Spotlight Travel

Road tripping in Coastal Maine

A 4-day itinerary in Maine with recommendations on where to eat, sleep and hike to best enjoy this magnificent place.

We went to Main, flying from New York into Portland in October. Weeks before, I started tracking the foliage evolution, keeping my fingers crossed that we would arrive on time. 

And we did, with Nature putting on the best show: an explosion of colours, with all the shades of yellow, orange and red. 

But also…the power of the ocean, whose waves came crashing against the rocks of Acadia Park, leaving us hypnotised by the strength and beauty, loosing track of time. The deers’ greetings as we woke up in the morning from the quietest and most restful night. And seafood and lobster as our main diet.

Acadia Park, Thunder Hole

To plan our 4-day road trip, we heavily relied on Conde Nast’s article, and added our own spin to it. Our itinerary, including recommendations on where to eat, sleep and hike looked like that:

Day 1: We landed in Portland on an early and chilly Friday morning and parked our rental car at the Eastern promenade, which allowed us to reach the city centre by foot – a lovely introduction to the city. We wandered through the city centre, getting to understand a bit more about Portland’s history along the way, and opened the festivities with an early lunch made of lobster roll and a pint at Portland Lobster Co. As our first lobster roll in Maine, it had to be special and delicious – the sunshine and the view on the Harbour probably helped.

View from the Eastern Promenade, Portland
Portland Lobster Co

We then slowly drove north through the scenic route, following our inspiration and making stops along the way, arriving in Camden in the early evening. Our Airbnb host John recommended Waterfront for dinner, where we indulged in seafood and beer, enjoying the feeling of our faces getting redder as the fireplace was warming us up.

Day 2: We again followed John’s recommendation and went to Marriners for a very filling breakfast. Back on the road, driving to Acadia National Park, with a few stops along the way, despite the rain. Just before dark, we reached Mount Desert Island (20min drive from Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park’s main town), where our cottage was waiting for us.

Day 3: At Acadia National Park, we started by Bar Harbor to buy our Park passes and wait for the rain to pass (it’s Maine, man!). We then followed the main road south to Thunder Hole, a magical must-see. We enjoyed yet another lobster roll by Charlotte’s legendary lobster pound’s fire pit. In truth, at that time of year, it was the only lobster option for lunch – all the other places we called before going had their answering machines on. Thinking we will have to go home as the rain started again, we were surprised by the rays of sunshine, which let us hike the short, yet magnificent Acadia Mountain (1.3miles), admiring the sunset from the top, before going down at a brisk pace to avoid being stuck in the hoods at night. Frognico’s chowder recipe closed the day in the most mouth-watering way, after reading and chatting away by the fire.

Day 4: After a few short walks and stops (Echo Lake, Long Pond…), we drove back to Portland through the highway to arrive on time for our flights. We stopped at Eagles Nest in Bangor, which felt so authentic with a view on the river and big portions of chowder and lobster rolls, as a last goodbye to this breathtaking region.

We weren’t rushed and managed to have a good feel for what Maine’s coast has to offer. It is such a wonderful long weekend option – as long as you go off-season and don’t have to deal with the traffic. With only the weekend, we recommend to stick to Portland and Camden. On the contrary, with more days ahead of you, no doubt you can do numerous hikes, never get tired of lobster rolls and disconnect even more.

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