When Is the Best Time
When planning a trip to Maine, it’s essential to consider the best time of year for your visit. Based on the activities you hope to do and the places you are planning to visit, there are specific months we recommend booking your next trip for.
It’s essential to pick your time wisely for a trip to Maine, particularly to coastal Maine. Our tips will help you plan your next vacation to this part of New England so you can see and do everything you hope to on your visit. Either for a road trip along the coast or a visit to some of the most amazing coastal towns.
We answer every possible question: How many days you should spend in Maine, the best times to visit Maine for great weather, for cheap, for lobster, and much more. Make sure to check out the Frommer’s Maine Coast Travel Guide on Amazon (it includes a free pull-out pocket map which we love! Affiliate link, opens in a new tab.)
We have visited Maine dozens of times during different seasons, and we talked to the best destination experts and locals to provide you with tons of unique and helpful tips for your upcoming trip:
- The Best Times to Visit Maine
- Season Guide and Tips for Each Month
- 10 Best Coastal Towns | Where to Go When
The Best Time to Visit Maine
The best time to visit Maine is from May to September. During this period, the weather is pleasant, and all hotels, restaurants, shops, and activities are open along the coast. The best months with fewer crowds are May until mid-June and the two weeks after Labor Day in September.
How Many Days Do You Need in Coastal Maine
You need between one and two weeks in Maine to visit the most attractive coastal towns. It’s also possible to only spend a few days if you pick one or two preferred towns and make day trips from there.
Acadia National Park: Destinations experts recommend at least three nights (four days) in Bar Harbor to experience the best of Acadia National Park.
In general, you should select your favorite towns (see our guide below) to stay there for 2-3 nights each and plan day trips from these places. That way, you can experience the beautiful beaches, meeting some Mainers, enjoying the best Maine-made food, including fresh lobster or lobster rolls, instead of driving around more than enjoying the fantastic coast.
Best Time to See Northern Lights in Maine
The best time to spot Northern Lights in Maine is in the winter month, especially between December and February. However, you have to stay up late, past midnight, for several days. The chance to see the dramatic colors on one single night is extremely low here.
Best Time to Visit Maine for Pleasant Weather
The best time to visit Maine for warm weather is in the summer. June and July have the least amount of rain in the year, allowing all attractions to be open. In the summer months, expect high temperatures in the high 70s and lows in the upper 50s.
However, the summer season is also peak tourist season. The crowd levels are at their highest from late June until early September.
Best Time to Visit Maine Without Crowds
The best time to visit coastal Maine without the tourist crowds is from November to early May. However, you may have to deal with colder or sometimes unpleasant weather conditions during this period.
While it’s already busy in late spring (late May / early June), the massive summer crowds start in late June, the two weeks before the 4th of July. The best time of day to dodge the crowds in peak season is to start early in the morning to be at the attractions before they are jam-packed.
Expert Tip: A perfect time with fewer crowds and great weather is in early September, after Labor Day. Especially the two weeks after Labor Day weekend. In late September and early November, the crowds start to increase again as the leaf-peeping visitors arrive.
Best Month to Visit Maine
July and August are the best months to visit Maine. During these months, all the attractions, restaurants, shops, and boat tours are open. The weather is warm and pleasant, opening up every possible activity for visitors, from sunbathing and swimming to kayaking or eating lobster rolls at the beach.
However, the best month to visit Maine is subject to your interests. Many visitors love coming here in October to see the fall colors. The stunning red, orange, and yellow trees make this a spectacular month to enjoy exploring the area and capturing incredible photos.
Best Time to Visit Maine for Whale Watching
The best time to visit Maine for Whale Watching is in June, July, and the start of August. During these months, the chance of seeing whales off the Maine coast is at its highest. However, it’s possible to encounter these fascinating creatures as early as mid-April since whales migrate to Maine in the middle of April and then leave for the winter by October.
Time of Day: When it comes to choosing the time of day for a whale watching trip, avoid midday. Whales are feeding during this time, which can affect the locations where they are commonly found.
When we are in Maine, we usually select the first or the last whale watching trip of the day or head to the coast early in the morning or before sunset. One time, we saw a large pod of humpback whales on an early morning tour. That was fascinating.
Tours: The best whale watching tours are being offered in Bar Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Kennebunkport, and Portland. Whale and Dolphin Watching in Maine – via TripAdvisor.
Best Time to Visit Maine for Lobster
The best time of year to visit Maine for lobster is from June to August. Soft-shell lobster is available throughout the summer, and hard-shell lobster is fished throughout the year.
June is the start of the best time to find soft-shell lobster, and then heading into July and August, this will only become more plentiful. Hardshell lobster fishing is at its peak between mid-September and the end of November, and this type of lobster has plenty of meat on it.
