Fort Kent Maine - America's First Mile sign
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The ULTIMATE Route 1 Maine Road Trip Itinerary | Attractions, Restaurants, & Travel Tips

United States Route 1 is a massive north-south roadway that stretches over 2,300 miles, connecting Fort Kent Maine to Key West Florida. Over 520 miles of the road runs along the stunning Atlantic coastline of Maine and the Canadian border, making it a popular destination for road-trippers.

However, planning a Route 1 Maine road trip can be overwhelming because of the vast distance and numerous small towns and attractions along the way.

That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive itinerary to guide you from south to north, starting in Kittery and ending in Fort Kent (with some detours). But, feel free to follow it in reverse if you prefer.

Either way, get ready for a breathtaking and picturesque drive along Vacationland’s stunning coastline, with plenty of incredible stops along the way.

U.S. Route 1 & U.S. Route 2-Houlton
U.S. Route 1 & U.S. Route 2 | photo via rednickelneon

About Traveling U.S. 1 in Maine

While there’s some discrepancy regarding the exact length of U.S. 1, the last official log reported it as 2,593 miles long. However, various sources online list it as either 2,370 or 2,390 miles long.

Regardless, it’s worth noting that this highway passes through an impressive 15 states, more than any other highway in the country.

Although U.S. 1 doesn’t have an official beginning or end point, the town of Fort Kent claims to be the northern terminus since the route was originally signed in 1927 when the American Association of State Highway Officials adopted the U.S. numbered highway system.

If you’re following our itinerary from south to north, expect a thrilling adventure filled with stunning scenery, charming towns, and unforgettable experiences. Here’s a quick look at the route:

  • Starting from Kittery, U.S. 1 runs northeast and parallel to I-95.
  • From Portland, it merges and runs parallel to I-295.
  • After Brunswick, U.S. 1 turns in an easterly direction.
  • As it approaches Rockland, U.S. 1 turns more northward.
  • After Bucksport, U.S. 1 heads east again.
  • From Whiting, it veers northward and gets closer to the Canadian border.
  • At Maro Hill, U.S. 1 briefly curves away from the border before meeting it again.
  • From Van Buren, it follows a northwest path along the border.
  • Finally, from Madawaska, U.S. 1 runs westward and slightly southward to reach Fort Kent.

Route 1 Road Trip Traffic

Driving straight through the Maine portion of U.S. Route 1 would take approximately 11.5 hours, but that would mean missing out on the countless charming coastal towns and attractions along the way.

Additionally, most of those “from away” come to Vacationland during the summer and fall. Because of that, traffic on U.S. 1 can get pretty crowded. If you don’t want to get caught up in the peak of traffic, you could plan your trip for between Labor Day and mid-October. We also recommend traveling in winter or spring — before May.

Driving Through the Regions

Sometimes, the boundaries of Maine’s regions are a topic of debate among locals. According to the Maine Office of Tourism, though, here are the coastal boundaries of the towns you’ll be visiting during your Route 1 Maine road trip:

So, without further delay, here’s a comprehensive list of the best places to stop during your Route 1 Maine road trip. Buckle up and get ready for an epic journey!

Fort Foster Park-Kittery
Fort Foster Park | photo via kirk.casey.5

Best Route 1 Stops on the Southern Maine Coast


As you cross the New Hampshire border and enter the Southern Maine Coast, the first town you’ll encounter is Kittery. This town has a rich history dating back to 1623 when it was a fishery, and you can see this history reflected in its buildings, especially the forts.

One such fort is the Fort McClary State Historic Site, which is nearly 300 years old and offers a range of activities, including hiking, fishing, camping, and enjoying the history and surrounding nature.

Another option is Fort Foster Park on Gerrish Island, which is easily accessible by car and boasts three small beaches and a trail system for biking and walking through the military fort remnants.

If shopping is more your style, then the famous Kittery Premium Outlets are a must-visit destination. Here, you’ll find a blend of locally sourced products alongside high-end and national chains, offering a unique shopping experience for everyone.

