Old Orchard Beach Campgrounds

Old Orchard Beach, also known as OOB, is one of the more popular areas for camping in the state. Few Mainers consider this “real” camping, claiming that real camping is getting away from it all in the deep woods, fishing in a river or taking a snowmobile trip in Greenville. However, kids and parents will love the convenience and fun of  camping in Southern Maine, especially at Old Orchard Beach Maine. Continue reading

Spring time in Maine – Ski, Bike, Boat, Beach?!

Boothbay Harbor, MaineSpring time in Maine equals flowers growing and snow guns blowing … yup, its confusing. There’s skiing at Sunday River and Sugarloaf ski resorts, and both ski areas will keep spinning lifts through May 1 to accommodate spring skiers and spring ski events like Reggaefest and Ski Maynia – free skiing at Sunday River May 1.

Meanwhile on the southern Maine coast, spring brings beach Maine Skiingwalks, biking, and launching boats for the season. Gardens in Kennebunkport are blossoming and the best restaurants from Kittery to Portland to Camden are opening their ocean view decks from drinks and waterfront dining for the season.

Carriage Road, AcadiaWhether you prefer cold or warm weather sports, spring is a time to get outdoors and active, especially if you packed on a few pounds hibernating in January and February.

Spring is a great time to escape to Maine and get a great deal on lodging and dining in seaside towns like Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and Wells Beach Maine. Bring a jacket, and a t-shirt – you never know for #shore what the Maine weather will bring in spring.

Bring your golf clubs too if you want to hit the greens at Maine’s golf courses. April and May in Maine are tricky  for packing, but rewarding and diverse, anything goes –  bike, ski, walk the Maine beaches, or get your boat ready for Maine boating season…but be sure to Visit Maine.

Copyright and Photography – VisitMaine.net, 2016

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Rachael Carson: Environmental Legacy

Rachel Carson Wildlife RefugeIf you haven’t read “Silent Spring”, you’ve likely discussed the book in school. Many say this book instigated the environmental movement and publicized awareness of the chemical impact on nature. What you may not have known is that  author Rachel Carson has very close connections to the state of Maine. Continue reading

Acadia National Park Camping

Acadia National Park oceanview

Cadillac Mountain Summit, Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is among the most popular national parks in the US. Stretching across a large expanse of Mount Desert Island, here the mountains greet the sea with breathtaking coastal vistas, making the region arguably the most beautiful landscape to behold on the entire east coast. Since its discovery by Samuell de Champlain in 1604, the Acadia National Park estate has remained relatively unchanged and unspoiled. It’s no surprise then that Acadia National Park camping is quite popular in the region.

Consisting of more than 47,000 acres, Acadia National Park is a worthy retreat for camping and exploration. Here, visitors are likely to observe wildlife from deer, puffins, beavers to moose. The drive to your campsite will promise beautiful scenery and set the tempo for your camping trip. Continue reading

Maine’s Best Casinos and Gambling

Maine Casino

Oxford Casino

When you think of gambling or casinos, you picture the spectacle of casinos in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. You don’t think Maine, after all its “Vacationland”. Well there are a few casinos, raceways, bingo games, slot machines, harness racing, and live poker in the Pine Tree State, and its far more beautiful and affordable than big gambling resorts and cities. Continue reading

New Year’s in Maine – Clam Drops, Lobster Dips and Fireworks

Maine knows how to ring in the New Year with Champagne, lobster, even Clam Drops. and fireworks followed by Polar Plunge and Lobster Dips,  Here are some Top New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Events in Maine.

fireworks_300In Kennebunkport, New Years is a party. David’s KPT at the Boathouse Waterfront Hotel has an all-inclusive New Year’s Eve Bash with open bar, buffet dining and raw bar, music and dancing for one price of $160 per person. This event is a sell-out so don’t hesitate. You can find lodging in Kennebunkport Maine at the Waterfront Boathouse, The Breakwater Inn & Spa, Captain Lord Mansion, and Seaside Inn on Kennebunk Beach.

