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53 Interesting Facts About Maine | What is Maine Known For?

With the nickname “Vacationland,” Maine is a popular destination for families and anyone who loves the outdoors. What is it about Maine that attracts almost 25 million visitors a year?

Here are some interesting and fun facts about Maine that may surprise you. Whether you’re looking for Maine facts for kids or just want to know what is Maine known for, we hope these Maine facts and trivia make you curious to visit our Pine Tree State.

12 Fun Facts About Maine

  1. Maine is famous for its lobster.
  2. Maine has 3,478 miles of coastline.
  3. Maine has more than 4,000 offshore islands.
  4. Maine has over 32,000 miles of rivers and streams.
  5. Maine has over 6,000 lakes and ponds.
  6. Maine has over 1.3 million people that call it home.
  7. Maine has its own desert.
  8. Maine is the only state in the US with one syllable.
  9. Maine is the only state in the US that only borders one other state.
  10. Maine produces 90% of US toothpicks.
  11. Maine is almost as big as the other five New England states combined.
  12. Maine contains over 500K acres of state and national parks.
Lobster

Maine is most famous for its lobster.

If you’re wondering what is Maine known for, it’s lobster! Whether you like it steamed, baked, or in a bun, Maine lobster is something that everyone should sample at least once. You can eat it in other states, but for the freshest, sweetest, most succulent taste, eating lobster in Maine is the ultimate indulgence.

The Maine lobster yield is 40 million pounds annually, nearly 90 percent of the nation’s lobster supply.

With about 4,500 active lobstermen, lobster fishing is an important part of the economy of the state of Maine. Hardly a restaurant in Maine doesn’t offer the succulent crustacean on its menu. Think lazy man’s lobster, lobster mac and cheese, and lobster bennies to name a few.

Maine has 3,478 miles of coastline.

That’s the fourth most coastline in the country, including inlets and islands. Only Florida and Louisiana have more miles of coastline in the continental United States. Alaska has the most coastline of any state at 33,904 miles.

Not including the inlets and islands, Maine has 228 miles of general coastline, the ninth most in the country. By comparison, the top-ranking state is Alaska with 6,640 miles of general coastline.

Maine has more than 4,000 offshore islands.

Only about 1,200 Maine coastal islands have an acre or more, and 600 comprise 95% of the island acreage. Of these islands, only 15 have a year-round population.

One of the facts about Maine that few people know is that Vinalhaven is, by far, the most populous, having 1,269 residents in the 2020 census. It’s about 12 miles off the coast near Rockland in Penobscot Bay.

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site - Maine National Parks
Saint Croix Island International Historic Site | photo via @pascalchiassonphoto

Maine’s coastline has so many deep harbors that it could provide anchorage for all the naval fleets in the world.

This no doubt explains why Maine has so many ports that can be enjoyed today by taking a boat tour of the coastline, viewing lighthouses, and visiting islands.

The first naval battle of the Revolutionary War was fought off Machias Maine in 1775.

The people of Machias had gotten word of the battle of Lexington and Concord. When the British arrived to buy wood to build barracks to occupy Boston, they were refused and didn’t take the news well.

The British ship HMS Margaretta was pulling out of the harbor when some locals armed with homemade weapons and pitchforks sailed out to engage them. The Americans seized the ship and killed the commander.

Maine has over 32,000 miles of rivers and streams.

Maine has one of the largest river systems in the country. The St.John River is the longest river in Maine. It travels for 418 miles through Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec. At several points on its journey, it’s the border between the United States and Canada.

The mighty Kennebec River is known for its amazing whitewater rapids and scenic views. If tubing is more your speed, the Saco River is the river for you to enjoy. 

Maine has over 6,000 lakes and ponds.

One of the many interesting facts about Maine is that the largest Maine lake is Moosehead Lake, which has 75,000 acres. On the other end of the spectrum, Staples Pond has only 56 acres, making it the smallest.

No matter which freshwater activities you enjoy, the state has a body of water that can facilitate it. Maine also has its share of lake monsters for those who enjoy a good mystery.

lighthouses-of-maine

Maine has many haunted inns and lighthouses.

If you’re the type of traveler who enjoys a good ghost story, Maine has plenty of inns and lighthouses that boast spirits from the past who still linger in the present. Some are friendly, while others are troubled. If you enjoy the sensation of the hair standing up on the back of your neck, Maine is the place to come for hair-raising experiences.

The Vikings are believed to have discovered Maine 1,000 years ago.