We have eaten at lobster shacks from Kittery to Bar Harbor and will provide you with some tips in our coastal town section below. Sometimes we ate them in a usual restaurant, but most of the time, we went to one of the classic Maine lobster shacks.
Winter Visit: Maine Lobster is still harvested in the winter and early spring. However, you’ll find there are smaller quantities available each day. The quality of the lobster is also not quite as high in the winter months, but still very good!
Lobster Prices: As far as prices are concerned, these will be at their highest in the winter months and the lowest around May. While the summer has high quantities of lobster available, the influx of tourists drives the prices higher again in June, July, and August.
Best Time for Seafood in Maine
The best time for other seafood in Maine is from September to May and for tuna from June to October. Hard clams and salmon are available all year round in Maine.
The peak season for crab is between September and December, and soft-shell clams are best consumed between March and May. Oysters should be enjoyed between September and December, and shrimp is more plentiful from January to March. Finally, if you are looking to eat fresh tuna, this will be in season between June and October.
In Portland and Brunswick, it’s possible to enjoy seafood throughout the year. You’ll be able to eat clams, shrimp, fish, scallops, and more.
Best Time to Visit Maine for Fall Colors | Vibrant Leaf Colors
The best time to visit Maine for fall colors is from the final week in September to the end of October. The colors start in northern Maine and head further south as the month goes on.
Late September / Early October: If you are visiting in September or the first week of October, you’ll want to visit northern Maine, including Fort Kent, Presque Isle, and Caribou. The best spots in the northern Maine area for vibrant leaf colors include Aroostook State Park and Eagle Lake Public Land.
October | Second Week: By the second week in October, head into western and central Maine and the western mountains. Visit Grafton Notch State Park, Route 17, Route 27/16, and Tumbledown Mountain Range to witness the stunning changing colors.
October | Third Week: In the third week of the month, you’ll want to visit Fryeburg, Farmington, and Skowhegan for the best views. Columbus Day Weekend is considered the peak time for viewing fall foliage, and many families enjoy touring the area during this break.
October | Fourth Week: Towards the end of October, your best chance of seeing the Maine fall colors are in the south, in places such as Rockland, Portland, and Camden. You can also enjoy spending time on the coast, where you will still witness the seasonal colors.
Best Time to Visit Maine Beaches
Due to the improved weather, the best time to visit Maine beaches is in June, July, and August. To spend the full day on the beach, a visit during the warm summer months is best.
Fall & Spring: Visitors from elsewhere in the US will likely find the beaches too cold to visit during the fall or spring. However, if you aren’t interested in sunbathing or swimming, you’ll enjoy visiting during both seasons for the stunning scenery and lower crowds.
Winter: Although sunbathing is not an option in the cold season, you can still enjoy the beaches in the winter months. The coastal scenery is just stunning in winter, and you won’t miss the summer crowds. Just dress warm enough and cover your ears. Between the beaches in York, Nubble Light, Ogunquit, and Marginal Way, there are loads of places to explore the coast in the cold season. Often almost in solitude.
Best Time to Visit Maine for Skiing
The best time to visit Maine for skiing is from late November until mid-April. Most ski resorts in Maine open in November or December and close in late April or early May. The season at Sugarloaf Mountain usually starts mid-November. Sunday River sometimes opens as early as mid-October.
March is considered the best month for downhill skiing due to the warmer temperatures and blue skies. For cross-country skiing, visit during January or February, as these are the coldest months of the year. The ground will be much firmer during this time, offering optimum conditions for cross-country skiing. Sugarloaf has the longest ski season in the area and is still open into May most years.
Best Time to Visit Maine for Cheap
The best time to visit Maine for cheap is from early November to April. It’s off-season, and the rates are at their lowest. While some hotels are closed in the coastal towns in winter, you’ll find great deals on those which are open year-round. However, you’ll want to avoid lodging at the winter ski resorts if you are looking to plan a cheap trip.
You’ll also save money by booking your hotel well in advance. Check out our tips below for the 10 best coastal towns and recommended accommodations for every price range.
Fall Timing Tip: While winter is the quietest and cheapest time of year for visitors, there is another option: Mid-week throughout the fall, you may also find more reasonable hotel rates in areas such as Portland compared to the summer season.
Best Time to Visit Portland
Summer is the best time to visit Portland, Maine. Summer experiences the best weather and allows visitors to enjoy the beaches and the area’s attractions.
However, Portland is an excellent year-round destination, and when we visited this town at various times, we realized that each season offers something different depending on our interests. Many visitors choose to visit in fall for the fall colors in Portland or in spring for the flowers blooming. Portland Hotel Deals – via booking.com
Winter Sports: While summer is a more pleasant time to visit weather-wise, Portland is an ideal base for winter sports. The temperatures here aren’t quite as cold as elsewhere in the north of the country, and you can enjoy ice skating, cross-country skiing, and sledding. In Greater Portland, you can cross-country ski alongside the shores and through beautiful pine forests. Additionally, a day trip from Portland gives you access to some of the best skiing resorts in the country.
