A Shore Thing in Maine
|Step Towards the Lighthouse: Maine's Pemaquid Point (PhotoDisc)|
On Maine's southern coast, the sweeping beaches and honky-tonk shops look like most tourist destinations on the Atlantic seaboard. Then you reach Cape Elizabeth, just south of Portland, and the sand is replaced by jagged cliffs roughened by the endless battering of surf and wind. This is the Maine coast that has lured fishermen, shipbuilders, and artists to its shores for centuries, and the beginning of your weeklong vacation through Maine. Starting in Portland, you'll hug the rugged shores as you ramble along Route 1 on your way to the Northeast's lone national park, Acadia.
Days One and Two: Portland to Orr's Island (40 Miles)
Left the tent in your garage? No worries. L.L. Bean's mammoth store is located in Freeport, a mere 20-minute drive from Portland. The store, open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, sells almost any gear and clothing you would possibly need to enjoy Maine's great outdoors.
North of Freeport, fingers of land extend into the Atlantic from Route 1, creating sheltered coves for canoers and sea kayakers and long stretches of deserted shoreline for the camper. The 70 tent and RV sites at Orr's Island Campground (207.833.5595) overlook Harpswell Sound. Many of the sites sit high above the water on a rocky bluff. Swim, fish for stripers, hike, or rent a canoe for a solo exploration on the water (just keep that coastline in sight). Down the road is one of the finest sea-kayaking outfitters in New England, H2Outfitters (800.20.KAYAK; www.htoutfitters). Co-owner and self-appointed "Director of Fun" Jeff Cooper teaches the sport and offers day and overnight jaunts. For dinner, have your lobster, steamers, and chowder on the deck of Cook's Lobster House (207.833.2818; www.cookslobster.com) in nearby Bailey Island.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication