Maine has a centuries-old tradition of guides leading "sports" into the backwoods for hunting and fishing, although many now have branched out to include recreational canoeing and more specialized interests, such as bird-watching. Professional guides are certified by the state; you can learn more about hiring Maine guides by contacting the Maine Professional Guides Association. the website features links to some of its members.
Another smart strategy: contact the appropriate chambers of commerce for suggestions on local guides.
Guided Tour Companies That Specialize in Maine
Guided tours have boomed in recent years, both in number and variety. These range from 2-night guided inn-to-inn hiking trips to weeklong canoe and kayak expeditions, camping each night along the way. A few reputable outfitters to start with include the following:
- Backroads (tel. 800/462-2848 or 510/527-1555), has an extensive inventory of trips, including a 5-day trip that combines hiking and biking in the Camden Hills and on Mount Desert Island. This trip involves moderate physical challenge and nights in a few lovely hotels and inns.
- Country Walkers (tel. 800/234-6900) specializes in supported walking trips around the world. Among its Maine offerings: walking tours in Acadia National Park. Trips run 6 nights and include all meals and lodging at appealing inns.
- Down East Adventures (tel. 207/594-9544) leads photography workshops, birding tours, windjammer cruises, and other getaways all across the state, chaperoned by (or featuring visits from) staffers from Down East, Maine’s venerable lifestyle magazine.
- Vermont Bicycle Touring (tel. 800/245-3868), is one of the more established and well-organized touring operations, with an extensive bike tour schedule in North America, Europe, and New Zealand. VBT offers several trips in Maine, including a 6-day Acadia trip.
Local outdoors clubs are also a good source of information, and most offer trips to nonmembers. The largest of the bunch is the Appalachian Mountain Club (www.outdoors.org; [tel] 603/466-2727), whose chapters run group trips almost every weekend throughout the region, including to several backcountry lodges in the Maine woods.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.