Maine Seasons
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What is the Best Season to Visit Maine?

Maine is an active four-season state, spanning from 22 miles offshore to the Canadian border, with mountains, valleys, gorges, rivers, coastline, and peninsulas in between. It touches the Bay of Fundy Downeast while sharing the White Mountains with New Hampshire.

On top of that, Maine experiences seasons a little differently than the Heartland, South or West. You might call them winter, spring, summer, and fall, but Maine names are more like Ice Out and Mud Season.

Whether you’re visiting at a time when you need base layers or boardshorts, we’re going to help you understand the beauty and benefits of every Maine season, including the most important – when do the seasons begin and end in Maine?

Maine-Map

Maine’s Climate Zones

Maine has eight tourism regions, but those are all spread between three climate zones–Coastal, South Interior (Central), and Northern, as defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

  • Coastal Zones (15%): Southern Maine Beaches, Portland & Casco Bay, Midcoast Maine, Downeast, covering all coastal areas to about 10 miles inland.
  • South Interior (31%): Covers a stroke across the state about 10-20 miles from the coast to 60 or so miles north. This includes part of the Kennebec Valley, Lakes & Mountains, Downeast, and Maine Highlands.
  • Northern (54%): This covers the lesser-populated areas, including all of Aroostook County, Maine Highlands, Lakes & Mountains, and Upper Kennebec Valley.

The state also has more than two dozen ecosystems, from alpine tundra at 5,267 atop Mount Katahdin to the saltwater marshes at sea level.

This diverse landscape means the weather can change not only where you are in the state but also what elevation you’re at while you’re there.

Wells, Maine, USA: March 4th, 2018: Nor’easter storm waves crash over the seawall and flood beach houses along the coast in Wells, Maine.
Wells Maine – Hurricane Season

Maine’s Severe Weather Seasons

The good news is that Maine doesn’t generally get large tornadoes and massive earthquakes, but the other side of that coin is the hurricane season and nor’easter season, which cover the entire calendar. Oh, and then there are frostquakes.

Hurricane Season

The annual Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1 and runs through November 30 – that goes as much for the Lesser Antilles as it does for the Maine coast (and into Canada). Maine has seen its share of dangerous storms over the years, but tropical weather can’t hold together well in the cold waters of the North Atlantic.

It’s darn near impossible for a tropical system to sneak up on Maine, so you’ll never get caught off guard. Sign up for updates from the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

DID YOU KNOW: The biggest threat during any hurricane or tropical storm isn’t the wind or rain; the storm surge is the most dangerous and deadly.

Nor’Easter Season in Maine

Nor’easter season in Maine spans late autumn to early spring, marked by frequent powerful extratropical cyclones. These storms result from clashes between cold air from Canada and warm air from the Gulf Stream, bringing heavy snow, blizzards, strong winds, and coastal flooding. Snowfall can be substantial, and coastal areas are vulnerable to erosion and flooding.

Maine can also get storms from Alberta Clippers or coastal lows that bring snow to the cities on the water.

Winter Hike Acadia
Acadia National Park | photo via itsmejesspierce

Winter in Maine

Let’s just get this one out of the way, shall we? Seriously, Maine winters get a bad rap, but they have their own personality and contribution to the outdoor wonders of Vacationland.

Statewide, Maine gets about 2.5 times as much as the United States average, but some spots get up to four times as much. Don’t worry too much about that – you’ll need that snow for all the winter activities! Then again, the El Nino winter of 2024 was repeatedly called a “snow drought.

5 Must Know Facts About Maine Winters

You can’t trust the calendar for Maine winter’s start and end; no more than we can trust that Pennsylvania rodent and his shadow. Maine’s winters can start with snow in late October up north and run into April – maybe May.