Kittery Restaurants

You’ll find numerous restaurants in Kittery to keep you fueled up, but here are a few that we recommend:

RELATED: The Best Kittery Maine Hotels and Lodging

The Goldenrod-York-
The Goldenrod | photo via geoffreyfrose


York Maine is a charming and noncommercial town that offers a fantastic opportunity to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. Start your visit at Sohier Park in Cape Neddick, where you can stretch your legs and take in the stunning Nubble Lighthouse, one of the most photographed landmarks in the country. While here, enjoy a picnic lunch, go scuba diving, and spot a variety of wildlife.

For a dose of history, head to the Museums of Old York, a complex of several historic buildings that house a collection of York-related artistic and historical objects.

Afterward, satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to The Goldenrod, where you can watch old-fashioned saltwater taffy being made before indulging in a variety of candies, ice cream sodas, and hot fudge sundaes.

If you have some extra time, take an easy 30-minute hike to the peak of Mount Agamenticus, which offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, Boston Massachusetts, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire from its 692-foot summit. Alternatively, hop on a horse or ATV to reach the top for a unique and exciting experience.

York Restaurants

Lots of restaurants in York will energize your road trip, but here are some top-rated options:

RELATED: The Best Hotels and Lodging in York, York Harbor, and York Beach

Laudholm Beach-Wells
Laudholm Beach | photo via caroline_mur_22


As Maine’s third oldest town, Wells has a rich history. But, its natural beauty and antique shops are what make this town a vacation paradise. Wells Beach is a sandy stretch of land with seagrass, sand dunes, and more than 1.5 miles of shoreline.

At the end of Mile Road on the south side of Wells Beach, you’ll find free parking, a few restaurants, a snack bar, an arcade, and more. On the north side at the end of Atlantic Avenue, you’ll find paid parking, a boat launch into Wells Harbor, and the Wells Beach Jetty — a popular walkway among fishermen.

TIP: Other beaches to visit in Wells include Crescent Beach, Drakes Island Beach, and Moody Beach.

If you’re craving more nature than the beach, head to the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms. This National Estuarine Research Reserve features 7 miles of walking trails, bird sanctuaries, and saltwater marshlands. Or, visit the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge — a preserve of about 50 miles of shoreline, beaches, meadows, and tidal marshes.

And before you leave Wells, peruse the variety of antique shops. With more than a dozen antique shops, the town is considered the Antique Capital of Maine and is a haven for antique furniture, books, and fun tchotchkes. A few of the most well-known stores include Anytime Antiques, R. Jorgensen Antiques, and Bo-Mar Hall Antiques & Collectibles.

Wells Restaurants

From fresh seafood to tasty ice cream, Wells restaurants have a little bit of everything. Here are a few places that we recommend during your Route 1 road trip:

RELATED: Best Wells Maine Hotels, Motels, Cottages and Resorts

Ogunquit Playhouse-Ogunquit
Ogunquit Playhouse | photo via seacoastlately


Ogunquit Maine is a charming town that offers a wealth of enchanting experiences. Begin your adventure by hopping on an Ogunquit Trolley to tour the museums, beaches, shops, and local hot spots.

The trolley even stops at Marginal Way, a 1.25-mile cliff walk that runs along the shore from downtown Ogunquit to Perkins Cove. Along the way, you’ll come across benches, 3 miles of dunes, and numerous photo opportunities.

At Perkins Cove, you’ll enter a turn-of-the-century fishing village featuring a manual footbridge, seaside restaurants, boutique shops, fishing and sailing excursions, and stunning ocean views.

In the evening, catch an authentic, off-Broadway performance at the Ogunquit Playhouse. The general season runs from May through October and features top-notch local and regional performers showcasing their talents in a 1933 barn.

Ogunquit Restaurants

When it’s time for dining in Oqunquit, check out some of these restaurant favorites:

RELATED: Best Ogunquit Maine Hotels, Resorts, and Bed and Breakfasts

Palace Playland - Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Palace Playland | photo via @alifelivedingranite

Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach is a must-visit destination on your Route 1 Maine road trip thanks to its 7 miles of pristine sandy beaches. Here, you can take a refreshing dip in the ocean, sunbathe, build sandcastles, and enjoy a range of water sports.

