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Maine outdoor activities (biking, kayaking, rock climbing, etc)

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Personality Types that Like it Best

Did You Know … ?

  • Maine’s 32,000 miles of rivers and streams together are longer than the Amazon, Mississippi, Nile and Yangtze combined.
  • The state boasts 330 bird species.
  • Maine produces more blueberries than any U.S. state including 99% of all wild ones.
  • Maine is the most sparsely populated state east of the Mississippi.
  • Moose have been clocked running as fast as 35 to 40 miles per hour.

Going to extremes, or not

America’s 39th-largest state offers visitors an abundance of natural and manmade beauty, plus charming towns and cities on its Atlantic coast, some much-loved outlet shopping and another very popular lure, its food, especially the lobster.

But viewed another way, Maine — with its mountains, rivers, lakes, Atlantic coast and temperate climate — seems made for travelers who love the outdoors.

There are plenty of things to do and see outdoors, either on an organized itinerary with tour guides or on an independent basis. And activities can vary from extreme sports to the luxury of a relaxing, slow-motion day at one of Maine’s white-sand beaches.

In the mountains, active travelers can climb sheer cliffs — or ride down their gentler slopes on skis and snowboards; they can roll over and through them on mountain bikes or take it a little slower on foot.

Visitors can take to the waters for a good swim or climb into canoes and kayaks for a gentle float and great views of the woods or the coastline. They can opt for the livelier experience of whitewater rapids or spend a day on a pleasure boat powered by the wind.

The less active may choose cruises for sightseeing purposes — or the car, in order to take in scenery and make stops for seaside meals and photo opportunities.

Wildlife provides another excellent reason for getting out onto Maine’s waters, this to observe and wonder at dolphins, porpoises, seals, whales and seabirds, including puffins. Birders plan trips to promising coastal or other vantage points, the better to see the state’s sought-after birds. In addition, the woodsy areas call to those interested in larger species, especially the moose.

The waters lure anglers, whether to rivers or the ocean, and there are opportunities, in season, for hunting.

It is no surprise that the more venturesome travelers especially like outdoor life at this destination, but the great outdoors in America’s easternmost state can appeal to most travelers across the personality spectrum because of its beauty, creature comforts in resort towns and cities — plus the welcoming locals.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Learn rock climbing or sharpen the climbing skills you already have at the Atlantic Climbing School, based in Bar Harbor.
  • Paddle a canoe along as much of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail as you have time for (much of it, but not all, is in Maine). Or, kayak the 375 miles of the Maine Island Trail from Kennebunkport to Eastport.
  • Go whitewater rafting on the Kennebec or Penobscot River.
  • Compete in the springtime Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race in Bangor, or any of a number of other canoe or kayak races.
  • Hike the last 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail in the Maine Highlands. This segment of the trail includes Gulf Hagas, called the Grand Canyon of the East.
  • Or bike some part of Maine’s 387-mile section of the East Coast Greenway.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Camp right on the ocean at Searsport, between Bar Harbor and Camden.
  • Pack a picnic and, in Casco Bay, hop a ferry to an island beach. There are beaches on Great Chebeague, Long and Peaks islands.
  • Take a guided moose safari either in summer when cows and calves are feeding at lakeside or in autumn when the bulls are more active.
  • Plan a bird-watcher’s itinerary that lets you see the birds on your must-see list. Depending on location and time of year, Maine is the place to see Atlantic puffins, bald eagles, cormorants, loons, ospreys and peregrine falcons.
  • Fish for landlocked salmon, trout and a number of other species in the lakes and rivers of Aroostook County, Maine’s northernmost county.
  • At Boothbay Harbor, go sailing on the quiet Linekin Bay, among other sailing options in the state. Or, organize a day of deep-sea fishing from any of several ports.

Things to do for Authentics

  • At appropriate seasons, ski or play golf at Sunday River.
  • Make yourself comfortable on a beach somewhere along the 30-mile Maine Beaches region in the southern tip of the state. A popular choice is Old Orchard Beach, which also has arcade games, an amusement park and a century-old pier.
  • Take a whale watching cruise, which also is likely to reap sightings of dolphins, seals and sharks. Or, from land, look for whales off West Quoddy head and dolphins and porpoises from Bass Harbor Light and the headlands on Mount Desert Island.
  • Attend outdoor theater at the Elizabethan Theatre on the banks of the Penobscot River in Bangor.
  • Play golf. Maine markets a golf trail.
  • Get out into the countryside by driving one of the state’s dozen scenic byways. Make it an autumn trip for the foliage.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Maine Office of Tourism at