Vacationers and visitors will discover an impressive and surprising array of activities and natural beauty in Maine. There is truly something for everyone. Maine is divided into “Regions” in the GUIDE, and each Region has its own characteristics and allure. Whether you seek a faster-paced vacation with lots of activities and attractions nearby, or a slower-paced relaxing vacation just enjoying nature and scenery – Maine has it all.
Geographical differences around the state are impressive.
Maine’s 3478 mile coastline is a major attraction and a vista of sandy beaches contrasted by the rugged rockbound shoreline. Here you will discover coves and harbors and the towns and villages of coastal Maine that are as diversified as the coast itself. Traveling Coastal U.S. Route 1 from Kittery to Eastport – with stops along the way – would be a vacation experience to remember while discovering the magnificent beauty of the coast as well as the incredible contrasts.
The southern coastal regions boast miles of sandy beaches. Many attractions, great restaurants, antiquing and flea markets, artists and artisans, and countless shopping opportunities and factory outlets can be enjoyed. Among the most popularly visited towns are York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach, Portland and Freeport.
Maine’s Mid-Coast Region is more diversified in not only its coastline, but its development and lifestyle as well. Sandy beaches – with a few exceptions near the Bath area – are generally shorter and more intermingled with the rocky coast, coves and harbors. A noticeable contrast is evident when visiting harbors; lobster and fishing boats are contrasted by harbors of beautiful privately owned power and sailboats. Commercially owned excursion boats await you. Commercial attractions are fewer, but quaint villages have an allure all their own. Diversified accommodations, dining and shopping are available. Popularly visited towns include Bath, Brunswick, Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Rockland, Camden, Belfast, Searsport and Bucksport. The region offers an appealing mixture of natural beauty and a slower pace but plenty to see and do.
Maine’s northern most coast includes many smaller, quiet communities contrasted by the hub of activity of the Ellsworth – Bar Harbor – Acadia National Park area. The contrasts here are incredible. Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park are among the most popularly visited areas in the state, and with good reason because of the natural and commercial activities available.
Traveling northeast along the coast, continue to discover Maine’s “Downeast” as it is popularly called. Smaller villages and scenic coves continue to contrast with a rugged, rocky coastline. There are fewer extensive facilities for visitors. However, you will find Machias, Eastport and Calais – on the Canadian border – ready and anxious to host travelers. While in this area, another popularly visited area is Lubec – home of the famous red and white striped West Quoddy lighthouse – and Campobello Island – home of President F. D. Roosevelt’s summer estate.
Coastal Maine Route 1
Leaving the coastal region, U.S. Route 1 continues to travel north along the Canadian border through the eastern edge of Aroostook County. Here you have seemingly entered yet another world. “The County” for decades was world famous for its potatoes and many farms still grow countless acres of potatoes while other farmers have started growing other crops in demand. In a good part of the region, the spanses of flat open fields are impressive. These are particularly beautiful during August when all the potato blossoms are in bloom. The cities and towns of Houlton, Presque Isle, Caribou, Fort Fairfield and Fort Kent offer pleasing facilities for visitors. There are many smaller lakes and river waterways in the region. Westward and southward leads to the northern end of the famous Allagash Wilderness Waterway – a naturalist’s delight.
Traveling south from Aroostook County, there are choices to be made in the Medway-Millinocket area. To the west is Maine’s “Wilderness Region” and Baxter State Park. Or continue south to the city of Bangor which offers travelers most everything they would need or want to find. The Bangor area is a central location for day trips to either popular Moosehead Lake to the west or the Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park area to the east. From Bangor, traveling south will lead to central Maine – Waterville, the Capitol City of Augusta and Lewiston-Auburn.
Moosehead Lake – Maine’s largest lake – and the region offer another gateway to Maine’s wilderness and Baxter State Park. The communities of Greenville, Rockwood and Jackman provide facilities for travelers.
Traveling southwest from Greenville and south from Jackman you will discover “The Forks” and the Kennebec River – one of the most popular whitewater rafting areas in the state along with the Millinocket area. The primary road in the region is Route 201.
Moving southward and staying in the western part of Maine, will lead through the Kennebec Valley Region – home of many beautiful lakes and rivers – and continue into Maine’s Western Lakes and Mountains Region. (Primary roads are Route 2, Route 202, Route 302 and Route 26.) The region is a contrast of larger towns and tiny towns, beautiful lakes and rivers, and rugged foothills and mountains. Both geographically and commercially, the region is one of contrasts. The northern area of the Rangeley area contrasts with the western Bethel area (close to the N.H. boundary) and to the more southern Sebago-Long Lake area.
Sebago Lake, Maine’s second largest lake, is another hub of activity. The Windham-Naples-Bridgton areas offer accommodations and facilities for the very popular Sebago-Long Lake area. In addition to many lakes, canoeing the Saco River is a major attraction. Plus the area is easily accessible from either Portland, Maine or No. Conway, NH.
A number of popular areas have been mentioned in providing this overview of Maine. A sense of the state’s geographical and commercial contrasts is evident. Not included are many towns and noteworthy points of interest and side trips. Wherever you may choose as a destination, you should have the vacation of a lifetime. Here you may truly get “out of the rush” if you choose, and just enjoy some quality peace and quiet.
MECOA: Maine Campground Owners Association
MECOA is the premier resource for supporting campground owners and promoting camping in Maine.
The Maine Camping Guide website and printed version of the Maine Camping Guide are products of the Maine Campground Owners Association (MECOA). MECOA represents over 200 of Maine's licensed campgrounds. The offices of MECOA are in Lewiston Maine and you may contact us here.
MECOA accomplishes their mission by providing marketing, advocacy and educational tools to its members. MECOA has built this website for the convenience of the camping public and all of our members are represented here on this site as well as in the printed version of the guide which is available here in a digital format. MECOA marketing program for members is extensive.