  1. January is the snowiest month, but don’t sleep on December or February either.
  2. The coldest temperature ever in Maine was -50°F near Allagash in 2009. Wind chills have pushed that number to -90° on Mount Katahdin.
  3. Ice fishing, a “winter” sport, runs from January 1 through March 31 unless the ice melts earlier.
  4. Ski season begins whenever there’s enough snow at the respective resort. Even those that make snow can be sent back to the beginning if heavy rain soaks the mountains.
  5. Snowmobiling is the preferred way to get around in winter. Learn how to ride and contact a local snowmobiling club to make new friends.

You also can’t expect a White Christmas here. The coast has about a 59% chance, while Caribou lingers around 93% – that’s using the definition of a White Christmas means at least one inch of snow on the ground.

Coastal Maine in Winter

Along the coastline from Kittery to Lubec, expect the mildest Maine winter weather – well, by Maine standards, at least.

In the table below, you’ll notice a consistency with temperatures even from the southernmost spot to the easternmost town in the U.S. Coastal cities benefit from the moderating effect of the Atlantic Ocean. When cold air masses move over the ocean, the relatively warmer waters prevent temperatures along the coast from dropping as low as they might inland.

 KitteryPortlandBar HarborLubec
November48°F / 32°F 8” snow46°F / 30°F 7” snow45°F / 30°F
9” snow
43°F / 28°F 10” snow
December39°F / 22°F 8” snow36°F / 23°F 15” snow36°F / 24°F 17” snow34°F / 20°F 18” snow
January34°F / 17°F 10” snow31°F / 17°F 15” snow31°F / 19°F 14” snow29°F / 14°F 13” snow
February36°F / 19°F 12” snow33°F / 18°F 14” snow33°F / 20°F, 15” snow32°F / 15°F 13” snow
March42°F / 26°F 10” snow40°F / 25°F 11” snow40°F / 27°F 12” snow38°F / 21°F 10” snow

The most important thing to know about a winter visit to the Maine coastline is the tide schedule. A storm that rolls in at low tide might cause some minor issues. If that same storm arrives at high tide or worse – king tide – it could lead to flooded roads and towns.

Most businesses, hotels, and rental homes along the coast come with reinforced windows and storm-resistant exteriors. Also, most homes and businesses have generators when the power goes out.

Winter Things to Do in Coastal Maine

The off-season is on point in coastal Maine, with low crowds and big opportunities. Take a Route 1 road trip from Kittery to Ellsworth and explore all the towns along the way without that peak season traffic.

Take long walks on the beach and bring your four-legged friend. Most communities and state parks loosen dog rules on beaches in winter. Scour for sea glass and shells after a big storm, or enjoy the winter aesthetic of lighthouses.

Look for the local ice skating rink or sledding hill. Hike the hills around places like Camden and York for scenic coastal views from above. Camden and Acadia National Park are top places for ice climbing.

Delightful dining includes outdoor heated igloos with heaping bowls of chowder and the tender, meaty bounty of hard-shelled lobsters.

Southern Interior Maine in Winter

The central section of the state leans closer to the coastline and cuts through the lower portions of the Lakes & Mountains, Kennebec River Valley, Highlands, and Downeast. The top cities and places in the Southern Interior Climate Region are Sebago Lake, Augusta, Waterville, and Lincoln.

Calais is still in the Coastal Region, and Houghton is in the Northern Region. The Southern Interior meets Canada at the Million Dollar View Byway at Grand Lake.

Most elevations in this region are between 100’ and 700’, and you can see in the chart below temperatures aren’t too different from the coast – that will change in summer. The bigger change is the increasing amount of snow, fed by the loss of the ocean’s moderating effect.

CityBridgtonAugustaWatervilleBangorLincoln
December34°F / 17°F 21″ snow32°F / 15°F 18″ snow31°F / 15°F 17″ snow32°F / 17°F 20″ snow29°F / 10°F 27″ snow
January29°F / 9°F 20″ snow28°F / 10°F 15″ snow28°F / 9°F 14″ snow28°F / 10°F 14″ snow24°F / 2°F 23″ snow
February32°F / 12°F 16″ snow31°F / 12°F 16″ snow30°F / 11°F, 15″ snow31°F / 12°F 16″ snow28°F / 5°F 20″ snow
March39°F / 20°F 17″ snow39°F / 21°F 14″ snow38°F / 20°F, 14″ snow39°F / 21°F, 17″ snow36°F / 13°F 16″ snow

Southern interior areas such as Augusta and Bangor often experience greater temperature fluctuations during winter than coastal regions.

