Maine is known for its distinct beauty, the rugged rocky coast, pristine sand beaches, towering lighthouses, rustic lobster shacks, majestic mountains, and calm quiet rivers and lakes.
So where are the most scenic places to stay in Maine? Here are our top picks for the most picturesque settings in Maine. You should set your viewfinder for these vacationland destinations.
Ogunquit Maine actually means beautiful place by the sea in Native American, Abenaki. So we start here on your scenic tour.
Ogunquit has both long beautiful sand beaches including its namesake Ogunquit Beach, and Footbridge Beach. Meanwhile, Perkins Cove is a delightful harbor and fishing village surrounded by rocky shores.
You should visit Ogunquit and walk the Marginal Way, go to The Cliff House Resort – a stunning hotel and spa perched on Bald Head Cliff with fantastic views out to sea towards Boone Island Light and Nubble Light.
Kennebunkport is home to Presidents and palatial homes, but it’s also remarkably pretty. The Kennebunks have six beautiful beaches collectively, all lined with rosa rugosa – the brilliant sea rose bushes.
Aside from the fabulous ”summer cottage” architecture (more like mansions) along Ocean Ave, the shoreline is also stunning – tour by blowing cave and thunder hole, then carry on to the working harbor of Cape Porpoise where you can see Goat Island Light from the fisherman’s pier, then onward to Goose Rocks Beach – a beautiful stretch of sand in a protected horseshoe shape.
Old Orchard Beach
Old Orchard Beach has an old-world carnival atmosphere in summer, with boardwalk-style food, a seven-mile beach, and a Ferry Wheel and Pier as the centerpiece.
But beyond this festive beach-town atmosphere, and its big beachside hotels and resorts, are quainter Pine Point and Camp Ellis to the north and south with lobster shacks and marshes leading out to sea.
Portland’s Casco Bay is amazing, a labyrinth of small islands dots this grand bay – it’s ideal for boating or for catching a local ferry with the commuters to tour around the pleasant protected harbor.
Get off the Ferry at any of its island stops, rent a bike, and ride around Long Island, Peaks Island, Great Diamond, or Chebague, or go to Eagle Island to see where Sir Admiral Perry plotted his first expedition to the North Pole.
There is so much to see and do, tour, and taste over a weekend stay in Portland.
Harpswell juts out to sea on a dramatic peninsula called Lands End. This extraordinary point is plentiful with harbors full of lobster boats and remote inns offering a real refuge from your everyday busy lives.
Stay at a Boothbay B&B in town to walk to the shops, restaurants, and the waterfront, or stay out at Ocean Point Inn for fantastic sunsets and a more serene oceanfront vacation.
Nearby Pemaquid Point is another stunning location with a grand lighthouse and gorgeous granite boulders that sparkle by the sea.
Camden is a Maine classic, its quintessential harbor is loaded with yachts, and surrounded by mountains that meet the sea.
Spending a weekend in Camden, staying at a pretty Camden inn or waterfront resort here or in nearby Rockport or Rockland, you can hike Camden Hills State Park, go boating on an old-fashioned tall-ship schooner out to Penobscot Bay, enjoy lobster and clams, and sample some Maine wines at Cellardoor in Lincolnville.
You will soon see why this coastal town inspires artists and authors alike, as it has for centuries.
Monhegan Island is rustic remote and really a flashback to the past. With dramatic cliffs the likes of Ireland, and sea views in all directions, plus the homey island town and lighthouse as the centerpiece,
Monhegan can easily be enjoyed and photographed in a day by taking a ferry from New Harbor, Pemaquid Point, Boothbay, or Port Clyde – or better still – stay the night at a Monhegan inn for true relaxation, retrospective, and true island serenity.
Rangeley Maine is the most picturesque in the lakes region. Here, tall mountains covered in evergreens and granite roll down to sparkling blue lakes. It’s magical, like a movie set.
Moose and deer, bald eagles and loons, are plentiful in the wild wonderful forest of Maine’s inland. Rich with rivers, streams, ponds, and pretty freshwater lakes, the Rangeley region is ideal for summer exploration, by foot, by car, canoe, kayak, or moose safari.
Acadia is last but not least. This is the most dramatic island and place in Maine, named Mount Desert Island for its tall Cadillac Mountain at its core, with cliffs, and harbors sand beaches surrounding the stunning land mass.
Everyone flocks to Bar Harbor, the biggest town on the island, but there is so much more to explore, Acadia National Park, miles of carriage roads, seaside drives, and even a fjord in Somes Sound. Acadia is incredibly photogenic, and a fantastic place to vacation for a week – see our guide to staying in Acadia.