Maine is known as Vacationland and has some of the most stunning natural landscapes in North America. From gorgeous Atlantic beaches and picturesque coastlines to woodsy areas and mountain views, there’s much to explore. There are even dozens of lakes, such as Moosehead Lake — the largest in Maine.
The Moosehead Lake region consists of a group of towns that lie on the banks of the lake. Located an hour-and-a-half drive from Bangor and a three-hour drive from Portland, Moosehead Lake is easily accessible from Maine’s major cities.
A visit to the Moosehead Lake Maine region is perfect for travelers looking to unwind and connect with the natural beauty that Maine offers.
About Moosehead Lake Maine
The Moosehead Lake region encompasses several towns that surround the lake. When referring to the region, the towns of Abbot, Beaver Cove, Greenville, Kokadjo, Lily Bay, Monsoon, Rockwood, and Shirley make up the area. Many also refer to this area of Maine as the Maine Highlands.
Moosehead Lake also encompasses over 80 islands, coves, shorelines, rock piles, and inlets. The water is ideal for everything from swimming, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing to moose tracking, bird-watching, and hiking.
As Henry David Thoreau once remarked on the beauty of the area, describing the lake as “… a gleaming silver platter at the end of the table.”
History of Moosehead Lake
The Moosehead Lake Maine region was once home to Native people and was later settled by those seeking to build up the lumber industry in the area.
In the mid-1800s, an increase in the population was seen when the logging industry moved into the Moosehead Lake region. The lake was ideal for the industry as logs could be transported downstream and steamships were able to sail down the rivers and through the lake.
Also, Moosehead Lake has long been a vacation destination for those looking for respite from busy city lives. In the early 1900s, visitors flocked to the region to enjoy the natural landscape and clean lake.
With the increase in tourism, the area became more built up with a train station running to the area and hotels built on the lakeside.
Outdoor Things to Do at Moosehead Lake
The main attraction in the Moosehead Lake Maine region is, of course, Moosehead Lake itself. Outdoor adventures and exploring attract visitors to this huge lake in Maine’s Highlands. Check out these outdoor activities for your next visit.
Currier’s Flying Service
Currier’s Flying Service has been flying over Moosehead Lake since the 1980s. Multiple tour options are available.
The North Bay Air Tour flies past the Spencer Mountains and over Moosehead Lake. There’s no better way to see miles and miles of gorgeous lake and woods views than on one of these seaplane rides.
The Moose Mountain Air Tour goes over Greenville, Squaw Mountain, Burnt Jacket Mounting, and Moosehead Lake. It also offers a view of Mount Katahdin in the distance.
The Moosehead & Lobster Lake Air Tour has amazing views of Squaw Mountain, the Spencer Mountains, Mount Kineo, and Moosehead Lake. It is one of the most popular as it gives you a chance to see moose and bears from overhead.
Northwoods Outfitters has an adventure for every type of thrill seeker. Half and full-day trips and tours are available, including a Moose tour, canoe and kayak tours, family fishing trips, guided hikes, and geocaching.
For those looking to simply rent gear and not participate in a guided tour, Northwoods has ATVs, bicycles, camping gear, canoes, and kayaks.
In the winter, Northwoods Outfitters has winter snowmobiling and ice-fishing trips led by local experts. For those who prefer to venture out on their own, it offers snowmobile rentals and well-groomed trails to ride on. Rentals include everything you need — from a helmet to basic instructions.
Other winter activity rentals include snowshoe rentals, cross-country skis, and snowboards.
No matter your needs, Northwoods has you covered. It even has clothing rentals, so you can get decked out in the appropriate gear for your desired activity.
Moose Tours & River Tubing
It wouldn’t be a trip to the Moosehead Lake region without spotting a moose. Northeast Whitewater has Maine Moose Tours that are sure to give you a glimpse of the majestic, elusive animal.
These canoe tours are about four hours long and include wonderful picture-taking opportunities and a tour guide. The evening and early morning moose-watching tours offer the most peaceful environment to see moose.
If you’d rather stay on land, you can book a Maine moose-watching tour via van. This wildlife safari tour ventures into the woods of Maine to spot moose in their natural environment. The tour guide/driver will regale you with moose facts and local history along the way.
Additionally, Northeast Whitewater offers tube rentals to enjoy a relaxing float down the river. A bit more lowkey than whitewater rafting, tubing is a family-friendly activity that is self-guided.
It is great for children who aren’t old enough or ready for a whitewater rafting adventure. The tube rentals come with flotation devices, a shuttle back to the base, and brief instructions.