Other Winter Activities: Winter is a great time to spend in Portland as it’s less busy, cheaper, and there are tons of things you can do: Shopping, a culinary walking tour, photographing Portland Head Lighthouse, eating lobster, museum visits, and so much more.
Get some inspirations for every season: Things to do in Portland, Maine – via GetYourGuide
There are also plenty of special events and activities on offer in the run-up to Christmas in and near Portland. Especially the Gardens Aglow is a magical experience.
Best Time to Visit Bar Harbor
The best time to visit Bar Harbor, Maine, is in September and October. The heavy summer crowds have departed, and the weather is still pleasant for spending time outdoors.
For tips about the best time to visit time visit Acadia N.P., check out our complete Guide: Acadia National Park – Season Guide & Tips
Fall Tip: While fall is not as busy as the summer months, it’s still somehow crowded, especially on weekends. The least crowded time with warm weather is when you visit mid-week, anytime during the two weeks after Labor Day.
Spring Visit: The spring months are another great time for a Bar Harbor visit. Especially late April and early May are recommended by local experts. The hotel rates in the town are still lower, and it’s much more peaceful, especially during the week. However, you may experience rain and fog more often. This may limit the activities you can enjoy there and the time you spend outdoors. Additionally, prime attractions, and tours, aren’t usually available before Memorial Day weekend.
Winter Visit: Many restaurants are closed during the winter months in Bar Harbor. Although a few stay open even in the colder period: Side Street Café, McKay’s, Jack Russell Steak House, Dog and Pony. However, some are only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Jordan’s is usually open for breakfast (they close only for one month in winter). One coffee shop remains open in the winter on lower Main Street: Choc-Latte Cafe
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Spring | March – April – May
Spring in Maine sees high temperatures in the 40s in March, which increase to the low 60s by May. Low temperatures during spring can still drop to the 20s and 30s at night. Rain: 4 inches per month on average.
Winter Feeling: Keep in mind that along the coast, March until early April in Maine is still considered late winter, instead of spring by the locals.
By May, the flowers will be in full bloom around Portland and Maine, and it’s a wonderful time to visit for this reason. The Maine Flower Show is a key event that’s held each year in March, attracting higher crowds.
During spring, we generally saw low crowd levels throughout Maine, apart from Easter and Spring Break. Once the frost and snow have disappeared, it’s a lovely time of year for spending time in Coastal Maine. You’ll find hotel prices are low to moderate throughout the season, so it’s a good time to visit before the summer crowds descend on Maine.
Outdoor Activities Tip: Mud season in Maine usually starts around mid-March (often March 17- 18). That’s when the snow melts, resulting in very wet and muddy ground. For that reason, carriage roads in Acadia National Park will be closed between mid-March and mid-to-late April. That’s also why April is often still too early for many visitors when thinking about hiking activities as trails are muddy. But it’s definitely already possible to hike and walk on various trails and paths.
Coastal Towns: Spring is great for visiting the coastal towns and exploring the coast by walking on the paved waterfront paths. Check our best places / best town tips further below in this article.
Activity Tip: Mid-May or late May is usually the time when those fascinating schooner sailing tours in Camden and other towns are being offered after seasonal closures.
Everything Open: In May everything is open again: All restaurants, hotels, tours, etc.
Summer | June – July – August
Summer in Maine experiences high temperatures in the high 70s, with lows in the high 50s at night. July and August have the least rainfall of the whole year, with an average of 3.3 to 3.5 inches each month.
Visit our complete guide to Maine in June for even more tips.
Crowds and Weather: From the middle of June, crowds descend on Maine, and the high crowd levels and hotel prices remain until the end of August. The weather until mid-June can sometimes be a little more hit and miss, but late June, July, and August see higher temperatures for visiting the coast.
When visiting Maine in the summer months, we recommend heading to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Acadia National Park is best visited first thing in the morning or near dinner time to avoid the crowds.
Coastal Towns: Places like Ogunquit, Camden, York, or Kennebunkport are also charming to visit, with all the unique shops, restaurants, lobster shacks, and hotels open from spring to late fall.
Activities: Hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, and sailing are a few of the popular must-do things in summer when visiting coastal Maine.
Driving Tip: Highway U.S. 1 is a truly scenic route that takes you from one town to the next along the coast. However, in the summer months, it gets busy and is flooded with traffic. A faster but less picturesque option is the I-95.
Fall | September – October
Throughout the fall in Maine, expect high temperatures of between the high 40s and 50s. November is the wettest month of the year in Maine, with an average of 4.72 inches of rain. Most visitors flock to Maine in the fall to see the changing colors of the trees, which are one of the highlights of a visit during this season. The peak time to see the fall colors is from the last week in September to the end of October.
Crowds and Rates: Crowds and hotel prices are between moderate and slightly higher throughout the fall. They drop after mid-October (after Columbus Day). In certain locations, such as Portland and Bar Harbor, there might be an influx of visitors during some times in September and October from the cruise ships visiting these locations for the day.
Many visitors will find it too cold to visit the coastal towns and will instead opt to stay in Portland during October and November trips. We often visited during late October and November, and we think it is a great time, as it’s not busy anymore and the hotel rates are lower. However, locals describe November November often as one of the ickiest months in terms of weather.
Winter | November – February
Winter in Maine is cold, with average temperatures in the 30s. Expect snow throughout the season, making it the best time for winter sports. Crowds are generally low along the coast throughout the winter. However, the winter ski resorts will be busy. Portland is still a popular spot during the winter months, attracting consistent visitors throughout the year.
Expect facilities in areas such as Acadia National Park to be closed from November to mid-April. The coldest temperatures are often experienced in the middle of February, but this is a great time for skiing or snowboarding. Unlike elsewhere in the country, locals consider winter to continue in Maine through March.
Winter Visiting Tips: Especially in the coastal towns, there are fewer dining and lodging options during the winter. Some shops are closed as well. However, you’ll still find enough open restaurants, especially on weekends. The advantages:
- Rates are significantly lower in the winter.
- There are no crowds, no waiting lines.
- The scenery is just beautiful in winter, especially if there has been snow.
- It’s still a great time to visit coastal Maine.
Just make sure to bundle up and bring a winter hat to cover your ears. Alternatively, wear a coat with a hood.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 31°F/13°F
- Bar Harbor: 30°F/12°F
- Snowfall: 9 days
January in Maine sees high temperatures of 31°F, dropping to a low temperature of 12°F at night. Often, there is snow, and it’s really cold.
Expect up to 9 days of snow this month. While the temperatures are low this month with snow, the highest snowfall usually follows in February. January is a popular month for winter sports, with many visitors flocking to ski resorts.
Places to Visit: Portland is the top location to visit during January, and you’ll find good hotel prices throughout the month. Everything is open in Portland, such as restaurants and indoor attractions. Alternatively, if you are looking for somewhere quiet to escape to this month, York, Ogunquit, Camden, and other towns offer deserted beaches in January.
Specials: There are some fun events throughout this month, such as the Tri-State Reciprocal Snowmobile Weekend. Wrap up warm, and you’ll still have a great time visiting Maine in January.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 34°F/16°F
- Bar Harbor: 33°F/15°F
- Snowfall: 7 days
Expect high temperatures of 34°F and low temperatures of 15°F when visiting Maine in February.
Snowfall usually takes place seven days this month, and together with March, it’s the heaviest month for snow most years. Expect a storm every four to six days, which usually leaves between three and twelve inches of snow on the ground each time.
Driving Tip: If you are driving to Maine, you’ll be pleased to know the roads are well looked after, and the same goes for the sidewalks for walkers as well.
Daylight and Winds: One thing to consider when planning a February trip is that it gets dark around 4:30 pm to 5 pm each night. For anyone planning to enjoy winter sports this month, expect higher winds which visitors from warmer climates may find quite unpleasant.
Places to Visit: Portland is still offering lower rates and almost any possible activity. In coastal towns like Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, or Camden, fewer restaurants and shops are open, but you’ll still find some opportunities to dine and stay the night.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 42°F/24°F
- Bar Harbor: 42°F/25°F
- Snowfall/rainfall: 8 days
Temperatures in Maine in March increase to a high of 42°F and a low of 24°F. Expect up to eight days of snow or rain this month. After February’s heavy snowfall, expect the ground to still be covered in snow throughout this month. March is one of the busiest times at Maine’s ski resorts due to the slightly warmer temperatures and blue skies.
Winter/Spring: Unlike in other parts of the country, March is still considered winter in coastal Maine, so it’s best for a winter sports trip or a visit to Portland. We highly recommend enjoying Maine Restaurant Week, which takes place in Portland and Southern Maine this month.
Difficult Month: Visiting Maine in March generally depends on where you are from in the country, and for many locals, this is one of the most unpleasant months of the year. Many facilities (shops, restaurants, tours) are still closed for the winter unless the year has been particularly light on snow. Locals find March to be a very unpredictable month weather-wise, and by the end of the month, you move into mud season.
However, it’s still quiet, and if you don’t mind unpleasant temps, wind, a little ickiness, you can have a fabulous time in coastal towns (see below) at lower rates without the hectic tourist crowds. In towns like Kennebunkport, Camden, and Rockland you will still find enough eating, shopping, and lodging options.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 53°F/34°F
- Bar Harbor: 53°F/33°F
- Rainfall: 8 days
April in Maine sees a high temperature of 53°F in the day, dropping to a low of 33°F at night. Snowfall has generally ceased by April, but eight days of rainfall are expected this month. April is often deemed to be the mud season, as while the snow is finally melting, the ground becomes muddy and slushy. For that reason, anyone who is looking to spend time outdoors on the hiking trails may want to push their visit a little later in the year.
