Lobster and Lighthouses: Coastal Maine Road Trip

Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor, Maine

Ogunquit to Bar Harbor

Recommended Time: 5-7 days

The coast of Maine is one of the most ruggedly beautiful spots in the United States. From craggy cliffs to miles of nature trails, there’s a lot that remains untouched—pristine, even. Quintessential New England harbor towns set the pace for vacationers. Life happens slowly here. You take time to smell the ocean air, walk hand in hand along the beach, and savor your lobster roll. From photographing lighthouses and browsing art galleries to whale watching and exploring Acadia National Park, a coastal Maine road trip is the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.

Start your trip by spending a few days in Ogunquit, the most idyllic New England beach town you’ll ever come across. In the language of the Algonquin Indians, it means “Beautiful Place by the Sea,” and indeed, it is. Browse the galleries found in Perkin’s Cove, and stroll Marginal Way along the ocean. Even take a boating excursion to nearby Nubble Lighthouse. Summer is also the perfect time to catch a show at the Ogunquit Playhouse.

Meander up the coast to Kennebunkport, the summer home to President George Bush and family. With beautiful beaches and a thriving art scene, Kennebunkport attracts a cultured clientele. It is home to some of the most beautiful seaside hotels and upscale restaurants in the entire state. This is also a great place to catch a whale watching cruise or a lobster tour down the Kennebunk River.

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Whale watch in Maine, photo credit: Pat Hawks

En route to Bar Harbor, make a stop at Cape Elizabeth to visit Two Lights State Park. See the twin lighthouses—one the brightest on the New England coast, and the second, inactive since 1924—and take time to grab a bite to eat at the Lobster Shack. Perched high above the rocky coastline, this is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch and watch the waves crash below. Stop at the Portland Head Lighthouse, just five miles north, to see the oldest—and most famous—lighthouse in all of Maine.

Portland Head Lighthouse, Photo credit: Anthony Quintano

Finally, make your way to Bar Harbor, a lively coastal town and host to Acadia National Park. Drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road, making stops at Sand Beach, Jordan Pond House, and Cadillac Mountain for stunning 360°-views of the harbor. You’ll want to spend some time exploring the crisscrossing carriage roads established by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who worked with architects and masons to ensure the infrastructure played in harmony with the landscape. Where sea and mountains meet, Acadia’s natural beauty makes it one of the most visited national parks.

View from Cadillac Mountain, photo credit: walknboston

 

What other coastal Maine towns would you include?

Places

Ogunquit

Ogunquit, ME, United States

Two Lights State Park

Two Lights State Park, Tower Drive, Cape Elizabeth, ME, United States

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor, ME, United States

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, ME, United States

Portland Head Lighthouse

Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, ME, United States

Ogunquit

Ogunquit, ME, United States
http://www.ogunquit.org/

Two Lights State Park

Two Lights State Park, Tower Drive, Cape Elizabeth, ME, United States
http://visitmaine.com/organization/two-lights-state-park/?uid=vtm80A5A66E87D5818FC

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, ME, United States
http://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm

Portland Head Lighthouse

Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, ME, United States
http://www.portlandheadlight.com/

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