This can lead to more dramatic shifts between cold spells and milder periods, creating additional outdoor activities and changing travel conditions.

Winter Things to Do in the Southern Interior

The Southern Interior hits a sweet spot between having interstates and roads regularly maintained during winter, while fluctuating weather could mean cross-country skiing on hilly terrain one day and hiking to a robust waterfall the following day.

You’ll find sleigh rides, farms turned into winter wonderlands for snowshoeing, and plenty of ponds for ice skating throughout this region. Another example of Maine snubbing the calendar in winter comes with Maple Syrup Sunday in late March, and the Southern Interior is rich with opportunities to tap a tree and sample sweet treats.

Northern Maine in Winter

Welcome to the snowiest corners of Maine and the most dynamic mountains that host the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Even though this is the largest region, the abundance of protected wilderness means only the most advanced outdoor lovers will be trudging through feet of snow.

As you can see in the chart below, not only does the Northern Climate Zone get more snow, but it also gets fewer chances for that snow to melt as the temperature can stay below freezing for months. Snow totals range from 100-200 inches per year from Rangely to Caribou.

CityBethelRangeleyGreenvilleMillinocketCaribou
December29°F / 10°F 34″ snow27°F / 9°F 39″ snow29°F / 10°F 33″ snow27°F / 8°F 35″ snow23°F / 3°F 43″ snow
January24°F / 5°F 29″ snow21°F / 2°F 33″ snow24°F / 5°F 29″ snow20°F / -2°F 32″ snow15°F / -6°F 30″ snow
February29°F / 8°F 25″ snow26°F / 5°F 27″ snow29°F / 8°F 24″ snow25°F / 2°F 29″ snow19°F / -2°F 23″ snow
March38°F / 18°F 22″ snow35°F / 16°F 20″ snow38°F / 19°F 21″ snow36°F / 14°F 24″ snow29°F / 3°F 20″ snow

Aside from the handful of highways that web their way to the Canadian border, the logging roads in between will be too tough to tackle in winter.

You also get the mix of added elevation, which means more snow the higher you go.

Things to Do in Northern Maine in Winter

Skiing is epic in Northern Maine’s climate zone most years, with the biggest and best ski resorts in New England found here. Ice fishing huts fill the lakes while snowmobiling paths become more feasible than roads to get around.

The Maine Interconnected Trail System brings hundreds of miles of paths together, allowing otherwise off-limits access to peaks across the mountains.

Skijoring is popular in part of Aroostook County, and in St. Agatha, they cut the world’s largest ice carousel every year. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, uphill skiing, and Nordic skiing make this as fun as the Rockies without pesky altitude sickness.

Finally, always check the Space Forecast for Northern Lights viewing potential in this beautifully pristine dark sky area.

Lupine-Lubec
Lupine | photo via sharoncatalano_photos

Spring in Maine

The start of spring is different for everyone in Maine. Some consider it when the ice breaks up enough to boat across a lake. Others say it’s when the snow melts below one inch. Another group says it’s the last freezing day, facing a group that says it’s the first day at about 70°F.

For the purpose of helping you plan a trip to the traditional “spring” of blooms, waterfalls, and no need for seven layers of clothing, we’ll call it late April through June. Most Mainers add the term “Mud Season” between winter and spring when the snow melt causes a muddy mess on roads and trails.

Coastal Maine in Spring

As spring progresses, temperatures gradually rise, transitioning from chilly conditions in early April to milder and more comfortable temperatures by late May.

In late April, temperatures typically range from around 40°F to 50°F, with occasional frosty mornings but gradually milder afternoons. Snow isn’t out of the question, with at least five storms since 1940 that dropped more than eight inches on Portland in early April.

