13 BEST Places to Visit in Maine During Summer
Looking for a spot to spend the summer in Maine? Add one or more of these best places to visit in Maine during summer to your travel plans.
Planning a visit to Maine in the summer is a lot like being a kid in a candy store. With more than 500 communities, 6,000 lakes and ponds, 3,500 miles of shoreline, and 4,000 islands to choose from, you’ll be among the more than 9 million people making Maine summer travel plans.
Maine’s summer weather is picture-perfect — from the mountains of Acadia National Park to the highlands on the Canadian border to the winding roads of Rangeley back down to the craggy and sandy coastline.
In the spirit of living like a local and soaking in every moment instead of seeing it all, here are some of the best places to visit in Maine during summer and really savor the experience.
Old Orchard Beach Maine
Old Orchard Beach — or OOB as it’s known — has been a summer destination for generations. Palace Playland is a beachfront amusement park beyond compare. Paired with a walk down The Pier proudly standing over the ocean, you get all the thrills of a theme park with traditional Maine summer vibes.
The past is as thrilling as the present, so don’t miss the Harmon Museum to learn about the tragedies and tenacity that couldn’t stop OOB from being a prime summer stop.
Take a trip to the Fox Islands to visit the big island of Vinalhaven, which has an even bigger personality. Get there on a ferry ride or short flight, and then explore the charming port of Carver’s Harbor.
You can seek solace on one of the many Vinalhaven Land Trust sites, which feature hiking paths, beaches, and scenic overlooks. Also, you could visit the sister island — North Haven — by renting a boat or water taxi to find an even more secluded island spot.
Kennebunkport Maine is the standard go-to place to visit in Maine during summer, but neighboring Kennebunk actually has more beaches and just as many unique experiences. Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, and Arundel are known as “The Kennebunks.”
If the crowds at Dock Square are too much for you, try visiting the charming fishing village of Cape Porpoise. And, those islands in the distance? That’s a side of Kennebunkport that too many people overlook, all preserved by the Kennebunkport Land Trust.
TIP: Speak like a local and know it’s “Ken-KNEE-bunk-(port)” and not “Ken-uh-bunk-(port).”
The Maine shoreline is stunning, but wait until you see what the mountains of Millinocket have in store. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is a certified International Dark Sky Park — the only one in New England. (Even Acadia National Park doesn’t have that distinction.)
Baxter State Park abuts the national monument, with a summit of Mt. Katahdin requiring reservations, keeping crowds small and providing a fantastic experience unlike any other in Vacationland.
Not to be confused with the nearby city of Rockport, Rockland Maine has a retirement vibe and is popular with the over-65 crowd for the slow-paced way of life. The city has one of the safest breakwaters, which leads to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, which is open for tours.
Kids will love the Children’s Coastal Museum, and the scenic Archers on the Pier offers a unique experience of dining over the busy harbor.
Owls Head Maine
There’s a secret in Owls Head that not many tourists realize — while summer crowds devour sand space, Birch Point State Park is relatively unknown to anyone but locals (who call it Lucia Beach).
With a sandy beach and stunning views of Penobscot Bay, you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out and explore the hiking trails in relative solitude.
Owls Head Lighthouse and the surrounding Owls Head State Park have water views on three sides, a giant staircase leading to the lighthouse’s scenic summit, and one of the most endearing Maine stories — “Spot the Lighthouse Dog.”
If you really want to savor your Maine adventure, head to the outermost island community of Matinicus. Only four ferry trips are made each month in the summer, giving you plenty of time to live on island time. Matinicus is made for those who want a place as unchanged as it was a century ago.
There’s no restaurant-filled harbor town here. Just a handful of vacation rentals and an expanse of ocean and shoreline that feels like you own the island. You’re guaranteed never to run into hiking trail traffic on this outer island.
Cape Elizabeth Maine
A visit to the Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth is one of the most popular summer traditions. The lighthouse grounds and surrounding Fort Williams Park, with several scenic viewpoints of the headland, include several other attractions and shoreline options.
If the crowds are too much, the nearby Two Lights and Crescent Beach State Parks offer more coastal surprises.
Sebago Lake Maine
Ask any Portlander where they spend summer weekends, and they’ll likely answer, “Sebago Lake!” Sure, you’ll deal with some traffic getting there, but once you’re inside, a true inland Maine paradise awaits.
Across 1,400 acres, you have a freshwater fantasyland with beaches, river walks, fishing, boating, hiking, and camping available. Seek out “the sandbar” while you’re here — it’s where the Songo River meets the lake. Also, you can visit the famous Songo Lock, which has generations of boating history.
Visit the easternmost city in the United States on an international summer trip to Lubec — with New Brunswick Canada across the channel.
The Downeast Coastal Conservancy oversees several trails that lead to the top of Mount Klondike (ask about the name origins) and the remnants of ancient trees at low tide.
Lubec prides itself on its history as much as on breaking the mold of summer tourism crowds and franchise vendors.
The muddy roads and deep snow in Rangeley Maine are enough to keep crowds away from this mountainous and lake-filled region from late fall well into spring. Come summer, cabin rentals fill up, yet there’s still space for everyone to have enough room to breathe.
From scenic drives to lazy days on one of the many lakes to night skies so starry you feel like you could reach out and touch them, Rangeley Lake State Park has been one of the best summer Maine secrets for generations.
Known as the “Quieter Side of Acadia,” the Schoodic Peninsula has smaller crowds, so you don’t have to fight over parking spaces. You can meander through the villages of Gouldsboro or stroll along a trail or the beachfront of Frenchman’s Bay.
And while Winter Harbor might not be as busy as Bar Harbor near the main Acadia entrance, that’s the point of enjoying a quiet summer vacation in Maine.
The inclusive and welcoming community of Ogunquit Maine is also family friendly and one of the state’s most diverse places. The shoreline stretches as far as the artistic eye in this creative community.
Walk the Marginal Way for views that take your breath away and end up along 3 miles of sandy, pristine beach with crowded and secluded spaces available. Perkins Cove offers a great place to start a seafaring adventure, whether you want to tour lighthouses or catch lobster.
Discover More Places to Visit in Maine During Summer
Maine is worth a visit any time of year, and summer brings a unique essence that has drawn people here for generations. Just about everything possible is open in Maine from Memorial Day through Labor Day, giving you even more options in a seaside state of abundant possibilities.