What Is Maine Known For

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From its epic rugged Atlantic Ocean coastline, picture-perfect lighthouses, lobsters to Acadia National Park, Maine is an underrated vacation destination. Head there in summer for fun at the beach, in spring or autumn for fantastic fall foliage and wildflowers or in winter for skiing. What else is Maine known for? Well, Maine is an excellent place to visit if you are searching for natural beauty and fun outdoor experiences. Check out what Maine is famous for.

What Is Maine Known For?

1- Lighthouses

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Maine, USA
“The Lighthouse State” is what Maine is known as.

If you were asked to describe Maine, chances are you might mention a picturesque white lighthouse.

Along Maine’s 5000 miles (8,046 km) of coastline there are 65 wonderful lighthouses to discover.

Many are still functioning but many are simply still there for their history and aesthetic.

While it might be hard to visit all of Maine’s lighthouses, there are certainly a few that should be high on your list if you are thinking about visiting Maine.

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth is a beautiful lighthouse and one of the most photographed in the state.


Set on rugged rocks it’s the perfect spot for sunset and when the waves are crashing in front of the pearly white lighthouse tower.

Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde might look familiar to those of you who have seen Forest Gump.

It’s featured in the cross-country running scene.

Other excellent lighthouses include Cape Neddick Light (Nubble Light) in York, Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, and the stripy candy cane style West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec.

2- Lobster

Maine Lobster
Lobsters are what seafood Maine is known for.

Name one food that Maine is known for, and you’d be hard-passed to find someone who says something other than lobster.

Lobster dinner, lobster rolls, lobster bisque, lobster mac and cheese and more; if you love seafood, you simply cannot visit Maine without trying lobster.

Maine is the biggest harvester of lobsters in the United States!

The Maine Lobster fishery is one of the oldest operating industries in North America; the first documented catch was in the 1600s.

Each year Maine harvests around 100 + million pounds of lobster so, there really is no place better to experience the best, freshest lobster.

To get a real sense of what lobster means to Maine, check out the annual Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland in August.

It’s a five-day festival that offers fresh, local lobster, entertainment, cooking contests and activities for the whole family.

The Maine Lobster Festival is a non-profit and donates all the proceeds to midcoast Maine communities for emergency services, food banks, college scholarships and community service groups.

The Maine (pun intended) events at the festival include The Big Parade, the International Great Crate Race, the road race, fun run and of course devouring some of the best lobster in the country.

3- Acadia National Park

Beautiful Fall Colors Of Acadia National Park In Maine
Acadia National Park is Ogunquit, Maine known for.

Acadia National Park is a 47,000 acre park in mid Maine around an hour’s drive south of Bangor.

It has wonderfully diverse landscapes, from rocky coastlines, to lakes, mountains and an abundance of wildlife life.

In fact, Acadia National Park has more than 1,000 plant species and everything from wild strawberries to blueberry shrubs, white-cedar and birch trees grows in the park.

If you are looking for a wonderful place to go hiking, then you will be in your element in Acadia National Park.

There are 158 miles (254 km) of hiking trails, some of which head through the forest, along the coastline and around ponds.

Take a stroll along the coast from Sand Beach to Otter Point for excellent coastal views.

The Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop is a short but rewarding hike that is great for families.

For unmatched reflection photos check out the Jordan Pond Path Loop trail.

4- Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage Colors
Fall foliage is what Maine is known for.

New England is known for its fall foliage and Maine is no exception.

Starting around the last week of September in northern Maine, the fall colours begin to come alive.

In the central part of Maine and in the western mountains, fall colours are in full force in mid-October.

In coastal and southern Maine fall reaches its peak in the middle to end of October.

There are some excellent places to visit in Maine if you want to see fall foliage.

Bethel is a quaint town in Oxford County that’s at its most beautiful in fall.

Other places where you can experience fall views include Rangeley Lakes, Grafton Notch State Park and the spectacular Auger Falls.

5- Maine Maple Syrup

Dark Amber Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is what Maine is known for in the food area.

While maple syrup is synonymous with Canada, Maine is also known for its maple syrup.