Make sure to visit our complete guide to Maine in April.
Early or Late April: Early April is sometimes still considered late winter in Maine by locals. There can be a final snowstorm sometime during the first week in April. Additionally, there will still be no leaves on the trees in April. We love to visit during this month and think late April is an excellent time to go as it’s warmer and still not busy (except when it’s Easter Weekend)
Visiting Coastal Towns: However, it’s a great time of year to visit Portland and even the smaller seaside towns. While coastal Maine can be a little cooler than inland this month and possibly uncertain weather, you’ll benefit from low crowd levels. Additionally, many of the restaurants and shops which were closed in the winter, open again during April.
Acadia National Park: If you can brave the mud and possible rain, Acadia National Park facilities reopen this month while crowds are still low. Although early April until at least mid-April is the peak mud season, hiking is possible. There are almost no crowds, and it’s so easy to find a parking spot. Just choose your trails and walking paths carefully because of the muddy terrain.
The Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park also opens in the middle of the month (April 15), depending on the weather. The restaurants and shops won’t all be open this month, but there are still enough options to choose from as far as lodging and dining.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 66°F/44°F
- Bar Harbor: 66°F/43°F
- Rainfall: 8 days
During May in Maine, expect a high temperature of 66°F and a low of 43°F. Eight days of rainfall are expected in Maine this month. The tourist season in locations such as Acadia National Park begins this month, so expect visitation numbers to increase a little throughout the area.
Although the weather is improving in May, don’t expect outdoor dining in Bar Harbor to all resume until Memorial Day weekend.
More tips? Make sure to read our complete guide about Maine in May.
Best Time: This month sees the leaves returning to the trees finally. From our experience, the last week of the month is generally the best time to visit, as you’ll enjoy lower crowds before the summer break and pleasant temperatures at the same time. However, keep in mind that Memorial Day Weekend is more crowded!
While the evenings and early mornings can still be a little chilly this month, it’s a pleasant time to go hiking. For anyone visiting from out of the area, you’ll probably find a May visit to be more like spring elsewhere in the country.
Coastal Towns in Full Swing: While most facilities usually re-open in April already, May is the month when finally all shops, restaurants, and hotels open for the summer season. Also, some sailing tours, especially those in Portland, are available again later in the month or even from mid-May already.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 73°F/53°F
- Bar Harbor: 74°F/51°F
- Rainfall: 8 days
When visiting Maine in June, expect an average high temperature of 74°F and a low of 51°F. Anticipate up to eight days of rainfall still in June. June is the ideal time for a summer vacation in Maine, and you’ll be able to enjoy all of the outdoor activities the area is known for. Kayaking, hiking, swimming, and camping will all be available this month.
Crowd Tips: With the improved weather and the start of the summer break, Maine sees a slight increase in crowds by the middle of the month. The first half of June is typically relatively quiet.
Late June: As the last week of June leads into the 4th July weekend, this is usually one of the busier weeks of the year in Maine. Naturally, people flock to the coast at the end of this month, where you can expect to experience heavier traffic.
While the weather has certainly improved, we sometimes experienced slightly cooler days in June.
Plants & Flies: In June, you’ll also experience the strawberry season, which begins at the end of the month, and lupin season in the middle of the month. There’s also an increase in black flies and June bugs, which can be unpleasant when spending time outdoors. However, the bugs are a bigger issue if you get away from the coast
If you are looking to escape the crowds this month, consider the beaches of Ogunquit, which still retains its small-town feel even in June.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 79°F/59°F
- Bar Harbor: 80°F/57°F
- Rainfall: 7 days
Maine in July sees a high temperature of 80°F and a low of 57°F. Up to seven days of rainfall are expected in July. The start of the month in Maine is one of the busiest times of the year, with crowds flocking to the coast to celebrate 4th July. It’s warm throughout the month here, and some days will experience increased humidity. However, in the evening, the temperatures can still be quite cool, so a sweater is always recommended.
Busy Times: Most visitors to Maine in July head to the beach, as it’s the hottest month of the year. Bar Harbor sees a huge increase in crowds from July 4th and stays busy until Labor Day. If you can’t avoid traveling in July, the second week of the month is the least busy. Crowds then increase again in the third week and stay high until Labor Day. While most of Maine is busy this month, some of the smaller coastal towns still retain a quieter atmosphere throughout the summer.
Tip: Check out our complete guide about visiting Maine in July.
