Most Beautiful Towns in Maine for Vacation & Day Trips

Rocky coast and view of boats in the harbor at Bar Harbor,

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Dreaming of the most beautiful towns in Maine? The Pine State is popular for its foliage and its coast, which means there is a lovely mix of small Maine towns located in rural settings as well as bustling summer coastal stops.

We’ll consider the Maine tourist towns and more remote options for those who like to vacation with fewer crowds.

In this guide, we will discuss the prettiest towns in Maine and what to do there, but you can also check out our guides to the best cities, summer vacation spots, and best places to visit, which feature mountains, towns, parks, and stunning beaches.

Maine’s Most Beautiful Towns in Alphabetical Order

Bar Harbor

According to footfall, one of the best vacation towns in Maine is Bar Harbor, and its fame comes from its location in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island!

The overnight base for many travelers to one of Maine’s most popular tourist attractions, there are plenty of Bar Harbor hotels and other lodging options for all budgets, as well as lots of restaurants and shops.

Things to do in Bar Harbor

Break the bank at the shops on Main Street, picking up souvenirs at The Acadia Shop or Cool As A Moose.

Take a picture of the Balance Rock on the Shore Path, a large boulder suspected to be the remains from the ice age.

Dine at one of the many restaurants, such as pub grub at Geddy’s or Seafood at Lobster Co.

Most of your activities will take place around Acadia’s road called The Loop.

Bar Harbor has a strange yearly event called the Early Bird Pyjama Sale and Bed Race, where locals run down the street with beds on wheels.

Find out more about the national parks on the East Coast.

You may also like our guide to Bar Harbor in the fall.

Bar Harbor boats Acadia National Park Maine

Where to Stay in Bar Harbor

For those looking for a quaint setting (complete with homemade chocolate chip cookies every day!), check availability at Moseley Cottage Inn and Town Motel (12 Atlantic Ave) on ExpediaHotels, or Booking.

For an iconic stay in the center of it all, check out the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel (269 Main St) on ExpediaHotels, or Booking.

The Best Western (ExpediaHotels, or Booking) is conveniently located by the entrance to Acadia National Park.

Alternatively, check out the Kimball Terrace Inn (ExpediaHotels, or Booking) to stay near the park entrance.

Check out all of our favorite hotels in Bar Harbor.

Boothbay Harbor

Boothbay is a lovely waterfront town that draws in water sports fans with its kayaking, sailing, and yachting opportunities.

The town is also home to the 30-foot-high Burnt Island Lighthouse, located at Burnt Island.

One of the most attractive attractions in Boothbay is the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for its Dahlia Garden and huge sculptures!

Things to do in Boothbay

If water sports aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other things to do.

Learn about the town’s local history at the Boothbay Region Historical Museum or have a snoop around a wealthy captain’s house at Castle Tucker and Nickels-Sortwell House.

Music fans should check out what’s on at Pythian Opera House, and art fans should check out the free sculpture trail.

Do a boat trip to Burnt Island Lighthouse.

Boothbay is close to Bath, The City of Ships, which is featured in our Maine city guide.

Pier 7 Boothbay Harbor Maine

Where to Stay in Boothbay

Check out the Flagship Inn & Suites (200 Townsend Ave) for a no-frills spot with an outdoor pool; see availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

For a beautiful waterfront stay, look at the Harborage Inn on the Oceanfront (75 Townsend Ave); check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Maine

Cape Elizabeth

Cape Elizabeth is home to the most photographed lighthouses in Maine, and that is saying something, as there are many!

The striking white Portland Head Light is located on cliffs at Fort Williams Park, which is a 15-minute drive from Portland.

Taking the crown of the oldest lighthouse, Portland Head Light is also the first to be fully completed by federal funding.

It was first lit in 1791, and you can learn more about it at the award-winning museum in the Keepers’ Quarters next to the lighthouse.

Things to do in Pretty Cape Elizabeth

Fort Williams Park is 90 acres, perfect for light hikes.

