There are so many beautiful, charming places to visit in Maine that it’s hard to choose a destination. Way up north lies Aroostook County, the largest county in Maine. This county is home to numerous small towns, plantations, unincorporated communities, and two cities — one of which is Presque Isle Maine.
Presque Isle is a gorgeous, fun, and entertaining destination year-round whether you’re staying in the United States or stopping by on your way to Canada. Use this guide of things to do, restaurants, and lodging options to plan your visit.
Outdoor Things to Do in Presque Isle Maine
Outdoor recreation is important to Presque Isle. The community maintains its outdoor recreation areas very well and makes sure that visitors have access to nice, well-marked trails and rentals for outdoor activities. The next time you’re in Presque Isle, check out these outdoor options.
When you think of Maine, you may not think of space. But, Maine is home to the largest solar system 3D scale model in the Western Hemisphere. Spread across 100 miles, the model pieces are set up along Route 1 for visitors to explore.
Presque Isle Maine is home to two pieces of the solar system model, including the sun and Jupiter. The sun’s model is made of wood, while Jupiter’s model is made of metal. This is a totally unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
The very first state park in Maine, Aroostook State Park started as 100 acres of donated land and now spans almost 800 acres as more land was donated through the years.
The park is open year-round with well-maintained trails. In the winter, outdoor enthusiasts enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, and camping. In the warm weather, hiking trails, bird-watching, and camping are popular park activities.
The Double Eagle II Balloon Site is a 1-acre park that commemorates the site where the Double Eagle II balloon was launched in 1978.
The park has a replica of the Double Eagle II balloon, nice shrubs and flowers, benches, a flag pole, and a 10-car parking lot. It’s a peaceful spot for reflection or photo opportunities.
The Nordic Heritage Outdoor Center is an amazing place for those looking to experience Maine’s best outdoor recreation all year.
Guests can purchase a trail pass and enjoy over 20 miles of trails for mountain biking or skiing and over 25 miles of hiking trails. There are trails for every ability — from easy to moderate to difficult. Or, enjoy 18 holes of disc golf on the center’s course.
Check out Presque Isle Country Club for an 18-hole championship golf course experience. This course is considered semi-private, so it’s open to the public for play.
There is a driving range and a green on-site for practicing your swing. A full-service country club with a restaurant, lounge, lockers, and pro shop is available too.
Arnold Brook Lake Recreation Area is a simple park area that is surrounded by trails and woods. The area is on the manmade Arnold Brook Lake, which has plenty of brook trout for fishing. There’s a small public boat ramp, picnic area, and unguarded swimming area as well.
Indoor Things to Do in Presque Isle Maine
Presque Isle is home to indoor recreation destinations too. From a gorgeous town library with amazing artwork to museums to family fun like bowling, there’s something indoors to please any interest.
The Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Public Library is not only Presque Isle’s town library but also has an amazing collection of artwork. Located throughout the historic building are marble and stone sculptures, Andrew Carnegie prints, a replica of the Venus De Milo, and an original Bessie Higgins painting.
There are five galleries to explore, and the library typically hosts art shows throughout the year. After exploring the artwork, you are welcome to peruse the collection of books and DVDs or use a public computer.
The Presque Isle Elks Lodge is home to the Northern Lanes Bowling Alley. This small candlepin bowling alley has that nostalgic vibe and features 12 lanes for public use. There’s also a game room with pool tables, dart boards, and a TV that typically plays sporting events.
The Braden Theater is a vintage movie theater with a nostalgic old-time feel. It is small but shows current popular movies on three screens.
There is a concession stand with the usual movie theater fare — like popcorn, soda, and candy. The theater is the perfect place to sit back, relax for a few hours, and enjoy the latest Hollywood hits.
The Northern Maine Museum of Science is located at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
Open whenever the campus is, displays line the hallways of Folsom Hall and feature natural history displays like a snowy owl, whale vertebrae, a whale jawbone, and dinosaur models. Look up, and you’ll see a 26-foot overhead diversity of birds display.
Spread over three floors, there are also displays featuring minerals, sea life, insects, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and agricultural exhibits. Outside, enjoy the nature trail in the woods for foot traffic only.
Located at the Northern Maine Regional Airport, the Presque Isle Air Museum is a small museum that commemorates the men and women who served at the Presque Isle Army Airfield and Air Force Base. The collection includes photographs, uniforms, artifacts, and memorabilia from the air base.
Popular Restaurants in Presque Isle Maine
Presque Isle has many diners and breakfast options. However, there are also international delights, like Mexican and, of course, delicious Maine seafood. On your next trip to Presque Isle, stop at these local favorites for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Looking for somewhere that serves breakfast all day? Governor’s Restaurant & Bakery is just the spot. It has breakfast all day long and delicious seafood dishes, burgers, sandwiches, and more.
It’s known for its fresh Maine lobster roll, which is served with its signature crinkle-cut fries. There’s something for everyone in your party at Governor’s.
Teresa’s Corner Cafe is a local diner that serves hearty breakfasts and lunch fare. Breakfast includes the usual favorites like eggs, pancakes, French toast, omelets, and hash browns. For lunch, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads, and seafood dishes are all on the menu.
Teresa’s is open on select nights for dinner and has tasty fried seafood items, a Maine lobster roll, steaks, pork chops, and pasta dishes. There’s a kids’ menu for smaller appetites as well.
Home-cooked Mexican food is hard to come by in Maine, but Mainely Mexican has been serving it for over 10 years to the delight of locals. Each week, the menu features specials that the chef has whipped up. Or, opt for the regular menu items — like tacos, nachos, enchiladas, burritos, and chimichangas.