Winter Scene ColonyMisty Harbor Resort in Wells has a great stay and party package, with suite lodging, transportation and dinner at Jonathan’s in Ogunquit with live entertainment and champagne toast, plus the indoor pool at Misty stays open till 11pm for your own party pool fun.

prelude-horse-carriageMaine Street Ogunquit is a gay old time for New Year’s with 4 bars, 2 dance floors DJ AGA and DJ Ken. The party is $10 for advanced ticket purchase, or $15 at the door, and includes champagne toast at midnight, pizza and party favors. The MC for the Maine Street party is Nick Grey from Hot 104.7. Lodging is available nearby at Ogunquit Resort Motel, Misty Harbor Resort and Village by the Sea in Wells.

In Yarmouth, catch the Clam Drop on New Year’s Eve at 7 pm at the First Universalist Church, 97 Main Street. Yes, they actually drop a clam, his name is Steamer, the Yarmouth Clam Festival mascot, as he’s lowered from the church belfry (his lively smile never wavers, despite his precarious position). Music, hot cocoa and cookies are part of this silly but festive Maine tradition.

Nubble Lighthouse LightsIn York, The York Harbor Inn has an all-inclusive New Year’s Eve Gala Celebration Package with Two Nights Lodging, Cookies and Cocoa Reception, a Special Welcome Gift, Continental Breakfast daily, an Innkeepers Cocktail reception, Live Music and a Gourmet Five Course Dinner plus, Dancing, Party Favors and a Midnight Champagne Toast, and New Year’s Day Buffet Brunch. Many rooms have water views. This is fun Maine New Year’s getaway with most everything included.

Maine SkiingMaine ski resorts Sunday River Sugarloaf and Saddleback all celebrate New Year’s with fireworks. If you have never seen ski resort fireworks, you must. The shiny sparkly burst of light reflect on the white snow and light up the ski trails in a magnificent way.

New Year’s Day in Maine you can ski – lifts open bright and early! Or you can wake yourself up with a brisk swim in the Atlantic – a Polar Plunge to start the New Year. Kennebunk Beach, Old Orchard Beach and Portland Maine all host a polar plunge on the 1st day of the year.

Kennebunk Beach’s Polar Plunge is at Gooch’s Beach at 11am, register in advance for $25 and your donation goes to Caring Unlimited. This fun fundraiser is called “Freezin for a Reason” and will celebrate 16 years in 2016.

OOB PierOld Orchard Beach Lobster Dip is now in year 28. The Annual Lobster Dip at Old Orchard Beach is Maine’s original and largest ocean dip. As many as 300 participants dip into the chilly waters at noon on New Year’s Day, January 1, for fun and as a fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics Maine. Registration starts at 9:00am on the beach in front of the Brunswick Hotel. Sponsored by the Portland Rugby Club.

Maine Lighthouse

Portland Maine has too many New years Eve parties to list, be sure you get lodging in town for a fun safe First Night in Portland.  Portland’s Polar Bear Dip and Dash on New Year’s Day is a Dash – 5k at 11am, and a Dip  at Noon. The Natural Resources Council of Maine’s Polar Bear Dip and Dash hosts the 5K around Back Cove followed by a sprint into the icy water at East End Beach. A $35 entry fee includes your run entry and your chilly dip, but you can also do just one or the other. Proceeds benefit NRCM.

Happy Holidays!  Make the best of your New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Maine!

Visiting Monhegan Island

To quote Rachel Field, “If once you have slept on an island. You’ll never quite be the same.”

monhegan-villageThat couldn’t be more true than in Maine…and Monhegan. You must visit Monhegan Island in Maine… maybe even sleep over in one of the Monhegan island inns or the Trailing Yew.

Mohegan is authentic, beautiful, rustic, the land time forgot. First stop off the ferry, pick up The Monhegan Island Association  trail map to guide you on a great walk around the island to the 1824 Monhegan Island Lighthouse, around the 17 miles of paths over rocky cliffs by cathedral pine trails, to the highest point of Black Head, which towers 160 feet above the sea with stunning views out to see and off the great granite cliffs on island.

Be warned of poison ivy onmonhegan-lighthouse Monhegan– a problem being managed by the association as they try to keep it  off the maintained pathways, but wander off the trails at your own risk and watch out for steep cliffs, and crashing waves on the oceanfront rocks that could sweep visitors out to sea with no guard rails, fences or warning signs. Monhegan is very natural and rugged.

