Maine's scenic beauty attracts artists, writers, and photographers, and its many lakes, rivers, wooded areas, and mountains lure sports enthusiasts the year round. Its long coastline is noted for its picturesque coves, harbors, and islands. Numerous sheltered sandy beaches alternate with imposing rocky headlands where breakers crash against the shore.
Maine's coastal waters attract a steadily increasing number of saltwater sports fishing enthusiasts. Thousands of pleasure craft, from tiny sailboats to large yachts explore the coast. Camping, canoeing, mountain climbing, hunting, golf, and skiing are also available to vacationists.
The state's only national park is Acadia National Park. With an area of nearly 42,000 acres, it occupies most of Mount Desert Island, just off the coast. A small section of the park lies on Schoodic Peninsula, on the mainland, and another part is on Isle au Haut, 25 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.
In the park, on the shore of Mount Desert Island, is Thunder Hole, a deep crevice where the crashing waves cause the water rushing into it to rise as high as 40 feet. One of the attractions of the park is Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island, the highest mountain on the eastern coast of North America. Also on Mount Desert Island is Bar Harbor, one of New England's most famous summer resorts.
Saint Croix Island International Historical Site marks the site of the first European settlement on the Atlantic coast north of Florida. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Bridge connects Lubec with Campobello Island in New Brunswick, on which is situated the Roosevelt Campobello International Park. The park contains the summer cottage of the former United States president and is jointly administered by the United States and Canada.
Near Mount Katahdin is the beginning of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which follows the Appalachian Mountains for about 2140 miles from Maine to its terminus at Mount Oglethorpe, Georgia.
National Forests and Rivers:
The largest alpine area east of the Rocky Mountains and south of Canada is found in White Mountain National Forest, a portion of which lies in Maine. Campgrounds, hiking and biking trails, scenic drives, and historic places can be found in the forest.
In 1970, Allagash Wilderness Waterway, 92 miles long, in northern Maine became a state-administered recreation area to be added to the National Wild and Scenic River System.
The 30 developed state parks in Maine boast extensive trails and year-round outdoor recreation. Grafton Notch State Park has unique roadside hikes and vistas, including Screw Auger Falls Gorge. Many areas in this park offer views of natural stone bridges and extensive cave systems composed of rock slabs. Many of the state parks in the interior are located on lakes.
Maine has a number of state parks located on the seacoast. These include the Two Lights State Park, at Cape Elizabeth; Reid State Park, near Popham Beach; Camden Hills State Park, near Camden; Moose Point State Park, at Searsport; Crescent Beach State Park, near Portland; Lamoine State Park, south of Ellsworth; Warren Island, at Islesboro; and Cobscook Bay, at Dennysville.
Baxter State Park, covering about 200,000 acres in north central Maine, is the state's largest park. The land, given to the state by former governor Percival P. Baxter, is maintained as a wilderness area and wildlife sanctuary. Mount Katahdin's highest peak, Baxter Peak (5268 ft), is the highest point in the state, and lies in the southern section of the park.
Other Places to Visit:
The Blaine House in Augusta, which is the executive mansion, was built in the 1830s and bought by Maine political leader James G. Blaine in 1862. The silver service in the dining room was recovered from the battleship Maine ten years after it was sunk in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, in 1898. This service was presented to the battleship by the state when the ship was launched.
Souvenirs, documents, and personal belongings of American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow are displayed in Portland's Wadsworth-Longfellow House, his childhood home. The Portland Head Lighthouse, on Cape Elizabeth on the south side of Portland Harbor, is one of the oldest and most recognized of the nation's lighthouses. Another attraction is the Seaside Trolley Museum, in nearby Arundel, with the world's largest collection of trolley cars.
The covered Sunday River Bridge, built in 1870 near Bethel, has been photographed and painted so often it has been nicknamed "Artist's Bridge." Life continues in the mode of the 19th century at the Norlands Living History Center, a stately Victorian mansion, granite library, church, and schoolhouse near Livermore.
The famous seacoast village of Bar Harbor features the Natural History Museum. In Columbia Falls, the 1818 Ruggles House sports a flying staircase and intricately detailed woodcarvings throughout the interior. Acadian Historic Village in Van Buren consists of sixteen reconstructed and relocated buildings preserving the unique French Acadian culture.
Burnham Tavern, in Machias, has been made into a museum. It was used in 1775 as a meeting place by local patriots planning the first naval battle of the American Revolution (1775-1783). Old Gaol, in York, was used as a jail from the time it was built in 1719 until 1860. It is now a museum and contains many colonial and Native American relics.
Fort Popham, on Popham Beach, is near the site of Maine's first attempted English settlement, made in 1607. The present fort was begun in 1861, and although it was never completed, it was used by U.S. soldiers until World War I (1914-1918). A number of other historic forts have been preserved as memorials, including Fort McClary at Kittery, Fort Edgecomb near Wiscasset, and Fort O'Brien, near Machiasport. Maine's largest fort is Fort Knox across the Penobscot River from Bucksport. Fort Western, in Augusta, was built on the site of a trading post constructed in 1628. The original garrison house has been restored, furnished with colonial antiques, and made a museum.