If you’re planning a trip to Portland or Augusta and wondering about where to stay in Maine, then our article might be of some assistance. We’ll go over some of the most notable locations in the state and tell you all about what we consider to be the best attractions.
Where to Stay in Maine
Maine is widely regarded as a pretty rural state, and in all honesty, the reputation is sort of earned. There are large stretches of barren land, and most of the actual cities are concentrated in a few areas, with plenty of space between them.
This might not sound like a glowing advertisement, but it’s something that you’ll easily be able to notice once you’re on a road trip in the state, so there’s no use denying it.
However, despite not being the lushest or the most densely populated state in the US, Maine has both breathtakingly beautiful national parks and plenty of great cities.
Aside from the towns and their attractions, the whole state of Maine is full of forests, mountains, national parks, amazing landscapes, lakes that are great for fishing, and many many more natural wonders.
If you’re a nature lover that likes to spend time in the outdoors, then Maine is the place for you. Getting back to the subject of cities for a moment, we’ve outlined the five best destinations that you can go to in Maine. We’ve sorted them based on the sort of fun that they can provide.
Keep in mind that some cities are going to be a lot smaller than others, and while one is going to be a rural town with not many attractions aside from the outdoor ones, others are going to be vibrant nightlife hotspots with plenty of bars and cafes.
Figuring out where to stay in Maine is all about what you want to see, and by the end of our article, you’ll hopefully have a good idea of which city you want to visit.
The 5 Best Areas in Maine
Maine has quite a few cities, but the reason why we chose these ones, in particular, is that they have the most interesting locations that would appeal to the majority of people.
- Portland: The place to go if you’re looking to visit as many bars and nightclubs as you can on your trip
- Augusta: Plenty of museums, historical sites, and great exhibits that would be fun for pretty much everyone
- Bar Harbor: Close to the famous Acadia National Park and full of great hiking trails and lush forests
- Bangor: The home of many interesting museums and sites
- Wells: The best place to go if you’re looking to spend your vacation close to a beach
Maine’s Best Areas and Hotels
The hotels in our article have all been divided by prices and quality. Everyone has a different spending budget while on vacation. Some people prefer to spend as little as possible on hotels so that they have more to spend on attractions and souvenirs.
Others want to spend their entire trip in luxury and treat themselves to an expensive hotel room that’s fully equipped.
We’ll leave the ultimate decision up to you, but to make things as easy as possible for you, we’ve selected the best hotels of each price group that can be found in each of these areas. As an extra piece of advice, we’d always recommend booking the hotel before you actually get to the city.
While most of these cities can be pretty empty in the quieter seasons, the busier seasons see so many tourists that it’ll be nearly impossible to find a room unless you reserve it a few weeks ahead of time.
Despite not being the capital of Maine, Portland is actually the largest city in the state in terms of both population and overall area. This city is located right by the water, so there are plenty of sea-themed restaurants that have a wide variety of different menus, on top of the standard fish and catch-of-the-day items that you might expect.
Portland is known for the many different festivals organized in the city on a regular basis. There’s the Portland Wine Week that takes place in June and includes many wine tasting events and plenty of music and other entertainment.
You also have the clam and lobster festivals at the end of the summer, and for anyone that’s going to be visiting during the winter, you can check out the Carnaval festival, which boasts ice sculptures and even igloos.
This city sees quite a few tourists pass by thanks to the festivals and the many distilleries around the city that offer lovely local wine. Another big draw of the city is its vibrant nightlife.
You can scarcely go down a street in Portland without finding a jazz lounge or a rock bar where you can spend the night chatting with your friends or just enjoying a drink. Portland is almost certainly the most visited city in Maine, and as such, might be a bit crowded depending on which time of the year you decide to stay there.
If you go while one of the festivals that we mentioned is taking place, then a lot of the hotels might be booked and you’ll have a hard time finding a table at a lot of restaurants in the city.
Things to Do
- Visit some of the historically significant locations around the city like the Fifth Maine regiment hall and the Eighth Maine hall.
- Check out an interesting museum, like the Railroad Museum or the Cryptozoology Museum.
- If you’re in the mood for a play and a night out on the town, then you might want to check out the famous Merrill Auditorium.
- It would be a shame not to do a pub crawl in a town that has so many fantastic bars.