There are also picnic spots in the park.

Dig your feet into the golden sands of Crescent Beach State Park, which has calm waters.

Visit Portland!

Portland is close to Cape Elizabeth and is usually visited as a day trip from the city.

Portland Head Light Maine binoculars

Where to Stay in Cape Elizabeth

If you want to stay right at Cape Elizabeth instead of nearby Portland, then you have to stay at the stunning Inn By the Sea (40 Bowery Beach Road).

Enjoy being right on the ocean with amenities including an outdoor pool, cardio room, spa, on-site restaurant with open-air dining, and an on-site bar and lounge.

Check availability for this beautiful stay on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Portland Head Light Maine plants

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are directly located next door to each other, so they are often visited at the same time and are referred to as The Kennebunks.

For some, The Kennebunks are the prettiest towns in Maine, with Kennebunkport enjoying a presidential seal of approval…

This is where Walker’s Point, the Bush compound, is situated!

Both towns are popular with tourists all year round, and increasingly more so in winter for the award-winning Christmas Prelude, so expect crowds during the high season and in December.

If you plan to stay in one of the lovely B&Bs in this pretty Maine town, make a booking early to avoid disappointment.

Or you can try staying at one of the haunted hotels in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport featured in this guide.

Gooch’s Beach bench in Kennebunk Maine

Things to do in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport

There is plenty to do in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, so plan to spend more than a day here if you can.

Hit the shops and dine at Dock Square, arrange beach days at either Mothers Beach, Gooch’s Beach, or Colony Bay, and book a whale-watching tour in summer.

Don’t miss the cute pastel buildings at the unique Maine Art Hill in Kennebunk.

If you like history, check out the information boards created by the Museums on the Streets team.

There is also a walking tour you can book on GetYourGuide or Viator, or enjoy a delicious food tour.

Since Maine is one of the whitest states in the US, most of the history you will learn while visiting its towns will be from a white person’s narrative.

For more diversity, check out Rev. Lara K-J Campbell’s research and Kennebunk Town’s local Historian, Kathy Ostrander Roberts’s session on YouTube here.

If visiting in the fall, photograph the door fall decor and plan to go pumpkin picking at Wallingford Farm.

You might also like our guide to where to stay in Maine for fall foliage to get extra photo ops!

In December, Santa sails in a lobster boat during the 2-week Christmas Prelude.

Plus, you can visit decorated houses, do the Christmas tree trail, and drink spiked cider and festive cocktails.

Doesn’t this make them the best coastal towns to visit in Maine this December? Tell us in the comments!

Kennebunk is also where you will find the famous yellow Wedding Cake House at 104 Summer Street.

So beautiful! It was once the most photographed building in Maine.

The Kennebunks also feature in our summer vacation ideas in Maine guide.

Love KPT Kennebunkport sign boat in water in Maine

Where to Stay in the Kennebunks

In Kennebunk, look at the Port Inn & Suites (55 York St) on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Alternatively, you might like the White Barn Inn & Spa in Kennebunk (37 Beach Ave) for a relaxing getaway; check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

In Kennebunkport, the Kennebunkport Inn (1 Dock Square) is a classic place to stay; check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Another lovely option in Kennebunkport is The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel & Marina (21 Ocean Ave); see the options on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Kennebunk River flowers Maine


Kittery is Maine’s oldest town, and it has a very large seat called the Big Easy Chair!

Things to do in Kittery

Visit the former defense fort and enjoy expansive views from Fort McClary State Historic Site, then head to Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier or Warren’s Lobster House to enjoy a riverside lunch.

Downtown Kittery has bright street artwork on its street barriers and hip cafes and restaurants that serve more than just seafood.

Don’t forget to pick up pastries at Lil’s and stop by Lost Coast for vintage finds in a bright building!

Badger’s Island is where you will find a building covered in buoys.

Once you’ve had enough of looking at this beautiful Maine town, head to The Kittery Outlets – America’s Maine Street for Outlet Shopping.

Kittery is also one of our favorite day trips from Boston in the fall.