By May, temperatures average between 50°F to 65°F. However, coastal areas might still experience cool sea breezes, which can temper the warmth. Rainfall tends to increase during May, with more frequent showers and occasional thunderstorms.

In June, temperatures continue to climb, getting into the 70s for daytime highs. Rainfall remains relatively steady, with occasional showers and possibly some foggy mornings, especially near the coast.

There are two spring things to note regarding wildlife and activities: Some cliffs will close at places like Acadia National Park during the peregrine falcon nesting season around March 1.

Beaches will have limitations or areas blocked off up and down the coastline for piping plover nesting season starting April 1. It’s also worth noting that dogs are no longer allowed on state park beaches starting April 1.

Spring Things to Do in Coastal Maine

Planning a coastal Maine spring trip is tricky – you’re trying to avoid the summer crowds yet reap the bounty of coastal activities. Here’s the reality – boat tours up and down the coast usually don’t resume until mid to late May or even early June.

However, ferry boats do run to places like Peaks Island, Monhegan, Isle au Haut, and Matinicus. It’s one of the most affordable boat trips you’ll take in Maine! Puffin tours start in May as the colonies come to nest on remote islands.

Road trips are a great option, especially riding Route 1 all the way to Fort Kent. You can also score epic deals on winter clothing at outlet malls.

Look for birding festivals and community spring events. Also, keep an eye out for the bi-colored snowshoe hare, changing from winter white to summer brown, thanks to the increase in daylight.

Camping in May is ideal on the coast, as many locations open on May 1, and you get to beat the summer crowds.

Southern Interior Maine in Spring

It’s time to go foraging for fiddleheads when spring hits the Southern Interior. This river-rich landscape has nutrient-rich soil where fiddleheads thrive. You have to harvest them while they’re coiled fronds.

Daytime temperatures typically range from the 50s to 70s °F. Nighttime temperatures generally remain mild, ranging from the 30s to 50s °F.

Spring Things to Do in Southern Interior Maine

The snow melting from the higher elevations creates waterfalls you’ve only dreamed about before. Take a hike when the trails are open and enjoy the sights and sounds at state parks and land trusts across the state.

The robust rivers can offer great paddling opportunities, and anglers are excited to cast in freshwater after a long winter. Many inland communities designed riverwalks along the waterways, which provide a great way to enjoy long walks near some of the most charming Maine communities.

Look for farmer’s markets and farms opening for the season, including innovative iterations of maple syrup foods.

Northern Maine in Spring

Late April through May brings gradually warming temperatures to the northern climate zone of Maine. Daytime temperatures typically range from the 40s to 60s °F, with occasional warmer days reaching into the 70s °F by June. Nighttime temperatures can still be chilly, ranging from the 20s to 40s °F.

The latest snow in the history of Maine weather record-keeping was May 23 in Caribou.

Spring Things to Do in Northern Maine

This is a tough time up north, and here’s why.

  • Snow has melted enough to put snowmobiling off limits, but trails are too muddy for hiking or ATV riding.
  • The robust winter activities can lead to business closures as they gear up for the busy summer season.
  • Places like the North Maine Woods and Baxter State Park will close off trails and summit access to protect the environment until the mud firms up, and even when open, the logging roads can still be feet deep in mud.

By all accounts, April is a different world than May and June when it comes to spring activities. By mid-May into the end of June, you get the epic adventures of inland Maine’s spring.

If you can find that apex between the end of Mud Season and the few weeks before the bugs take over the woods, you’ll have numerous trails, summits, rivers, and lakes at your disposal.

You also get some of the best waterfalls in the state, many close enough to the road that minimal hiking is needed. The night skies and Northern Lights’ potential make staying up late and sleeping in a great way to vacation.

Spring is also a great time to explore the scenic byways of the mountains, lakes, and Highlands, as well as Aroostook County. Listen for the signature call of loons on area lakes.

The former snowmobiling trails turn to ATV trails in early to mid-May. Even the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife states, “Nobody should expect any of the trails to open before May. All signs should have an opening date of May 15 or later.”

