OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Wells Reserve

Guest Blog by Lisa Luken, Simple Joy Living

Slow Down and Savor the Adventures that Await in the Maine Beaches Region

Sitting on a bench along a tidal marsh listening to birds sing. Hiking up a mountain with your family to take in sweeping views of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Walking cobblestone streets and visiting shops in quaint New England towns. All of this and more are waiting for you in the Maine Beaches Region.

Your iconic Maine experiences will be here too-the lighthouse dotted coastline, the miles of sandy beaches, and the fresh lobster sandwiches followed by warm blueberry pie. Yet, just off the beaten path from these idyllic Maine treasures, you’ll find a world of experiences equally worth a visit. 

Bring the family, sneak away with your partner, or escape for a solo trip and see why The Maine Beaches region is the place to slow down, explore, and recharge-without the crowds.

Prepare for your visit

As you prepare for your adventure, resist the urge to plan out every detail of your trip. Leave space in your days to slow down and savor each experience. Arrive with an open mind and be flexible. Be prepared to adjust for weather, crowds, and seasonal offerings. Keep in mind that the most memorable moments of a trip are often the spontaneous ones.

To focus on fully enjoying your visit and creating lasting memories, incorporate elements of slow travel into your adventure. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature. Get to know local business owners as you peruse shops and restaurants. Spend time learning the history of the places you visit. Think sustainably and be mindful of the impact your travel activities have on your planet.

Choose your adventure

Here are five types of adventures to explore, with ideas for each.

  1. Immerse yourself in nature – Enjoy the great outdoors in this “Vacationland.” Get outside and breathe in the fresh air while taking in the beauty of Maine.
    • Soak in the sun – Think beyond the beaches and relax in a hammock, visit a lake, or find a spot to sit along one of the area’s many rivers and marshes.
    • Stargaze – Head out after dark (and after the crowds have gone home) to gaze up. You might even catch a glimpse of the International Space Station passing by!
    • Visit a state park – The Maine Beaches Region is home to some of Maine’s state parks, including Fort McClary, Ferry Beach, and Vaughn Woods.
    • Camp – Enjoy the simple life at one of the area’s campgrounds, some of which offer glamping options if you prefer to “rough it” in luxury.
    • Go plogging – Leave the area better than you found it by “plogging”- picking up trash while jogging (or walking) then disposing of it properly.
    • Get out on the water – Try a sailing adventure, a whale-watching excursion, or a lobster boat tour with your group to take in the view from a different perspective-off the coast.
  2. Enjoy the peace and quiet – Maine is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. Follow in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau and Harriet Beecher Stowe who embraced the peace and quiet of Maine to write. Head out to read, write, journal, meditate, or paint in one of the Maine Beaches Region’s natural areas. 
    • Wells Reserve at Laudholm provides open space, marked trails, and beach access.
    • Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge offers a 1-mile loop trail with scenic vistas overlooking tidal salt marshes. 
    • Head to one of the area’s many beaches at an off time. Late afternoon (after everyone has headed out for dinner) is a great time to take a dip without the crowds. You might also choose to walk the beaches early in the morning to search for sea glass before the crowds arrive.
  3. Savor every bite – Bring your appetite, as you’ll find plenty of opportunities to savor Maine’s traditional and unexpected delicacies.
    • Try a new restaurant and soak in the view al fresco or order your meal to go. Covered patios, picnic tables near lobster shacks, and benches perched on scenic vistas along trails offer fresh viewpoints for outdoor dining. Enjoy ice cream on a warm summer evening or hot chowder on a crisp fall day.
    • Pick your own treats – U-pick farms offer fresh delights throughout the summer. In the fall, pick your pumpkin and enjoy a fresh-made cider donut.
    • Visit a farmer’s market – Stop by a town’s weekly farmer’s market (days vary by town) or pop into a roadside farm stand for fresh-picked fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
  4. Explore history, culture, and art – Arrive ready to learn and spend time connecting with Maine’s rich history, unique culture, and simple, hardworking people.
    • Lighthouses – You know Maine boasts beautiful lighthouses along its shores, but do you know their history? Slow down and study the stories behind these long-standing landmarks.
    • Art – Whether you choose to visit a museum or search for outdoor sculptures and monuments, you’re sure to find (and learn) something new.
    • Music – Live like a local and check out a weekly concert in a park or dine outdoors while listening to a local band at one of the area’s many restaurants.
    • History – Sometimes the best discoveries are made when you simply wander. Head out without a plan. Study the architecture, noticing the mix of old and new that has evolved over Maine’s 200 years. Walk the cobblestone streets. Sit on a pier and watch a working waterfront.
  5. Get moving – A simple, slow visit to Maine can still include movement. Consider these low-to-no emission options to explore the Maine Beaches Region.
    • Take a walk – Head out at sunrise to take in the views along Marginal Way in Ogunquit without the crowds. Walk the loop at Rachel Carson’s Wildlife Refuge in Wells. Hop on the Bridle Path or the Eastern Trail in Kennebunk.
    • Get physical – Clear your mind, stretch your body, and get your heart pumping with an outdoor fitness or yoga class. In the winter, try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing along one of the area’s many paths.
    • Float the day away – Paddleboard or kayak your way around one of the area’s rivers or coves. (Rental options are available or bring your own.)
    • Engage in friendly competition – Play mini-golf, frisbee, or another favorite lawn sport with your group. Spread out on the sand or at a park and see who wins!
    • Pedal away – Hop on your bike (or rent one) and savor the sights at a slower pace while also getting in a workout. You might even try a fat tire bike ride on a trail in the winter.
    • Hike a trail – Climb up Mount Agamenticus in York and take in the incredible 360-degree view. The whole family will enjoy searching out notable landmarks from the top.

Savor the memories and come back again

There is something to slow down for and explore during every season in the Maine Beaches Region. Whether you’re visiting for a warm summer day, a fall weekend getaway, or a cozy winter retreat, memorable experiences and off the beaten path adventures await.

Bio:  Lisa Luken, ACC, of Simple Joy Living, LLC, is an international speaker, writer, and retreat facilitator. She believes in living a life of experiences over things and loves helping busy women simplify their lives and embrace slow travel. She enjoys exploring and traveling the world but always loves coming home to Maine. Visit Lisa on Instagram at @SimpleJoyLiving.