Budget Travel

How you can enjoy Maine's outdoors free of charge

Booking a vacation to Maine does not have to interrupt the financial institution – you are able to hike, swim, cross-country ski and relish the arts scene, all free of charge. From York to Fort Fairfield and everywhere in between, you will find loads of activities to complete in Maine year-round. Hike across the rocky coastline in search of incredible vistas and native wildlife or give mash potato wrestling an opportunity in northern Maine. Just make sure you've your camera ready!

Chase lighthouses

Most of Maine's lighthouses can explore, including the famous Portland Head Light. Commissioned by George Washington, Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth is the most photographed lighthouse in the united states. Pack an open-air picnic and relish the adjacent 90-acre Fort Williams Park using its stunning ocean views and old forts. Not far down the road you have Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse and Big Light in South Portland, too.

As you head up the coast, you will find much more lighthouses in the Midcoast region, like Owl's Head Lighthouse and Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse in Rockland and the famous Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde (you might recognize Marshall Point from Forrest Gump).

West Quoddy State Park in Lubec is the easternmost location in the continental Usa and residential to West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, a definite candy-striped tower commissioned by Thomas Jefferson.

Sunbathe on southern Maine's beaches

Southern Maine largely includes York and Cumberland Counties and most from the state's 1.3 million people. York County hosts a number of Maine's best sandy beaches – Long Sand Beach in York and Ogunquit Beach are a couple of of the most beautiful and largest beaches in Maine.

Old Orchard Beach may be one of Maine's busiest beaches within the state during the summer, but they're near to the iconic pier and theme park. As you head north, sandy beaches begin to become Maine's famed rocky coastline, but you'll still look for a few sandy spots for a dip in the Atlantic.

Visit Stephen King's house

Horror fans don't wish to miss Stephen King's spooky mansion on West Broadway Street in Bangor. The stately red mansion and its creepy wrought-iron fence evoke the author's most well-known works. The recently added wooden tree carving right in front yard is worth the stop alone.

Unfortunately, you won't catch a peek at the famous author (as he resides mostly in Florida now), however, you don't know! There are plans to eventually open the house to the public as a museum.

Other famous homes you can go to or see in the street include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's residence in Portland, E.B. White's in Brookline, and Harriet Beecher Stowe's in Brunswick.

Looking for additional free stuff in Bangor? Snap a selfie with the Paul Bunyan statue, look for wildlife within the 80-acre Bangor City Forest, and walk or bike across the Penobscot River Walkway. Fort Knox and also the Penobscot Narrows Bridge really are a 25-minute drive from Bangor, offering incredible views of the Penobscot River and a lot of history.

Take a hike

Maine is home to a large number of miles of hiking, biking and nature trails through the state. Alewive Woods Preserve in Kennebunk is really a 625-acre nature preserve with 2.5 miles of easy hiking trails that's open to the general public free of charge. Just an hour or so north of Portland, Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton is the perfect day hike with rewarding views of western Maine.

The Shoreline Trail in Moosehead region's Lily Bay State Park is an easy two-mile trail for the entire family, and you may even visit a moose if you're lucky.

For slightly harder trails, the Bethel area is home to Grafton Notch State Park and also the Mahoosuc Public Lands. The Appalachian Trail runs through the park, but there are more nearby easier trails if you need a shorter day hike.

Stroll the very first Friday Art Walk in Portland

Maine's largest city may be the state's cultural hub, the place to find a lot of world-class restaurants, breweries, coffee shops and much more. It's not hard to spend 100's of dollars on food and beer alone here, but there are numerous free things to do.

Portland's First Friday Art Walk happens around the first Friday of every month, and it is a free self-guided tour of the city's galleries and studios. Many stops provide free snacks and wine.

The Portland Museum of Art in the heart of downtown has a permanent assortment of over 18,000 artworks from Andy Warhol to Claude Monet. PMA hosts among the largest collections of functions by Winslow Homer – considered to be one of the greatest American painters of the 1800s – who spent a lot of his life in Maine.

PMA owns Homer's studio in Prouts Neck and tours are for sale to one more fee. Portland Museum of Art is definitely liberated to the public on Fridays.

Jam out at L.L. Bean's outdoor concerts

Every summer, L.L. Bean hosts Summer around the block at its flagship store in Freeport. Shop for flannel and duck boots before enjoying a free concert with big names like Walker Hayes and Brandi Carlile. Along with regular concerts, L.L. Bean also hosts free yoga classes, fitness classes, movie nights, and much more. All events are warm and friendly so even the little people in your loved ones can have heaps of fun.

Cross-country ski, snowshoe and sled in winter

With thousands of miles of hiking trails through the state, snow doesn't have to prevent your fun. Many trails over the state can be accessed by snowshoes or cross-country skis, including many of Acadia National Park's trails, which are free throughout the winter season. Acadia Winter Trails Association volunteers groom miles from the carriage trails for skiing.

There are 15 miles of free cross-country ski trails in Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. If you're new to cross-country skiing, you are able to explore the beautifully groomed trails at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester for less than $20.

Sledding fans (both adults and kids), grab your favorite ride – there are lots of great sledding hills to enjoy. Payson Park in Portland, Essex Street Hill in Bangor, and Mighty Hill in Gorham are just a few places you can enjoy the thrill of the snowy hill.

Explore Acadia National Park

Every April, the U.S. National Park Services celebrates National Park Week, and you can visit any of the country's national parks free of charge. Found on Mount Desert Island about 3.5 hours north of Portland, Acadia National Park the very first national park established east from the Mississippi River.

Featuring 27 miles of scenic motorways, 158 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads mostly built through the Rockefeller family, Acadia National Park is definitely an incredible spot to explore.

Watch the sun rise over the country from atop Cadillac Mountain, take a chilly sip within the Atlantic at Sand Beach, or hike towards the summit of the many granite peaks around the block.

While Acadia National Park features a large portion of Mount Desert Island, there's more towards the destination compared to national park. You will find loads of free trails and places to swim outside of the park limits for all those on a tight budget.

Experience the Maine Potato Blossom Festival

For a distinctive Maine experience, head north into Aroostook County for that Maine Potato Blossom Festival, held annually in Fort Fairfield. The festival happens in July throughout the potato field blossoming featuring over 85 events through the nine-day festival.

There's a town-wide garage sale, nightly entertainment, a huge parade, fireworks and also the famous “Mash Potato Wrestling.” Most events have the freedom or low cost and fun for the whole family.

Traverse the state on two wheels

Maine is a superb spot to explore on two wheels. If you are in the southern Maine region, just hop on your bike and cycle the 22-mile Eastern Trail from Big Light in South Portland to Kennebunk.

For the more hardcore cyclists, the multi-day Down East Sunrise Trail from Ellsworth to Ayers Junction is simply over 100 miles long on paved or gravel roads.

Bond Brooks Trails in Augusta has six miles of single-track mountain biking trails and Quarry Road Trails in nearby Waterville has many more mountain bike trails free and available to the general public.

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