While we didn’t necessarily work for it this winter, summer is finally here! Mainers can rejoice in the return of sunny seasonal mainstays. From boat trips to black flies, Maine provides some welcome seasonal consistency. While knowing what to expect is great, we recently realized that we’re ready for some new adventures. Rather than the same ol’ lobster trucks, beach visits and hikes, it’s time to start checking things off our Maine to-do list.
Never been to Acadia? Strap on your boots and head out! Never been west of US 1? Get inland! Here are a few things to add to your newly created 2016 summer bucket list!
1. Visit Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for free.
If you've wanted to check out these gardens, but found the price a little steep, be sure to clear your Memorial Day weekend schedule to take part in "Maine Days." This annual thank you to Vacationlanders lasts from May 28-30th and only requires your state ID. Learn more about the gardens and what's currently on display
2. Discover the real Maine.
Head North and explore the parts of Maine that often go forgotten in the minds of tourists. While the vast forests and natural beauty are impressive, the real bonus here is being able to say you've been North of Bangor.
3. Stay at a real Bed & Breakfast in Caribou.
Slow down in Northern Maine by spending a night soaking it in. Located in Caribou,
The Old Iron Inn is a great choice. It's a quirky little home from the turn of the century, full of antiques and other interesting elements. They boast a fascinating collection of old irons, Lincoln, mystery and aviation history libraries and they have around 40 different magazine subscriptions. A stay here means cozy nights, delicious breakfasts and lots to discover without even leaving the home. Visit them at: 155 High Street, Caribou / 207-492-4766
4. Watch a movie under the stars.
Head to a Maine drive-in movie theater! The Saco Drive-In is the 2nd oldest in the country and a popular choice for OOB vacationers. Enjoy a night under the stars after a day at OOB. Click
for their current lineup.
5. Hone your photography skills with a photo safari in Acadia.
There's so much to see in Maine, but it's not always easy to capture the perfect image. To make the most of your Acadia trip, sign on for a photo safari and workshop with local professional photographer, Howie Motenko of Acadia Photo Safari in Bar Harbor. Sign on for one of four different options - Jordan Pond Safari, Sunset Cruise Safari, Ocean Drive Safari or, the special Lobster Picnic Sunset Cruise. As an Acadia Centennial Partner, the company will donate 10% of all proceeds from this tour to Friends of Acadia. For more information click
6. Dig into some pier fries at Old Orchard Beach.
They're known far and wide as half the reason for going to OOB. Don't forget the salt AND vinegar!
7. The Color Run, South Portland (June 26th)
If you're on Facebook, you've seen photos of friends and their friends wearing medals and covered in colorful powder. These manageable 5k runs happen all over the country and on June 26th it shows up in South Portland. This year's theme is "Tropicolor World Tour 2016" and it promises to be as colorful and exciting as what you've seen in photos. Smash your summer exercise and fun goals in one colorful day. For more information and to register, visit them
8. Take in the Somes Sound Windjammer Parade, Acadia National Park
This year marks Acadia's 100th Anniversary. To honor the park's Centennial, come celebrate at any of the summer-long events scheduled to take place. The Somes Sounds Windjammer Parade on August 2nd will see Maine's incredible fleet of windjammers sailing through the sound. The parade will be a site to behold, not just for the incredible fleet of boats and the accompanying fleet of power and sailing yachts, The Corinthians. The backdrop will include the stunning natural scenery of 600-foot cliffs. For more information click
9. Finally see your old favorites in concert...
...outside in Maine! There are some great live acts heading to Maine this summer. Check out Dave Matthews Band at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor on June 8th, The Beach Boys with The Temptations at the Maine State Pier in Portland on July 7th, and Bob Dylan with Mavis Staples at Thompson Point in Portland on July 17th. If none of these acts are on your must-see list, check the individual sites for full lineups.
Darling's Waterfront Pavillion, Thompson's Point
Maine State Pier
L.L. Bean Summer in the Park
10. The Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland (August 3-7th)
Every year you think about going, every year you decide to go next year. Forget about waiting for visiting friends to give you a reason. Be the Mainer you are and head to the Lobster Festival this year. While the shell of the ball is certainly lobster, there are tons of other ways to have fun for the five days of the festival. Enjoy live music, local artists and competitions to show the mid-coast what you're made of. For more information, visit them
11. Enjoy a sunset boat ride in Rangeley.
Sure, the Casco Bay options are terrific, but head inland for a different sunset experience altogether. The "Oquossoc Lady" has been exploring the Rangeley Lakes for 8 summers and offer tons of options in the way of trips and tours. Their fleet also now includes "The Gray Ghost" and "The Little Lyman." Our pick for tour is the “Beach Party on Pine Island Cruise" which takes passengers to a lovely sandy beach for a day of fun in the sun. There are currently two scheduled trips - Friday, July 29th and Friday, August 12th. Click
for more information on their boat trips along with info on their kayak offerings.
12. Take a long, coastal hike in Quoddy Head State Park.
Maine is full of coastal hikes, but the Coastal Trail at Quoddy Head State Park will make you feel like a true trailblazer. This rocky, steep hike is a challenge, but comes with some awesome ocean views. Along the way, you'll be able to see from the Quoddy Channel to the cliffs of Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick Canada. It's about 4 miles and should take somewhere between 4 and 5 hours.
13. Wake up to see the sunrise after a night sleeping under the stars.
Pack your gear and go camping. While there are tons of places to enjoy back country camping (just finding a spot and setting up shop), if you're new at this you might want something more official. One great option is Sebago Lake. Sebago Lake State Park is the largest in Southern Maine and offers clean campsites and facilities. The over 200 sites include both reservable and non-reservable areas, many with water and electric hook-ups. For more camping spots, click
14. Finally start a yoga and mindfulness practice at the Maine Yoga Festival in Portland (July 8-10th).
Every year this festival brings together yogis of all different levels, from absolute beginner to long-time practitioner, for a weekend of good vibes and learning. The MYF is so much more than yoga. It includes access to a number of speakers, guided meditations and music. Learn more about the schedule of events and registration
15. Hop into one of Maine's secret swimming holes.
One of our favorites is Rattlesnake Flume and Pool in Evans Notch. The crystal clear waters remind us of a much more tropical location and the hike to get there is one of the easiest you'll take. For more of our favorite swimming holes in Maine click
16. Do Katahdin. Just do it.
Okay, just kidding. It's not for everyone. But maybe this summer you can just think about doing it. A good excuse is that every campsite in Baxter might be booked already. So, this year you can go take a look at it and next summer can be when you finally check it off your list.
17. Hop on for a Lulu Lobster Boat Ride, Bar Harbor
You've seen lobster, you've eaten lobster, but you've never actually caught a lobster? This is your chance! Hop aboard Captain John's traditional Downeast-style lobster boat to catch and learn about lobster from a true master. This unique, two-hour trip allows those aboard to see seals and tons of other sights in the area. Make this the summer you fish for lobster like a real lobsterman! FInd out more by clicking
18. Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, Dover-Foxcroft: June 25th, 2016
We're so excited for this festival, we had to talk about it again. Now in its 7th year, this annual festival is a must-experience for those who love Maine's official state treat. From 10am to 3pm, attendees will be treated to the best whoopie pies from across the state along with activities such as eating contests, live stage performances and races. Click
for photos and more information.
Are you planning on checking any of these off your list? What do you have to add to it? Let us know over on our