The beach is also home to The Pier, a lively spot that extends 500 feet into the Atlantic Ocean and features several seafood dives and gift shops. At night, The Pier comes alive with entertainment and nightlife, including DJs, karaoke, and comedy acts.

Across from The Pier, you’ll find Palace Playland, an amusement park that has been entertaining visitors since 1902. This unique attraction is the only amusement park of its kind on a New England beach and boasts over 25 rides and attractions, including an old-fashioned carousel, the famous Electra Wheel (a Ferris wheel), and the thrilling 70-foot Sea Viper coaster. It’s the perfect place to let your inner child run wild.

Old Orchard Beach Restaurants

No matter the time of day, the restaurants in Old Orchard Beach will have whatever your appetite craves:

RELATED: Old Orchard Beach Hotels, Motels, Cottages, and Condos

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum-Portland
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum | photo via brittanybard

Greater Portland Stops on Route 1


Portland, the largest city and biggest port in Maine, has a rich history that spans hundreds of years, and the city is proud to share it with visitors. Train enthusiasts, for example, can learn about the city and state’s railroad history at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum and even go for a ride.

RELATED: EXCITING Railroad Museums & Train Rides in Maine

Built in 1807, The Portland Observatory on Munjoy Hill is the only wooden signal tower still standing in North America, having survived Portland’s Great Fire of 1866. From the top of the observatory, you get breathtaking views of the city and surrounding landmarks.

If you’re interested in cryptids and legendary creatures, stop by the International Cryptozoology Museum, which features fascinating exhibits about the Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and more. Discover historical accounts, artifacts, fossils, photos, and other intriguing items.

For those seeking some time in nature, the Portland Trails Network offers 80 miles of trails to explore, some of which run through the Old Port district and along Casco Bay. It’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area while getting some exercise.

Portland Restaurants

From lobster rolls to breweries, you’ll find tons of fresh, delicious food in Portland. Check out some of the popular spots during your visit:

RELATED: Portland Maine Hotels, Motels, and Lodging

Wolfe's Neck Oceanfront Camping-Freeport
Wolfe’s Neck Oceanfront Camping | photo via dadonovan


Freeport Maine is a charming town located along Casco Bay and is known as a shopping paradise. One of its most famous shops is the L.L. Bean flagship store, which has been in operation since 1912 and remains open 24 hours a day.

But, Freeport offers more than just shopping. The town is also home to beautiful scenery, such as Wolfe’s Neck State Park, which is located close to downtown and offers salt marsh walks, forested trails, and adventures along the rocky coastline across more than 230 acres.

TIP: Wolfe’s Neck State Park is especially stunning during the peak fall foliage season.

For a unique nature experience, head to the Desert of Maine, which spans 20 acres of sand dunes. Self-guided and guided tours are available, teaching you about how the dunes formed during the Ice Age. After walking the nature trails, grab a snack at the Oasis Cafe and a souvenir at the gift shop. It’s a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

Freeport Restaurants

At the many restaurants in Freeport, find everything from savory entrees to indulgent desserts:

RELATED: Freeport Maine Hotels, Motels, and Lodging

Androscoggin Swinging Bridge-Brunswick
Androscoggin Swinging Bridge | photo via findinlisa


Before embarking on your U.S. Route 1 road trip into Mid-Coast Maine, take some time to discover Brunswick. The Town Mall (not a conventional shopping mall) is a point of pride for the town and is split into the Lower Mall and Upper Mall. It has a walking path, monuments, gardens, picnic areas, farmers’ markets, and an event space.

Not far from downtown or Route 1, the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge is another must-see attraction. Built in 1892 and destroyed in a massive flood in 1936, the bridge was only renovated, restored, and reopened in 2006. Spanning 300 feet, the bridge has a slight give to it, adding to the excitement of crossing it.

While in Brunswick, check out Crystal Spring Farm, which hosts a Saturday Farmers’ Market and offers trails, the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, and the Labyrinth in the Woods. It’s a great place to connect with nature and enjoy some fresh local produce.