Specialties — like Mexican spiced rib-eye, fajitas, seafood enchiladas, and yam burritos — are dishes that you won’t find anywhere else. Finish a delightful meal off with churros or fried ice cream for a real treat.
Known for its friendly, inviting atmosphere, Riverside Inn Restaurant is a great spot for breakfast or lunch. The portions are generous and prices are reasonable. Breakfast offerings include eggs, pancakes, and French toast to name a few.
The lunch menu has many subs to choose from — like a tuna melt, Italian, meatball, sweet sausage, and more. Sandwiches include flavors like tuna, chicken, egg salad, and ham. There are a variety of beverages to choose from too, including beer.
Rodney’s at 436 Main is located at the Northeastland Hotel and is open for lunch and dinner. On Sundays, a brunch menu is available as well.
This is a lovely spot for a date night or special occasion because the menu is a bit more upscale than the diners in Presque Isle Maine. The menu features dishes (like stuffed chicken), fresh Maine seafood (like scallops), and hearty steaks.
The special Sunday brunch menu includes chicken and waffles, buttermilk pancakes, homemade muffins, quiche, buckwheat ployes, and Benedicts.
For an option other than seafood, check out Ferris BBQ. It has a delicious barbecue pulled pork sandwich, slow-smoked brisket, a smoked turkey dinner, barbecue poutine, smoked wings, and many other barbecue dishes. A full bar complements the entrees with unique drinks like a blackberry mule or a mint julep.
Presque Isle Maine Hotels & Lodging Options
Presque Isle has a few chain hotels and motels, but to get a real feel for the local charm and experience the best of the city, check out these family-owned and operated accommodations.
From an active campground to a more peaceful, upscale hotel to a smaller, no-frills motel, there’s something to fit every budget.
If you’re looking to stay somewhere luxurious while visiting Presque Isle, check out The Northeastland Hotel. Located downtown, this hotel is brimming with character and comfort.
Spacious rooms with either one or two pillowtop queen-sized beds or a single king-sized bed await. In-room amenities include a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, Wi-Fi, and cable TV are available in each room. The first floor is pet-friendly for those bringing along a dog.
Also, the hotel has an on-site restaurant, a co-working space, a business center, and complimentary parking.
Maine is a wonderful state for camping because there’s so much natural beauty all around. Arndt’s Aroostook River Lodge & Campground offers a clean, uncrowded camping experience for tents and RVs.
Don’t have an RV? No problem. Arndt’s has bunkhouses, cabins, and a farmhouse that can be rented. It offers a true camping experience rather than luxury glamping.
The campground has many activities to keep the family busy as well. There are canoe and kayak rentals on-site, or you can book a hunting or fishing trip. If you’re staying in the winter, there are snowshoeing trails and snowmobiling areas.
If you’re looking for budget-friendly accommodations while staying in Presque Isle Maine, the Northern Lights Motel is your best option. It is located on Route 1 and has 15 units available to book.
Open year-round, the motel is clean and quiet with amenities — like cable TV, Wi-Fi, refrigerators, and a microwave in each room. During the warm weather months, there are outdoor grills to use and picnic tables.
Presque Isle Vacation Rentals
Many listings are available for Presque Isle Maine rentals. Whether you’re looking for a one-bedroom to rent for a few days or looking for a whole house to rent for a week, there are numerous listings to choose from.
Some rentals have gorgeous lake views, while others offer a lot of space with modern amenities. No matter your preference, you’re bound to have a few places to choose from for your next stay.
About Presque Isle Maine
Presque Isle, nicknamed the Hub of Aroostook, is located in the middle of Aroostook County in Northern Maine. The city’s population is just over 9,500 residents. Although it is considered a city, it has a small-town feel with friendly residents and a quaint downtown area.
Presque Isle Maine experiences all four seasons, with cold, snowy winters, cool early springs that change to warm late springs, and warm mid-70s summers. Fall brings awesome, vibrant foliage and excellent leaf-peeping conditions.
The city is home to the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus and the Presque Isle International Airport. Since it is so close to the Canadian border and the largest city in Aroostook County, Presque Isle is the center of retail for the area.
Presque Isle is a lovely small city to explore the outdoors, learn about Northern Maine’s history or unwind and enjoy a slower pace. With so much natural beauty, it’s a wonderful place to reconnect with nature.
History of Presque Isle Maine
Presque Isle was settled in the 1820s and was originally called Fairbanks Mills. In 1859, it was incorporated as a town and given the name Presque Isle, which translates to “almost an island” or “peninsula” in French.
Bloodless Aroostook War
In 1838, the Bloodless Aroostook War occurred when there was a dispute over surveyors at the United States and Canada border. Presque Isle citizens were on guard and ready to fight if need be, but the war ended peacefully without any casualties.
The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad built a station in Presque Isle in the late 1800s, allowing the area to become more connected and bringing industry to Northern Maine communities. The city became particularly important in potato harvesting and shipping.
Potato harvesting remains an important industry in Presque Isle Maine today. Other industries that were prevalent in the 19th and 20th centuries included gristmills, lumber, furniture production, and tin production.
Plan Your Visit to Presque Isle Maine
Presque Isle is a destination in itself. With so many things to do both indoors and outdoors, as well as delicious cuisine and comfortable lodging, the city makes exploring the area easy and accessible.
Whether you enjoy snowy, cold weather for snowshoeing and skiing or prefer mild temperatures for hiking and golfing, Presque Isle Maine is a year-round destination with something to do every season.