The Maine Coast for Luxury Travel | Relax in a secluded beachside cottage or at a five-star resort

maine coast

Touring the Maine Coast is an extraordinary journey. With more coastline than California (3,478 miles), it takes time to view the entire Maine Coast. The State of Maine is larger than the other 5 New England states combined, 17 million acres, with 6,000 lakes and ponds.

Travel Tips to The Maine Coast

Our Maine driving advice, use I-95 (the Maine Turnpike) to travel South to North, versus traveling on Route One, to get to your destination. While sections of Route 1 appear coastal, the Interstate is much quicker.

The truth is Route One is several miles closer to the coast than the Maine Turnpike but not close enough to see the coast to offer significant ocean views. With all Route One’s small Maine towns with slower speed limits, and traffic lights, your drive time will double.

he first 30 miles of coast are known as the “Southern Maine Coast Region” comprised of the towns of Kittery, The Yorks, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Biddeford, Saco, and Old Orchard Beach.

These eight towns offer more to see and do than one could possibly hope to accomplish in a busy week of sightseeing and touring. The first 30 miles of Maine’s coast comprises 90% of the State’s sandy beaches.

Camping at The Maine Coast

Camping on or near the Maine coast is a bit of a challenge. Most of the camping opportunities are private, commercial, and don’t offer direct access to the ocean. Be sure to research the area you are planning to visit and make reservations early because campgrounds fill quickly, especially on weekends.

Camden Hills State Park is one exception. The state park has a large campground situated right off Highway 1. The campground is a perfect base camp to explore the large state park and the surrounding area.

Parking to The Maine Coast

Parking is a premium at every beach and shore access in Maine. Be ready to pay in order to park. Many of the southern sandy beaches have parking rates that run up to $20 a day. Be sure to get to the beach before 10 a.m. to snag a spot, especially on weekends.

Greater Portland and Maine beaches

  • Fortune Rocks Beach: A popular 2-mile white sand beach for families and surfers.
  • Old Orchard Beach: The classic southern Maine beach complete with sand, lots of people, an iconic pier, and amusement rides.
  • Pine Point Beach: Three miles north of Old Orchard Beach on the same stretch of sand on the Saco Bay. Quieter and with less crowds than Old Orchard.
  • Higgins Beach: A small community beach popular with surfers and dog walkers.
  • Portland Head Lighthouse: One of Maine’s most iconic lighthouses. It is the focal point of the Fort Williams Park just south of Portland.
  • Willard Beach: A small sandy beach in the city of Portland. Great for relaxing in the sand and watching the boat traffic.
  • Spring Point Ledge Light: A “spark plug” lighthouse anchoring a 900-foot stone breakwater just north of Willard Beach. It can be accessed from the beach through the ruins of Fort Preble.

Fourteen Stunning Stops on the Maine Coast


Kennebunkport is an adorable storybook town with zero industrial feel. Because the area is surrounded by water canals and islands, a tour with Coastal Maine Kayak should be on the top of the list. While the area is quite upscale, it’s quintessential Maine and would be a shame to miss. From planters with flowers lining the bridge to adorable Halloween decor come fall, Kennebunkport is perfection. Grab a bundle of clam bellies from the Clam Shack before meandering eclectic downtown shops, then grab a wine goat cheese scoop of ice cream in a pretzel cone at Rococo. For dinner, Nunan’s trumps all with classic lobster and what is, by far, the best blueberry pie in town. There are many cottage-Iike, cozy inns that fit right into the picture-perfect theme, like The Nonantum Resort, which sits right off the water. Sandy Pines Campground is a good option for RVers.

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is likely the top tourist town in all of Maine – for good reason. There’s more to Bar Harbor than jaw-dropping ocean views, and a downtown area with treasure-filled local shops and dining options—Bar Harbor basically sits in Acadia National Park’s backyard. Just bike over, or take the free Island Explorer shuttle complete with bike racks. Slumber at the Bar Harbor Inn, which is full of history and classically decorated rooms. Bike the carriage roads, stop at the historic Jordan Pond House for popovers and jams, and see ocean spray bound over the rocky coastline. You can try lobster ice cream, and many notable restaurants, some with bay views, are packed at this stop. Opt for a bed and breakfast like the Ivy Manor Inn.

Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach is what childhood dreams are made of; it has that Coney Island feel with waterfront rides, games, and delicious food. Palace Playland prides itself on being New England’s only beachfront amusement park. Operating April through early October, the Park accents the beach with glittering fireworks on Thursday nights. A few steps away is the pier, featuring a stretch of restaurants serving local favorites like clams, lobster rolls, and other traditional Maine seafood.


Lubec which is as far up and east as you can go without being in Canada. Quoddy Head State Park is technically the Easternmost Point of the United States and is complete with a plaque saying so, along with a lighthouse. You can peer over the water toward Canada. The Wharf is excellent for both lodging and for enjoying fresh seafood just hauled in on the boats. Monica’s Chocolates for dessert couldn’t be a better addition to a road trip up the Maine Coast.

Boothbay Harbor

One of the best towns in Maine for outdoor lovers, during June and July Boothbay Harbor is the place to see them. You’ll also find the best seafood experience around by going on the Cabbage Island Clam Bake Boat ride. After docking at the island, guests play games until the glorious meal of Lobster, corn, potatoes blueberry cake is prepared. Housing a 23-pound lobster, Boothbay is also home to the Maine State Aquarium.


Camden one of the most beautiful small towns in the U.S. sits right on the ocean, and the downtown area is full of shops where you’ll likely rack up on most of the trip’s souvenirs. Explore parks or book a trip out on a classic schooner. When here, staying in one of the luxury inns is something every traveler should treat themselves to. And don’t forget to stop for blueberry pancakes at Boynton McKay on the way out. And if your up for a detour, veer inland to pick the most flavorful Macintosh apples at Hope Orchard during early autumn. Camden proudly describes itself as the Jewel of the Maine Coast, and boats enough activities to keep any traveler entertained.

Acadia National Park

One of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S., Acadia National Park is located along the coast of Maine in the northeastern United States. There’s plenty to see and do along the mountain ridges, coastline, forests, and ponds. For picture-perfect views, the top of Cadillac Mountain is an ideal spot for sunset gazing. Fall is the most popular time to witness the changing colors of the autumn foliage. However, summer is a great time to visit for outdoor recreation.


Flying into Portland, Maine is typically an easy experience with little confusion. Almost immediately after setting off on the highway, you can get that Maine vibe in the air. Portland is a cool city, chock full of trendy seafood restaurants that offer more twists than simpler but equally exciting seafood huts through the state. Bob’s Clam Hut originated in Kittery in a backyard, but now there’s a Portland location that offers gluten-free chowder and gluten-free fried clams. But you might not want to limit your food options to seafood alone in Portland.


Perfect for a romantic weekend getaway, Bangor is about two hours away, located ever so slightly inland, and really worth a stop. Not for its traditional coastal feels, but for its charming downtown, and strong correlation with Stephen King. One night will do, but make sure to see the sites that inspired famous King stories, as well as the writer’s very own crimson-colored home complete with bat detailed iron fencing. Pretty cool stuff.


In case you were wondering, the Blueberry Capital of the World resides in Machias, and there’s a Round, blue museum to commemorate this. A whopping 95 percent of the world’s wild blueberries grow in this tasty patch of paradise, and it’s all celebrated during august’s Wild Blueberry Festival.


Wiscasset is another charming Maine nook just 1.5 hours away, which warrants a drive-through, and a stop at the accurately hyped Red’s Eats. During peak season, lunch lines can be crazy long (we are talking two hours), so picking an obscure time is recommended. Or just enjoy conversation with friendly travelers and water views. Red’s has a killer lobster roll, and the best, butter-drenched gluten-free bread ever. After eating, move on to Camden.

Deer Isle

Deer Isle will take adventurists away from the more populated areas of Maine, and out into the sprinkling of islands off the coast. Only a 1.5-hour drive away, the Isle is serene with pristine kayaking terrain and meandering hiking trails to granite flats. Nervous Nellies is a must-visit attraction in the woods, featuring artistic castle structures and other bizarre displays to explore. In the cottage, you’ll find fresh-made jams to taste and buy, along with teas and locally made goodies. Quaint lodging awaits, like the historic Pilgrim’s Inn.

Schoodic Peninsula

Schoodic Peninsula is the too often overlooked side of Acadia only a short hour drive from Bar Harbor, offering some of the most serene overlooks in the state. When here, make the 15-minute drive to The Pickled Wrinkle, to taste two undersung classic Maine delicacies—pickled wrinkles (a type of preserved shellfish), and fiddleheads (a swirly green plant that has to be cooked just right or it’s poisonous). Together the combo is refreshing, but call ahead to make sure they have these particular items, or you’ll end up with another cup of chowder. Summer is usually the time.