Brunswick Restaurants

Serving a range of international cuisines, Brunswick’s restaurants can satisfy every appetite:

RELATED: Bath and Brunswick Maine Hotels, Motels, and Lodging

Bath | photo via the_adrift_cyclist

Best U.S. 1 Destinations in Mid Coast Maine


Located on the Kennebec River, Bath Maine is a quaint town with locally owned eateries and shops. The city has a rich shipbuilding history and is known as the City of Ships.

Then, learn about Bath’s seafaring heritage and that of the state at the Maine Maritime Museum, which boasts over 20,000 artifacts, an 1851 American clipper ship on display, and a lobstering building and blacksmith shop.

Additionally, get an up-close look at Maine’s First Ship, a replica of the pinnace Virginia that was built in 1607 and was the first ship to sail to England. Volunteers at the Bath Freight Shed love to share its history.

Bath also offers tours of the town and its waters. Embark Maine Tours provides historic tours, while River Run Tours offers maritime history, evening/sunset, and island cruises. It’s a great way to explore the area and learn about its fascinating history.

Bath Restaurants

When you’re ready to stop for a bite to eat, we suggest eating at one of these Bath restaurants:

RELATED: Bath and Brunswick Maine Hotels, Motels, and Lodging

Five Islands Detour

If you have some extra time, it’s worth taking a detour south of Route 1 to visit Georgetown’s Five Islands. This charming neighborhood is widely considered to be the Prettiest Harbor in Maine, and for good reason.

One of the most popular activities is sailing Sheepscot Bay to see the five islands up close. It’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area while enjoying a relaxing boat ride.

And, no visit to Five Islands would be complete without grabbing a delicious lobster roll at the Five Islands Lobster Company. It’s a local favorite and a must-try for seafood lovers. Another awesome place to dine is BLUE Restaurant at Grey Havens Inn, which serves New England cuisine — think fresh-caught fish and the finest ingredients.

Damariscotta, Maine harbor Mid Coast Maine


Damariscotta Maine has been a beloved stop along U.S. Route 1 for decades, thanks to its charming atmosphere and fresh Pemaquid oysters. Discover the Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site, which features a massive pile of oyster shells shaped like a whale. Some of the shells date back to when the Abenaki people lived in the area.

For even more oyster-themed fun, book a themed ride with Damariscotta River Cruises, such as the Oyster & Wine Tasting or the Oyster Farms & Seal Watching cruises. Each tour includes a narration of the history of oysters and dining from a raw oyster bar. It’s a unique and delicious way to experience the area’s rich oyster culture.

TIP: If you’re planning a Route 1 Maine road trip in October, plan to attend the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta. This popular festival features giant pumpkins, pumpkin-themed activities, food stands, and street performers. It’s a fun and festive way to celebrate the fall season and experience the local culture.

Damariscotta Restaurants

If you don’t book a Damariscotta River Cruises tasting, you can still get local oysters at River House Maine. If you’re in the mood for something else, here are a few other places to stop:

RELATED: Damariscotta, New Harbor, and Pemaquid Point Maine Hotels, Inns, Motels, Resorts, and Lodging

Monhegan-Monhegan Island
Monhegan Island | photo via graham_holmes_photography

Monhegan Island Detour

For a fun detour from U.S. 1 and Damariscotta in Mid-Coast Maine, consider taking a boat ride to Monhegan Island. Head south to New Harbor to catch a ride with Hardy Boat Cruises, or follow Route 1 to Thomaston before heading south to Port Clyde for a ride with the Monhegan Boat Line.

Once on Monhegan Island, explore Main Street art galleries and shops, the iconic Monhegan Lighthouse, 12 miles of dirt trails, beaches, and Monhegan Harbor in a kayak. It’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area while enjoying some outdoor activities and local culture.

There are some delicious eats while you’re on the island too, such as Monhegan Brewing Company, The Barnacle, and The Fish House. And if you decide to stay overnight, there are a few lodging options on Monhegan Island to choose from.

Andre the Harbor Seal-Rockport Maine
Andre the Harbor Seal | photo via colinjwarnock

Rockland, Rockport, & Camden

As you continue north on U.S. 1 in Maine, you’ll come across the City of Rockland, the Town of Rockport, and the Town of Camden, each offering a variety of activities to keep you entertained.

