*Spread a Towel on York’s Short Sands Beach (Southern Maine): Bring the family and embrace the giddy un-self-consciousness of summer boardwalk culture. Sunbathe while a kid tosses a Frisbee over you. Pump quarters into skee ball in the Fun-O-Rama arcade. Eat four different kinds of saltwater taffy in a day.
*Do the Portland Beer Circuit (Portland): A taproom tour in the country’s beer-iest city is more than just a weekend of tasty hedonism—it’s a window into what the new Portland is all about: a championing of indie and artisan culture, a respect for the town’s working-class heritage, an embrace of Maine agriculture, a thoughtful repurposing of old and often dilapidated urban spaces. Plus a decidedly non-urban vibe that reminds you you’re in a town of just 67,000 people (with a brewery for every 3,700 of them).
*Embed on Monhegan Island (Lower Midcoast): Don’t just pop off the ferry for a day. Get a simple, rustic room on Monhegan (there is no other kind, see above) and spend a few days learning its quiet trails, schmoozing with the artists and the lobstermen, watching the ferries and the weather come and go, and falling into the rhythm of life on Maine’s most enchanted island.
*Get Off the Pavement in Acadia (Mount Desert Island): Acadia National Park’s elaborate trail network is a 120-mile museum to both MDI’s natural history and its human one. It’s also the best way to avoid the crowds and soak up the beauty of these rounded seaside mountains. Lace up your hiking boots and pack a backpack. Leave your car at the trailhead in the morning, and don’t come back until sunset. (Bonus points for doing this on skis in the winter.)
*Pitch a Tent at Cobscook Bay (Downeast Coast): Camping here, you’ll be centrally located to explore both Eastport and Lubec (the two loveliest and Downeast-iest of Downeast towns). Watching the 20-foot tides come and go outside your tent flaps is the best way to get attuned to the rhythm around which life revolves at the nation’s northeastern tip.
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.