2016 Maine Vacation Guide

Summer. In. Maine Do those three words have you ready to pack a picnic and head out the door? Then let these events, trips, sweet spots, and insider tips help steer you.
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old wooden pier on the  lake.
old wooden pier on the lake.

Summer. In. Maine.

Do those three words have you ready to pack a picnic and head out the door? Then let these events, trips, sweet spots, and insider tips help steer you.

By Caroline Praderio

6 Away-From-It-All Campgrounds

There are just five primitive sites at this wilderness campground on Isle au Haut. The only way to get there? Hitch a ride on the mail boat. May 15-October 15. $25 permit fee required. 207-288-3338.

Paddle out to eight wooded, oceanfront campsites on 11-acre Ames Island. May-October. $40 per night. 77 Floods Cove Rd., Friendship. 207-832-6237.

Even the most secluded sites are a short walk from one of the island's seven private beaches. Memorial Day-Labor Day. $37-$64 per night. 6 Hermit Island Rd., Phippsburg. 207-443-2101.

4 Powerfully Scenic Bike Trips

An all-day, 28-mile ride beside the rushing Aroostook is beautiful anytime, but visit in midsummer to see the County's endless fields of pink and white potato blossoms. Start/Finish: Public parking lot, Riverside Dr., Presque Isle.

Freeport's congested main drag (L.L.Bean will still be there when you get back) and pedal a gentle 9-mile loop that brings you through nearby Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park. The coastal panoramas don't disappoint. Start/Finish: Leon Gorman Park, Bow St., Freeport.

4 Spots for a Great Locally Churned Scoop

Tamari Caramel? Molasses and Sweet Corn? Mix Catbird's ingenious flavors into a monster sundae (with house-made whipped cream and seasonal fruit sauce) for a 20-minute sugar rush, followed by a three-hour nap. 861 Main St., Westbrook. 207-854-0500.
Pistachios from Sicily and hazelnuts from Piedmont are among the superlative ingredients used to make Maine's silkiest, most intensely flavorful gelato. 434 Fore St., Portland. 207-699-4309.

Maine Adventures with Down East

Our summer trips are filling up fast! Choose your destination, invite fellow lovers of Maine, and get on board for the ultimate Maine experience.

5 Unbelievable Natural Oddities

The Cobscook Bay tide rushes through the Mahar Point narrows so strongly, it looks like the ocean is boiling as water collides with the currents of Dennys Bay -- a phenomenon known as a reversing falls. Look for eagles and harbor seals. End of Leighton Point Rd., Pembroke. 207-726-4047.

An easy mile-long hike in the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area leads to a cool cave that keeps its icicles nearly all summer. Bring a flashlight to see the sparkle. Hurd Pond Trailhead, 18 miles west of Millinocket on the Golden Road. 207-729-5182.

5 Terrific Paddling Day Trips

Okay, so it's not a day trip, but the surreal, bioluminescent organisms in Castine Bay do light up the night. May 30-October 1. $55 per person. Castine Kayak Adventures, 17 Sea St., Castine. 207-866-3506.

Strike out across Moosehead Lake with a veteran guide. Frequently spotted species include trout, deer, loons, ducks, bobcats, and (fingers crossed) the mighty, magnificent moose. May-December. $40 per person. Northwoods Outfitters, 5 Lily Bay Rd., Greenville. 207-695-3288.

Ride the expedition boat out to rocky Seal Island, then launch your kayak for open-ocean paddling among puffins, arctic terns, and other seabirds. $140-$230 per person. Old Quarry Ocean Adventures, 130 Settlement Rd., Stonington. 207-367-8977.