Where to Eat
- Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier has a great selection of dishes for anyone that likes fish.
- Slab Sicilian Street Food is where you go if you’re tired of eating fish and want to try a slice of pizza.
- Izakaya Minato offers traditional Japanese dishes and drinks, and they’re superb.
Portland Budget Hotels
- Holiday Inn Portland-By the Bay comes with a flat-screen TV with cable channels in every room and an in-house restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- La Quinta by Wyndham Portland comes with a fitness center, as well as free wifi throughout the property and free parking.
Portland Mid-Range Hotels
- The Press Hotel comes with an in-house restaurant and a fully equipped fitness center, an AC unit and a safety deposit box in every room, and free toiletries for every guest.
- Hampton Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront comes with a coffee maker and a flat-screen cable TV in every room, as well as a fitness center and a swimming pool.
Portland Luxury Hotels
- Canopy By Hilton Portland Waterfront provides all of the guests with both American-style and a la carte breakfast, a front desk that’s always available for all of your needs, and free wifi throughout the property.
- Portland Regency Hotel & Spa comes with an on-site restaurant where guests can enjoy a meal, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a full-service spa that comes with a hot tub and a sauna.
Augusta is the capital city of Maine, and while it may not be the biggest city in the state, it makes up for it by having some really interesting attractions that visitors come from far and wide to see. You might want to make the Maine State Museum your first stop even if you’re not much of a history buff.
You can learn a bit more about the history of the city and Maine as a whole. But you can also check out the many science exhibits that are on display, or the quirky attractions, like the old-school locomotive or the recreation of a blacksmith’s shop.
Nature lovers might be interested in visiting the Viles Arboretum botanical garden and checking out the hundreds of different species of flora that grow there. You can also take a stroll through the famous Capitol Park and check out the State House that’s located right next to it.
If you’re interested in having a bit of fun, then you might like to check out the annual Kennebec River Brewfest. This is essentially a festival that has beer from local breweries and plenty of live music performances that you can enjoy along with your beer.
Augusta has a lot of fun exhibits that you can visit, especially if you’re interested in learning a bit more about the city and its history.
However, if you’re more interested in nightclubs and bars, then sadly, Augusta isn’t really the place for you. There are still places like that here and there, but you’re better off going to Portland if that’s what you’re looking for.
Things to Do
- Visit the Kennebec River Brewfest and rock out to some local performers while you also enjoy the local variety of brewed beer.
- If you have young ones with you, then you might be interested in checking out the Children’s Discovery Museum and all of the fascinating interactive exhibits that they have for them.
- The Maine State Museum is the best place to learn a bit more about the rich history of this city and all of the people that lived here.
- If you’re looking for fantastic sights and a bit of fresh air, then the Viles Arboretum botanical garden is definitely an attraction that you shouldn’t pass up.
Where to Eat
- The Red Barn is a great roadside location where you can get some seafood.
- Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews offers exactly what the name suggests.
- Two Maine Guys Augusta has a pretty wide selection of dishes that you can try out.
Augusta Budget Hotels
- Days Inn by Wyndham Augusta is a simple establishment that offers rooms that come with a TV and a 24-hour front desk, and at a reasonable price.
- Quality Inn & Suites Maine Evergreen Hotel provides you with daily housekeeping services, free wifi throughout the property, and free parking.
Augusta Mid-Range Hotels
- Senator Inn & Spa offers plenty of different massage services and beauty treatments, as well as both an indoor and an outdoor pool, and an in-house restaurant.
- Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Augusta has an indoor pool, complimentary continental breakfast and free coffee that are available in the lobby every morning, and cable TV in every room.
Augusta Luxury Hotels
- Homewood Suites By Hilton Augusta provides you with a free buffet breakfast every morning, an indoor pool where you can swim a few laps, and a fully-equipped fitness center.
- Hampton Inn Augusta provides all of the guests with a flat-screen cable TV, both a fitness and a business center, and you also get free parking and free wifi on the property.
3. Bar Harbor
The city of Bar Harbor itself isn’t very noteworthy. There are some interesting attractions like the Abbe Museum, which tells the story of the Wabanki people and the Criterion Theater, where you can catch a play, but aside from that, the town is pretty unremarkable.
