Regional Guide

Overview - Down East Maine

Down East Maine, comprising the thick northeastern chunk of the state's coast, combines the drama of the interior wilderness and mountains with the restlessness of the shoreline. Prominent in Down East Maine is Acadia National Park, a wild mass of islands dotted with serene lakes, forested hills, and stark granite mountains.

Encompassing over 35,000 acres, Acadia became the first national park east of the Mississippi in 1919. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains five lighthouses along the treacherous coast, and visitors can enjoy the harbors and tidal flats, mountains (Cadillac Mountain is the highest, at 1,532 feet), more than 120 miles of hiking trails, gorgeous cross-country ski trails for wintertime exploration, 45 miles of carriage roads and 27 miles of paved roads for bikers and drivers—and plenty of uncrowded solitude.

Bangor, a charming city on the mainland, and Bar Harbor, a classic vacation town located on Mount Desert Island, make convenient basecamps for visitors to Down East Maine. In addition to Acadia, numerous wildlife refuges and scenic streams make the area a great pick for paddlers and wildlife watchers. So if you're looking for a remote, natural setting with easy access to historic towns and enough pounding ocean to satisfy even the most restless of souls, Down East Maine has plenty of adventures to choose from.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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