When visiting Maine, everything you’re getting is fresh – fresh air, fresh food, and a fresh perspective on what it means to get away from it all. Visitors from across the country and around the world flock to the “Pine Tree” state to enjoy every season. In fact, each summer 20,000 children come to experience Maine’s premier overnight summer camps. We’ll highlight the best ways to have an all-natural vacation – where to get a fresh Maine lobster, hand-picked wild blueberries, or to breathe in the natural beauty that is all around Maine, a.k.a. “Vacationland.”
Acadia National Park
The breathtaking beauty that is Acadia National Park is a sight to behold. Thousands of people come each year to breathe in everything that the park has to offer. Nestled in Acadia you’ll find wild gardens, lighthouses, miles of beautiful Maine coastline to explore, hiking paths, fishing, boating … just like the park itself, the amount of things to see and do is massive.
Take A Hike
There are so many options of places for hiking in Maine, and they all offer stunning views of nature and fresh, pine-scented air. We could never list them all here, but sites like Maine Trail Finder and Everytrail.com are a great resource for planning your route. Some of our favorite places include:
- Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport, for miles of trails under the shade of tall pines.
- Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, for simple but amazing family hikes.
- East Point Sanctuary in Biddeford Pool, for a wooded trail that opens up to the ocean and views of nearby Wood Island Lighthouse. Speaking of which …
Visit A Lighthouse
This one is a must for any trip to Maine to be complete, mostly to see the beauty of Maine’s historic lighthouses while breathing in the fresh, salty air near the sea. Check out this cool history from VisitMaine, as well as a sampling of some of Maine’s best lighthouses. We think South Portland’s Bug Light Park is a gorgeous and peaceful spot for anyone to enjoy the view.
There are 267 lakes over a square mile in size, as well as thousands of lakes and ponds throughout the state of Maine, each clearer and more sparkling than the last. You could spend all day swimming in the cooling waters, gazing at the breathtaking scenery around you and be perfectly happy. But those Maine lakes are ideal for all kinds of activities – water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing … if you are into water sports, there is no better place to be. Here are some of the bigger lakes to check out:
Echo Lake – This sparkling fresh water lake is on Acadia National Park lands, and home to the beautiful Echo Lake Beach. Locals and in-the-know travelers flock to this family-friendly beach all summer, enjoying the warmer water temperatures, plenty of shallow waters and lifeguard supervision.
Flagstaff Lake – Sharing much of its southern shoreline with the 36,000-acre Bigelow Preserve, Flagstaff Lake not only has fresh, sparkling waters, but miles of hiking trails, including a piece of the Appalachian Trail. There are campsites, six boat launch sites, and options for fishing and scenic boat tours.
Moosehead Lake – Boating, camping, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, swimming … Moosehead Lake and its surrounding areas have it all. There are three public beaches if you want to dive right in, or you can take a guided moose safari to catch a glimpse of the lake’s magnificent namesake.
Sebago Lake – With five boat launches and landlocked salmon, Sebago Lake is popular with anglers looking for a variety of good fishing. It is also home to the 1,400-acre Sebago Lake State Park – one of the oldest state parks in Maine. Visitors can find long stretches of sandy beaches, great swimming, areas to grill, picnic, hike and camp.
White Water Rafting
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, Maine just happens to be the perfect place to go white water rafting. This is an activity that will get you outdoors, close to those crystal clear Maine waters and surrounded by beautiful scenery. Not only will your heart beat a little faster, but this is also a memory that will never leave you.
There are many options for white water rafting companies on the Maine rivers, offering exciting adventures, lodging and expertise. But here are a few options that have been vetted by people who know a thing or two about Maine adventures – summer camp directors and their very discerning campers. Here’s who those “in the know” use:
There may be no better way to see the coast of Maine than taking a sailing trip. There are some incredible options including taking a trip on a historic schooner, or a smaller vessel out of Camden, Boothbay Harbor, Bar Harbor or Kennebunkport (to name a few). Breathe in the fresh salty air, and take in the spectacular views while you explore Maine by sea.
With over 1.3 million acres of farmland, Maine restaurants, summer camps and hotels are blessed to cook with the freshest ingredients possible. There are some truly spectacular farm-to-table restaurants in the state of Maine, but here are some of our favorites:
Earth at Hidden Pond (which made it on the Conde Nast Gold List 2016 – “Our Favorite Hotels in the World”) – this outstanding restaurant uses local meats and seafood, as well as produce from not one, but two onsite organic gardens.
Fore Street in Portland, ME – specializes in sustainability and locally sourced food. And it is spectacular.
Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company in South Freeport – because it doesn’t get much fresher than lobster straight out of the harbor.
If you’re looking for a more interactive experience, try Wolfe’s Neck Farm, a working organic farm on the Casco Bay where curious little ones can meet animals, take a hayride, or wander through the community gardens.
Maine’s wild blueberries are legendary, so get out there and pick some! Here are a few comprehensive lists of farms that offer pick-your-own services in the late summer. Most have blueberries late July into August, but remember to make sure they are open before stopping by.
Best Blueberry Pie?
Oh no, we’re not wading into this heated debate.
Obviously there are a ton of options to eat fresh lobster in Maine (Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, Waterman’s Beach Lobster, the aforementioned Harraseeket, Kennebunkport’s Clam Shack … to name a few), but what about seeing how it’s all done? You have a rare opportunity up in Maine to go on a lobster cruise and see firsthand what it’s like to haul a trap from the water. Try Lucky Catch Cruises in Portland, or Lulu Lobster Boat Ride, where you can fish for lobsters and watch for seals!
Traveling to Maine provides a fresh perspective on things for people of all ages, but it is no coincidence that the state boasts the greatest number of oldest, most established summer camps in the country. Kids ages 7 – 17 head to Maine camps every summer to enjoy incredible natural beauty, strong traditions and values, and top-notch activities and instruction. They unplug, connect with nature, make new friends, learn new skills, experience amazing trips, and gain confidence, independence and more. Kids come back from a summer in Maine different – a little more mature, a little more independent, and having had a lot of new experiences that have changed them for the better.
And by now it should be clear – everything about Maine is fresh, natural and beautiful. In a day and age where food is processed, schedules are crowded and too much time is spent on electronics, Maine has the antidote. Maine is Vacationland.
Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools
Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child? Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks). It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates. Then you can research these camps in more depth.
Next, be sure to contact our Maine Campcierge™ to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge®, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.