Depending on the winter snowpack, you might also find yourself skiing in shorts into mid-May at one of the larger destinations.

Try some Acadian food, like poutine and ploye, in the County and explore the historical sites that make this part of the state so unique.

Rugosa Lobster Tours - Kennebunkport, Maine
Rugosa Lobster Tours | photo via @mindybriar

Summer in Maine

Depending on the year, summer in Maine might cover part of June, but the peak season is July through mid-September. The hurricane season starts in June, but visitors to Maine generally don’t need to worry about impacts until August through October.

Severe thunderstorms can happen throughout summer. Maine summer storms occur because warm air from the land rises and mixes with cooler air from the ocean, creating unstable conditions. Additionally, frontal boundaries and the state’s varied terrain can trigger thunderstorm development.

Tornadoes are rare, with about two each year, but the intensity of the storms and excessive rainfall can ruin a great day outdoors.

Coastal Maine in Summer

The same moderating effect that keeps the Maine coastline from getting brutally cold in the winter helps protect from extreme heat potential in the summer. Similar to the way a swamp cooler works, the ocean’s cooler air masses temper the heat being absorbed on land.

The same effect that helps keep the land cooler also makes the water chilly, with the average temperatures of the water between 51°F and 62°F. This also plays into summer having higher chances of fog as warm air moves over that cooler water.

Outdoor temperatures range from the 70s to low 80s for highs, with lows into the mid-50s or 60s. July is the hottest month overall, and heat indices can push the “feels like” into the mid-80s or even closer to 90. More extreme temperatures can happen, as Portland reached 96°F as recently as August of 2022. Even Rockland got up to 90°F during that heat blast.

CRUEL SUMMER: History and weather buffs might like to learn more about the Year There Was No Summer across Maine in 1816.

Summer brings the best wildflower blooms after spring’s slow awakening. Late July is the start of the wild blueberry season, with the tasty tart treat making its way into pies and jams.

Summer Things to Do in Coastal Maine

The beaches are the place to be in the summer, with visitors getting a dealer’s choice of sandy beaches, rugged rocky beaches, tall cliffs, or protected bays. Always check the Maine Health Beaches Dashboard for specific beach safety concerns.

Summer festivals celebrating food, history, and culture line the coast. Crab shacks and ice cream stands pop up with long lines and delightful seafood fresh from the boat.

You can even go out on a lobster boat and catch your own dinner or enjoy the whale-watching season that peaks in summer and goes through early fall. Island hopping can fill a weekend, especially with all the summer colonies offshore bustling back to life.

Enjoy hiking trails in the salt marshes or scenic hills along the coastline.

Southern Interior Maine in Summer

In the southern interior climate zone of Maine, summer spans from June through early September, offering warm temperatures and moderate humidity levels.

Without the ocean’s cooling effect, you’ll find the hottest temperatures in the state here. That’s amplified by the lower elevations and warm air coming up from the south. In fact, Bridgton holds the highest summer temperature in the history of Maine, at a steamy 105°F in 1911.

In June, highs typically range from the mid-70s to low 80s, with lows in the upper 40s to mid-50s. July sees highs peaking in the mid-80s to low 90s while lows hover in the 50s to low 60s.

This month is marked by its sultry weather, occasionally punctuated by afternoon showers or thunderstorms. August holds the same pattern until the cooler weather of fall arrives in September.

Summer Things to Do in the Southern Interior

It’s a “berry” good time of year in central Maine, as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries abound. So many lakes and ponds along this stretch are filled with anglers, boaters, campers, and swimmers.

SAFETY TIP: Check the water quality conditions of your preferred lake before you go, as bacteria and blue-green algae can cause health hazards for humans and fatal illnesses for pets.

Roads closed during the winter and mud season, like the Grafton Notch Scenic Byway, open around May 15 and become summer hiking wonderlands, leading through waterfalls, streams, cliffs, and meadows.

ATV trails open by June, and dirt bike trails are growing in popularity across the state.

