Maine is a wonderful place to visit in the northeastern United States. From its miles of coastline with charming towns, to world class restaurants focused on iconic Maine lobster, blueberry and maple syrup dishes. When planning a New England trip to this Pine Tree State, you may be wondering, what is Maine known for?
Plus there’s plenty of famous outdoor activities and parks to explore on family vacations and for outdoor lovers. Let’s find out more below!
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What Is Maine Famous For?
Maine is famous for picturesque coastlines and lighthouses, fresh lobster, Acadia National Park, and the famous horror author Stephen King.
Warm summer days lounging on beaches. Winter sports and cross-country skiing in the winter months. Plus plenty of outdoor and sea faring activities year-round for the casual or die hard enthusiast.
These are just some of the many reasons why Mainers wouldn’t live anywhere else.
And so many reasons you’ll love to visit.
Read on to learn more about the food, attractions, outdoor activities, and travel destinations Maine is best known for.
FOOD MAINE IS FAMOUS FOR
Maine is a foodies paradise. It has a thriving food scene, especially in Portland, ME. Which also happens to be the largest city with a year round population of 68,000 people.
Summertime in Maine is the most popular time to visit, but there are plenty of food and activities happening year round.
1. Fresh Lobster & Maine Lobster Rolls
What is Maine best known for? Lobster!
Whether you love a bit of lobster meat drenched in butter, or are looking for the best lobster roll or bisque, Maine is one of the best places for freshly caught, succulent lobster around.
Many of the quaint Atlantic coast towns have their own take on lobster shacks (aka lobster pounds).
Red’s Eats in Wicasset, ME, named New England’s #1 Lobster Roll in 2022, is not to miss east coast experience.
Of course there’s more to Maine than lobster, like maple syrup.
Fun Fact: Lobster was once so plentiful in Maine and the east coast it was considered a “poor persons” food.
2. Maine Maple Syrup
Maine maple syrup is sticky, sweet goodness.
Maple trees are tapped for their sugar water which is boiled down into maple syrup. Sugaring season usually runs late February to early April. Which is the perfect time to visit a sugar shack.
In March the Maine Maple Producers Association hosts the Maine Maple Sunday Weekend event. Farms and sugar houses offer samples, games, activities, treats, sugarbush tours, and music throughout the weekend. This year is the 40th annual event.
I spent 10 years living on the east coast, and if you aren’t putting maple syrup on pancakes or in your coffee, you are missing out!
3. Whoopie Pies
Ever had a whoopie pie? Imagine a tasty round cake cookies stuffed with a layer of fluffy, sweet cream.
Both Pennsylvania & Maine lay claim to being creators of this tasty dessert. But I’m sure you’ll agree, no matter who created the first version, one bite, won’t be your last.
For amazing pies, try Labadie’s in Lewiston or Wicked Whoopies in Freeport, ME.
4. Wild Maine Blueberries
Did you know Maine is the single largest producer of blueberries in the United States? In 2021 they produced 103.8 million pounds of their “low bush” or wild blueberries. Blueberries are also one of the things Maine is known for.
You can find many blueberry focused souvenirs and dishes that highlight this famous Maine fruit. Blueberry pancakes, muffins, syrup, or the state dessert, Blueberry Pie.
Maine Diner in Wells is a local favorite to try blueberry themed dishes.
You’ll also want to experience a Downeast Maine’s blueberry harvest first hand. The best time to pick your own is during the summer, from late-July to early September.
Grocery stores usually carry Maine blueberries, and related products year round, if you miss out on the picking season.
5. Maine Lobster Festival
The Maine Lobster Festival held the first weekend in August each year in Rockland, ME, is a must for lobster lovers.
This five day event full of fun and feasting, celebrates all things local seafood, Delish!
Held in the beautiful midcoast Maine, enjoy lobster dinners, parades, live entertainment, activities for the kids, artisans and more.
MILES OF ATLANTIC COASTLINE
6. Maine has 3, 478 miles of Coastline
Maine has more coastline than California at 3,478 miles, or over 5000 if you count the islands as well.
Perfect for pulling up in a boat to one of the many deep harbors, or to take the opportunity to do a little sea kayaking. Or perhaps joining a sailing tour aboard a Schooner, or a luxury catamaran trip is more your speed.
Tucked away along the shores are also some lovely beaches to explore. Search for treasures, relax at a sandy beach or walk the shore paths by oceanfront hotels in Bar Harbor, & Acadia or Marginal Way in Ogunquit.
TRAVEL DESTINATIONS & ATTRACTIONS MAINE IS KNOWN FOR
The whole state of Maine is underrated for travelers.
It’s natural beauty, iconic sites, fun kid friendly ideas, and delicious Downeast food, make it the perfect getaway.
Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend in an oceanfront resort or hotel. Or favorite spots for a fun family vacation.
There are so many amazing spots along Maine’s coastline, its miles of rivers, and parks to visit. Plus there’s so many things to do in Spring and year round.
