Road Trip in Maine

Maine is the country's northeastern-most state, and is much larger than many realize. Most of the activity—and population—is found in Maine's southeast, which attracts summer tourists. But the whole of the Pine Tree State is wild and beautiful, even in its less populated areas.

Maine Traffic Rules

Maine's driving rules don't deviate much from the norm. However, as a border state with Canada, it's worth understanding any local requirements, especially if you plan to leave the state. Their driver handbook is a good place to start.

It's also worth noting that the border state New Hampshire, whose motto is “Live Free or Die," has a set of road rules that sometimes seem a little different than other states'. For instance, at the state line, drivers will often see motorcyclists stopping to put on or remove their helmet, since it is not mandatory to wear one in New Hampshire.

Differences like these can be confusing when crossing state lines, but won't excuse an infraction in the eyes of the law.

Major Roads in Maine

Maine's major roads include the following:

  • Interstate 95—I-95 takes drivers north or south from Canada to New Hampshire. This is the state's main highway.
  • Routes 2, 201 and 202—These also serve as important thoroughfares connecting drivers to other parts of the state.
  • Route 1—Stretching from New Hampshire north to New Brunswick, Canada, along the Atlantic coast, Route 1 is a popular scenic route and the perfect addition to any road trip.

ME Sightseeing & Attractions

Southern and Northern Maine have many of the same offerings in terms of adventure. Whether you want to camp, hike, see wildlife, or just get far away from your usual environment, Maine is a great destination.

Southeastern Maine

Some of the local sights in southern Maine include:

  • Kennebunkport.
    • Home to the grand summer lodgings of the very wealthy, such as President George H.W. Bush, Kennebunkport is an old fishing village with wonderful shops and restaurants and opportunities to eat local lobsters.
  • Acadia National Park.
    • The first permanent National Park established east of the Mississippi River, this stretch of Maine coastline preserves quiet rocky beaches, islands and old-growth forest less than a day's drive from some of the nation's largest metropolises. Activities include canoeing and kayaking, camping, swimming, skiing, climbing, hiking, and more.
  • Mt. Desert Island.
    • Coveted by many for summer getaways, Mt. Desert Island (Acadia National Park) has something for everyone. From shopping to hiking to swimming to sailing, the island creates a unique atmosphere of the perfect summer holiday.
  • Portland.
    • Maine's largest city, Portland is the place to go for live music, breweries, and of course its famed harbor. A few must-see attractions are:
      • Portland's restaurant scene: Portland's restaurants-per-person rate is among the highest in the U.S. Come for the lobsters, stay for just about everything else.
      • The Wadsworth-Longfellow House: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's childhood home contains items and artifacts collected over the author's life and those of his ancestors and descendants. The home is famed for its architectural significance, as well: it was Portland's first all-brick dwelling.
      • The Longfellow Garden: Behind the Wadsworth-Longfellow House you'll find the Colonial Revival-style Longfellow garden. During the summer, the beautiful landscaping surrounding the home makes for a pleasant, visually-stimulating stroll.

Free Ebook: Road Trips of America

Come along for the ride as we guide you through some of the best road trips in the country. Whether you’re a history buff, cultural connoisseur, or nature lover, we’ve covered all the sights and attractions in each state you won’t want to miss.

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Northern & Western Maine

Northern Maine is wild, sparsely populated, and makes an excellent destination if you want to spend some time in the wilderness. In the winter, skiing is an option and the summer offers great hiking, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities.

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can drive all the way up Interstate 95 toward Canada. Near the border lies Campobello Island, Franklin D. Roosevelt's summer home, which has been preserved for the public and is available for visits. Here are some other great Northern and Western ME destinations:

  • The Hundred-Mile Wilderness.
    • Situated between Baxter State Park and the Northern Maine town of Monson, the Hundred-Mile Wilderness is a section of the Appalachian Trail, often considered its wildest. Famed for chance encounters with moose and other forest creatures, The Hundred-Mile Wilderness is a great place to get out of the car for a nice long while to stretch your legs and take in the wilderness.
  • Sugarloaf.
    • Carved out of Maine's second-tallest mountain, Sugarloaf is the largest U.S. ski resort east of the Rocky Mountains. Known for its long trails, great terrain parks, and impressive tree skiing, Sugarloaf is a skier or snowboarder's paradise. The fun doesn't stop in the winter, though, summer trips to Sugarloaf are a blast thanks to their excellent opportunities for golf and hike.
  • Scopan Public Reserved Land.
    • Located in far northern Aroostook County, this public land unit is filled with some of Maine's rugged terrain. From mountains to lakes and wetlands, Scopan has it all. Bundle up and come in the winter for its popular snowmobiling trails.
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