This is the perfect month to enjoy local strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, which are all in season throughout July. If you are planning a trip in July, book accommodation and car hire as soon as possible. Car hire companies even sell out this month, and prices are constantly increasing.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 78°F/58°F
- Bar Harbor: 78°F/56°F
- Rainfall: 6 days
August in Maine sees an average high temperature of 78°F and a low of 56°F. Rainfall is expected for up to 6 days in August in Maine. August is still very crowded throughout the month, with high crowds visiting Maine until Labor Day.
Crowds: The crowds in August are very much dependent on where in Maine you visit. Acadia National Park is still a great spot for hiking throughout the summer. Expect accommodation to be fully booked and parking lots to be crowded, so do make sure you plan your August trip in advance. Places such as the top of Cadillac Mountain and Sand Beach are usually very crowded in August. If you are keen to hike this month, head out early in the morning, as most people don’t start their day until 10 am.
Clothing and Water: While the temperatures are still high this month, a light sweater and umbrella are recommended. If you are excited to swim in the ocean on your trip, many visitors do still find it quite cold in the summer, especially if you are from a warmer part of the country.
Bar Harbor is busy throughout this month. However, the cruise ships haven’t started to dock here yet for the year. August is an excellent time for enjoying lobster and seafood throughout Maine, and soft-shell lobster will still be plentiful this month.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 70°F/50°F
- Bar Harbor: 68°F/50°F
- Rainfall: 6 days
During a visit to Maine in September, expect a high temperature of 70°F and a low of 50°F. Up to six days of rainfall are projected in Maine in September. Avoid Labor Day this month to enjoy a quieter visit to Maine, especially around the coast. From the week after Labor Day until the last week of the month, crowds are lower throughout the area, offering a more pleasant experience than an August or early October visit.
Quietest Period: For the most peaceful time to visit this month, opt for a mid-week trip in the two weeks following Labor Day. Crowds pick up during the last week of the month as the leaves start to change color in the north of Maine.
Fall Colors and Traffic: In the north and at high elevations, you’ll witness the fall foliage during the final week or two of September. The weather is much less humid than in August, and traffic is far lighter throughout the month on the coast and around Acadia National Park.
Clothing: You’ll want to prepare for cooler night-time temperatures by packing a jacket, warm sweater, and long pants.
Everything is Open: During a September visit, you’ll still benefit from most facilities being open, as they usually don’t close until after Columbus Day in October, even in seasonal towns.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 59°F/39°F
- Bar Harbor: 57°F/41°F
- Rainfall: 7 days
In October in Maine, anticipate an average high temperature of 59°F and a low of 39°F. Rainfall is predicted for up to seven days this month. October is the prime month for witnessing the stunning fall colors in Maine, particularly in early to mid-October. Expect crowd levels to rise once again during the first half of the month, requiring hotel and car rental reservations well in advance of your visit.
Seasonal Closures: Many coastal towns close down various facilities, including stores and restaurants, in the middle of the month (after Columbus Day). Check our coastal town details further below for great tips. Some are still open during off-season.
Clothing: The end of the month is the start of the cold winter weather, so you’ll want to wrap up warm for outdoor activities or walking around at night. Layers are key for an October trip to Maine, and you’ll also want to pack winter accessories such as gloves and hats. We always recommend packing a rain jacket, as a fair amount of rain is usually experienced this month.
Fall Colors: The colors change and progress throughout the state during the month, with the second week of the month being a great time to visit the western Maine mountains and the White Mountains area of New Hampshire. The peak of the fall foliage on the coast of Maine and in Acadia National Park is around the 12th of October, but you’ll want to check online for this year’s color development. Even when the season doesn’t quite stick to its usual timings, you’ll find that you enjoy a good amount of color around these dates in these locations.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 48°F/31°F
- Bar Harbor: 46°F/32°F
- Rainfall: 8 days
November in Maine usually sees a high temperature of 48°F and a low temperature of 31°F. Eight days of rainfall are expected in the month of November in Maine. The trees are usually bare by the start of the month, so it’s too late in the season for the stunning fall foliage. The Park Loop in Acadia National Park will usually remain open until December 1st each year unless the snow is sticking to the ground.
Crowds and Rates: The month of November is the start of the lower crowds and prices in Maine. You’ll find there are fewer options for restaurants, shops, and accommodation in Bar Harbor by the end of the month.
Tip: From Bar Harbor / Acadia N.P. you can always stop by Camden, a beautiful town that’s well worth visiting.
Portland is one of the best places to visit in November, as it has very few seasonal businesses. It’s ideal for foodies, and you’ll enjoy spending hours exploring their museums, Old Port, and restaurants.
Weather-wise, this month can be quite a mixed bag, as it’s not quite time for the heavy snow of winter, but it is still pretty dull and gray. By now, it’s time to start wrapping up warm, and you’ll want to bring your winter accessories and coat for a November trip. If you are visiting towards the end of the month, expect to need a warm jacket all day and night when out and about.
