Best Places to Visit in Maine

Maine's unmatched landscape, enviable seafood scene and laid-back atmosphere have made the state a must-visit destination among New Englanders. But with one of the country's most-visited national parks and inarguably the best lobster in the United States, Maine has all the makings to serve every kind of traveler. To help you find the state's most satisfying destinations, U.S. News evaluated Maine's top sights, adventurous pursuits and value, among other factors. From outdoor hot spots to cool coastal towns and culture-packed cities, these are the best places to visit in Maine. Vote for your favorites below to help us determine next year's list. Interested in seeing some of the state's top lighthouses? Check out the 10 Best Maine Lighthouses to Visit » (Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before traveling.)

SUMMARY

Best Places to Visit in Maine

  • Portland, ME
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    Portland, ME

    #1 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    Maine's biggest city (by population) is the state's cultural hub, offering plenty in the way of art, history and food. Start your vacation with a lobster roll before exploring popular attractions like the historic Old Port neighborhood, the Portland Museum of Art and the city's ever-evolving brewery scene. If the weather's right, do as the locals do and travel to the nearby islands of Casco Bay for tucked away beaches and evergreen woodlands. If you visit Portland in winter, try snowshoeing on the surrounding trails, purchase new gear at the flagship L.L.Bean store and admire the city's famous lighthouse.

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  • Bar Harbor
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    Bar Harbor

    #2 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    Bar Harbor is small-town Maine at its finest. This adorable town, widely known as the gateway to Acadia National Park, offers a village-like atmosphere and a picturesque waterfront setting worth writing home about. While here, take things slow and stroll the scenic Shore Path to check out luxurious yachts and seaside parks. You can also meander down charming Main Street, where you'll find a bevy of fresh seafood, specialty shops and small art galleries. To see Bar Harbor from a new perspective, opt for a trolley tour, a boat tour or a whale watching excursion.

  • Acadia National Park
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    Acadia National Park

    #3 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    For truly breathtaking marine terrain, complete with rocky coastlines and lush forests, travel to Acadia National Park. Acadia is home to plenty of stunning scenery, with trails that bring you to the highest point on the North Atlantic Seaboard: Cadillac Mountain. Climb the granite cliffs on the popular Precipice Trail, and for unforgettable views of the Atlantic, head to Schoodic Point. If you're not in the mood to hike, go for a drive on the 27-mile Park Loop Road, which offers scenic views and pull-off points. Arrive in October to see the park's spectacular display of fall colors.

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  • Camden
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    Camden

    #4 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    Overlooking Penobscot Bay, Camden is small but full of charm. The harbor is always bustling with boats bringing fishermen to and from shore each day. To check out the area's best lighthouses and lobster habitats, sign up for a harbor cruise. Then, get a taste of Camden's fresh seafood at a waterfront restaurant. No visit would be complete without trekking the trails in nearby Camden Hills State Park. The park's paths bring you to overlooks with stunning vistas of the area's bay and islands.

  • Ogunquit
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    Ogunquit

    #5 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    Vibrant and inviting, Ogunquit is perfect for the casual traveler. Artists and beach bums alike flock here for its picturesque coastline. Head to Footbridge Beach for smaller crowds, Main Beach for a shallow river ideal for kids and Ogunquit Beach for water sports. After a day of sun and sand, check out the restaurants on Main Street, which serve everything from lobster dishes to farm-to-table fare. Because of its accepting atmosphere and many gay-friendly bars, Ogunquit is a popular vacation destination for members of the LGBTQ community.

  • Rockland
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    Rockland

    #6 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    Rockland is the sleepy, coastal town of your dreams. Located about 80 miles northeast of Portland, Rockland features lighthouses, beautiful boats swaying in the harbor and compact streets lined with traditional brick and shingled buildings. Visit the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art to add a dose of culture to your vacation. Or, if you're looking for something more active, hike through Beech Hill Preserve's blueberry fields to Beech Nut for striking sea panoramas. The view from Owls Head Lighthouse is also worth the short climb.

  • York, ME
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    York, ME

    #7 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    York offers something for every member of the family to enjoy. Parents can relax on the 2-mile stretch of Long Sands Beach while children play in the surf before grabbing lunch with their kids at a nearby restaurant. Souvenir shops, boutiques and a plethora of ice cream parlors are sprinkled around the downtown area. Arcades, bowling alleys, amusement park rides and mini-golf courses also abound here, so kids will never get bored. Plus, visitors will have their pick of lodging options, including budget hotels and quaint cottages.

  • Kennebunkport
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    Kennebunkport

    #8 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    If you're looking for the perfect beach vacation in Maine, you'll find comfort in Kennebunkport. This southern coastal town offers long, flat shorelines atypical to the craggy coastal spots you'll find along Maine's other shores. Lay out or rent a boat on Gooch's Beach (a traveler favorite). Or, if you're looking to stay dry, take a nice long walk along leafy Walker's Point, preferably at sunset. A popular haven for celebrities and politicians, Kennebunkport has its fair share of chic boutiques and art galleries to explore, especially in the quaint Dock Square area.

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  • Augusta, ME
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    Augusta, ME

    #9 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    Maine's capital often flies under the radar as visitors head to the state's beaches, but Augusta has many activities to offer. In the downtown area, you'll find Victorian mansions and cozy bed-and-breakfast accommodations alongside the Maine State House, the Maine State Museum and Old Fort Western – a British outpost from the French and Indian War. Plus, you can enjoy nature at the Viles Arboretum, hike the Bond Brook Trails or picnic on the grass in Capitol Park. Before you leave, savor some shellfish and chowder at one of the town's restaurants.

  • Sugarloaf Mountain
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    Sugarloaf Mountain

    #10 in Best Places to Visit in Maine

    No matter the season, Sugarloaf Mountain is the perfect backdrop for your next vacation. In winter, skiers will revel in Sugarloaf's many shred-worthy options, from traditional downhill skiing to more adventurous cat skiing on rugged terrain. Fat biking, dog sledding and ice skating are also popular winter activities. Meanwhile, summertime is ideal for zip lining, kayaking, hiking and Segway tours, among other adventures. The mountain is surrounded by a wide variety of restaurants and stores, so you can explore the great outdoors without leaving behind the conveniences of home.

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