Northern Maine in Summer

Up north, Maine’s summers are perfect for those who don’t like the hottest part of the year. In June, as the region transitions into summer, temperatures tend to range from the low 60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit at lower elevations. Even summer highs in July or August won’t get much above 80°F most of the time.

The higher elevations will be cooler, with highs often in the 50s to low 60s. Expect a five-degree drop for every 1,000 feet you ascend. When tackling higher peaks like Mount Katahdin, storms can build quickly, from thunderstorms to snowstorms – even in summer.

North Maine Things to Do in Summer

Ah, summer in the Maine Highlands, Mountains, Lakes, and Aroostook County brings a motley mix of activities. Most ski resorts turn into summer playlands with chairlift rides, hiking trails, mountain biking, and golf options.

Moose are most active this time of year, with several roads in this region nicknamed “Moose Alley.” Black bears, bobcats, deer, and many other animals are bouncing around this land of mostly remote wilderness.

The collection of public lands around Baxter State Park and Maine’s 100 Mile Wilderness offers a Dark Sky Sanctuary for stargazing at night and trails from easy to extreme curving along rivers and waterfalls, into deep gorges, and over one of the hundreds of mountain peaks.

The waterways cater to some of the best rafting and paddling in New England. Several scenic byways take you to the Canadian border while rough logging roads disappear deep into secret serene spots.

Crawl down into caves or climb up rock faces; summer is the season to push your limits and explore the rugged reality of Maine’s northern side.

Baxter State Park-Millinocket-moose-fall
Fall – Baxter State Park | photo via phillmcdonald

Fall in Maine

In the fall, Maine experiences a spectacular transformation as the landscape bursts into vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow foliage. Each region transforms at different times, with the general leaf-peeping season running from late September through early November.

As flexible as June is to be a spring or a summer month, September plays the same wobbly seasonal game. In several ways, November can also be considered fall or winter, depending on the weather (see “Stick Season” below).

FALL BACK: A big consideration for a trip to Maine in November is that Daylight Saving Time ends in early November. That puts the sunset in many Maine cities between 4:00-4:30pm.

The tourism season used to end after Labor Day weekend, but now many businesses and larger crowds are found through Indigenous Peoples Day, which is the second Monday in October.

Statewide, temperatures can hold on to summer warmth in the 70s through part of September, but temperatures drop a cliff in October, with some areas reaching freezing at night.

By November, many communities are planning holiday events, which heavily lean toward Thanksgiving weekend or the first two weeks in December.

HURRICANE SEASON: The biggest hurricanes to hit Maine have been in September or August.

Coastal Maine in Fall

The growing summer crowds have led to visitors seeking a quieter September. It worked for a while. Now, those crowds keep coming, with places like Acadia National Park seeing a 64% September increase over the past decade. October visitation soared 78% in that time.

September clings to summer before Octobers plunge into traditional fall temperatures.

  • September: Coastal Maine experiences average high temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to low 70s and average low temperatures in the 50s.
  • October: By October, average high temperatures in coastal Maine tend to drop to the mid-50s to low 60s, while average low temperatures decrease to the 40s. The first frost happens in mid to late October.
  • November: In November, average high temperatures further decrease to the low to mid-40s Fahrenheit, with average low temperatures dropping into the 30s Fahrenheit. This period marks a significant cooling trend as coastal Maine transitions into the colder months of late autumn and early winter.

The first snowfall is generally around late November to early December.

Coastal Maine Things to Do in Fall

Campers should seize the season as early as possible, considering most campgrounds close for the season between early September and mid-October.

Maine Open Lighthouse Day is held in early September, giving guests a chance to see the tower of lighthouses that are usually not open to the public. September and October are also popular months for fall festivals and fairs.

Boat tours keep going through early November in some instances, with whale-watching season wrapping up in October.

Hiking, beach walks, rock climbing, paddling, fishing, and boating are still popular well into November. Fall foliage peaks last in this part of the state October 20 – 27.