The Best Places to Stay in Maine Coast

For Seaside Luxury

  • The Claremont is a striking seaside hotel in Southwest Harbor, complete with an infinity pool, soothing spa, exclusive boat trips, yoga classes and superb fine dining. The rooms, cottages and houses are brilliant for couples, groups or families. This is one of Maine’s most spectacular coastal hotels. A historic gem for active travellers.
  • Tides Beach Club is a chic Kennebunkport beach pick, complete with quirky boutique rooms and a vibrant restaurant-bar. Expect beautiful views of Goose Rock Beach, and easy access to the salt marches of the river estuary, which abound with coastal birds, crabs, and other marine life. A stylish seaside escape.
  • Bayview Hotel is a secluded waterfront property in Bar Harbor featuring upscale contemporary interiors, including lots of velvet, brass and natural materials. Private ocean-facing decks are a highlight, as is the plethora of local art on show. Expect vegetarian breakfasts and lots of space to unwind.
  • Bar Harbor’s West Street Hotel is a chic coastal property with bright contemporary rooms and top-notch facilities. Come for the striking views of Frenchman Bay, and stay for the excellent food, spa, and impressive rooftop infinity pool. Ideal for families, couples or groups of friends, this is a luxurious seafront choice.
  • Blackpoint Inn is a classic New England hotel set on a promontory jutting out into the sea. This Portland gem is a favourite for its excellent seafood, country club feel and striking sea views in almost every direction.
  • 250 Main Hotel is a cool, contemporary property near Rockland harbour. Expect chic interiors with bright pops of colour, modern or reclaimed furnishings, and superb sea views. A top pick for the stylish modern traveller. Also pet-friendly.

For a Heritage B&B

  • Yellow House B&B is a heritage Bar Harbor property, featuring an attractive porch, large gardens, a wicker-filled sitting room and seven pretty guestrooms. A small and friendly Maine summer cottage.
  • The Primrose is a quaint boutique inn, perfect for history lovers. Built in 1878 as a summer cottage by a banker from Savannah, the property is an unusual example of Bar Harbor’s ‘Gilded Age’ architecture. A wonderfully historic pick.
  • Lord Camden Inn offers 36 sumptuous rooms and suites in the heart of Camden. Great for groups, families or couples, this sophisticated spot features a gym, in-room massage treatments and characterful interiors. Stay here for the central location and the boutique vibe.
  • Holbrook House is a charming B&B focused on creating relaxing getaways for couples, small groups or families with older children in Bar Harbor. Think luxurious rooms and suites with antique pieces and contemporary comforts, as well as smart bathrooms. The mouth-watering cooked breakfasts and pretty porch and garden are also very appealing.
  • The Maine Stay Inn is a lovely historic property with eight pretty bedrooms featuring floral decor and big cosy beds. A friendly Camden pick for culture aficionados, the property was built in 1802 and is on the National Register of Historical Places. A great value vintage stay.
  • Berry Manor Inn is a charming Victorian B&B with 12 lavish bedrooms. Popular with couples, the mansion is brilliantly located in Rockland’s historic district, perfect for exploring, and there are wonderful nearby eateries to sample. Some rooms also feature space for additional guests. A tranquil heritage choice.

For Families

  • The Acadia Hotel is a fantastic family favourite, with bright, contemporary rooms and suites featuring nautical touches and stacks of space for the whole family in Bar Harbor. Friendly and laid-back, the hotel is well-placed for on-foot explorations, plus there’s indoor golf to keep everyone entertained on rainy days! Fun and relaxed.
  • Migis Lodge offers a collection of rustic cabins in the pine forests of South Cascon. Overlooking Lake Sebago, this is a brilliant choice for active family holidays — think kayaking, water skiing, pilates and hiking — topped off with daily BBQ cookouts. A luxury summer camp for the whole family.
  • Newagen Seaside Inn is a delightful family choice, with nautically-inspired rooms, striking sea views and a whole host of activities on land and sea. Kids will love the games room, as well as chances to go cycling, sailing, fishing and swimming. Excellent for watersports enthusiasts.
  • Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth — just south of Portland — is perfect for a coastal family escape. Offering everything from crabbing to yoga, sailing and spa treatments, this chic property promises something for everyone — gorgeous ocean views included!
  • Whitehall is a vibrant boutique property, brilliant for couples, families or groups of friends. One of Camden’s oldest inns, the recently renovated hotel offers 36 bright, contemporary rooms with eclectic decor and fun artwork. There are flexible options for families and lovely communal areas to unwind — including firepits in the courtyard garden and rocking chairs on the porch. A bold, funky pick.