Lily Bay State Park
Lily Bay State Park is located on the eastern shore of Moosehead Lake. The park features 925 acres of well-maintained grounds.
There is a fine pebble swimming beach and a playground to keep the kids busy all day long. For boaters, there is a boat ramp at each end of the park. And, you can pack a picnic and spend the day fishing or hiking the 2-mile trail along the shoreline.
In the winter, enjoy ice fishing or cross-country skiing. The park has a 5-mile cross-country skiing trail loop that is maintained by the state. Also, the park boasts two campgrounds with 90 campsites total that can be booked year-round.
Big Moose Mountain Ski Area
Winter sports enthusiasts will love the Big Moose Mountain ski area for skiing and snowboarding. Big Moose Mountain is also known as Big Squaw Mountain, and it offers amazing views overlooking Moosehead Lake.
All ski levels are welcome — from those who need lessons and beginners to Nordic and uphill skiers. The ski area even has 6 miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails. Ski and snowboard rentals and tune-ups are available on-site, and food and beverages are available for purchase.
Big Moose Mountain
Located mostly in Little Moose Public Land, Big Moose Mountain has a 2.2-mile (4.4 miles round-trip) trail that features one of the loftiest summits in the area. Once at the summit, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and be in awe of the gorgeous views.
Along the trail, you will encounter an abandoned fire warden cabin, many inclines, rough terrain, and a fire tower built in 1905.
Mount Kineo State Park
If you’re looking to hike to the summit of a beautiful, 800-foot mountain, check out Mount Kineo State Park. To get there, you’ll need to take a boat utilizing the Kineo Shuttle from Rockwood. There are four trails at Mount Kineo, ranging from easy to moderately challenging.
If you take the trail that leads to the summit, you can climb a viewing tower for stunning panoramic views of Moosehead Lake.
Mount Kineo Golf Course
Said to be the second-oldest golf course in New England, Mount Kineo Golf Course is a nine-hole, par 36 course in the shadow of Mount Kineo. It can only be reached via a shuttle boat that runs daily from Rockwood.
Mount Kineo Golf Course has a clubhouse with snacks and drinks, as well as club and golf cart rentals, so all you need to bring for a fun day on the course is your A game. The course is open from Memorial Day weekend to early October.
Indoor Things to Do at Moosehead Lake
If you need a break from all of the outdoor activities at Moosehead Lake, venture to some of the local museums and learn all about the area. Check out these indoor options on your next visit.
Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan Historical House
The Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan Historical House is located in a historical 1890s mansion that was once called the Moosehead Inn. The house offers guided tours seasonally from June to October by guides who are in period costumes.
During the tours, you will learn about everyday life in the Moosehead Lake region of Maine in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Also, you will learn about the architecture of the well-preserved house and have the chance to see vintage home decor and furnishings. The collection includes clothing, kitchenware, children’s items, and hunting and fishing gear.
Outside of the house, there are beautiful sunken gardens and vintage garden art to check out.
Moosehead Lumbermen’s Museum
The Moosehead Lumbermen’s Museum has an interesting and educational collection about the history of the lumber and timber industry in the Moosehead Lake region. The museum has a library and archive on-site for those who are looking to do serious research too.
You get to see many timber industry tools — from axes to saws to peaveys. The museum is open seasonally from June to October and shares its grounds with the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan House.
The Moosehead Cultural Heritage Center
The Moosehead Cultural Heritage Center is home to the Moosehead Historical Society and the Moosehead Native American History Museum. It details the cultural heritage of the Native Americans who once lived on the lands around Moosehead Lake.
The center has an exhibit hall with regularly changing exhibits, videos detailing the history of the region, and a gift shop. From late June to mid-October, you can see portraits, Native American artifacts, and tools.
Moosehead Lake Aviation Museum
The Moosehead Lake Aviation Museum is a great spot to learn about Maine’s bush pilots and wardens. The museum has a collection detailing the various aircraft, pilots, and airports utilized throughout Maine’s aviation history.
A permanent display commemorates a B-52 Bomber that crashed in the winter of 1963 on Elephant Mountain. You can hike Elephant Mountain to see the crash site as well. The museum is open seasonally from late June to mid-October.
Katahdin Cruises & Moosehead Marine Museum
You get two wonderful experiences with Katahdin Cruises & Moosehead Marine Museum.
The Moosehead Marine Museum is a fantastic place to explore nautical items and vintage photographs and learn about Moosehead Lake’s history. The museum is open from June to October.
After checking out the museum, set sail on a Katahdin cruise. Tours are available to different locations and with different themes — from the Moosehead Lake Fireworks Cruise to the Moose Island or Mount Kineo Cruise.