Where to Stay in Kittery

Stay in the heart of town at the classic Water Street Inn (6 Water St); check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Alternatively, take a look at the Hampton Inn (275 US Route 1) on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Easy Chair monument Kittery Maine


Ah, Lubec!

One of the best small towns to visit in Maine because this is where you can catch the first sunrise in the US!

Lubec is super low-key, with no malls, theaters, or fast food restaurants.

Things to do in Lubec

Visit East Quoddy Head Lighthouse, located on the eastern tip of Campobello Island on the Bay of Fundy, but…

Surprise… Fundy is actually located in Canada, so you will need your passport.

While visiting Campobello Island, you can also experience Roosevelt Campobello International Park, which preserves Franklin D. Roosevelt’s summer retreat home.

We’ve included Lubec and Fundy in our best places to visit in Maine guide. Do you agree?

Where to Stay in Lubec

If you want to stay right in Lubec, you have to check out The Inn on the Wharf (69 Johnson St).

Book a room with a balcony overlooking the water for truly iconic New England vacation vibes.

Check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Red and white striped lighthouse West Quoddy Head Lighthouse Maine at sunset


Next up on our list of best towns to visit in Maine is an award-winning beach town called Ogunquit.

Fans love Ogunquit for its food, beaches, coastal walks, and liberal vibe.

For a full list of things to do in Ogunquit, check this guide.

Things to do in Ogunquit

In Ogunquit, you can eat more than just lobster!

Choose between burritos, omelets, pancakes, acai bowls for breakfast and seafood, pizza, Thai, and burgers for lunch or dinner.

The Village Market on Main Street is a popular stop for picnics and road trippers.

So, what makes it one of the most beautiful towns in Maine?

Marginal Way is a 1-¼ mile (just over 2 km) cliff walk leading to a cute area called Perkins Cove.

Dogs can do the walk during the off-season.

If it rains during your visit, head indoors to the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit Heritage Museum in Captain James Winn House or see a show at the Playhouse.

This is one of the best coastal towns to visit in Maine for younger visitors.

Where to Stay in Ogunquit

Enjoy classic coastal Maine charm at the lovely Abalonia Inn (268 Main St); check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Or take advantage of all the amenities — including both an indoor and outdoor pool –at the Gorges Grant Hotel (449 Main St); check availability on Expedia or Hotels.

Ogunquit Beach in Maine.


Rockport is one of the most picturesque towns in Maine, and it is close to its sister town, Camden, so it can be visited as part of a dual trip!

Forbes named Rockport one of the US’s prettiest cities, and it is known for its arty, chilled vibes.

Things to do in Rockport, Maine

Rockport Marine Park is a free, public grassy space with boat launches for kayaks.

Music fans should read up on the Bay Chamber Concerts or historic Rockport Opera House schedule, and art fans should see what’s on at the Maine Center for Contemporary Art in Rockland, which is a 15-minute drive away.

The area is famous for its Indian Island Lighthouse, which was established in 1850.

Remember the movie André?

You can see the statue of the beloved local seal at Rockport Harbor!

Andre the Seal statue Rockport Harbor in Rockport Maine

Where to Stay in Rockport, Maine

Take a look at the lovely Country Inn at Camden Rockport (8 Country Inn Way), which has a pool and is pet-friendly if you’re bringing your fur baby.

Check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Another great Rockport option is Strawberry Hill Seaside Inn (886 Commercial St), which boasts ocean views, two outdoor pools, and its own private beach.

Check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

View over Rockport Harbor in Rockport Maine


Roxbury is one of the best towns to visit in Maine in the fall because it is part of the Rangeley Lakes Region.

This is a tiny town with a population of under 500!

Things to do in Roxbury and Around the Area

Enjoy a road trip around The Jewel of the Western Maine Mountains.

Take advantage of The Height of Land Overlook (Route 17), the rest stop for views of Mooselookmeguntic and Upper Richardson lakes.