However, the massive forests, the staggeringly beautiful sights, and the great hiking trails are the main reasons why so many people visit this location on an annual basis.
The most famous of the natural attractions in the area has to be the famous Acadia National Park. Here you’ll be able to enjoy the different types of flora that are all over the place and try out some fun activities as well.
We’ve already mentioned hiking, but the more adventurous souls and the thrill seekers can also try mountain biking down the many designated trails. On the other hand, if you’re interested in something more relaxed, then you can rent a boat and do a bit of fishing in the lake.
Or, you can jump in for a quick dip if it’s a hot day and you want to cool off. Speaking of water-based activities, you also have the option to rent out a boat and sail around Frenchman Bay if you want to see the park from a new angle.
As we’ve already said, the town really only has a few attractions and the main draw of the area is the park. However, if you’re not all that into hiking or birdwatching, then Bar Harbor has very little else to offer you, and you might want to check out another town instead.
Things to Do
- Visit the famous Acadia National Park and check out all of the natural beauty that puts it in the top 10 most visited parks in the entire US.
- If you want to get a better view of the surrounding area, then there’s no better way to do that than to climb Cadillac Mountain.
- Go to the Abbe Museum if you want to check out some interesting exhibits that showcase art from the natives that used to live in the area a long time ago.
- If you’re not in the mood to walk, then you can take a trolley and go on a tour of the park and see all of the sights with your fellow tourists.
Where to Eat
- Thirsty Whale Tavern is a great place to visit if you’re looking to try some chowder.
- Leary’s Landing Irish Pub offers traditional Irish- & New England–style dishes.
- McKay’s Public House is pretty well known for their surf ‘n’ turf.
Bar Harbor Budget Hotels
- Acadia Pines Motel offers a pretty modest room, but it still comes with a TV, a refrigerator, free wifi, and an outdoor pool that you can use.
- Wonder View Inn comes with free wifi and a cable TV in every room, as well as a complimentary breakfast.
Bar Harbor Mid-Range Hotels
- Port Inn Bar Harbor provides all of the guests with free parking and free wifi, as well as a coffee maker in every room and BBQ facilities.
- Best Western Acadia Park Inn has a free breakfast buffet, a swimming pool that guests can use whenever they want, and an on-site laundrette.
Bar Harbor Luxury Hotels
- Holiday Inn Bar Harbor Regency Hotel comes with a seasonal outdoor pool with a hot tub, a sauna where guests can relax in the steam, and a tennis court where they can play a few matches.
- Bluenose Inn has a flat-screen cable TV, a coffee maker, and a mini-fridge in every room. The inn has an in-house restaurant and lounge bar, and heated indoor and outdoor pools.
Horror fans might have stumbled across this town since it’s the home of arguably the most famous author in the genre – Stephen King. However, while his home is a pretty famous attraction thanks to its goth Victorian-era aesthetic, the bats that crown the gates, and the author himself, the city of Bangor offers plenty of other interesting sites.
Bangor is home to the Cole Land Transportation Museum, which is one of the most unique museums that you’ll probably ever visit. This place serves as the home to vehicles from the past and the collection includes everything from an old fire engine to several different military vehicles.
This city is also the home of the massive 31-foot Paul Bunyan Statue that stands as a reminder of the lumber industry that is such a large part of its history.
You can also visit the Fort Knox historical site and learn a bit more about what happened there, or you can go for a hike in the National Park of the same name. If you’re taking your trip to this city during the winter, then you can go to Hermon Mountain and do a bit of downhill skiing.
Bangor is a really fun town with a lot of different sights to see. However, much like Augusta, there’s nightlife, but it’s not very impressive. This means that Portland still remains the best option for anyone looking to party until dawn.
Things to Do
- Go to the Cole Land Transportation Museum and check out some service and military vehicles from the past.
- Check out the University of Maine Museum of Art and look through the many artworks that are on display there.
- Grab all the gear that you think you might need and try to get up to the peak of Mount Katahdin if you want to see how the surrounding area looks from the highest point in Maine.
- Visit the famous Stephen King house to see how its gothic appearance perfectly compliments the famous author’s reputation.
Where to Eat
- Geaghan’s Pub & Craft Brewery is a great place where you can get a drink and maybe some ribs as well.
