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Down East – that stretch of coast from Ellsworth to the Canadian border that runs almost due east-west – is a Mainer’s Maine. Despite Acadia-bound travelers, it is the Maine coast that locals remember before tourism tied together the Gilded-Age society enclaves to the south. Resorts are few, but cabins and modest motels and campgrounds are plentiful. You may have to wait until Bar Harbor to find fine dining, but you won’t eat fresher seafood anywhere. Here, where the beautiful coastal scenery is almost unbroken by development, you’ll find the true appeal of the Maine coast. Lobsters, lighthouses, wave-splashed cliffs, fishing harbors, cove ...

Down East – that stretch of coast from Ellsworth to the Canadian border that runs almost due east-west – is a Mainer’s Maine. Despite Acadia-bound travelers, it is the Maine coast that locals remember before tourism tied together the Gilded-Age society enclaves to the south. Resorts are few, but cabins and modest motels and campgrounds are plentiful. You may have to wait until Bar Harbor to find fine dining, but you won’t eat fresher seafood anywhere. Here, where the beautiful coastal scenery is almost unbroken by development, you’ll find the true appeal of the Maine coast. Lobsters, lighthouses, wave-splashed cliffs, fishing harbors, cove beaches, creamy chowder, seals and puffins, fog, steamed clams, glorious sunrises and sunsets, rocky islets and skerries, whales, sailing ships, sea gulls – all the icons are in Downeast Maine. Wild areas are treasured and protected in state parks, wildlife refuges and Acadia National Park. At the farthest end, make a loop of roads and ferries for a two-nation day or overnight trip on the Quoddy Loop. Cross into Canada at Lubec to see the Roosevelt International Park on Campobello Island, then hop by ferry to the Canadian province of New Brunswick, heading back down the coastal road to re-cross the international border at Calais. Visit in August for the Machias Wild Maine Blueberry Festival.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The region of the coast of Maine from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian Border, including Hancock and Washington Counties, in northern New England
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Midsummer weather is warm, with pleasantly cool nights, and this region is not overcrowded in summer. Fall is glorious.