Quaint Coastal Towns
More Coastline Than California
Charming Seaside Villages
Get To Know Maine
From rugged mountains to coastal cities, Maine is a state where easygoing charm and thrilling adventure go hand in hand. Whether it’s a relaxing sail down Maine’s central coast or a night out in Portland, you’ll find ample opportunity to create a trip you’ll never forget. Learn more about what makes Maine the perfect vacation spot for you.
When traveling through Maine, many quaint coastal and inland towns are sure to satisfy your craving for an antiquated yet charming experience that those who visit the state typically seek. Places like Waterville, Augusta, and Lewiston embody this small-town America feel. However, you only have so much time in Maine, so as you start planning your bus trip, allow us to give you a head start and give you a few tips on where to go.
A Brief History of Maine
Initially settled by French and British colonists in the 1600s, Maine was eventually admitted to statehood in 1820, becoming the 23rd state. For many years, Maine made its economic success with lumber and textiles. However, as those industries diminished in the early 20th century, Maine rebranded itself as “Vacationland.” In the 1960s, people began to acknowledge the beauty of Maine’s rocky shorelines, pristine beaches, and adorable coastal towns. To this day, many tourists still flock to New England’s largest state for a great vacation.
There's no shortage of things to do in Maine.
A Look at Culture in Maine
Over the years, Maine has derived cultures from Irish, Scottish, Acadian and French-Canadian immigrants who contribute to its unique New England atmosphere. It’s that exclusive mood and mysterious charm that attract many artists and writers to the rocky shores of Maine. Famous writers who have called Maine home include E.B White (Charlotte’s Web), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Paul Revere’s Ride), and Stephen King, the famous author of horror who lives in Bangor, Maine to this day.
Must See List
- Northern Outdoors Rafting & Adventure Resort
- The Lodge at Pleasant Point
- Monkey C Monkey Do
- Schoodic Area Chamber of Commerce
- Oakland House Seaside Inn & Cottages
- Northern Outdoors Snowmobile Resort
- Kennebec River Pub & Brewery
- Arts Center at 8 Hancock Avenue
- Alpha Omega Connections – A Healing Home
- Just Us Chickens
Top Cities To Visit in Maine
Maine’s capital city is a wonderful spot along the Kennebec River. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with opportunities for hiking on the Kennebec River Rail Trail and fishing in the river. Pop into “Hobbitland,” also known as Vaughan Woods, to tour the beautiful stone bridges and meadows. Naturally, you’ll need to dig into a fresh lobster roll while you’re here. Dozens of riverfront restaurants offer their take on the delicacy. Make sure to bring your binoculars, as you’re likely to spot one of the state’s 75,000 moose while in the Kennec Valley.
Sitting on a peninsula that stretches into the Casco Bay is the city of Portland. Seemingly painted onto the coast of Maine, Portland is the quintessence of coastal charm and defines the word “picturesque.” Here, find yourself exploring the many restaurants, shops, and breweries that are built into the 19th-century warehouses and buildings in the Old Port District. Make sure to head back after the sun goes down when the Old Port District’s nightlife is in full swing. If you’re looking for a little adventure, take a 15-minute ferry to Peaks Island, a popular kayaking and biking destination where you can explore the island, enjoy a café, or bask on the sandy beaches.
If you fancy yourself a more outdoor-oriented trip to Maine, an ideal town for you is Bar Harbor. The town is settled along Frenchman Bay on Mount Desert Island and serves as a perfect starting point to take advantage of the hiking, moose watching, and camping among the breathtaking granite cliffs and rock faces at Acadia National Park. After you get your daily fix of outdoor activities, head back into town for the museums, galleries, and eateries.
Fans of Stephen King novels or the quaint aesthetics of classic Maine municipalities must visit the town of Bangor. Buzzing with gourmet dining establishments and boutique shops, Bangor is flanked by lush forests and mountain landscapes. Visit the Stephen King Victorian mansion or pay homage to Paul Bunyan, whose statue towers over onlookers walking down Main Street.
Charming Waterville is known for its postcard-worthy scenery and old-world charm. Set along the Kennebec River, the intimate town provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. Sailing, fishing, and biking are among the more popular activities here. Make your way to historic Main Street and take the Downtown Waterville Historic Walking Tour, a self-guided excursion through 43 of the city’s most noteworthy spots. The city also hosts the Hill ‘n the Ville Music Festival in September, along with the Maine Open Juried Art Show during spring. Don’t miss the Waterville Parade of Lights during the holiday season.
Sail the Coast of Maine
Perhaps one of the most iconic activities associated with Maine is cruising around the coastline in a historic windjammer schooner. Take a multi-day sailing trip on one of the many historic sailing vessels Maine has to offer and let yourself be inspired by the deep blue bays, rocky inlets, and stoic lighthouses. While on your sail, you’ll stop by several islands and towns along Maine’s coast where you can enjoy delicious food and elegant shopping.
Brave the Rapids on the Kennebec River
Take yourself on a heart-pumping adventure down the Kennebec River rapids with outfitters like North Country Rivers, who offer guided rafting experiences through crashing waters and visceral country landscapes.
Go Whale Watching at Boothbay Harbor
Once a busy shipping port, Boothbay Harbor is now a charming seaside village where you can enjoy seafood, shopping, deep-sea fishing, and whale watching. Purchase tickets to board charter vessels operated by companies like Cap’n Fish’s Whale Watch to marvel at the gentle giants that feast on the fish, eel, and plankton during the spring season.
When to Stay
Maine offers some of the most unique and interesting accommodations for the curious traveler. The Goose Rocks Island Lighthouse in North Haven allows you to stay in cozy quarters inside its historic high-reaching walls. In Camden, stay at a castle built in 1886, which is now a bed and breakfast overlooking the Penobscot Bay. Or if you’re sick of dry land and want to mix it up, rent a houseboat for the night from Riggs Cove Rentals in Georgetown.
Best Time to Visit Maine
The best time to make your way to Maine depends on your agenda. If you’re looking to enjoy the coast, summer is your best bet. This is when the weather is most enjoyable and all of Maine’s coastal attractions are in full effect, as opposed to the off-season when many restaurants and attractions are closed. The fall months, however, provide optimal weather for a trip to inland Maine. And if you’re looking to do some skiing, visit between mid-November and May.
Enjoy Quaint Coastal Paradise in Maine
Outfitted with precious landscapes, trendy towns, and coastal escapades, the state of Maine has something for everyone and it’s only a bus ride away. Purchase your bus ticket and start getting excited about your Maine attractions.