The New England region of the US is home to quite a few amazing places that people tend to overlook because of the popularity of common attractions nearby. We find ourselves in that part of the US time and time again and each visit, we are never disappointed. This time around, we are headed to the northernmost state, Maine. In our guide, you’ll see why this state is often called as “Vacationland.
Maine remained inhabited by indigenous people for thousands of years. When the first Europeans arrived in the area that is now known as the state, there are several Algonquian speaking natives already. The first European settlers arrived in Maine and it was led by the French back in 1604. The first English settlement was later established in 1607.
The state is often considered as one of the last states to enter the Union having only entered during the 18th century. In the next centuries, the state relied on many economic drivers such as mining, lumbering, and fishing. Eventually, the state grew and grew to become the tourist draw that it is today. What’s even better is that it keeps improving, making it the right time to visit the state now.
Geographically speaking, Maine is known for its low rolling mountains, lush forested interior, unforgettable waterways, and its rocky coastline. Of course, if you’ve heard of Maine, then you’ve definitely heard of their seafood’s acclaim. You’ll find restaurants flooded with the ever amazing Maine lobster. This makes Vacationland an ideal state to visit if you are a foodie at heart.
Aside from its amazing culinary scene, the state of Maine’s major economic drivers is also tourism. Most particularly, outdoor activities like sport fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, boating, camping, and hiking, are huge tourist drivers in the state. Of course, there are also countless tourist spots to visit in this state as well.
While Maine is at the northern-most region of the US, it is still fairly easy to get into as it is well-developed already. Of course, before you book your accommodation and room, let’s go over a few important pointers for this exciting trip ahead. As always, we’ll start with how you can get to the state.
- 1 How To Get To Maine
- 2 Getting Around Maine
- 3 Date Ideas You Can Do in Maine
- 3.1 See a movie at a museum
- 3.2 Unleash your inner Picasso
- 3.3 Reach for the stars… or the next grip
- 3.4 Play arcade
- 3.5 Watch more movies
- 3.6 Cook together
- 3.7 Catch a live performance
- 3.8 Go on a picnic
- 3.9 Ride a ferry
- 3.10 Explore botanical gardens
- 3.11 See performances at the Ogunquit Playhouse
- 3.12 Try some outdoor activities
- 3.13 Eat lobster
How To Get To Maine
There are three major international airports in Maine that you can use to get to the state. These are the Presque Isle International Airport which is at the very northern region of the state, and the Bangor International Airport which is at the very heart of the state. Both airports offer easy access to the state whether you are coming from other parts of the US, from Europe, Asia, and Canada.
Last, but definitely the best option is the Portland International Airport which is only a few minutes away from Downtown Portland. If you are hoping to visit this major city in Maine, this is you best option. Moreover, the airport is close to some of Maine’s major tourist attractions. It also offers more flights than the other two options so chances are that you’ll find a flight here if you are having trouble elsewhere.
If you are thinking about driving to Maine, then you should take the Interstate 95 which leads directly to the state. The problem with this though is that the highway can get crowded during the summer season and it could get slippery and dangerous during winter. As such, driving trips to Maine should be well planned out first.
Luckily, Amtrak trains provide a cheaper option for flying. There are several services that get to the state. The Downeaster service comes from Boston from North Station and it stops along several routes such as Brunswick, Maine, Woburn, Massachusetts and more. If you are already nearby, then this might be the most efficient, fast, and safe option you can take.
Getting Around Maine
We recommend renting a car for most of your trips but it is a necessity when you are traveling around Maine. Keep in mind that this state’s terrain is often rough so getting between key spots and cities may not be possible as bus routes are very limited. Luckily, there are several rental companies nearby airports, most especially around the Portland International Airport.
While the roads in Maine are fairly open unless its peak season, always be careful when driving on highways. In the northern region of the state, you’ll often see a moose crossing sign and those are placed there as there are an estimated 300,000 moose accidents that happen annually.
Many public transportation options are available within the cities of Maine but as we’ve said, most of these can’t get you from point-to-point if the distance is too far. Lastly, Uber and Lyft services are readily available in the big cities in Maine, so are taxis, limos, and other private cars.