Have you really been to the coast of Maine if you haven’t taken an iconic lighthouse photo?
There are over 65 lighthouses to choose from…so many they’re hard to miss.
7. Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth
Portland Head LIght, located in Cape Elizabeth near Portland, ME, is one of the most popular and photographed in the state.
In the summer months, one of the best things to do is pack a picnic, and make a day of it at Fort Williams Park.
Explore the trails. Wander the historic Battery Keyes structure and of course take that instagram worthy pic in front of the “Bug Light” as locals affectionately call it.
8. West Quoddy Head Light
West Quoddy Head Light is a cute red and white striped lighthouse in Quoddy State Park, authorized in 1808 by Thomas Jefferson himself. It’s also the easternmost point in the U.S. so you can check that off your bucketlist too.
Fun fact: The red and white tower is the only “candy striped” tower in the United States.
9. Cape Neddick Light (Nubble Lighthouse)
Set on a rocky island off the coast of York, Maine. This often photographed lighhouse can be easily seen from seaside Sohier Park.
The park is open year round for excellent views, painting, scuba diving, fishing and relaxing.
ATTRACTIONS MAINE IS KNOWN FOR
10. Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park, located on Mount Desert Island is reason itself to make a visit to Maine.
As the only National Park in the state, it gets 3.5 million visitors annually, and is in the top ten most visited National Parks in US.
With over 150 miles of hiking trails to explore it’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Other outdoor activities Acadia is known for boating, camping, biking, and fishing.
Bar Harbor has many lovely and convenient places to eat and stay near Acadia. It makes the perfect kid friendly and pet-friendly home base.
Fun fact: Watch the first place in the US to see the sun rise from the top of Cadillac Mountain.
11. Portland, Maine
Portland, situated along Maine’s southern coast and Casco Bay is known as the center of economy, and tourism in the region.
Where you can find en enviable craft brew scene, with 25 breweries (at last count) for a town of only 66,000 peeps, Beal’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and a foodie scene to inspire your taste buds.
The historic 19th century Old Port District is the heart of the city’s nightlife, shopping, eating and fishing piers. An Old Port Culinary Walking Tour is a popular way to experience it all.
🏖 You may also like the Best Oceanfront Places To Stay In Maine
12. L.L. Bean Flagship Store
Thanks to Leon Leonwood Bean, you can now add shopping in Freeport to your Maine itinerary.
L.L. Bean is most well known for its waterproof “Bean Boot.” Which started out it’s life as the Maine Hunting Shoe, then became duck boots, and finally what it’s known as today.
You can even take a photo of the larger than life replica Bean Boot Statue in front of the store, before shopping for some high quality outdoor gear 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Freeport is a shopping destination itself with over 150 retailers to peruse.
13. Old Orchard Beach
Old Orchard Beach is an ode to seaside resort towns of the past, still beloved to this day.
Their Palace Playland amusement park was built in 1902 and families from all over the country travel here each summer for epic family beach vacations.
The Pier is a lively beachside attraction during the day with boardwalks, gift shops, seafood dives, restaurants, and a carousel ride. At night it becomes a hot spot for live entertainment, the bar scene, and a weekly firework show.
As one of the last oceanfront amusement parks in the country you’ll want to catch a ride, and amuse yourself here.
14. Picturesque Harbors
Maine is famous for it’s picturesque harbors filled with colorful fishing boats, schooners and other seafaring vessels.
There are so many it’s hard to pick a favorite.
These gems are popular harbors for grand photos; Portland (largest), Boothbay, Camden, and Bar Harbor.
Taking a road trip along the Maine coast, you really can’t go wrong stopping at any of the harbors that catch your fancy.
15. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Explore this coastal gem, dedicated to inspiring meaningful connections among people, plants, and nature.
One of Maine’s top attractions, and a distinguished botanical destination in the country, their 300 acres of rocky coastal forest & gardens is a treat for the senses.
Hidden amongst seven nature trails in Boothbay Harbor, are larger than life wooden trolls to seek out and find.
They also offer exhibits of Bees & Butterflies, and various gardens for all ages to wander through.
16. Farnsworth Art Museum
Farnsworth is a nationally recognized art museum less than 80 miles up the coast from Portland. This art museum celebrates Maine’s impact on American art and artists who were born or lived in Maine.
See works by artists like Georgia O’Keefe, Edward Hopper, Jamie Wyeth and sculptures by Louise Nevelson.
Rockland, Maine is an art lovers paradise with over 20 art galleries to visit too.
FAMOUS PEOPLE FROM MAINE
While Maine may not be known as the literary capital of the US, there are a few well known writers, as well as actors, politicians and figures who hail from these parts.
17. Stephen King
Such as Horror & suspense novelist Stephen King.
You can visit his “creepy” looking home in Bangor, Maine.
Fun fact: He wrote his first published book Carrie, while teaching English there at Hampden Academy.
18. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Portland is the birthplace of Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
You can visit the house he grew up in at 489 Congress St. from June to October. He went to school at Bowdoin College, later becoming one of the best loved American poets of all time.
19. Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe, is a Maine author who wrote the famous Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Sympathetic to the plight of slaves in US in the 1800’s, it was a controversial and important book.
Other famous people from Maine include:
- George W. H. Bush – The 41st President of the United States was known for spending his summers in Kennebunkport.
- Patrick Dempsey – McDreamy was born in Lewiston, Maine and spent his childhood in Buckfield, Maine, Later on he went into acting and is well known for his stint on Grey’s Anatomy, and movies such as Can’t Buy Me Love, Enchanted, and Made of Honor.
- Nelson A. Rockefeller – Was born in Bar Harbor and spent summers at his family home there. His family donated property on Mt. Desert Island that became Acadia National Park in 1919.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe – A Maine author who wrote the famous Uncle Tom’s Cabin, sympathetic to the plight of slaves in US in the 1800’s.
- Anna Kendrick – An actress and singer, she was born in Portland Maine in 1985. You may know her from the movies Twilight, Pitch Perfect or Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.
OUT DOOR ACTIVITIES MAINE IS KNOWN FOR
20. Whale Watching
Spring to early fall whales migrate along the east coast feeding on the underground plateau known as Jeffreys Ledge.
Humpback, Minke, finback whales and even a few North Atlantic Right Whales return year after year.
Best time to see whales is mid April to October.
Tours leave from Bar Harbor, Kennebunkport, Portland, and Boothbay Harbor along the coast.
21. Mount Katahdin
Baxter State Park is home to Mount Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine at 5,249 feet.
Which also happens to be northernmost end point of the scenic 2,200 mile long Appalachian Trail.
There are plenty of hiking trails ( 220+ miles) to enjoy the natural beauty of this park.
Maine is known for having the only Atlantic puffin nesting sites in the U.S.
You can see them during their breeding season in summer at Matinicus Rock or Seal Island at Penobscot Bay, or on Eastern Egg Rock in Boothbay Harbor.
23. Windjammer Sail Boats
Ahoy! Are you looking to cruise the seas on a historic 100 year old schooner?
Maine has tours of all lengths leaving from Casco Bay to Bar Harbor and Camden Harbor
There’s no better way to see Maine’s gorgeous rocky coastline than aboard a wooden sailing vessel. Wind blowing your hair.
24. Fall Foliage & Leaf Peeping
Maine will not disappoint when it comes to brilliant fall colors.
The best time to take a road trip through Maine for the blazing orange, reds and golds is mid September to October.
Check out the Maine website for all the latest fall foliage updates.
Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park is a wonderful and popular place to do a little leaf peeping in fall.
Interesting Facts & History about Maine
- Maine is the only state with one syllable – go ahead and check…….
- What are people of Maine called? Mainers.
- Maine has over 500,000 acres of land in 30 State Parks and one National Park (Acadia).
- Burt’s Bees originated in Maine in 1984, originally as a candle making company.
- Honey Bees are the official state insect.
- Maine’s nickname is the Pine Tree State, as it has over 85% of its land forested (around 17 million acres).
- Maine was once part of Massachusetts.
- The Moose is Maine’s official animal. Fun fact, Maine has over 76,000 moose, second only to Alaska in the states.
- Maine is the least densely populated of all the New England States, at only 43.1 persons per square mile.
- Maine is the only state that has only one state on its border – New Hampshire. It does however border on Quebec and New Brunswick in Canada as well.
- When Acadia opened in 1916, it was with first National Park east of the Mississippi and the only park in the Northeast.
- At slightly more than 33,200 square miles Maine is geographically almost as big as the five other New England States combined.
What are three things Maine is famous for?
Maine is famous for its 3,748 miles of rocky Atlantic coastline, 65 Lighthouses and their lobster industry. Visiting roadside lobster pounds for fresh steamed lobster, drenched in butter, and various takes on lobster rolls, is a favorite pastime for both locals and visitors. With so much coastline, Old Orchard Beach, Kennebunk Beach, Sand Beach and Crescent Beach are well known gems to explore.
What is the most common food in Maine?
The most common food in Maine is seafood, in particular lobster. Maine has a thriving lobster industry that has influenced Maine’s cuisine and love for this delicious crustacean. Lobster is popular steamed, boiled, in bisque or chowder, or lightly dressed and nestled in buttery toasted New England style bread rolls. In fact lobster was once so common it was undesirable and considered food for the poor.
What is Maine known for besides lobster?
Besides lobster, Maine’s food scene is known for oysters, mussels and other fresh seafood. As well as wild Maine blueberries; fresh or made into blueberry pies, muffins, and pancakes at local restaurants. Donuts, made with a potato base, maple syrup and iconic craft brews too. Maine has the most craft breweries per capita in the US, including 25 in Portland alone.