- Average High/Low Temperatures:
- Portland: 37°F/20°F
- Bar Harbor: 36°F/19°F
- Snowfall/rainfall: 9 days
During a December visit to Maine, expect an average low temperature of 19°F and a high of 37°F. Plan for nine days of rain and snow during a Maine trip in December. The weather this month varies from year to year, and some years see heavy snow on the ground by the middle of December. On the other hand, other years barely have any snow until after Christmas. Don’t visit Maine in December without a winter coat, gloves, warm shoes, and a hat.
Weather Tip: December is not the coldest part of the winter in Maine, and the worst snowfall and coldest temperatures usually arrive in mid-February. You may be lucky and experience sun most days of your December trip, but don’t expect it to be very warm outside.
If you are looking for somewhere special to stay in December, the Samoset is a popular resort. It’s a short drive from downtown Rockland, which is handy if the resort’s in-house restaurant is closed.
Visit Portland: Alternatively, a trip to Portland is a great option throughout the winter if you prefer a vibrant city. During a December Portland visit, enjoy a horse and carriage ride in the Old Port, sample the local coffee shops, or have a go at urban skiing. The Eastern Promenade and Green Belt are suitable for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter months.
10 Best Maine Coastal Towns | Where to Go When
- Coastal Maine Off-Season
From November to March/April: A quiet time along the coast
- Coastal Maine Shoulder Months
May and late October (after Columbus Day): Especially May is an excellent time without the heavy summer crowds but already more pleasant weather
- Coastal Maine Peak-Season
From June to September / mid-October: The best weather, but it’s getting hectic and busy in the coastal towns.
When is the best time to visit Portland or the smaller coastal villages with their beautiful beaches, lighthouses, and walking paths with breathtaking views? In late spring, summer, and fall if you want the best weather. In winter, if you want to dodge the crowds.
Off-Season Closures: If you plan to visit in the winter, early spring, or late fall, please keep in mind that many shops, restaurants, and hotels close in the coastal towns during the off-season between early November (sometimes mid-October) and March/April.
Usually, restaurants, lobster shacks, etc., open again after winter closures between late March and late May (depending on the town and restaurant). However, in popular places like Ogunquit, Camden, or Kennebunkport, you can still find enough spots to eat, lodge, and buy things, even in the quiet winter months.
Special Tip for Inland Maine | Spring to late Fall: When you had enough lobster rolls, made a few sailing trips, and walked along the scenic coast often enough, there is one excellent inland trip we highly recommend: Castle in the Clouds (at Lake Winnipesaukee). It’s a historic mansion and an exceptionally gorgeous place to visit. The view is stunning, and the guided tour is intriguing. They are open from late May until mid- or late October.
You may visit in the off-season too and enjoy the scenery. However, we highly suggest going when it’s open. You can take a tour guide (suggested) or visit self-guided and ask the staff almost everything. The trolly ride is fun and exciting for kids. The place is a 1:40 to 1:45 drive from Portland or Kennebunkport. Castle in the Clouds | Google Maps Location
In a nutshell, the best coastal towns for different activities are:
- Sailing Trips: Camden, Kennebunkport, Rockland, Rockport
- Magnificent Beaches: Ogunquit
- Most Beautiful Coastal Hotels: Ogunquit
- Best with Kids: York, Portland, and Bar Harbor (Acadia)
- Most Beautiful Harbor: Rockport
- Winter Vibes: Portland
Check the details and tips for all those towns and places in our guide below. We put together the best spots along the Maine coast from south to north and their visiting times:
1. York | Spring to Fall and Year-Round
- South of Portland
- 44 minutes drive from Portland – Google Maps Route
- 1 hr 10 minutes drive from Boston
- York Google Maps Location
- York Accommodations (via booking.com, price match!)
York is the southernmost coastal town in Maine we recommend visiting. That means, coming from Boston, you don’t have to travel that far if you’d like to see a typical seaside town. It’s an hour’s drive: Google Maps Route: Boston > York. Travelers describe York as a fun-filled, family-oriented summer resort town. While definitely not as big as Portland, York is one of the slightly larger towns along Maine’s coast.
Summer vs. Winter: The best time to visit York in Maine is between the spring (April/May) and fall (mid-October). During that time, everything is in full swing. However, there are still enough open hotels and restaurants in the winter months (between November and March). The advantage in the off-season: No crowds, no waiting lines, lower hotel rates, winter discounts, and even restaurants offering deals on special meals.
Long Sands Beach & Nubble Lighthouse: While not as outstanding as the golden sand beaches in Ogunquit (see below), the gray sand beaches in York are still great. A walk on Long Sands Beach leads you to a view of the remarkable Nubble Lighthouse at Cape Neddick. Not as iconic as the Portland Head Light (see below) but still one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine.
