Are you itching to pack your bags and explore the great outdoors? You’re in luck.
June is Great Outdoors Month, which makes it the ideal time to hit the open road and explore some of this country’s natural wonders. Maine is filled with stunning landscapes and terrains for every level of outdoor explorer, including mountains, rivers, and ocean with miles of coastline. You could even decide to hike it on foot, sail by boat, or hitch a plane ride and jump out to soak in an aerial view!
Whether you’re a novice or advanced, the Pine Tree State offers thousands of miles of trails, and many of them are open all year long.
Climb the mountain peaks and scramble over pink granite cliffs and ledges along the coastline of Acadia National Park for a beautiful view of Mt. Desert Island and the Atlantic Ocean. Peregrine falcons and eagles can be seen flying over ahead, and sometimes whales and seals can be spotted offshore. Running from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail and its 267-mile portion that cuts through this state extends from the Mahoosuc Mountains to Mt. Katahdin’s summit. It’s geared towards advanced level hikers due to its extremely rugged landscape. Try the Barren-Chairback and Whitecap Ranges or explore easier and less-traveled stretches near the Carry Ponds, Sabbathday Pond, and the Piscataquis River in Horseshoe Canyon.
Each of these locations is about three hours from the inn.
Would you rather climb with the sea at your back or amongst a wooded landscape? In Maine, you can do both! There are more 400 rock climbing routes located throughout the state, including Mount Katahdin, Shagg Crag, and Acadia National Park.
In Maine, you could grab a kayak and gently glide over the state’s abundant lakes, or strap yourself in for a wild ride down one of the country’s “Big Three” whitewater rivers.
The Penobscot River offers 12 miles of rapids that begin at the Exterminator Rapid at the head of Ripogenus Gorge, continues through the Staircase Rapid and the Cribworks above the calm of Big Eddy. Twelve-foot falls at Nesowadnehunk and the rapids of Big Ambejackmockamus, Abol, and Pockwockamus, await downriver. Intense waves at Big Mama and Whitewasher lead to an exciting plunge through Magic Falls at Kennebec River. “Playboater,” or freestyle kayakers, will find space to showboat between the dam at Harris Station and the village of West Forks. The Dead River provides 16 miles of whitewater that starts with the mild Spencer Rips, and then moves on to the turbulent waves at Humpty Dumpty and Elephant Rock. The trip ends with a flourish at Big Poplar Falls.
Whale Watching Trips
Beginning each April, whales make their long voyage to the waters of Maine to feast on sand eels, copepods, plankton, and fish. They feed and play about 20 miles off the coastline which makes for the perfect whale watching trip. These majestic mammals can be spotted breaching the ocean surface, spouting water, and nursing their young. Humpback whales, pilot whales, minke whales, and the massive finback whale, which can grow up to 80 feet in length, are frequent visitors.
Whale watching cruises offer a front row seat to all of the action. Kennebunk’s Nick’s Chance Whale Watch Tour provides plenty of room on their observation deck to snap photos, along with breakfast and lunch fare in the gallery. Cap’n Fish’s Whale Watch in Boothbay Harbor is located about 1.5 hours away from the inn. Their main salon boasts cushioned seating and 360 degree viewing, while the upper deck allows free roaming for better vantage points.
Instead of walking or hiking to view Maine’s breathtaking beauty, why not try going by horse? Many of Maine’s state parks and multi-use trails welcome horseback riding, whether you’re an experienced equestrian or a newcomer. Riverhurst Farm in Kennebunk offers lessons in a variety of disciplines, including Western, English (Basic Balance Seat), Dressage (up to first level), and Jumping. You can even opt for a romantic horseback ride along the beach.
Moose and Bird Watching
The moose population in Maine is estimated to be close 75,000, the second largest populations of moose in the U.S behind Alaska. Moose can be seen throughout the state, but their population is greatest in the Western Lakes and Mountains, the Kennebec & Moose River Valleys, the Maine Highlands, and Aroostook County. One of the best ways of spotting a moose is to set off on a moose watching tour, otherwise known as a moose safari. A day trip to Greenville to take one of Northeast Whitewater’s moose tours or safaris will get you close to these magnificent creatures.
With its vast amounts of forest, isolated islands, and numerous wetlands, Maine is home to a large number of migratory and non-migratory bird species. The variety of birds grows in the summer months to include the ruby-throated hummingbird, the common loon, and the iconic bald eagle. You can sign up for a tour by checking out the Maine Birding Trail or with organizations such as Down East Nature Tour in Bar Harbor.
You’ve heard the saying, “One if by land, two if by sea.” What about adding “Three if by air?” Satisfy your inner-dare devil, and see the state’s striking beauty from 10,000 feet in the sky on a skydiving excursion. You can observe the landscape from the soaring mountain peaks all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Lebanon’s Skydive New England, located 40 minutes from the inn, offers programs for tandem (jumping with an instructor), accelerated freefall, and experienced jumpers. Vacationland Skydiving in Pittsfield, about 1.5 hours from the inn, offers similar programs along with video services to capture the jump.
Hot Air Ballooning
If you’d prefer a more leisurely air ride, a hot air balloon excursion might be for you. You’ll still get the 360-degree views, but this time at a much slower pace! There are a number of hot air balloon operators located near Kennebunkport that will carry you 1,500 feet in the air above the gorgeous scenery below.
Whichever activity you choose, an adventure awaits you in Maine!