15 Best Days Trips & Excursions From Bangor
BANGOR CAN SURELY KEEP YOU BUSY, BUT THE LOCALS HERE WILL TELL YOU THAT THERE’S PLENTY MORE TO SEE AND DO NEARBY – BEAUTIFUL TOWNS, SPECTACULAR SCENERY, AND LOTS OF FUN. WITH ITS CONVENIENT CENTRAL LOCATION, LET BANGOR BE YOUR JUMPING OFF POINT FOR EXCITING ADVENTURES.
THE MAINE HIGHLANDS: BANGOR, KATAHDIN, AND MOOSEHEAD LAKE
Located at the very heart of the state, The Maine Highlands encompasses six distinct regions: Moosehead Lake, Katahdin, Lincoln Lakes, Sebasti-cook Valley, Southern Piscataquis Valley, and Greater Bangor. The region boasts the state’s longest river, tallest mountain, largest freshwater lake, and the Grand Canyon of Maine, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
Moosehead Lake Chamber of Commerce
You’ll long remember the haunting cry of a loon or the sight of a lumbering moose after visiting Moosehead Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Maine. While anglers wrestle with landlocked salmon, trout, and bass, birders marvel at majestic eagles and plentiful winged species. No matter what they’re doing, visitors enjoy panoramic scenic vistas. For those a bit more daring, mountain biking, skiing, snowmobiling, and ATV adventures await.
Greenville hosts a number of annual festivals: Moose Mainea in the spring, the International Seaplane Fly-In in the fall, and Snowfest in the winter, a celebration featuring a 100-mile sled dog race. You won’t want to miss the popular ice fishing tournament with NASCAR driver Ricky Craven. While you’re in town, check out the quaint shops, cozy bed and breakfasts, and local family-operated restaurants.
Katahdin & Baxter State Park
Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce
The Katahdin region offers a fantastic family experience for wildlife and wilderness enthusiasts. At the northern end of the Appalachian Trail sits Mount Katahdin, the state’s highest point at 5,267 feet and the queen of Baxter State Park. The park alone covers more than 200,000 acres of mountains, lakes, streams, and forests, offering great opportunities for canoeists and kayakers. Wildlife observers get the chance to see deer, moose, and black bears—come prepared. When you visit www.baxterstatepark.org, you’ll learn that no pets are allowed in the park and Leave No Trace principles apply.
Just south, Millinocket and the nearby communities of East Millinocket and Medway greet all kinds of visitors.
Lincoln Lakes Region
Lincoln Lakes Chamber of Commerce
A visit to the Greater Lincoln area is a hunter’s dream. Starting in the spring and continuing through the winter, an abundance of wildlife and waterfowl populate the area. Beautiful woodlands and 14 lakes make Lincoln the largest New England town in total square acreage and a lovely place to visit.
Ever growing and always looking forward, Lincoln still maintains a certain, unmistakable down-home charm. As locals like to say, “All roads lead to Lincoln.”
Sebasticook Valley Region
Sebasticook Valley Chamber of Commerce
As the gateway to The Maine Highlands, the Sebasticook Valley is the ideal destination for all types of water sports. That’s because every town in the valley lays claim to a major body of water. The region also boasts a rich sense of Maine history, embodied in historic buildings such as the Stetson Meeting House and the Levi Stewart Library in Corinna.
From the quintessential New England town of St. Albans to Exeter, a town that professes to have more cows than people, the pastoral beauty of the Sebasticook Valley will charm and delight you with one picture-postcard scene after another.
Piscataquis River Valley Region
Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce
The Piscataquis River Valley promises a slower pace, allowing time for relaxation and reconnection that is reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting. Better yet, there’s time for visitors to enjoy outdoor recreation, local festivals, and cultural offerings away from the rush of everyday life.
Known as a place where you can visit the shore without going to the coast, Southern Piscataquis County swims with the kind of year-round fishing action anglers dream about, and visitors with a sharp eye are likely to spot moose, deer, and smaller game. Gulf Hagas, also known as the Grand Canyon of Maine, is a spectacular narrow gorge filled with pools, waterfalls, cliffs, and sheer rock faces that calls to eager hikers.
Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Maine Highlands wouldn’t be complete without the Greater Bangor region, which encompasses 21 communities from Bradley in the east to Carmel in the west and Hudson in the north to Winterport in the south. Bangor, the third largest city in Maine, sits at the hub and serves as a great location to use as home base to all your excursions and day trips.
Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is a new national park unit located in northern Maine. It is a monument in progress with limited services, and in the coming years services will be added to the monument in cooperation with our partners. Spread across a wild landscape offering spectacular views of Mount Katahdin, Katahdin Woods and Waters invites discovery of its rivers, streams, woods, flora, fauna, geology, and the night skies that have attracted humans for millennia.
The crown of Maine, Aroostook County, is home to thousands of miles of recreational trails, events like the Maine Potato Blossom Festival, and features endless opportunities for exploration! Unspoiled by light pollution, Northern Maine is one of the best spots to view the dark night skies and, if you visit at the right time, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Space exploration is at your fingertips in Aroostook, as you drive through a solar system model arranged from Topsfield to Presque Isle. Experience “The Last Frontier of the East” on your next trip to Maine!
Refreshing sea breezes, magnificent views, flea markets, art galleries, boat shows, jazz festivals, succulent lobster, and chilled wine will help welcome you to the amazing Mid-Maine coast.
Belfast and Searsport
Flea markets and antique shops abound in these charming oceanfront towns. Spend an afternoon exploring the historic buildings at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport or head to Belfast for a visit to the Belfast Historical Museum and shopping at the fine boutiques in historic downtown. For an evening treat, reserve your seat at the old railroad terminal playhouse for a performance. The Belfast area is an hour drive from Bangor.
Camden, Rockland, and Rockport
The salt is always in the air in these bustling towns. From boat shows, to outdoor festivals, to skiing and toboggan championships, you’re sure to find something going on. Take a walk to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse at the end of a 4,346-foot stone path on Penobscot Bay, or visit Camden Hills State Park. Camden, Rockland, and Rockport are full of art galleries, shops, and restaurants. The Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center is well worth a visit. You’ll be glad you took this scenic excursion from Bangor. The Rockland area is about two hours from Bangor.
DOWNEAST & ACADIA
Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island
Only 90 minutes from Bangor, this stunning seaside region is a worldwide tourist destination. Bar Harbor’s history as home to the rich and famous from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, and its proximity to Acadia National Park, make the small town a huge draw for visitors and locals alike. Drive to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, listen to the roar of the ocean at Thunder Hole, and gaze in amazement at dangling Bubble Rock. Don’t miss your chance to hike, bike, or even ride horseback along the park’s 57 miles of carriage trails.
While you’re in town, take advantage of whale watching, sailing, kayaking, swimming, lobstering, and more. Or stroll through town to enjoy shopping and dining at many of the area’s excellent stores and restaurants.
Museums, historic buildings, the unique Grand Theatre, and variety of shopping opportunities make Ellsworth the place to visit and stay awhile. Major highways intersect in the heart of the city and connect it to places along the coast and interior locations in Maine. The Ellsworth area is about 30 minutes from Bangor.
Bucksport, Prospect, and Verona Island
Walk along the revitalized waterfront of Bucksport or, if you want a simply awesome view of Penobscot Bay and beyond, try the observation deck on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. Grab an ice cream or peruse the gift shops before exploring the dark tunnels of historic Fort Knox. It’s well worth the short, half-hour trip from Bangor.
Castine and Blue Hill
Dotted with blueberry fields and surrounded by rugged coastlines, these towns are authentically enchanting and among the most picturesque in Maine. In Castine, take a tour of a Maine Maritime Academy ship docked in the harbor. In Blue Hill, visit the famous and rare reversing falls, where the tide feeds into a narrow channel.
Both towns offer sea kayaking tours, interesting shops, and restaurants. The Castine and Blue Hill area is one hour from Bangor.
Eastport and Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Prepare for a day trip like no other! Grab your passport and head to Eastport to enjoy a leisurely ferry ride to Campobello Island. Walk in the steps of the Roosevelts and experience the rustic beauty of the land and sea they treasured and enjoyed. This is a unique 2,800-acre park administered by both the Canadian and U.S. governments. On your way back through Eastport, be sure to take in the miles of beautiful cobble beaches, tidal covers, rivers, streams, and inland lakes, which lends itself to be truly one of the last unspoiled stretches of Maine coast.