Southern Interior Maine in Fall

The biggest difference noted in the Southern Interior compared to Coastal Maine goes back to the moderating effect of the ocean – the interior can stay a few degrees warmer. The first frost happens in early to mid-October, but don’t hope for snow before late November or early December – and even that would match records.

Southern Interior Things to Do in Fall

Enjoy the plethora of fall festivals, local farms opening for pumpkin patches and apple cider, and hiking trails with far fewer crowds. ATV season goes through the first snowfall of the year. Look for land trusts to explore in the region to find even more solace from leaf-peeping crowds.

Northern Maine in Fall

In the mountains and Aroostook County, September temperatures fall like dominos, dropping 10 degrees each month on the high and low end. By November, nighttime lows are around freezing, and daytime highs linger in the 40s, getting closer to December’s big cold snap. The first frost is usually in mid-September.

In addition, this far north means that some cities like Fort Kent and Caribou will see the sunset before 4:00 pm. Even in the snowiest parts of the state, the biggest snowfall doesn’t happen until January through March.

Northern Maine Things to Do in Fall

It’s hard to beat paddling down the Kennebec, Dead, or Allagash Rivers in fall, banks lined with stunning foliage. The Dead River gets three big water releases from the dam in early fall. Smaller crowds mean more time spent exploring or enjoying waterfalls.

With the worst of biting bug season over, this is also a great time to explore more hiking trails or take a hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Much like the Southern Interior, ATV and bike trails keep active until the first snow of the year.

Fall is also a great time to go on a moose safari and see the bull moose antlers fully grown before they are shed in the winter. The moose rut runs from September through early October. Black bears can be spotted through mid-November before hibernation.

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge-York County & Cumberland County
Summer | photo via northeyhouse

Other Names for Seasons in Maine

Mainers have a way with words and monikers, so let’s explore some of the seasons that have nothing to do with the calendar.

Mud Season

As noted above, it’s the time when melting snow makes a muddy mess of trails and logging roads in early spring. Many trails are closed to protect the pathways and vegetation, not to mention the people who might get stuck. This also happens to be the best waterfall season, as luck would have it.

Stick Season

Most of November and December get written off as stick season, thanks to the beautiful foliage that is gone and the snow that hasn’t fallen yet. The trees that drop their leaves look like sticks, thus “stick season.”

Black Fly Season

One of the lesser-known seasonal annoyances by those “from away” is the vicious biting black fly that is not-so-jokingly called Maine’s State Bird (even though it’s really the black-capped chickadee). Unfortunately, this season now spans late spring through fall. The Penobscot River is known for its late-season biting black flies. At least they have a sense of humor about it, as the Black Fly Festival is held every June in Milo.

Tourist Season

The height of tourist season is the 4th of July weekend through Labor Day, but more and more June is becoming busy, as is autumn into the first week of October. Tourists are pretty easy to spot, but you can avoid these common breaches of etiquette.

Ice Out

It’s a sure sign of spring at each lake and pond when “Ice Out” is declared. That means the ice thawed enough for boats to go from one side to the other, even if ice chunks are still present.

Road Construction

Maine has great wildflowers, but it’s the orange traffic cones that signal spring as well. As much work as crews can get done before the height of tourist season happens from late March through June, but projects can continue into the fall.

Winter-Wiscasset-Maine
Winter

Maine’s Seasonal Surprises

You gotta give it to the state for making the most out of every season and even having a laugh or two about mud and gnarly flies. The most important thing to remember is that the beach does not always equal warmth, even in the middle of summer.

As more people visit during the off-season, we’re seeing more businesses extend their hours and opening dates for special events and holidays. Maine reverses the old adage to “If they come, we will build it,” so seasonal closures will only last until there is a demand for service.

There isn’t a bad time of year to visit Maine if you’re prepared for the weather. Mainers believe there is no bad weather, just bad clothing. By the time you’re looking at a greenhead fly in the eye before it bites you in August, you might just wish for those cool winter days.

Mainers truly embrace the indoor and outdoor options of every season and welcome you to tag along. Just don’t ask them for directions.

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