Maine produces more than 600,000 gallons of maple syrup each year, this makes it the largest producer in the United States.

The maple syrup in Maine is made from the sap of sugar maples.

This sap can only be found in certain parts of the country, hence why it’s an important part of Maine’s identity.

If you are visiting Maine, plan a maple syrup house tour or check out one of the farms.

In spring the maple trees begin to release sweet nectar through plastic hoses sticking out of the trees that they drain the sap from.

Around the end of March there’s Maine Maple Sunday which is an annual festival celebrating maple syrup.

Visit the sugarhouses and sample their syrups or participate in the farm’s maple related activities or tours of the sugarbushes.

Some farms near Bangor include Nutkin Knoll Farm & Sugarworks and the Williams Family Farm – Hadley’s Maine Maple Syrup.

There are many farms near Portland including Coopers Maple Products and Dunn Family Maple.

6- The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail (or the AT trail) is a 2,200-mile (3540 km) hiking trail in the eastern United States stretching from Katahdin, Maine in the north to Springer Mountain, Georgia, its southern terminus.

The Appalachian Trail is the world’s longest hiking only footpath and passes through 14 states.

According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) since 1936, more than 20,000 people have completed the trail, this includes thru-hiking and multi-year section hikes.

Maine’s section of the trail is 281 miles (452 km) so if you want to experience the Appalachian Trail while in Maine, try one of these day hikes.

  • Grafton Notch on Old Speck Mountain is a spectacular 3.8 mile uphill hike where at the summit you can marvel at views of the Mahoosuc Range and the White Mountains.
  • The half-day hike at Pleasant Pond Mountain is another great hike along the AT trail. It’s a five mile (8 km) moderate hike that provides you with 360 degree views of the forest and lakes.

7- Puffin Colonies

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula Arctica) With Sandeels
Puffin colonies are what Maine is known for.

Puffins are one of the most distinctive birds around.

Their picturesque black and red beaks and vibrant orange feet make them unmissable if you know where to look.

Maine’s ocean islands are the only nesting zone for the Atlantic Puffin in the United States.

While there are a few places to see puffins in Maine, Eastern Egg Rock is one of the most popular places for puffin watching.

Eastern Egg Rock is only six miles (9.6 km) from the shore so it’s easily accessible compared to some of Maine’s other puffin populated islands.

Head out to the island from Boothbay Harbor, where specialised puffin tours will give you the best chance of seeing these beautiful birds.

If you want to be in with a chance of seeing puffins, then you will need to visit between May and mid-August however the best viewing is in June and July.

Other noteworthy puffin viewing spots include Seal Island, Matinicus Rock, Machias Seal Island (in the U.S. and Canada) and Petit Manan Island.

8- Casco Bay

Casco Bay Bridge With The Bridge Tower
Casco Bay is what the state of Maine is known for.

Casco Bay is an inlet in the Gulf of Maine that showcases classic New England scenery, with lighthouses and lobster boats to boot.

The bay covers 200 square miles of water between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Small in Phippsburg.

In the bay there are a whopping 785 islands, visible ledges and 14 coastal communities.

You’ll find Maine’s most famous lighthouse there – Portland Head Light.

Peaks Island is a great place to visit and it’s just a 15-minute ride from Portland ferry terminal.

In summertime there are 3,000 residents living on the island.

It’s a wonderful place for summer bike riding, with a 3.7-mile loop road (5.9 km) offering excellent views.

Or how about Cliff Island where you can enjoy the best of Maine’s nature?

9- More than 4,600 Islands

Did you know that Maine has more than 4,600 islands? 4,613 to be precise.

Monhegan Island is an excellent choice if you are searching for a wild and remote island experience.

The second-largest island on the Eastern Seaboard is Mount Desert Island. Most people head here for Acadia National Park, a must visit in Maine.

Cranberry Isles are bursting with the colour of green and red from the cranberry bushes in autumn.

Vinalhaven Island is both an island and a town with 1,165 people and two tranquil nature preserves.

10- Pine Trees

Dense Pine Forest Of Maine
Pine trees are what the state of Maine is known for.