In Rockland, check out the Maine Lighthouse Museum, walk the Rockland Harbor Trail, and snap a photo of the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. And don’t miss the Maine Lobster Festival, a five-day event held every summer from late July to early August to celebrate the area’s most famous seafood.

RELATED: Annual Festivals & Events in Maine You Should Explore This Year

Next up is Rockport where you can visit Marine Park’s Andre the Seal statue and the Rockport Lime Kilns. Adjacent to the park is the small, sandy Goodie’s Beach. The town is also home to Aldemere Farm, a cattle farm featuring Belted Galloway cows with their signature Oreo appearance.

In Camden, trek 20 multi-use trails at Camden Hills State Park, some of which lead to the peaks of Mount Battie and Mount Megunticook. For those who want to get out on the water, several Camden Maine cruises and schooner boat tours are available. It’s a great way to experience the stunning coastline and natural beauty of the area.

Area Restaurants

Across these two towns and one city, you have a wide selection of dining options. In Rockland, consider eating at the Home Kitchen Cafe, Liberator Brewing Company, or Primo Restaurant, as well as grabbing dessert at Bixby Chocolates or Dorman’s Dairy Dream.

Among the Rockport restaurants, 18 Central Oyster Bar & Grill is a top-rated locale. And for dining in Camden, head to any of these: Franny’s Bistro, Owl & Turtle Bookshop Cafe, and River Ducks Ice Cream.

RELATED: Rockland Maine Hotels, Rockport Maine Hotels, & Camden Maine Hotels

Vinalhaven Detour

If you find yourself in the Rockland-Rockport-Camden area, consider taking a detour to the charming island town of Vinalhaven.

As the biggest offshore island in Maine, Vinalhaven offers plenty of activities to enjoy, including hiking, boat tours, swimming, and lighthouse photo ops. Plus, you’ll find a variety of shops and restaurants, such as Greet’s Eats, Pizza Pit, and Good Things Coffee House.

To get to Vinalhaven, take the Maine State Ferry Service from the terminal in Rockland. It’s a great way to experience the unique island culture and natural beauty of the area.

Belfast Marina-Belfast
Belfast Marina | photo via daniel_izvoranu


The next stop on this Route 1 Maine road trip is Belfast, a city that offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Two connecting trails allow you to walk through the city along the Passagassawakeag River.

The nearly 1-mile Belfast Harbor Walk starts at Belfast Park, a popular gathering place for special events, picnics, and low-tide walks. The cement path leads northwest along the wharf, passes shops and restaurants, and goes through the Front Street Shipyard. It ends at the Armistice Bridge, a footbridge that crosses the river and offers beautiful views of the harbor.

From there, continue walking north along the approximately 2-mile Belfast Rail Trail. The crushed-stone path leads to City Point, providing excellent views of the river along the way. In the winter, it’s an ideal trail for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

For an indoor activity in Belfast, consider taking a class at the Belfast Curling Club. It’s a fun way to try out this Olympic sport and enjoy some friendly competition.

Belfast Restaurants

From comfort food to exotic dishes, the restaurants in Belfast have everything that you’re looking for:

RELATED: Belfast and Searsport Maine Hotels, Inns, Cottages and Lodging

Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory
Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory | photo via aaron.langner

Stockton Springs & Prospect

After exploring Belfast, the next stops on your Route 1 Maine road trip are Stockton Springs and Prospect before crossing the Penobscot River to Verona Island.

Just before you cross, be sure to visit the Fort Knox State Historic Site, one of the best-preserved examples of a mid-19th-century military fortification. This impressive fort is the largest in Maine, measuring 146 feet by 252 feet, and was built between 1844 and 1869.

After your fort tour, don’t miss the chance to ride to the top of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory. This 2,100-foot cable-stayed bridge boasts a 42-story public observatory, the tallest of its kind in the world.

From the top, you’ll enjoy stunning 360-degree views of the fort below, Penobscot Bay, and beyond. It’s a unique and unforgettable experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Area Restaurants

There aren’t too many restaurants in the area, but The Club Marina and Bar and Just Barb’s are two places that have some great food.

