If you only have a week, but you still want to cover some ground, the trick is not to bite off more than you can chew. Skip Portland, as marvelous a city as it is, and speed past the crowded southern coast to focus on the Midcoast and Acadia. Refer to our two-week itinerary for fuller descriptions of each destination’s offerings.
Day 1: The Kennebunks & Ogunquit
Drive in from the south and head straight for the Kennebunks. Even with a condensed itinerary, it’s still worth your time to linger at the beaches and terrific museum in Ogunquit .
From the Kennebunks, drive 25 or so miles north on the Maine Turnpike (I-95), exit onto Rte. 295, and go another 22 miles to U.S. Rte. 1 at Brunswick. From there, follow Rte. 1 about 50 miles to greater Camden.
Days 2: Lower Midcoast
On your drive north from the Kennebunks, you may choose to stop in Freeport for a swing through the outlet stores, and/or detour through Brunswick, Bath, or the Harpwell Peninsula. Make Rockland or Camden your home base for the next couple of nights.
Day 3: Greater Camden
Explore Camden Hills State Park on foot or mountain bike, and then make the art circuit in Rockland, with stops at the Farnsworth Museum and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Then take advantage of the great dinner options in either town.
From Camden, drive U.S. Rte. 1 40 miles north to state Rte. 15, turn south, and drive 12 more miles to:
Day 4: Blue Hill & Deer Isle
Get a place to stay on the Blue Hill peninsula, check in early, and spend the rest of the day exploring Blue Hill, Castine, Deer Isle, and Stonington. You’ll spend a good amount of time behind the wheel today, but the driving’s super scenic, and you can still sneak in an hour-long kayak tour off Stonington or a hike through the pretty Holbrook Island Wildlife Sanctuary.
From Stonington, backtrack 18 miles on Rte. 15 to Blue Hill, then follow Rte. 172 north 14 miles to U.S. Rte. 1. Follow Rte. 1 just a short distance before bearing right onto Rte. 3 (follow signs to Acadia National Park). Continue 6 miles to the bridge to Mount Desert Island. Cross the bridge and follow Rte. 3 about 10 more miles to Bar Harbor.
Days 5, 6 & 7: Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park
Yep, even with a truncated schedule, it’s still worth committing 3 days to Maine’s only national park. Bar Harbor itself can eat up a day. Take time to stroll the busy town’s shops, do some snacking, and maybe hop aboard a whale-watching tour. That leaves you 2 days to explore the Park Loop Road, the trails, and the carriage roads of Acadia.
Heading back from Bar Harbor, skip the coastal route and take Rte. 1A about 30 miles between Ellsworth and Bangor. From Bangor, take the Maine Turnpike (I-95) south 180 miles to the state line at Kittery. With no stops, it takes less than 3 hours.
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.