You may also like our guide to hiking in New Hampshire, just over the border from the West Coast mountains on this side of Maine.


To get to Stonington you need to cross the Deer Isle-Sedgwick suspension bridge, so if you are the passenger, get your phone out to video the gorgeous crossing!

Stonington is located south of Deer Isle, which sits on the eastern side of Penobscot Bay.

Things to do in Stonington

Once known for its granite, Deer Isle and Stonington are now appreciated for their solitude, a huge contrast from other popular Maine towns in the area!

Life is slow in Stonington, but there are still things to do to keep yourself entertained.

For example, check out the Lighthouse Trail, where you receive a stamp for each of the eight lighthouses you visit.

Visit the Settlement Quarry for epic views; consider this at sunset.

Or catch a performance at the Opera House Arts, then dine out on seafood.

One of the really unique things about Deer Isle is that you can do a day trip to one of the most visited national parks in the US: Acadia.

A day trip to Isle au Haut offers ruggedness and remoteness as passengers have to arrive by boat!

The island has 6 miles (8 km) of paved roads and seven miles (11 km) of unpaved roads, which are rough to ride on, so you need mountain bikes if cycling.

If you enjoy rambling, there are 18 miles (29 km) of trails.

Blue sky day around Duck Harbor Isle au Haut in Acadia. Maine.


OK, not technically a town, but Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, Franklin County, caters to winter sports enthusiasts like any other town does!

Things to do at Sugarloaf

Hit the slopes! There are 160 of them.

Sugarloaf has over 50KM groomed trails for Nordic Skiing and has hosted premier events such as the U.S. Alpine Nationals, the U.S. Freestyle Nationals, the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix, the National Junior Olympics, the North American Championship Series, the S.I.S.E. Cup Eastern Masters Championships.

Adventurous and experienced skiers can take advantage of the cat skiing opportunities at Burnt Mountain.

If you don’t want to ski, you can snow bike, snowshoe, and ice skate instead.

Fill up at 45 North, Bullwinkle’s and Java Joe’s.

Sugarloaf also has a fun annual Reggae Festival that is featured in our guide to visiting Maine in the spring.

Where to Stay Near Sugarloaf Mountain

Stay at Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel (5092 Access Rd, Kingfield) for access and amenities; check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Or take a look at the Hostel of Maine (3004 Town Line Road, Kingfield) for another nearby option; check availability on Expedia or Hotels.


Close to the southern tip of Maine, you’ll find York, one of the must-see towns in Maine for its well-known lighthouse.

Things to Do in York

Mainers and visitors flock to Short Sands Beach, Long Sands Beach, and York Beach at the harbor when temperatures start to increase.

At Short Sands, you’ll find a Fun-O-Rama arcade where you can play skee ball and enjoy ice cream with ‘jimmies’, also known as sprinkles or hundreds and thousands.

Nubble Lighthouse at Cape Neddick is located in Sohier Park and was built in 1879.

Nubble was built in 1879 and is located at Sohier Park, which you can reach by car.

Each year, Nubble has an official summer lighting schedule, so the lighthouse looks festive even at night in summer!

Since this is one of the best towns in Maine to visit, expect crowds during summer.

To escape, head to the mountains!

Mount Agamenticus has a variety of hiking trails that take less than an hour.

Here’s more on the best East Coast hikes.

Cape Neddick Lobster Pound is a popular photography spot for its dark, wooden building draped in buoys.

Check out our complete guide to the best things to do in York for even more details.

Where to Stay in York

Stay right on Long Sands Beach in York Beach at Stones Throw (123 Long Beach Ave); check availability on Expedia, Hotels, or Booking.

Stage Neck Inn (8 Stage Neck Rd) is a lovely B&B right on York Harbor; check availability on Expedia or Hotels.

Which of these cute towns to visit in Maine do you plan to visit? Tell us in the comments!

Nubble (Cape Neddick) lighthouse lies a few hundred feet away from the shore covered with beach roses on a summer day in Maine. The beacon is one of most photographed lighthouses in the country.

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