Deer Isle-Quoddy Loop

Downeast Stops on a Route 1 Maine Road Trip

Stonington & Deer Isle Detour

As you continue westward on Route 1, we highly recommend taking a detour south of the highway to visit Deer Isle and Stonington. These charming island towns are the perfect first stops on your Downeast Maine road trip and offer plenty of activities to enjoy:

And when you get hungry, 44 North Coffee, Aragosta at Goose Cove, Burnt Cove Boil, Stonington Seafood, and Stonington Ice Cream Company are all top-notch dining options.

Ellsworth | photo via dlsanborn33


Back on U.S. 1, you’ll reach Ellsworth Maine, a town that boasts some unique attractions. For example, The Telephone Museum is dedicated to showcasing the history of communication technology, offering the chance to see how telephones have evolved over time.

Another must-visit spot in Ellsworth is the Big Chicken Barn where you can peruse three floors of wares from over 50 vendors. With thousands of antiques, over 150,000 books, and more than 50,000 magazines sprawled across 21,600 square feet, there’s something for everyone to discover.

For those who want to get creative, Atlantic Art Glass is an open studio where you can create your own glass artwork. Even if you have no experience, a professional instructor will guide you through the process. It’s a fun and unique way to discover your artistic side.

Ellsworth Restaurants

No matter your diet or palate, these restaurants in Ellsworth will fill your belly:

RELATED: Ellsworth Maine Bed & Breakfasts, Inns, and Hotels

Mount Desert Island
Mount Desert Island | photo via goldbloomellen

Mount Desert Island Detour

Before continuing your journey on Route 1, take a detour south to Mount Desert Island for a plethora of outdoor adventures.

On the island’s west side, you get to enjoy spectacular views of the Bass Harbor Head Light Station at the entrance of Bass Harbor in the Town of Tremont. Additionally, the Seal Cove Auto Museum boasts a collection of cars made between 1895 and 1917 and is located near the Seal Cove Picnic Area.

In the middle of Mount Desert Island, learn about the island’s rich history at the Mount Desert Island Historical Society Museum. In Acadia National Park, drive the scenic Park Loop Road, hike Cadillac Mountain, listen to the waves at Thunder Hole, and take in stunning views at Otter Point Overlook.

On the east side of the island in Bar Harbor, tour the Abbe Museum to learn about the natives who once lived in the area and the Dorr Museum of Natural History to learn about Acadia’s founder.

Island Restaurants

With so many outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, Mount Desert Island is a must-visit destination on your Maine road trip. There are even several places to eat on the island — like Rose Eden Lobster, The Travelin’ Lobster, and Stadium Bar Harbor in Bar Harbor and the Harbor Table, Next Level Sports Lounge, and Salt Shop in Southwest Harbor.

RELATED: Bar Harbor Maine Hotels & Southwest Harbor and Bass Harbor Hotels

Machias Wild Blueberry Festival
Machias Wild Blueberry Festival | photo via devi_productions


Located about a one-hour drive east, Machias is a true hidden gem and one of the most charming towns in Downeast Maine. Thanks to its location, it offers a wide variety of activities and attractions to enjoy.

One of the top activities in Machias is kayaking the nearly 6-mile Orange River Water Trail where you can spot a range of wildlife, including beavers, birds, deer, and trout. The calm waters provide a serene and peaceful environment to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

For those who love shopping, The French Cellar is a must-visit for fresh cheese, craft beer, and hundreds of wines. Additionally, the Crows Nest Shops offer a shopping center with baked goods, local arts and crafts, and unique gifts and souvenirs.

TIP: If you happen to visit Machias in August, attend the Machias Wild Blueberry Festival, a community celebration of Maine’s wild blueberries. This festival offers a chance to enjoy blueberry-themed food and entertainment, as well as browse the wares of over 200 craft merchants and artisans. It’s a fun and unique way to experience the local culture and celebrate one of Maine’s most famous crops.