Surprisingly Monhegan Island has cell phone reception, but monhegan-hikeyou come here to get away from technology. See the dramatic rugged cliffs of White Head and Black Head, and the shipwreck on the southern shores near Fish Beach and Swim Beach.

Bring your camera and wear sneakers or hiking shoes for the sometimes rugged rigorous hiking paths (all marked on the Monhegan trail map), nothing is paved, cars and bikes are not allowed on the passenger ferry.

monheganIn the village of Monhegan by the ferry dock you will find a general store, some art galleries, and few lobster and clam shacks. Nothing fancy. The Monhegan House, The Hitchcock House, and The Island Inn offer lodging, and there are a few cottage and house rentals.

Monhegan is easily reached by ferry, just an hour ride aboard Hardy Boats from New Harbor, or from Boothbay Harbor or Port Clyde, and a priceless trip to a simpler time as an islander. Just 10 miles offshore on this mountainous island about 70 residents exists peacefully and productively within a square mile of spectacularly scenic terrain.

monhegan-cliffsMonhegan was first settled by Native Americans for its prime fishing, which is Monhegan’s industry to this day (although lobster fishing season is closed in summertime around Monhegan) along with accommodating summer overnight guests and day visitors off the ferries and Monhegan tour boats.

Enjoy your time on Monhegan  while in Vacationland. And be sure to explore other great seacoast towns in Maine’s midcoast and Bar Harbor too!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Best time to Visit Maine

merchants-row-sailing (6)What’s the best month in Maine?

People ask when’s the best time to visit Maine? Well, there’s a reason and a season for everyone (some love the peace and solitude of January – lol)  but if you are looking for the best beach weather, it’s a  meteorological dice roll: June, July, August.

June has super long days and the summah Moody Beachfolk haven’t arrived en masse just yet. But July is jam-packed with Maine’s best festivals and fun from the 4th of July on, accompanied by great beach weather. August is a bit misunderstood, hard to pinpoint and predict. Some August days the mercury rises to the 90’s, but then the evening cools to a comfortable – even cold – 50-degrees which is just perfect for sleeping under the covers. End of August is awesome, as families go back to school sports and activities,  hotel and resort lodging frees up and beaches stretch open for anyone able to extend their summer late into the month prior to the perennially busy Labor Day.

great-heron-fall-flightThen there’s September, often subject to an “Indian summer”. Can we still say that? Its not P.C., politically correct, but its historical and hard to describe Maine in September in other words. Beautiful summer-like days in September you can have the whole beach to sun yourself, the ocean remains warm in temp, while the first hint of Maine’s spectacular foliage touches the trees. September can be stunning, sunny and fun.

Maine SkiingIf you love snow, cold and winter sports, then March is the month – as a season’s worth of snow meets sunshine, warmer temps and oft brilliant blue sky… beautiful for skiing, snow shoeing or snowmobiling. Ice fishing and cross-country skiing require sustained cold, so January and February are the chilliest months in Maine typically.

If you are a bargain hunter. November, January and May offer the best lodging deals –call it the shoulder season, the off-season, there’s a reason for that.

Beach walkersWe recognize we haven’t answered your question, “what’s the best time to come to Maine?” Its kinda like asking a Mainer for directions, “you can’t get there from here“. All the months in Maine, like a cull lobster (only one claw) or a chick (weighing between 1 pound to a pound and a quarter lobster) is better than no Maine lobster at all, ayuh.

The beauty of a Maine vacation is you don’t know exactly what you are going to get…

Boon Island

You may have sun, could be foggy,  a bit of rain or a rainbow – potentially all in one day. Check the forecast, pack a sweatshirt and jacket, hat, sunglasses and wet suit or swimsuit. And be prepared for a wicked good time!

See our Maine weather guide, and see our lodging guide as you plan your visit to Maine!

By Heather Burke,  – Copyright 1996 – 2015 by VisitMaine.net

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Top Things to Do In Castine

castine-harbor-viewCastine is a delightful seaside village perched on the tip of a peninsula in Penobscot Bay, mid-coast Maine. Castine is one of the oldest and wealthiest communities in Maine, with a deep history of battles and occupations since the 1600s. From Natives to the Dutch and French Noblemen Castine who gave the town its name in1796 to The British, and now college students at Castine’s Maine Maritime Academy – Castine’s story is rich and complex.

sail-castine-harbor (2)There is so much to see and do in Castine, from the busy waterfront to the fabulous seaside cottages and hillside campus, to beaches and beautiful natural walking paths and Dyce Head Light Castine is also home to beautiful inns and BnB’s, waterfront restaurants serving fresh Maine seafood, shops and art galleries.

