunting
- Maine is home to the country’s best Eastern brook trout fishery, and a top destination for small mouth bass and landlocked salmon. The state’s open water fishing season begins April 1, but anglers can fish year-round on 17 rivers. The Maine Office of Tourism provides in depth fishing information on their website.
- Some of the best fly fishing waters in New England can be found in the Rangeley Lakes region. And, anglers looking for striped bass will find plenty on the Kennebec River south of Bath.
- Serious hunters come to Maine for the moose and black bear whose numbers are greater than in any other state in the east. Upland bird hunting is growing in popularity and the state recently began a wild turkey hunt season.