Maine’s nickname is “The Pine Tree State” in honour of its large amount of white pine trees.

Maine has more than 17 million acres of forest and the white pine tree

On the 21 July 1945, the white pine tree became the official tree of Maine.

Maine’s state flag even has a pine in its center, flanked by a farmer and a sailor.

White pines have been an important part of Maine’s economic development since 1605 when the British Royal Navy collected pine tree samples to use for their ship masts after a shortage in Europe.

Some of the best places to see pines in Maine include: the Bold Coast National Scenic Byway, the Moosehead Lake Scenic Byway, the Acadia All-American Road, and the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway.

11- Moose

Moose Horn
Moose are what wildlife Maine is known for..

Of the U.S.’s lower 48 states, Maine has the largest population of moose.

There are estimated to be around 60 to 70,000 moose, this figure is only surpassed by Alaska (between 175,000 and 200,000).

Western and northern Maine is most densely populated with moose.

One of the best places to try your luck at spotting moose is in The Forks area.

From The Forks to the Canadian border there is a good chance you could see a moose, they do call this part of Maine, “Moose Alley” after all.

You can also try your luck at Moosehead Lake!

Moose hunting is popular in Maine, but you need a permit.

The demand is very high for permits and there are only three ways to get one: a chance lottery, a competitive auction and some permits for disabled veterans.

The moose permit lottery opens between February and mid-May each year.

12- Stephen King

Author Stephen King is best known for his supernatural fiction, crime and science-fiction novels.

Some of King’s most notable works include “The Shining”, “The Dead Zone” and “It”.

Even if you haven’t read King’s books the chances are that you’ve seen one of his movie adaptations.

Ever watched the “Shawshank Redemption”?

Well, it’s a Stephen King novel called “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”.

Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine.

King has taken much of his inspiration for his fictional towns from New England and Maine.

For example, the fictional town of Derry (in the movie “It”) is loosely based on Bangor.

With well over 350 million of his books sold world-wide, King is one of the most celebrated authors in the U.S. and a treasure of Maine.

13- Kennebunkport

Kennebunkport, Maine, USA
Kennebunkport is what Maine is famous known for.

Kennebunkport and Kennebunk (4.2 miles (6.7 km) down the road) are two of the top destinations in Maine.

With its characterful, colourful houses and bobbing boats in the port this place is brimming with charm.

Spending time in Kennebunkport means spending blissful days on Gooch’s or Mother’s beaches.

Kayak and paddleboard to your heart’s content, Kennebunkport is an excellent destination for outdoor fun.

There are plenty of other things to do in the area, like visiting St. Ann’s Church, an 1892 stone chapel and admiring the vistas at Walker’s Point.

14- The First Naval Battle of the Revolutionary War

The American Revolutionary War (April 1775 to September 1783) was a conflict between the American patriot forces organised by the Continental Army against the British.

The American victory led to the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, where Great Britain recognised the U.S.’s independence.

During the time of the American Revolution, Maine was not actually a state.

It became one in 1820 but before that it was part of Massachusetts.

The first naval battle of the Revolutionary War took place in Maine, then Massachusetts.

The Battle off Fairhaven took place on the 14th May 1775 in Buzzards Bay.

The Patriot forces won the battle, retrieving two patriot vessels from HMS Falcon.

15- Wild Blueberries

Some Blueberries On A Branch In The Garden Close Up Shot
Wild blueberries are what Maine is known for.

Maine’s wild blueberry is sometimes called the low-bush blueberry and is native to the state and Atlantic Canada.

In Maine the crop inhabits large fields on mountaintops and the glacial plains that formed 10,000 years ago.

Any field of blueberries may have around 1,500 genetically distinct wild blueberry plants.

The blueberry harvest is in August.

Wild blueberries in Maine date back to the Wabanaki native people who grew and burn-pruned the crop for harvest.

During the Civil War (1861-1865) wild blueberries were sent to the Union Army by sea and in 1886 Maine’s wild blueberries were first canned.

Today there are 480 wild blueberry farms, some of which are thousands of acres.

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Harriet Comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!