Machias Restaurants

Since Machias is such a small town, there aren’t too many restaurants to choose from, but Pat’s Pizza offers dine-in seating and Riverside Take-Out offers amazing roadside seafood for picnics.

Lubec | photo via devi_productions

Lubec & Eastport Detour

Although Route 1 doesn’t quite reach the easternmost point of Maine, you can take a detour to Lubec and Eastport to experience this unique area. While Lubec is the easternmost town in the state, Eastport is the easternmost city.

Both Lubec and Eastport offer fantastic opportunities for whale-watching tours. Additionally, explore several hiking trails in Lubec, including Quoddy Head State Park, Huckins Beach & Trail, Klondike Mountain, and Boot Head Trail.

In Eastport, follow a historic walking tour and traverse Shackford Head State Park. One of the highlights of the area is witnessing the Western Hemisphere’s biggest tidal whirlpool, the Old Sow Whirlpool.

RELATED: Best Maine State Parks (Our Favorite State Parks in Maine)

With so much natural beauty and unique attractions, Lubec and Eastport are must-visit destinations on your Maine road trip. And, here are a few dining options during your visit — Lubec Brewing Company and Tavern Restaurant at the Water Street Inn & B&B in Lubec and The Phoenix on Water Street in Eastport.

Calais, ME
Calais | photo via crowmichael50


Calais (“CAL-iss”), the first railroad town in Maine, is a city located next to the Canadian border and is full of history and culture.

Discover the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site, which commemorates the area where the first French colonists attempted to settle in 1604. Here, you can witness the extraordinary tides and observe the area’s birds, frogs, and seals.

The St. Croix Historical Society celebrates the history of the city and the St. Croix Valley, maintaining the Whitlock’s Mill Lighthouse and the Dr. Job Holmes Cottage & Museum.

For those who love walking, the Calais Waterfront Walkway is a 1.5-mile path along the St. Croix River, offering outstanding vistas of Canada on the opposite shore. It’s a great way to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and learn more about its rich history.

Calais Restaurants

When it’s time for a snack or a meal, Calais has several restaurants to whet your appetite. Here are a few recommendations:

Houlton | photo via davidlmclaughlin

Best Route 1 Stops Throughout Aroostook County


Houlton Maine, located farther north, marks the intersection of U.S. 1 with the northernmost end of I-95 and serves as the first stop in Aroostook County on this road trip itinerary. The Meduxnekeag River flows through the heart of the town, offering a picturesque scene at Houlton Riverfront Park, where the Gateway Crossing Bridge crosses the river.

Market Square serves as the downtown hub, spanning more than just one street. Explore monuments, go shopping, and dine until your heart’s content in this historic district. For a unique experience, catch a film at Temple Theater, which has been open since 1919.

To immerse yourself in nature, the Southern Bangor & Aroostook Trail offers a 40-mile hiking trail that connects Houlton to Presque Isle (the next stop on the itinerary). The trail is also open for biking, ATV riding, and snowmobiling, making it a versatile option for outdoor enthusiasts.

Houlton Restaurants

Check out these dining spots as you’re passing through Houlton:

Caribou Historical Center & Whittier Museum-Caribou
Caribou Historical Center & Whittier Museum | photo via cityofcaribou

Presque Isle & Caribou

Presque Isle and Caribou Maine are the two largest cities in Aroostook County, offering a variety of historic attractions and recreational activities.

In Presque Isle, witness the beginning of the Maine Solar System, an incredible 3D scale model that spans nearly 100 miles along Route 1. It’s the second-largest model of its kind in the world. You’ll find the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and the dwarf planet Ceres in Presque Isle.

The Presque Isle Air Museum commemorates the personnel who served at the Presque Isle Army Airfield and Air Force Base with a collection of artifacts, photographs, uniforms, and other memorabilia. Also, wander the nearly 800 acres of land with well-maintained trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing at Aroostook State Park.

In Caribou, learn about the legends of the city at the Caribou Historical Center & Whittier Museum, featuring the former potato farmer who eventually went to California and developed Beverly Hills. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Caribou Country Club Trails and the ski paths at the Caribou High School Ski Center offer fantastic opportunities to see the area’s natural beauty.

