Whether you live in Maine or simply love to visit, we bet there are areas of the state that you tend to frequent the most. It might be your own hometown or the beautiful spot on the coast that you wish you called home. We don’t blame you for having your own turf, but every now and again it’s nice to venture off-the-beaten path. The next time you have a free weekend, consider finding your way to some of these more rural destinations. They might not be in your backyard, but they’re absolutely lovely! And, if they ARE in your backyard, consider yourself lucky!
1. Abbot, Piscataquis County
While Abbot isn't tiny, it's certainly delightful. If you're in the midst of house-hunting, check it out for estimated median home prices that are below the state average.
2. Vinalhaven, Knox County
So, Vinalhaven might not be exactly "rural," but it's certainly delightful. And, it's not especially easy to access.
Vinalhaven is a town on the Fox Islands accessible by ferry from Rockland. Oftentimes used to refer to the entire island, Vinalhaven is one of the smallest towns on this list and offers visitors a handful of locally owned bars and restaurants, many of which shutter for the winter. Come for lovely walks in the Lane's Island Preserve, a look at the Robert Indiana pieces scattered throughout, and for at least one night at the beautiful Tidewater Motel.
3. Port Clyde, Knox County
Port Clyde is the southernmost settlement on the St. George peninsula in central Maine. In the 19th century, Port Clyde became a busy port with granite quarries, tide mills for sawing timber, and shipbuilding and fish canning businesses. Today, the area's quiet location attracts artists and writers.
One of its most notable attractions is the Marshall Point Lighthouse. You may remember it as one of the most beautiful scenes during Forrest Gump's cross-country run in the movie, "Forrest Gump."
4. Patten, Penobscot County
Patten is both historic and small, with about 1,000 residents. Its location near many major rivers and streams powered the small mills and workshops that called the town home in the 1800s. In the early 19th century, it became one of the most notable towns on the Penobscot River. The development of the lumber industry here made it the cultural hub of the area encompassing towns west of Houlton and North of Lincoln. Today it is the location of the Bradford Farm, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is occupied by a bed and breakfast.
5. Robinston, Washington County
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. Sebec, Piscataquis County
While this photo is of Sebec, it's almost impossible to choose just one of the Three Rivers Communities. They're all perfectly nice and visiting any will give you the feeling of small-town Maine. Incorporated in 1812, Sebec is the oldest town in Piscataquis County. Come for the country feel and to visit Sebec Lake on which it is located.
7. Andover, Oxford County
Andover was first settled in 1789 by Ezekiel Merrill, a Revolutionary War veteran, who came with his wife and seven children from Andover, Massachusetts. The first settlers were farmers and woodsmen, and forest products are still an important part of life here. In addition to local shops, you'll find plenty of things to do outdoors. From hunting, fishing, boating, skiing, and snowmobiling to hiking on the Appalachian Trail, which passes through the western edge of town, Andover is perfect for the true Maine lover of nature.
8. Eastport, Washington County
Not only is Eastport unique for being the easternmost city in the US (not to be confused with Lubec, which is the easternmost municipality), but it is also a city comprised solely of islands. Come in July for the annual July 4th Codfish Relay (which is actually part of a larger celebration of both the US and Canada) and stay for the Salmon Festival in September. If you leave and crave more, come back for the New Year's Eve sardine drop at midnight.
9. Mount Chase, Penobscot County
Named for the 2,440-foot peak nearby, Mount Chase's tiny population makes it the smallest on this list. If you were looking for a party, 1880 would have been a good time to live in Mount Chase. The town population peaked in that year with 310 people calling it home. It's worth checking out for a visit to Lower and Upper Shin Ponds.
10. Calais, Washington County
While not the absolute smallest in Maine, Calais certainly comes with that small-town feel. Its population of about 3,000 has access to three border entry point to Canada over the St. Croix River. Residents here also have the privilege of being about to weed out those from away. If they pronounce it like they're somewhere in France, it's probably their first time in town!
11. Masardis, Aroostook County
What can we say about Masardis that hasn't already been said? Pretty much everything considering it's one of those blink-and-you-might-miss-it towns located in The County. It doesn't get any more slow paced than watching the sunrise on a dewy morning, though. If you love that sort of thing, head to Masardis and their population of about 250 people.
12. Allagash, Aroostook County
The confluence of the Allagash and St. John Rivers are located in the Northern town of Allagash, making it a nice place for some outdoor activities. Wish you could call it home? Come for Moosetowner Day and be dunked in the Allagash River, earning yourself a certificate and Moosetowner hat making you an honorary Moosetowner.