Top Things to do in Castine Maine

dennetts-wharf-settingGo to Dennetts Wharf for lunch or dinner – ideally sit outside on the deck. Great seafood by the sea, a picture perfect setting with a casual but fresh menu. They boast the longest Oyster Bar in Maine, and a huge beer list. Pin a dollar on the wood beam sail loft rafters. Dollars accumulated have been donated to 911, Hurricane Katrina and to a local fireman in the past to the sum of $12k at each.

castine-town2Shop Castine’s Main Street  – Four Flags, Lucky Hill, art galleries, Dolphin Books, books stores and ice cream shops.

Stroll up the hill to Battle Ave to see over 100 historic markers, monuments and bunkers, this was a stronghold against the British during the 1700 and 1800s. Pick up a historical Castine walking map for reference as you tour the sights, Federal, Italianate and Victorian homes lining the grand elm tree lined streets of Castine.

Dine at Pentagoet Inn for the best food in Castine and friendly service steps from the waterfront. Stay at this charming 1894 BnB too. Pentagoet is the French word denoting the Penboscot.

red-bell3Walk the campus of Maine Maritime Academy founded in 1941. About 1,000 students attend the maritime and oceanographic college on a beautiful seaside campus in Castine. The waterfront campus is an impressive training vessel -The State of Maine – a 500-foot naval research ship on on the dock unless it’s out for a semester at sea with student aboard. Only strategic drawback to Maine Maritime is its 87% male… #maletime academy.

dyce-lighthouse-castine (7)Visit the grassy knolls of Castine’s Fort Madison, Fort Knox and Fort George, built during the nineteenth century to protect the harbor. Only the grass bunkers remain at Fort Madison, at the entrance to the harbor – its a scenic park for a pleasant picnic now. Fort George, built by the British in 1779, has been partially restored as a state memorial, marking the last fort surrendered by the British at the end of the Revolutionary War. Fort Knox, Maine’s largest historic fort, was built in 1884 to protect from potential British naval attack along the Penobscot River. Fort Knox is one of the best-preserved historic military forts in New England, The Fort is only open to visitors seasonally, but the grounds are open year-round.

Dyce Head Lighthouse is privately owned, not open to the public. Although the light was discontinued in 1935, the original Keeper’s house, barn and oil house still remain on the property.

Castine Maine Lighthouse

Dyce Head Lighthouse is privately owned. Although the light was discontinued in 1935, the original Keeper’s house, barn and oil house still remain on the property

Witherle Woods is a spectacular 185-acre preserve on the Castine peninsula, with 4.2 miles of trails for hiking, walking or even enjoying a picnic lunch at Blockhouse Point with views of Penobscot Bay and Wadsworth Cove. Wear sneakers or hiking shoes for these great but rustic trails that bring you to old battle batteries and spectacular lookouts. There are more challenging hikes on nearby Blue Hill Mountain or further north – the famous Acadia National Park.

Castine’s best beaches are Wadsworth Cove and Backshore Beach, this protected cove offers smooth pebbly sand and a gentle surf. The western exposure provides great views of Penobscot, the Camden hills and is a perfect place to watch the sunset. Pack a cooler – no services here.

kayak-penobscott-bay (4)Kayaking in Castine is ideal on the Penobscot Bay and Bagaduce River.

History buffs will love Wilson Museum run by Castine’s Historical Society loaded with ancient farming equipment. Visit the pre-revolutionary John Perkins House, blacksmith shop and The Abbott School -a restored old school house. Castine Public Library is another beautiful building.

pond-islandTravelling by boat to Castine, arrive at 3 for a slot on the Town Docks, and go out to Pond Island for a picnic by day, bring your dinghy to explore this gem of an island surrounded by beaches, a tidal pond sits in the center with views of the Camden Hills and neighboring Hog Island.

See more on Castine, and places to stay in Castine during your tour of the Maine Coast.

By Heather Burke,  – Copyright & Photo 2018 by VisitMaine.net

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