Date Ideas You Can Do in Maine
Maine has a lot of things to offer to travelers looking for activities that will let them get to know the city, its culture, as well as its people well. But this state isn’t just for backpackers seeking some adventure alone. Maine also has a number of things to offer to couples who are looking for some perfect date activities. And what are those? Here are some things to do in Maine for a date that we highly recommend.
1See a movie at a museum
If you both love to see art and movies, the Portland Museum of Art is a place you need to visit. As its name suggests, this place is filled with artworks. But did you know that you can also get to watch a movie here? Yes, you read it right, you can actually watch a movie here. Topics vary, though. But to give you a better idea, it ranges from photography to Jane Goodall. And if you really want to watch a movie here, make sure to visit on a Friday or Saturday evening at 7 PM. And have we mentioned that if you visit the museum after 5 PM, you won’t have to pay for the admission fee? Such a good deal, right? It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, making a visit to this place one of the perfect things to do in Maine for a date.
2Unleash your inner Picasso
For more unique things to do in Maine for a date, why not unleash your inner Picasso and paint with your loved one at the Muse Paint Bar? But there’s a twist. Apparently, this activity isn’t your ordinary painting session as you can sip a glass of wine or other alcoholic drink as you paint and no one will stop you (just as long as you don’t get too intoxicated and cause a scene, though). And you don’t have to worry about if you haven’t discovered your talent in painting yet as the Muse Paint Bar’s staff will guide you if you want. And you don’t have to worry about the materials you’re going to use either as Muse Paint Bar will have them all provided for you. Wouldn’t it be nice to discover or unleash your inner painter together with your loved one?
3Reach for the stars… or the next grip
Speaking of killing two birds with one stone, here’s another one of the best things to do in Maine for a date: rock climbing, particularly at the Evo Rock + Fitness. Here, you and your beau will not just get to spend some time and have fun together but you will also get fit together. Isn’t that literally and figuratively healthy for a relationship? For $16 each, you can already get full-day access to Evo Rock + Fitness plus try hundreds of different positions, grip, and handholds. Don’t worry if it’s your first time trying this activity as the place offers lower courses for beginners. And if you’re looking for some added thrill and excitement, Evo Rock + Fitness has courses for experts too.
Don’t worry, playing arcade in Maine isn’t always only for the kids. You and your beau can also try it too. And to add more fun to it, here’s a twist, you can enjoy playing as you drink up your favorite booze if you got to Arcadia Bar. This is because this arcade haven for the kids at heart also doubles as a bar. And if you will time your visit on a Friday, there are lessons being offered on how to play games like the Settlers of Catan. It’s definitely worth visiting.
5Watch more movies
If you and your partner are both movie buffs, why not go to Nickelodeon Cinemas for more movies? Don’t worry, though, just because it carries the name of a popular kids network doesn’t mean this cinema is only for the kids at heart. Apparently, the movies it screens can be enjoyed by couples too, including indie art house films. What’s even better is that you can also get to enjoy a nice fashionable retro interior. And the best part of it is that the films are much cheaper than other cinemas which are perfect if you’re looking for some things to do in Main for a date while you have a limited budget. It’s a must-try too.
They say that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Wouldn’t it be nice to cook or learn how to cook with your loved one? Luckily, it is one of the perfect things to do in Maine for a date. This is because, here, you can find some of the freshest produce that will never fail your dish, especially if you will buy your ingredients from Portland’s farmers’ market. Make sure to shop every Wednesday and Saturday morning to score the best goods. And if you’re planning your trip in summer, don’t miss out on Deering Oaks Park. During winter, 631 Stevens Ave is the best place to shop for the ingredients you need for a romantic dine-in for two.
7Catch a live performance
For some unique things to do in Maine for a date, why not take your significant other on a date and see the Portland Stage Company? Here, you and your loved one can get to see amazing live performances by local Maine stage writers that will definitely entertain you. One of the well-known works of the Portland Stage Company is It’s a Wonderful Life and you need to see this too. Check out their website to see what’s on so you won’t miss any of their performance during your visit to Maine.
8Go on a picnic
If you’re planning to visit Maine on a summer season, one of the things to do in Maine for a date that we can recommend is to go on a picnic at the Eastern Prom. Here, you can enjoy the sun, the summer breeze, as well as the views over Casco Bay with your loved one. And this is, needless to say, one of the best things to do in Maine for a date if you’re on a budget too. Bring your favorite snacks, unfurl your blanket, enjoy intimate conversation, and take in the most beautiful views that the state can offer, this is definitely a must-add activity to your itinerary. And have we mentioned that it is one of the Instagram-worthy places in the state too?