Among the exciting Maine facts for kids is that Leif Erikson (a Norse explorer known as Leif the Lucky) may have discovered Maine. Visit the Maine State Museum in Augusta to see a halfpenny from the reign of Olaf the Peaceful (1065-1093).

The coin is the same age as an earlier discovery, the Gressli hoard, uncovered in Norway. The real mystery isn’t whether the coin is authentic. Rather, how the coin got to Maine has never been adequately explained.

The Maine state capital is Augusta.

With a population of 18,899 in the 2020 census, Augusta is the third-smallest state capital in the country. It’s the easternmost capital and the ninth-largest city in Maine too. Additionally, the state is home to Fort Western, the oldest wooden fort in the United States.

The Maine state population is 1.3 million.

Maine has a population density of 43.1 persons per square mile, making it the least densely populated state in New England, on the East Coast and east of the Mississippi. If you don’t like a lot of company, this is the place to live.

The Maine state bird is the chickadee.

The black-capped chickadee is the state bird of Maine and also Massachusetts. It doesn’t migrate, which may be why it was chosen. It’s always in people’s backyards.

The Maine state tree is the white pine.

The white pine is the largest conifer in New England. It was adopted as the state tree by the state of Maine in 1945.

White Pine

The Maine state fish is the landlocked salmon.

If you enjoy a good fight when you’re fishing, the landlocked salmon has been nicknamed the leaping landlocked salmon and will almost always show you why. They’re great for fishing all year round.

The Maine state berry is the wild Maine blueberry.

What fruit is Maine known for you ask? It’s wild blueberries. In fact, Maine grows more wild blueberries than any other place on earth.

You can’t visit Maine without enjoying wild Maine blueberries in a variety of ways — blueberry pancakes (topped with maple syrup) or a slice of blueberry pie (the Maine state dessert). A personal favorite restaurant with blueberry dishes is the Maine Diner in Wells. It’s kid-friendly and always busy.

Maine has its very own desert.

This is one of the Maine state facts that’s hard to believe but is true. The state’s desert is a privately owned tourist attraction that was created by nature and has activities for the entire family.

The Maine state cat is the wild coon cat.

The name “wild coon cat” is deceiving. The Maine coon is a domesticated and very cute cat. If you want a large kitty, this is the breed for you. The cats get as big as 18 pounds for males. They’re often referred to as the “dogs of the cat world” since they’re very social and have other dog-like traits.

The Maine state animal is the moose.

Many fun facts about Maine include that the state has more Moose than any other — over 76,000, which is second only to Alaska. You’ll see signs along roads warning you to watch for moose, including one in Aroostook that reads, “High rate of moose crashes next 6 miles.”

Believe the signs. They’re warnings worth heeding. If you want to see moose, the highest population can be viewed on Route 161 from Caribou to Fort Kent.

moose-safari

The Maine official state insect is the honeybee.

If you ask most residents, or visitors for that matter, though they’ll be happy to tell you that, unofficially, the mosquito along the coast and the black fly in the mountains are the state insects of Maine. They certainly can be found in abundance.

Maine’s state nickname is The Pine Tree State.

More than 80% of Maine’s landscape is forested or unclaimed, which is more than any other state in the nation. However, Maine is also known as Vacationland or the Vacation State because it receives about 25 million visitors a year. It has everything a vacationer could want — delicious food, exciting activities, sandy beaches, and stunning scenery.

Maine’s highest mountain is Mt. Katahdin with a 5,268-foot elevation.

Located in Baxter State Park, Mt. Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Hiking is popular in the park and the average hike on Katahdin takes between eight and 12 hours round trip. If you plan to hike, reserve a parking spot because they’re limited.

Maine’s largest city is Portland with 66,645 people.

Greater Portland comprises a quarter of the state’s 1.3 million population. What Portland may lack in numbers, though, it makes up for in sheer charm.

Delicious food, plenty of culture, and great walkability make this the perfect place to spend a day or a week. While walking on Commercial Street, stop at Standard Bakery for a blueberry oatmeal scone made from Maine blueberries.

portland-maine

The number of Maine lighthouses is 65.

Maine is known for its dozens of lighthouses along the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean. West Quoddy Head Light is the easternmost point in the U.S. It has a beautiful candy cane red and white striped tower. Tours of the tower are offered during the summer. 

The average winter temperature in Maine is 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The reality is that, along the coast, the average temperature in Maine is 25 degrees. In the far north, it’s 15 degrees. What this means is that you can expect to find great winter conditions for ice fishing, downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Maine is the only state in the United States with one syllable.