The Katahdin steamboat features a full kitchen, and most of the cruises are suitable for all ages, making them wonderful family activities.
Popular Restaurants Near Moosehead Lake
The Moosehead Lake region has many casual, family-friendly dining options. From pizza to pub fare to extravagant dining, there’s something for every occasion and palate.
NOTE: Check out the restaurants at the bed and breakfasts listed below as well!
Stress Free Moose Pub & Cafe
The Stress Free Moose Pub & Cafe in Greenville is a family-friendly, casual dining option for Moosehead Lake visitors. The restaurant is open year-round and has a nice outdoor patio with Adirondack chairs for the warmer months.
The bar serves a full menu of spirits, beer, and wine, and there are TVs to watch local sports games.The food menu has something for everyone — from American pub food like burgers, steaks, and chicken dishes to barbecue and roasts. There’s even a children’s menu with typical children’s favorites like grilled cheese, burgers, and mac and cheese.
The Farm at Moosehead
The Farm at Moosehead is a family-run, takeout-only establishment in Greenville. The Farm specializes in wood-fired brick oven pizzas that feature a crispy thin crust and mouthwatering char. Using only the freshest toppings and the highest quality of cheese, the pizzas are a big hit with locals.
Also, the farm offers slow-smoked barbecue ribs, which are cooked over a wood fire. Wings are available in plain, buffalo, barbecue, sweet chili, or bourbon and come with a side of blue cheese or ranch dressing.
Other offerings on the menu include homemade cole slaw, baked beans, cornbread, mac and cheese, and an assortment of desserts. If you can’t wait to get home to try your goodies, picnic tables are available at the farm.
Rockwood Bar & Grill
The Rockwood Bar & Grill in Rockwood is a small, roadside diner that has tasty pub fare and a full bar menu. Rockwood has appetizers like nachos, tater tots, soups, wings, and shrimp cocktail to start off your meal. Entrees include a loaded burger, pizza, steak and mushrooms, wraps, and more.
This is a popular spot with locals, especially on the weekends. Even though it has the townie feel with locals chatting it up at the bar, don’t be intimidated. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming for visitors. A patio is available in the summertime for those who prefer to dine outside.
If you’re looking for a sweet treat during the warmer months, try the Dairy Bar. It serves both soft serve and Gifford’s hard ice cream. This ice cream shop has been a local staple for decades and is the place to go in the Moosehead Lake region during the summer for ice cream.
The Dairy Bar also serves a limited food menu with options like a burger or hot dogs. There are picnic tables on-site to sit and enjoy your treats, or you can take them to go on a walk around picturesque Greenville.
Jamo’s Pizza in Greenville is a Moosehead Lake mainstay for pizza, salads, and sandwiches. The pizzas are made with homemade pita bread.
There are a few small tables located inside and outside the shop, but for the most part, patrons get their food to go. The shop carries alcohol, groceries, pastries, and ice cream as well.
Moosehead Lake Rentals & Lodging Options
The Moosehead Lake area has wonderful lodging options for couples and families. From budget-friendly to high-end luxury, there are accommodations to suit your needs.
Moose Mountain Inn
Moose Moutain Inn in Greenville is a no-frills lodging option for those who want to be close to the lake activities and beautiful scenery. Rooms are available in either one king-size bed or two standard double beds.
All rooms have a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and TV. ATV trails, Little Moose Mountain hiking trails, and a swimming pool are on-site.
The Greenville Inn
The Greenville Inn is a luxury bed and breakfast in a historic 1890s former lumber baron’s estate. Each room has elegant decor and high-end furnishings.
The suites include Wi-Fi, TVs, luxury linens, and a complimentary hot breakfast. The Greenville Inn has been rated one of the best bed and breakfasts in Maine.
Dockside Inn & Tavern
Dockside Inn & Tavern is perfect for travelers looking for luxurious suites on Moosehead Lake in Greenville. The suites can accommodate large groups with multiple bedrooms, and they feature Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, coffee makers, and beautiful decor.
The Dockside Tavern is open to the public and has pub fare like chicken tenders, pretzel sticks, onion rings, chicken wings, and nachos.
The signature Tavern Handwiches are big sandwiches like a beer battered haddock filet, BLT burger, grilled cheese, or meatball sub. Pizzas and larger entrees — like steak tips, ribs, and fish and chips — are also on the menu.
Kelly’s Landing in Greenville Junction is a picturesque lodging option with lakeside dining. Located directly on the shore of Moosehead Lake, Kelly’s has waterfront suites and a log cabin for rent. The suites vary in size from one to four bedrooms and include cable TVs, lake views, microwaves, and coffee pots.
