3 Unforgettable Weekend Getaways in Maine for Nature Lovers
A weekend getaway in Maine is the perfect thing to satisfy the itch to get outside in between your vacation weeks. Whether you are looking for a quick summer trip, want to go leaf peeping and savor the crisp fall weather, are getting cabin fever in the winter, or are willing to brave mud season and black flies just so you can feel fresh air again in the spring, these three Maine weekend trip itineraries are perfect for nature lovers!
1. Adrenaline-pumping whitewater weekend
For all you adventure seekers, head to The Forks from spring – fall to experience some of New England’s best whitewater rafting.
Take your time getting here and stop along the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway at the various pullouts to learn about the history and wildlife of the Kennebec Valley. Get settled into a cabin or riverfront campsite, grab dinner at the lodge, and head out before dusk to go moose spotting. During the long days of summer, you might have time to drive all the way to Attean Overlook in Jackman to watch the sunset, enjoying more scenic views and likely spotting some moose along the way!
It’s up early to head out with the rafting crew to the refreshing waters of the Kennebec River. Whether it’s your first time rafting or you’ve been dozens of times, it’s always a rush to carry your boat down to the river’s edge at the dam before you pile in and head off into the gorge. It won’t be long before you get a taste of what’s to come at Taster Rapid!
After a day on the river (along with lunch that will make all the other rafters jealous as they float by), share your heroic tales with the other rafters at the lodge, check out photos from the day, and enjoy a victory beer before relaxing around the campfire.
Enjoy the views from land today with a bike ride on the Forks Area Scenic Trail or with one of the many great hikes near The Forks. If your muscles are a little wobbly from your rafting adventure, head to Moxie Falls for a short hike. Or if you’re itching for a mountain top view, head to nearby Mosquito Mountain or Pleasant Pond Mountain.
2. A relaxing Down East Maine road trip (away from the crowds)
I used to think that everywhere on the Maine coast was packed with the same crowds as Bar Harbor in the summer, but I was mistaken. It’s possible to experience the same peacefulness in Down East Maine as you do in the rugged backwoods of western Maine.
Start your road trip with a stop at the Penobscot Narrows Observatory Bridge for expansive views of the area. Then make your way to Deer Isle for the day to hike nature preserves and granite quarries, take a mail ferry to the most remote part of Acadia National Park (Isle au Haut), or go island hopping in a sea kayak.
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Skip the crowds on Mount Desert Island and drive to the Schoodic Peninsula. On your way there, stop off at Reversing Tidal Falls Preserve (Sullivan Falls). Spend the day exploring the harbor town and the much quieter Schoodic section of Acadia.
Finish your weekend trip off with a drive through blueberry country and pass through small coastal villages until you reach Cutler, where you can enjoy a breathtaking hike on the Cutler Bold Coast Trail. If you’re not up for a serious hike, keep driving until you hit Quoddy Head State Park. Here you’ll find West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, the only candy-striped lighthouse in the country and the easternmost point in the continental US.
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3. A wilderness getaway in Baxter State Park
When you need to really get back to nature, head North. While Baxter State Park is most well-known for being home to Mount Katahdin, tackling Maine’s highest peak isn’t the only adventure you should have here. Here are some ideas for a nature-filled weekend getaway!
Enjoy the scenery as you drive to Baxter, and set up camp at Abol Bridge Campground before dinner so you can have the evening to go out moose spotting, paddle into the sunset on your standup paddleboard, or just relax by the campfire. Get some rest tonight–you’ll need it for tomorrow’s adventures!
Today’s the day for an epic choose-your-own adventure. You can either take on Mount Katahdin, or enjoy the heart-pumping rapids on the Penobscot River. Either way, you’ll be ready for the hammock or camp chair tonight!
Ready for a shorter, unique hike near your Baxter campsite? Head out on family-friendly hikes like Blueberry Ledges or the Debsconeag Ice Caves, or check out the many waterfall trails and shorter hikes throughout the park.
Big Moose Inn Cabins and Campground makes a great basecamp for exploring the Katahdin region! Get more information on camping near Baxter State Park here, and find details about rafting on the Penobscot River here.
Looking for some winter weekend getaways in Maine?
Head out on snowshoe or cross-country skis for a hut-to-hut adventure with Maine Huts and Trails. Or come back to The Forks as your basecamp for snowmobiling adventures around Maine’s thousands of miles of groomed trails.
Never been snowmobiling? Here are 3 reasons it’s the best way to see Maine in the winter!