Go ahead and check … we’ll wait. 🙂

Mainers don’t pronounce their R’s…

…see our guide to Maine slang.

You can identify a real Mainer within seconds when you visit the state. But, you’ll find that not every area of Maine has the same accent. Learning them all could take a lifetime.

Maine is the only state with just one other state on its border — New Hampshire.

While Maine may only border one other state, it borders two Canadian Provinces — New Brunswick and Quebec — as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

york

York Maine was America’s first chartered city in 1641.

First named Agamenticus, it became Gorgeana in 1642 and was renamed York when it became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652. It was named after Yorkshire, England of the same name.

Maine was admitted to the Union as the 23rd state on March 15, 1820.

The state was allowed to separate from Massachusetts as a result of the Missouri Compromise. The purpose of the separation was to keep the numbers equal between slave and non-slave states, with Missouri being admitted to the union on Aug. 10, 1821.

Portland was the first capital of Maine.

The selection of Portland as the capital was a temporary decision since it was the largest city in Maine. It was thought that the capital should be in a more central location, so Augusta was chosen in 1827. A capitol building needed to be constructed, and the official move happened in January 1832.

Maine has the highest percentage of residents with French Canadian roots in the United States.

French Canadians came to Maine in two waves — the first wave was from Acadia in the 18th century, and the second wave in the 19th century was of economic immigrants who came to work in the many mills that sprang up in Maine after the Civil War. Both have become an integral part of the fabric of Maine.

Acadia National Park is a national treasure.

Maine is known for its National Park – Acadia.

Acadia is one of the most-visited U.S. National Parks, with over 2 million annual visitors. The park was first opened in 1916. All of the lands that make up the park were acquired through donations. It was the first national park east of the Mississippi and the only national park in the northeast.

John D. Rockefeller Jr. funded the majority of Acadia National Park’s carriage roads and trail systems between 1915 and 1933.

John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated 51 miles of carriage trails in Acadia National Park and funded 16 of the 17 cobblestone and granite bridges in the park, which are as beautiful today as they were when they were constructed. The carriage road was designed to separate auto traffic from pedestrian traffic.

Acadia Sign

Nelson Rockefeller was born in Bar Harbor Maine in 1908. 

Nelson was the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and was born while his family was vacationing in Bar Harbor. Two years later, his father bought a home in Seal Harbor Maine, where many other wealthy people chose to summer.

Maine produces 90% of the country’s toothpick supply.

Strong Maine was once the Toothpick Capital of the World, producing a staggering 7 billion toothpicks a year. The production closed in 2003 as the popularity of toothpicks declined with the introduction of floss and inexpensive toothpicks from Asia.

Today, Penley Corp. produces wooden toothpicks in West Paris Maine.

Maine is a top producer of potatoes and broccoli.

While only 13% of land in Maine is suitable for farming, generations of Mainers have dedicated their lives to producing the potatoes and broccoli that the state is known for.

On average, an American eats 55 kilograms of potatoes a year. Thanks to Maine and a few other states, you can buy American. Maine is the third-largest producer of potatoes in the country.

Maine has more than 100 breweries and more than two dozen wineries.

Take a road trip, and hit the Maine Wine Trail. When you visit six wineries, you’ll earn a Winery Guild T-shirt and a chance at the grand prize. What could be better than sampling delicious Maine wine and being rewarded for doing it?

If beer is more to your taste, don’t worry. The Maine Beer Trail is just what you’re looking for. Take a tour, sample craft beers, and enjoy delicious food. It’s all good!

Monhegan Brewing Company
Monhegan Brewing Company | photo via @ryan_n_cooper

Maine is rich in gems.

The first commercial gemstone mine was discovered in 1821 in Paris Maine by two young men. It was an accident that didn’t get them much in the way of money because what they discovered were tourmalines.

Maine is rich in feldspar and mica, and gems are a byproduct of mining. Schorl, which is black tourmaline, is commonly found in the state. Other gems include amethyst, citrine, rose quartz, and smoky quartz.

Maine has some of the biggest zinc and copper deposits in the country.

While no metal has been mined in Maine since 1977, several very large deposits were uncovered and mined both underground and in open pits between 1968 and 1977. Discoveries of additional large deposits were made after that, but they have yet to be mined.

Maine is home to many of the best boat builders in the world.