- Timber Kitchen & Bar serves everything from pizza and cocktails to burgers and craft beer.
- Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant is the place for you if you’re in the mood for some spicy food.
Bangor Budget Hotels
- Super 8 by Wyndham Bangor offers a flat-screen cable TV in every room and has a front desk that’s always available 24/7.
- Howard Johnson by Wyndham Bangor offers free wifi throughout the hotel, a cable TV in every room, and private parking is available for all of the guests.
Bangor Mid-Range Hotels
- Quality Inn Bangor Airport comes with a complimentary continental breakfast every morning, a coffee maker and a safety deposit box in every room, and an indoor pool.
- Comfort Inn Bangor offers a flat-screen TV and a coffee maker in every room, free wifi throughout the property, and a complimentary breakfast.
Bangor Luxury Hotels
- Hilton Garden Inn Bangor offers rooms featuring a coffee maker, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a 32-inch flat-screen cable TV, as well as a fitness and a business center that guests can use, and an indoor swimming pool with a hot tub.
- Courtyard Bangor provides all of the guests with access to a fully-equipped fitness center, an in-house lounge where they can enjoy a drink, and an in-house market that’s always open.
Wells sees quite a few vacation goers thanks to its beautiful beaches. There are many of them, but the most well-known one would probably be Wells Beach. The beach itself is huge, so there’s room for everyone, and the water is perfect for anything from surfing to recreational swimming.
You also have Ogunquit Beach, Footbridge Beach, York Beach, and a few more. Regardless of where you decide to tan, once you get sick of swimming or sunbathing, you can try out some beach volleyball, you can rent out a surfboard and go on the waves, or you can get a jet ski and have some fun with it.
You can go to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and marvel at the many endangered species of animal and migratory birds that call this place their home. You can also go to Wells Harbor Park and have yourself a nice picnic on the grass.
Additionally, there are also plenty of coastal cruises that you can go on. These trips will allow you to enjoy the onboard drinks, meals, and entertainment, while you also get a better view of the area from the water.
Wells has a little bit of something for everyone, but Portland remains the only real destination for you if you’re looking to visit a few bars or dance till dawn breaks.
Things to Do
- Get yourself an umbrella, a towel, a pair of sunglasses, and maybe a good book, and spend all day just lounging at the beach.
- Go on a daytime cruise and learn more about the area, or go at night and surprise your partner with a romantic evening.
- Pay a visit to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge if you’re an animal lover, and check out all of the different animals that you can find wandering around in their natural habitat.
Where to Eat
- Scoop Deck is the place to go if you’re in the mood for a frozen treat.
- Saltwater Farm Market & Café is a one-stop shop where you can grab a bite to eat, grab a drink, and buy groceries.
- Varano’s Ristorante Italiano is where you go for traditional Italian dishes.
Wells Budget Hotels
- Majestic Regency Resort serves a complimentary continental breakfast every morning, and all of the rooms come with a cable TV and a refrigerator.
- Coast Village Inn and Cottages comes with cable TV and free wifi in every room, as well as a seasonal outdoor pool and BBQ facilities.
Wells Mid-Range Hotels
- Coast Village Inn and Cottages offers a cable TV and a work desk in every room, an outdoor pool, and vending machines that offer drinks
- Hampton Inn & Suites has a free breakfast buffet that’s available every morning, a coffee maker and a flat-screen TV in every room, and free wifi throughout the hotel.
Wells Luxury Hotels
- Village By The Sea provides all of the guests with a private unit that comes with a microwave, a refrigerator, a cable TV, and a seating area, and there’s also an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and laundry facilities that guests can use.
- Elmwood Resort Hotel provides guests with both an indoor and an outdoor heated swimming pool, a garden where they can enjoy a drink at night, an HD TV and DVD player in their room, and even a sauna.
So, Where Should You Stay in Maine?
As we’ve already mentioned several times before, Portland is the best choice for you if your priority is vibrant nightlife while you’re on vacation.
Bar Harbor is the best spot for nature lovers since the Acadia National Park offers unparalleled natural beauty and a variety of outdoor activities, hiking trails, and fishing spots.
Augusta has quite a few interesting locations that you can visit, including a few truly unique museums, making it a great choice for your trip to Maine. Happy travels!