Maine Open Lighthouse Day happens every September, and with over 60 lighthouses dotting Maine’s coast, visitors should consider lighthouses as a theme for their vacation.
Lighthouses are both historically significant as well as visually interesting, and come in various shapes, sizes and monikers. From the oldest lighthouse in Maine—Portland Head Light located in Cape Elizabeth and completed in 1791—to Whitlocks Mill Light—on the St. Croix River and the most northern in the state—these “Beacons of Light” were instrumental in helping sailors navigate the difficult waters and craggy shores that make up Maine’s tremendous coastline.
Maine boasts over 3,000 islands, some accessible by bridge, some by ferry, some by private boat and some just not at all. Mount Desert, home of Acadia National Park, is so easily reached by car it seems not an island at all. But for a more nautical experience try an island by ferry.
Off Portland in Casco Bay are six islands served by Casco Bay Lines. While many residents use the ferries to commute to work, leisure cruises are offered as well. Choose from a family trip with the kids to explore tidal pools or wade at one of the small beach areas. Escape for a romantic lunch or dinner, a day at the beach, or bring your bike and explore island life.
Photo: Summit of Mt. Penobscot in Acadia by Richard Moore
One of the best perspectives of Maine is from the water—this vantage point offers visitors views of coves, islands and harbors, all while taking in Maine’s timeless beauty and getting a sense of its seagoing history. From the on-the-water perspective, you’ll see many of Maine’s charming ports, observe animals such as seals, porpoises, and osprey, learn about the history of the region, and have unique access to seaport villages.
In late spring, summer and early fall, there are a number companies offering many ways to enjoy a bay or harbor cruise with departure options up and down the coast, from Boothbay to Bar Harbor, Camden to Castine. There are also a variety of vessels to choose from, including windjammers to lobster boats to a 1934 motor yacht similar to Hemingway’s beloved “Pilar”.
Take a look at a coastal map of Maine and you’ll quickly discover there are dozens of peninsulas that stretch like fingers into the Gulf of Maine. Each one is unique and well worth exploring, and the Blue Hill Peninsula is no exception.
When visiting this Peninsula, it helps to love boats. Brooklin, the self-proclaimed “Boat Building Capital of the World” is home to six companies that produce everything from prams and peapods to offshore fishing boats to some of the world’s finest wooden yachts.
The Bold Coast Scenic Byway is a 125-mile scenic driving route connecting a network of communities whose entire way of life is historically bound to its wild and scenic coastal environment. The people who make their living by harvesting the bounty of the land invite visitors to come experience their stories and explore first hand the places and events that shaped them.