With 52 states to choose from, it’s hard to pick a favourite. That being said, Maine, in the north-east corner of North America, does have an awful lot going for it; a landscape that varies from craggy coastlines to freshwater lakes and forested mountains, endless opportunities for water sports and adventure, and some of the prettiest fishing towns in New England. AND it boasts some of the best seafood in the States. I could go on and on, but instead here are just eight reasons that prove Maine is entitled to a place on your bucket list:
New England is absolutely stunning
Crowning the New England region, Maine has more than its fair share of natural beauty. Pine forests carpet rolling hills, keeping them emerald green year-round, while mountains tower in the distance. Historic (and delightfully picturesque) white lighthouses preside over the small fishing villages that dot the craggy coastline and, inland, great freshwater lakes pockmark the landscape. Decent cameras are an essential piece of kit here.
The lobster is insane
The rugged Atlantic coastline is famed for its longstanding seafood industry, in particular for being the undisputed home of the American lobster. No visit to the state is complete without tucking into a lobster roll for lunch or dining on fresh lobster tails for dinner. Lobster is everywhere (it’s almost a miracle there’s any left in the sea) so whether you’re a keen seafoodie getting your fix or you’re trying it for the first time, it doesn’t have to cost megabucks.
Mainers are wonderfully friendly
So close to Canada (sharing a border, in fact), is it really any surprise that Maine residents know how to make you feel welcome? Super friendly, polite and always eager to say hello, you’re in for a warm reception. You’ll be sharing a lobster roll or be being taken to their favourite Cinnabon outlet before you know it.
Whale watching here is huge
Just 20 miles off the coast, some of the biggest creatures in the sea come to feed, bringing their calves with them to fatten up before the next leg of their journey. Humpback, minke and pilot whales are frequently spotted on one of the many whale-watching boat tours that are available from almost every city on the coast. Occasionally orcas and sperm whales are found nearby too, while seals and dolphin pods are almost guaranteed to join your trip. Plan your trip between April and October, before pods move to warmer waters.
There are enough water sports to fill the whole summer
In the hot summer, Maine’s cool lakes sit waiting to be swum in or explored by kayak. Boats are on hand to tow water skis and the lake shores make the perfect spot for a barbecue or bonfire as the sun sets. Hiking trails get you well and truly out into the wilderness – not that there’s many huge cities to avoid anyway – and once you’ve summited a mountain (or two), sliding down natural waterfalls is the most exhilarating way to head home.
…And plenty of snow sports to fill the winter
In the winter months, enough snow carpets the state to turn the mountains into ski resorts – hello blue powder days! Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also popular ways to explore the countryside as it’s transformed into a frozen winter wonderland. Many of the lakes will freeze over so thick that, instead of boats taking people fly-fishing on the water, hardy fishermen set up huts and drill holes in the frozen surface for the ice fishing season. The flat expanses of frozen lakes are also the perfect place to try your hand at snowmobiling.
The great views don’t stop at night
Minimal light pollution and uninterrupted skyward views in the countryside mean truly spectacular stargazing opportunities. Head for Acadia National Park – usually famous for fall leaves – where the dark skies are awash with billions of glittering stars, the Milky Way paints a bold stripe across the night canopy, and shooting stars are a common sight.
It’s rich in history
Once part of Massachusetts, Maine was one of the first 13 colonies of North America. In fact, the Plymouth Company from England tried to settle at Popham in 1607 at the same time as settling in Jamestown, Virginia (recognised as the first permanent settlement in the US), but the Popham colony didn’t survive the harsh Maine winters. In more recent centuries, the shipbuilding and whaling industries formed the backbone of the growing Maine economy and there are plenty of museums to keep history buffs entertained.