9Ride a ferry
If you will head to downtown Portland’s ferry terminal, you and your beau can also ride a ferry and enjoy the scenic views that the place has to offer. Casco Bay teems with plenty of islands and you can get to have a glimpse of them if you try out a ferry trip. And if you’re looking for some of the most memorable dates, one of the things to do in Maine for a date that we highly recommend you is to book for a trip on New Year’s Eve. This is because, at this time of the year, the ferry will take you on a nighttime harbor cruise where you can get to see the nicest views of the city lights made even livelier by the fireworks.
10Explore botanical gardens
Maine has plenty of gardens. And wouldn’t it be romantic to just take a stroll, take in the gorgeous views of the garden, enjoy the tranquil atmosphere, and relax together with your loved one? If you want such activity, here are the gardens in Maine that we highly suggest that you check out.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Located on the Boothbay Peninsula, this place lets you enjoy nearly 300 acres of lush green oasis that houses diverse plant families. On top of that, it has a multi-level waterfall (a crowd favorite!) and you should see it too. It also has several gardens with different looks such as the Burpee Kitchen Garden, The Perennial and Rose Garden, The Lerner Garden of the Five Senses, Slater Forest Pond, Cleaver Event Lawn and Garden, the Vayo Meditation Garden, and the Haney Hillside Garden. Along with the lush trees and colorful flowers, Coastal main Botanical Gardens also has several sculptures dotting the area, as well as a number of artworks by Maine artists that are part of temporary exhibits.
Asticou Azalea Garden
Made to mimic a Japanese garden, this place will surely relax you and your beau as it fills your eyes with some of the most beautiful views in the area. As its name suggests, this place has various species of azaleas but just because it is named like so doesn’t mean it’s only about azaleas. This place also has rhododendrons planted all over too, including the state’s native Rhododendron canadense. Apart from that, the garden also serves as a home to more than 80 species of birds. If you plan to go on a date here, we suggest that you visit between mid-May to mid-June so you can see the azaleas in full bloom which will make your visit all the more romantic.
Another garden that you need to visit is the Thuya Gardens. Here, you can get to enjoy the magnificent view of Northeast Harbor and be surrounded by ancient white cedars, also known as thuyas (hence the name). Like the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and the Asticou Azalea Garden, this place is also one of the places in Maine that will never fail you if you take your significant other on a date here. That said, don’t pass on this too if you’re planning for a date in Maine.
11See performances at the Ogunquit Playhouse
Don’t be fooled by its name. This is not the usual “playhouse” where kids usually play. Apparently, this place boasts of a different kind of “play” – meaning theater performances played by some of the brightest stars in the industry, including some actors and actresses. Many stars have already graced the Ogunquit Playhouse such as Lorenzo Lamas, Bette Davis, and Myrna Loy, to name a few; and who knows, you and your beau might get to see your favorite theater actor play here so you might want to consider this place too if you’re going on a date. This theater produces at least five musicals every season, between mid-May and mid-October with shows from Tuesday to Sunday. Thus, if you want to see performances here, we suggest that you plan your date ahead.
12Try some outdoor activities
If you and your date want some outdoor activities, exploring Acadia National Park is one of the top things to do in Maine for a date that we can suggest too. This is because this place has a lot of outdoor activities to offer. Here, you can hike, camp, and bike. It has two beaches that are perfect for when you want to go swimming too. Also, you can get to see some wildlife including whales, seabirds, moose, and bears. Of course, the best part of it is that this place offers some of the most scenic views in town. Acadia National Park is popular for spectacular fall foliage. But don’t stress yourself out if you don’t have to visit this place during the fall season as it is still one of the best places in Maine no matter what time of the year it is. Regardless of the season, you’ll surely have something to try out and see in this place.
Maine is popular for its lobster. In fact, nearly 90% of the nation’s lobster supply comes from here. And your trip to Maine, regardless of your purpose won’t be complete if you don’t get to try its lobster so don’t forget to visit Maine’s top lobster shacks like Young’s Lobster Pound, Red’s Eats, Islands Lobster Co., Nunan’s Lobster Hut, and The Clam Shack.