Area Restaurants

While you’re visiting Presque Isle, some good dining options include Ferris BBQ, Riverside Inn Restaurant, and Teresa’s Corner Cafe & Bakery. Meanwhile, The Par & Grill, Rendezvous Restaurant, and Ruska Coffee are ideal dining options in Caribou.

Acadian Village-Van Buren
Acadian Village | photo via weirdworldwithmartin

Van Buren

Continuing north on U.S. Route 1, the next stop on this Maine road trip is Van Buren, located on the Canadian border.

The main attraction in Van Buren is the Acadian Village, a collection of 17 relocated and recreated buildings on the St. John River that preserves the lives of Acadians who were banished from Canada and sought refuge here in the early 19th century.

While in Van Buren, enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding or ATV riding on the Bangor & Aroostook Trail.

This remote, 61-mile path connects Van Buren to Stockholm, Caribou, Washburn, and Mapleton, taking you through deep woods and fields and along several streams. It’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area and get some exercise at the same time.

Van Buren Restaurants

There aren’t too many options for dining in Van Buren, but you can’t go wrong at either Big Daddy’s Pizza or Tasty Food. They both have delicious menus.


Madawaska Maine, the northernmost town on U.S. 1, is a Canadian border town with Acadian roots where you can experience the town’s unique culture and history.

At the Acadian Landing & Tante Blanche Museum, see the large cross erected where the first Acadians settled on the St. John River. The museum features historic artifacts and buildings, providing a glimpse into the area’s rich history.

For entertainment, catch a film at the Skylite Drive-In, which celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2023. The drive-in offers amazing views while waiting for the sunset and the film to start, and the snack bar has all the movie treats you need, including popcorn, fried dough with powdered sugar, and fried clams.

Motorcycle enthusiasts will love Madawaska Four Corners Park, a long-distance motorcycle park that has been operating since 2008 and is one of four in the country. Complete the Titanium Butt Challenge by riding all of the Maine Four Corners Experience Tours. It’s a unique and exciting way to discover the area’s natural beauty and history.

TIP: To fully experience Acadian culture, plan your visit for August to attend the Madawaska Acadian Festival. This festival is a celebration of the area’s unique culture and offers the chance to enjoy delicious food, lively music, and traditional dancing. It’s an excellent opportunity to immerse oneself in the local culture and experience the vibrant spirit of the community.

Madawaska Restaurants

From Acadian dishes to classic American cuisine, check out these restaurants in Madawaska during your road trip visit:

America's First Mile-Fort Kent
Fort Kent | photo via the_lake_house_maine

Fort Kent

Fort Kent marks the end of this Route 1 Maine road trip itinerary, so make sure to walk America’s first mile at the historical marker for the beginning of U.S. Route 1, which has been standing since 1926. Close to the river is a civic monument dedicated to the spot, adding to the area’s rich history.

Also, trek the 4 miles of the Fort Kent Riverside Trail System, which runs along the St. John River and includes playgrounds, parks, murals, and more.

To learn about the Bloodless War, head to the Fort Kent Blockhouse during the summer. Although the fort was never actually used for battle, it’s a fascinating piece of history. The Fort Kent Historical Society maintains several buildings, including an original Acadian log house from the 1830s, providing a glimpse into the area’s rich history.

During winter, enjoy Alpine skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding at Lonesome Pine Trails. Alternatively, plan your visit for the annual Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races to witness the beginning of the 250-mile race through Northern Maine from Fort Kent’s Main Street.

Fort Kent Restaurants

Make your last stop on this U.S. 1 road trip memorable by stopping at some of the best restaurants in Fort Kent:

Plan Your Itinerary Along a Route 1 Maine Road Trip

A Route 1 Maine road trip is a unique and exciting way to experience the natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture of Maine. From the southernmost town of Kittery to the northernmost town of Fort Kent, you get to explore charming towns, historic landmarks, and breathtaking scenery.

Along the way, enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing, as well as cultural events like the Madawaska Acadian Festival. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or foodie, a Route 1 Maine road trip has something for everyone.

So, pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure through one of America’s most beautiful regions!

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