It’s not always easy to get around in Maine, but there are some spots that are absolutely worth the drive. In fact, many of these are the most beautiful examples of what Maine has to offer. If you’ve got some time, plan a weekend to visit a few of these. They’re great for guests who want to see some of the best that Maine has to offer.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Canterbury Royale Gourmet Dining Room, Fort Fairfield
If your dream is to be treated like royalty, you should get yourself to Canterbury Royale as fast as you can. This might be one of the most unusual dining experiences you'll come across. Hidden in Nothern Maine, this spot has only one dinner seating each evening and requires reservations weeks in advance.
Once made, you'll be emailed to choose the dish you'd like for each course. People rave about the individual attention of the chefs - from accommodating food allergies to finding a way to incorporate the foods you say are your favorites. The attention to detail is something you won't find at many other restaurants in Maine, let alone the area. Visit them at 182 Sam Everett Road, Fort Fairfield / 207-472-4910
2. Belgrade Lakes, Kennebec County
While leafpeepahs head out to Acadia in droves, we prefer to head for the hills to the Belgrade Lakes Region. During fall, the scenery explodes with color, and the quaint little Main Street is alive with local flavor. Don't miss the picture-perfect Harvest Festival in early October - your friends will feel like they're stuck in a Norman Rockwell painting.
3. Route 11, The Fish River Maine Scenic Byway
This 37-mile trip between Portage and Fort Kent will lead you to some of the best that Northern Maine has to offer. Take in the views of natural landscapes, including Mt. Katahdin and Eagle Lake and then take a few side trips to places like Fort Kent Blockhouse, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and Aroostook State Park.
4. The Downed B-52C, Elephant Mountain
On January 24, 1963, a United States Air Force Boeing B-52C Stratofortress went down over Maine while flying a training mission. Of the nine crew members, only the pilot and navigator survived. Elephant Mountain, near Moosehead Lake about six miles from Greenville, is the final resting place of its shredded fuselage. A half-mile hike will get you to the wreckage, where a stone memorial commemorates the seven fallen soldiers.
5. Lane's Island Preserve, Vinalhaven
Vinalhaven itself is a bit off the beaten path, but the wonderful preserve area is even more out in the middle of nowhere. It's no wonder that one of Maine's most beautiful coastal walks is often deserted. Head out of the main area of town and walk along the winding trail that leads along the rocky shore.
6. Battery Steele, Peaks Island
Okay, this one is admittedly not actually off-the-beaten-path exactly. But, once you're visiting, it does feel exceptionally remote for being so close to civilization. Battery Steele is a military fort located on the oceanside area of Peaks Island in Casco Bay.
The Fort was built in 1942 as part of efforts to support World War II. The military site is a mix of two worlds. From the outside, the area appears to be completely left to nature. Overgrown trees and branches crowd what appears to be a crumbling facade. However, the real magic of Battery Steele lies underground. The bulk of the fort is made up of an underground area. These tunnels have been overtaken by artists and the mark of local Maine residents and friends covers the walls.
7. Piazza Rock, Sandy River
Located along the Appalachian Trail near Rangeley, this teetering rock appears to have been placed against a tree by a very strong giant. Check it out while hiking about four miles, round trip on this section of the AT. While the area is demanding, the hike to and from the rock is actually pretty family friendly.
8. Katahdin Woods and Waters, near Bangor
Katahdin Woods and Water is managed by the National Park Service and exists to preserve the East Branch of the Penobscot River, as well as a hearty portion of the Maine Woods. Upon announcing the new park, the White House provide the following statement: “In addition to protecting spectacular geology, significant biodiversity, and recreational opportunities, the new monument will help support climate resiliency in the region. The protected area—together with the neighboring Baxter State Park to the west—will ensure that this large landscape remains intact, bolstering the forest’s resilience against the impacts of climate change.”
9. Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Lubec
The Portland Head Light gets all the glory, but we think the candy-striped Quoddy Head is just as - if not more - photogenic. It's way-out-there location right on the Canadian border makes it a less-popular stop on the tourist trail, but we think it's worth the trip.
10. The Maine Solar System Model, Aroostook County
Head north to the county for the scaled model of our solar system. Created by the University of Maine in Presque Isle, this model begins with the sun in Presque Isle and goes all the way to Houlton where you'll find the (now defunct as a planet) Pluto.