Among the top boat builders are Hinckley, Sabre, Back Cove, Duffy, Morse Yachts, Egg Harbor, Calvin Beal, Robert Stevens, Old Town Canoe, Downeast, L.L. Bean, Atlantic, and The Landing School.

The first ship built by English colonists in the Americas was launched on the Kennebec River in 1607.

This first ship was a pinnace called Virginia. When the colony was abandoned in 1608, the ship sailed to England with some of the colonists. It was sold to the Jamestown colony in 1609 and sailed back to America.

A replica of Virginia is being constructed by volunteers in Bath and is expected to launch in June 2022 as a floating classroom.

Geographically, Maine is almost as big as the other five New England States combined.

Maine is more than 300 miles long and 200 miles wide with slightly more than 33,200 square miles. It’s the 39th largest state.

At 6,453 square miles, Maine’s Aroostook County is larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

It’s not only big but also packed with great things to do and see. It forms part of the border with New Brunswick and Quebec, and Acadian culture has been preserved in the northern part of the county.

cadillac mountain
Cadillac Mountain

Eastport Maine is the easternmost U.S. city and the first in the country to see the sun.

In the 2020 census, Eastport had a population of 1,288, making it the least populous city in Maine. It’s located on Moose Island and right across the bay from New Brunswick Canada. One of the many attractions of the area is whales, which are attracted to the area for feeding and raising their young.

Maine contains over 500,000 acres of state parks and national parks.

Maine ranks 10th in the percentage of land dedicated to state and national parks. With one national park and more than 30 state parks, it’s an outdoor lovers’ dream destination. In addition to the parks, the same parks and rec departments manage many state and national historic sites in Maine.

Maine’s government is comprised of 16 counties, 22 cities, 435 towns, 33 plantations, 424 townships, and three Indian reservations.

The three Indian reservations are Passamaquoddy Indian Township Reservation, Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point Reservation, and Penobscot Indian Island Reservation.

The four federally recognized tribes in Maine are the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, and Mi’kmaq. These Native Americans are collectively known as the Wabanaki, which translates to “People of the Dawnland.”

Portland is the birthplace of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The house where Longfellow was born in Portland was the home of his aunt. He was raised in the home of his maternal grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, at 489 Congress St in Portland.

Author Stephen King, the famous U.S. horror story writer, is a former resident of Bangor.

Stephen King lived in Bangor Maine for more than 35 years but now resides at his lake home in Center Lovell. He winters in Florida like many other Mainers.

Bush-Compound

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara summered at Walkers Point in Kennebunkport.

While former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara have passed away, the Bush family still owns the compound at Walker’s Point. Members of the family enjoy their time summering in Maine. If you take a bus tour of Kennebunkport, you’ll get a good view of the main house and the chance to take pictures.

Freeport Maine is home to the L.L. Bean Company, founded in 1912.

The first product L.L. Bean designed was a hunting boot that combined a rubber bottom with a leather top. In 1951, the store opened 24 hours a day and expanded to include a ladies’ department.

By 2000, the first outlet in the United States outside of Maine opened. Twenty years later, locks were installed on the doors. The flagship store closed overnight and production switched from flannels to face masks.

Excalibur is the only wooden roller coaster in the state of Maine.

It was the first wooden coaster in Maine in 50 years when it first opened in 1998. At Funtown Splashtown in Saco, the coaster is 100 feet tall with an 82-foot drop. Plenty of excitement can be had at this popular attraction, which is the tallest and largest in Maine history and the biggest in Northern New England.

Old Orchard Beach’s Palace Playland has been operating since 1902.

With 5 acres and 28 amusement rides, this amusement park has been entertaining generations of Maine vacationers. It’s an old-time-style park that also features the largest arcade in Maine and nightly fireworks during the summer.

Learn More Interesting Facts About Maine

We hope that we whet your appetite to visit Maine. Why wait to sample all the wonderful scenery, adventure, history, and lobster that the state has to offer? Come experience all these fun facts about Maine and learn more about what Maine is known for when you visit!

Did we miss any other facts about Maine? Tell us your favorite Maine state facts in the comments!

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4 Comments

  1. Eastport may be the easternmost city but it is NOT the most eastern point of land nor are they the first to see the sun. Lubec is the easternmost and the first to see the sun!!!

    1. Not if you ask Eastport! There has always been a healthy rivalry there.
      Several places in Eastern Maine have tried to jump on the “First place to see the sunrise” bandwagon, including Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, and even Mt. Katahdin!

  2. Lubec is further east than Eastport. Eastport made themselves a “city” so they can claim to be the easternmost “city.”

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