Kelly’s Landing Restaurant
Kelly’s Landing restaurant is open to all — not just those staying at Kelly’s — and features both an outdoor dining room for warm weather and an indoor dining room to escape the elements.
Kelly’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has a kid’s menu, gluten-free options, and a full bar. Breakfast features pancakes, eggs, Benedicts, and muffins. For lunch and dinner, enjoy a burger, haddock sandwich, salad, or blackened scallops.
Blair Hill Inn & Slate Restaurant
Built in 1891, Blair Hill Inn is a gorgeous country estate in Greenville that has 10 guest rooms to choose from. The inn has been designated as a Relais & Chateaux Hotel and Restaurant.
The hotel has private trails, a pond filled with trout, and many scenic fields to explore. These accommodations are best for couples and romantic getaways since most feature a king bed. The rooms have gorgeous views of the lake or mountains, comfortable furniture, smart TVs, and coffee makers.
Slate Restaurant is located at the Blair Hill Inn and is open to the public. The gourmet restaurant has comfortable seating, tablecloth-covered tables, and a fancy cocktail lounge.
The menu is seasonal, and the chef uses only the freshest ingredients. You can order a shareable plate — like a charcuterie board or oysters — and then move on to appetizers — like maple-roasted Brussels sprouts.
Although the menu varies, it includes five-star entrees like pan-roasted halibut with Parmesan herb couscous, sweet potato gnocchi with roasted crimini mushrooms, and a gourmet cheddar burger with bacon, caramelized onions, and truffle aioli.
Delectable desserts are offered as well — like the chocolate cake with orange buttercream or vanilla and the bourbon creme brulee with banana and bacon whipped cream.
FAQs About Moosehead Lake Maine
What is Moosehead Lake?
In Piscataquis County, Moosehead Lake Maine is a long and deep lake. It is the second-biggest lake in New England and the biggest mountain lake on the eastern side of the country.
How big is Moosehead Lake?
Moosehead Lake is 40 miles long and covers nearly 75,000 acres, making it the largest lake in the Pine Tree State.
What kind of fish can be found in Moosehead Lake?
Moosehead Lake is known for its landlocked salmon, brook trout, and togue (lake trout).
What are the fishing regulations for Moosehead Lake?
As of Jan. 1, 2021, all brook trout between 18 and 22 inches must be released alive at once. There is no minimum length limit on togue. Both of these regulations apply to ice fishing and open-water fishing.
What are some hotels near Moosehead Lake?
Some hotels near Moosehead Lake include Blair Hill Inn, The Lodge at Moosehead Lake Inn & Restaurant, and Moosehead Hills Cabins.
What activities are available at Moosehead Lake?
Moosehead Lake offers a multitude of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, including fishing, hiking, and wildlife photography. Also, the small towns in the area offer shopping, dining, and cultural attractions.
When is the best time to visit Moosehead Lake?
The best time to visit Moosehead Lake is during the summer (June to August) when the weather is warm and the lake is perfect for swimming, boating, and fishing.
Fall (September to November) is also a great time to visit because the foliage is beautiful and there are fewer crowds.
Is Moosehead Lake good for swimming?
Yes, Moosehead Lake is a great place for swimming during the summer. The water is clear and refreshing, and there are several public beaches and swimming areas around the lake.
Can you rent boats on Moosehead Lake?
Yes, several places around the lake rent boats, including canoes, kayaks, and motorboats. Some rental companies offer guided tours and fishing trips too.
What is the weather like at Moosehead Lake?
The weather at Moosehead Lake can vary depending on the time of year. Spring can be unpredictable, with a mix of warm and cold days. Summers are generally warm and pleasant, with average temperatures in the 70s.
Fall can be cool and crisp, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Winters are cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping below freezing.
Are there islands in Moosehead Lake?
Moosehead Lake has over 80 beautiful islands, ranging in size from small rocky outcrops to large forested islands. Some of the most popular ones include Sugar Island, Deer Island, Farm Island, and Burnt Jacket Island.
Many of the islands are accessible by boat and offer opportunities for camping, hiking, and wildlife watching.
Plan Your Visit to Moosehead Lake Maine
Moosehead Lake is a nature lover’s paradise. With so many outdoor activities — from hiking and ATVing to skiing and bird-watching, there’s something for every adventurer.
Quaint, luxurious bed and breakfasts give you the chance to relax and unwind after a day of enjoying the outdoors. Moosehead Lake is fun and serene all year round and is a must-see area of Maine on your next trip to the state.