During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Lubec
In southern Maine, people flock to the postcard-perfect Portland Head Light. But up north there are plenty of other, even more beautiful options. The candy-striped Quoddy Head is one of them. Its 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.
2. The Waco Diner, Eastport
The Waco Diner has been under new management for the last few years and it comes with rave reviews. In the season, enjoy the incredible views of Passamaquoddy Bay while enjoying a lobster roll or some fried haddock. Visit them at: 47 Water St., Eastport / 207-853-9226
3. The Maine Solar System Model, Aroostook County
Located in The County, the scaled model of our solar system was created by the University of Maine in Presque Isle. The 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.
4. Route 11, The Fish River Maine Scenic Byway
This drive will take you from Portage to Fort Kent, leading to some of the best that Northern Maine has to offer. Over the course of about 37-miles, you'll be able to enjoy 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.
5. The adorable town of Robbinston, Washington County
While some might not consider this small town a destination, it offers a great glimpse into what small town Maine life is all about. Located just about as far east as possible, Robbinston is separated from Canada by a three-mile river. Early industry focused on shipbuilding but moved to fishing and farming potatoes when steam-powered ships arrived on the scene. Notably, Robbinston was a last stop for the Underground Railroad where escaping slaves would cross over into Canada and find freedom. Visitors should stop by the John N. Brewer mansion, which is now a bed and breakfast, to see one of the houses that once supported the Underground Railroad.
6. The Brookside Inn, Smyrna Mills
The home cooked food here isn't what you might expect from a place that some people drive right past, but you'll be rewarded with filling goodness and warm, friendly vibes if you pull over. If you love it so much you want two meals, consider staying overnight at the attached motel! Visit them at: 2277 US Rt.2, County Rd., Smyrna Mills / 207-757-8456
7. The Bold Coast Scenic Byway
This 125-mile route is one of the most robust drives you can do in Maine. It will take you to places you've probably heard of, but may have never visited. You'll need a weekend for this, but it's worth it! No other area of Maine is quite like this portion of Downeast Maine and Coastal Washington County.
Start in Milbridge and head eastward along the coast to Lubec. From here, you'll go towards Cobscook Bay and on to Eastport. If you choose this trip, you'll be treated to Maine's incredible wild blueberry barrens, coastal forests, and marshes.
8. Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, near Calais
Located near the Maine and Canada border, this beautiful park is one of most northern national wildlife refuges in the Atlantic Flyway, a migration route located along the eastern coast of the continent. Moosehorn is made up of two divisions, each containing a National Wilderness Area comprised of thousands of acres that are managed to preserve their character for future generations.
9. Nook and Cranny, Baileyville
Washington County's best-kept secret does a great job of serving up some incredible food with great local flair — all in a converted chicken coop! A family business through and through, you'll feel right at home the second you step inside. Try the seafood chowder or the chef's burger. Visit them at 757 Airline Rd., Baileyville / (207) 454-3335
10. Aroostook State Park
While the southern Maine state parks are packed with people, head up north to this lovely spot that might be just a little less crowded with tourists. This is Maine's first state park and it's wonderful! The park provides access to the North and South Peak of Quaggy Jo Mountain and also offers recreational activities such as fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking. You can camp here, but there aren't a lot of official spots. Many of those that exist require reservations ahead of time.
11. The Golden Road Maine Scenic Byway
The Golden Road runs from the St. Zacharie Quebec border crossing to the Great Northern Paper Company's former mill in Millinocket. In fact, the 96-mile route was built by the Maine paper company to allow them to transport logs. Much of this road is unpaved so make sure your car can handle the trip before heading out. If you go, you'll be treated to incredible views of Katahdin on the way. The drives is best done from Millinocket to Ambajejus Lake, then Greenville and on to Seboomook Lake. Lastly, you'll go towards the Saint-Zacharie border crossing.
12. The Great North Woods
There's a lot of accessible wilderness in Maine, which makes it easy to forget that there's actually a whole lot of land that truly is wild! The vast North Woods is a natural playground, offering tons of beauty and amazing wildlife with far fewer crowds than you'll find elsewhere in Vacationland.
13. Roque Bluffs State Park, Roque Bluffs
Roque Bluffs is tiny. And by tiny we mean it has a population of about 300 people. That means you could come here on its busiest day and still find yourself peacefully alone. This tiny town is home to the 274-acre Roque Bluffs State Park overlooking Englishman Bay from Schoppee Point. A visit to Roque Bluffs should include Simpson Pond and the six miles of walking trails found within the park.
14. Katahdin Woods and Waters, near Bangor
Okay, okay. We know this spot isn't exactly NORTH, but it's north for those who have never been further than Old Orchard Beach so it gets included! 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. The protected area along with Baxter State Park ensures that this wonderful part of Maine landscape stays intact. It's worth a visit!
If you love northern Maine, you’ll love the Northern Lights that were captured in the Maine night sky in