The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Trip To Maine in The Fall
Maine, the not-so-secret gem of the east coast with Portland as the 2018 Restaurant City of the Year according to Bon Appetit Magazine, breathtaking coastal views, and charming towns – not to mention the awe-inducing vibrant foliage in the fall. The Pine Tree state is definitely a bucket-list worthy place.
My recent trip to Maine was in partnership with Visit Maine. What started as a friendly invite to admire the fall foliage and savor their world-famous lobsters, left me in awe for a place I’ve never thought of visiting before.
9 Things to do in Maine in the fall
Maine offers plenty of things to do, but visit in the fall amid colorful foliage, and you will have a hard time saying goodbye. Here are the top things you must do when visiting Maine in the fall – great time ensured!
Go on a road trip
The best way to explore Maine is on a road trip. The state offers charming coastal towns, breathtaking mountain views, and the most scenic coastlines – and don’t forget, Maine has four National Scenic Byways.
Maine Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1-2 Portland
Day 3 Camden
Day 4 Bar Harbor
Day 5 Acadia National Park
Day 6 Bold coast
Day Trip to one of Maine’s Charming towns
As you drive along the coast, you will find many quaint port and fisherman towns – although small, some of them are full of history. Stop by one on your road trip for lunch or a stroll.
Maine's Most Popular Towns
Explore Maine’s famous scenic Byways
If you can’t get enough of the scenic drive on your road trip, Maine has four byways for you to choose from!
The Schoodic byway is the closest one to you if you are planning to drive from Portland to Lubec. The drive will take you to the quiet side of Acadia National Park and through small fishing towns, sheltered harbors, and rocky coastline.
Just imagine how gorgeous this road must be that it’s named the All-American Road and considered the gold standard of the scenic route. It takes about three hours to drive, but I can guarantee you, it is worth it.
Love a little history? This route will take you back in time. On this byway, you will encounter old-time villages and abundant wildlife.
On this route, you will find the most activities like outdoors sports, local museums, quaint villages, and plenty to ooh and aah about!
Wine (or beer) & Dine in Portland
Don’t mistake Portland for an old fisherman town. Au contraire, the city is buzzing with trendy shops and vibrant culinary scene. As a foodie, you will rejoice to learn the variety of restaurants in town – from fresh seafood, to farm to table, to locally sourced ingredients type of restaurants. Definitely add a few extra days to your itinerary if you enjoy hip towns with a great food scene - Portland’s Food Guide coming soon!
Go leaf peeping
It’s no secret that thousands of visitors flock to Maine during the fall season – a.k.a. Leaf peepers. If you want to spot some of the best foliage you have ever seen, Maine is the place to be. Check out this website, it will tell you the foliage peak color and where to spot it.
Go on a Lobster boat tour
What better way to get fresh lobster than going on tour on a lobster boat and watch how the fishermen catch them? Learn from the experts about lobster harvesting and how they protect their sources and the ocean's environment.
Go on a hike
Go on an invigorating hike! The highlight of our trip to Maine was hiking the Fairy Head Trail on the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land. Although there are many hiking trails all over Maine, the Fairy head trail is a must. The moss fields all around the forest and the stunning view of the ocean on the coastal portion of the trail made it one of my favorite hikes yet.
Check out this website help you plan and find the best hiking trails in Maine.
Visit one of the many lighthouses
Known as the lighthouse state, Maine has over 60 lighthouses along the coast. On our visit, we went to Little River Lighthouse located in Litter River Island right off the coast of Cutler. We took a small boat to arrive and made our way through the beautiful path to the lighthouse. If you are driving along the i95, you will inevitably encounter many of them on your way.
Try a Maine blueberry pie
Did you know blueberry is Maine’s state fruit? As you drive around Maine, you will find many wild blueberry barrens – in the fall these barrens turn red giving a burst of colors to the landscape. The berry grows naturally in the state due to pollination. Maine’s blueberry pie is a staple that you won’t be able to get enough of – we certainly couldn’t!
Roam the Bold Coast
Many travelers visit the Acadia National Park but miss out on the rest of Bold Coast. The area is filled with quaint fisherman towns, blueberry barrens, mossy forests, and coastal views.
On our road trip, we made Lubec our home for a few days. The quaint little town is the easternmost area of the United States, located a short-bridge away from Canada. We stayed at the cozy Cohill's Inn, which is located right on the border facing Canada. Our morning consisted of pastel colors sunrises followed by a delicious breakfast at The Inn on the Warf.
When to visit Maine
Spring and summer might be an excellent time to visit, but those seasons can’t beat fall’s vibrant foliage. Visit in September for sunny days and milder temperatures and, in October for the foliage peak season.
What to pack
If you are going from the hip town of Portland to the rocky coastline of the Bold Coast, you could easily overpack trying to bring variety of outfits for two very different places. But fear, not - here’s my quick packing guide to help you pack for Maine in the fall.
For city outfits, I opted for cozy sweaters with a Uniqlo Heattech underneath for extra warmth - they are the best to layer to stay warm - and a camel coat for a more put-together look. This look also works for driving days and when you go exploring Maine’s small towns.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you need the warmest clothes to go hiking in the fall! Remember that you will eventually get warm as you hike. Start removing layers right before you start sweating. Otherwise, your clothes will absorb the sweat and you will be very cold afterwards. Don’t forget to bring a ultra lightweight backpack with snacks and water!
This post was sponsored by Visit Maine. As always all opinions are my own.