  • The Norumbega Inn stands out as a romantic castle — complete with a fairytale turret — offering fabulous three-course breakfasts and intimate evening tasting menus cooked by chef-owner Phil Crispo. The 11 bedrooms are very atmospheric. One for honeymooners and lovers of great food in Camden.
  • Grand Harbor Inn is a classic boutique pick for a waterfront stay in Camden, with ten smart rooms and suites featuring gas fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and private balconies overlooking the harbour. The elegant old-world decor includes lots of warm reds and golden yellows, creating a grown-up, luxurious feel. One for romantic couples.
  • Chiltern Inn is a sophisticated Victorian property, consisting of a resorted carriage house and stables. An indulgent base, the Bar Harbor inn offers a 32ft lap pool and hot tubs, as well as opulent interiors with wonderful period furnishings. Grown-up and elegant.
  • Balance Rock Inn offers elegant rooms and suites in an imposing Edwardian mansion. Pick this place for its seaside location, easy access to the centre of Bar Harbor, and fabulous food — a quirky fusion of ‘New American’ and Nordic flavours. Classic, romantic and grown-up.
  • Captain Swift Inn is a picturesque B&B with sophisticated interiors, ideal for well-heeled couples looking to explore Camden. Kick back in style in one of nine opulent guestrooms, and savour the three-course breakfast before heading out each morning. The cocktails are a big plus! Very luxurious.

For Outdoorsy Explorers

  • The Inn at Diamond Cove lies at the heart of the picturesque Casco Bay on Great Diamond Island. It’s packed to the rafters with activities, including tennis, hiking, fishing and swimming. Ideal for experiencing island life in Maine.
  • White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport is rustic and traditional but still super-smart; a charming inn on the Kennebunk River, famous for its lovely landscapes, and proximity to Maine’s best beaches. There’s a sophisticated spa, ample nature trails for hiking or horse riding, as well as chances to go paddle boarding, canoeing, cycling or fishing. A heritage pick for outdoorsy types.
  • The Lodge at Moosehead Lake is an enchanting wilderness escape, perfect for wildlife-spotting, fishing, trekking or bird watching. A luxurious, adults-only pick for outdoorsy travellers.
  • Hidden Pond, just outside Kennebunkport, is a charming rural hideaway for couples or families looking to reconnect with nature. Think hiking trails, art classes, kayaking trips, a superb spa and farm-to-fork cuisine. Cottages also offer self-catering facilities. For nature lovers.


  • Camden Harbor Inn is an elegant boutique hotel in a beautiful white-painted mansion, set on a leafy hill overlooking Camden harbour. Perfect for an indulgent couples’ escape, the property promises sophisticated contemporary interiors, a small spa and an award-winning restaurant. Foodies will adore the farm-to-table fare at Natalie’s at Camden Harbor, deemed to be amongst the top restaurants in the USA.
  • Hartstone Inn & Hideaway offers contemporary rooms in a striking Victorian building. The big draw is the acclaimed restaurant, where Chef Michael crafts superb dishes — including Maine Lobster Française, Seared Cod Filet and all manner of delectable desserts. A Camden foodie favourite.

Travel Information

  • Fly to Portland International Jetport or to Bangor International Airport, and travel by bus, train or car to destinations across Maine.
  • Maine is ideal for a road trip! Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • Travel during the summer months (June to August) for the warmest weather, but do be aware that this is peak season. Come in the spring (April – May) or autumn (September – October) for fewer crowds and great hotel deals

How much can you make on Airbnb in Maine?

The company further reported that the typical Maine Airbnb host earned $4,800 in rental income this summer. Even more exciting news on Airbnb Maine real estate is that the state had made nearly $40 million in the past three months by Mainers renting out properties on Airbnb.

Is wild camping legal in Maine?

Wild camping, also known as dispersed or primitive camping, is allowed in some areas of Maine, such as the White Mountain National Forest and the Appalachian Trail. However, it is essential to follow the specific rules and regulations for each area where you plan to camp
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