Short Sands Beach is located downtown, with restaurants and shops right there. Plus, it’s perfect for a fun time with kids: York Wild Kingdom Zoo and Fun Park are at Short Sands Beach, as well as a bowling alley overlooking the ocean. Locals say York has a sort of carnival atmosphere with arcades at the beach and the amusement park area.
Special Food Tip: Visit Dunn’s Ice Cream Stand at Nubble Lighthouse at least once! We had one of the tastiest homemade ice creams we ever tried. Our recommendation: The blueberry ice cream.
Winter Tip (+ Year-Round): If you visit during the off-season or at any other time, drive the 10 minutes to Kittery and eat a lobster roll at one of the best shacks. Bob’s Clam Hut is open year-round (usually lobster shacks close in winter): Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery – Route from York Top Tip: Don’t forget to visit the popular outlets in Kittery. They are also open throughout the year, and some offer nice discounts in the wintertime.
2. Ogunquit | Spring to Fall (and Year-Round)
- South of Portland
- 45 minutes drive from Portland – Google Maps Route
- Ogunquit Google Maps Location
- Ogunquit Accommodations (via booking.com, price match!)
- Norseman Resort on the Beach in Ogunquit (Top Tip) Fantastic! It’s the only hotel located directly on Ogunquit Beach.
The best time to visit Ogunquit for great weather and almost endless activities is from late spring to fall, but it’s also a charming year-round destination. The main attraction of this coastal town is the gorgeous beach with fluffy white sand. It is known as the most beautiful beach in New England and worth visiting any time of the year. Every restaurant, hotel, and shop is open from late spring to fall, but it also gets crowded in peak season during the summer months.
Open Year-Round: The following links provide you with restaurants and shops which are open year-round, even in the off-season between November and March/April in Ogunquit. For hotels, check the booking.com link above.
Marginal Way Tips: This famous paved path is a must-do. It offers gorgeous scenic ocean and cliff views. There are dozens of benches if you’d like to rest. Get there early (around 9 AM) in peak season to avoid the crowds and to find a parking spot. We prefer Perkins Cove (Google Maps). The parking lots at Marginal Way fill up quickly between spring and fall. However, even in the summer, you can enjoy almost solitude by starting the walk around even earlier at 8 AM. Alternatively, get there in the late afternoon, when many visitors already left.
Summer Visiting Tips: Ogunquit Beach gets jam-packed in the peak months, even more on weekends. Tip: Stay there one night, so you can get up early enough to avoid the crowds and parking hassle. Also, check the tide times for low tide, as it’s much more relaxed during low tide. At high tide, the beach can feel extremely crowded.
Winter Visiting Tips: Several restaurants and hotels in Ogunquit are closed during the winter months (from November to March). However, in Ogunquit Central, you’ll still find enough places to eat, as well as nice lodging opportunities. While winter offers fewer options, it’s also a much quieter time and highly recommended as you won’t see crowds. At the end of March, almost all restaurants, shops, and resorts start to open again in Ogunquit; it’s like the town is waking up.
Stay One Night: We highly suggest staying at least one night in Ogunquit (in a gorgeous beachfront hotel or a resort) to dodge the crowds and explore the stunning beach and coastal area in solitude in the morning. Otherwise, it’s easy to day-trip Ogunquit from Portland (45 minutes drive).
3. Wells | Spring to Fall (and Year-Round)
- South of Portland
- 35 minutes drive from Portland – Google Maps Route
- Wells Google Maps Location
- Wells Accommodations (via booking.com, price match)
Wells is located midway between Ogunquit (see above) and Kennebunkport (see below) and is only a very short 10-12 minutes drive from both towns. It’s smaller, without a nice downtown area, fewer shops, fewer restaurants, and fewer hotels. While the beaches are beautiful in Wells, locals say that Ogunquit is definitely better as far as impressive beaches go.
Wells in a Nutshell:
- Nearby Ogunquit and Kennebunkport but smaller
- The best time to visit is from spring to fall. Winter is possible and very quiet
- Smaller and less touristy than Kennebunkport and Ogunquit
- Fewer restaurants, shops, and hotels but cheaper rates
- Great beaches but not as gorgeous as in Ogunquit
Best Lobster Rolls: We recommend driving a few minutes to Kennebunkport and eat at the excellent ‘Clam Shack’ (see below).
Pizza Tip: In case you already had enough lobster rolls, try the best pizza in Wells at Seacoast Pizza and Pasta
Winter Accommodation Tip: If you plan to visit in the winter, expect a quiet time and gorgeous winter scenery. The best place to stay in winter is the Village by the Sea (via booking.com with price match). Their beautiful indoor pool and hot tub are perfect for relaxation after a winter walk at the beach.
4. Kennebunkport | Spring to Fall and Year-Round
- South of Portland
- 38 minutes drive from Portland – Google Maps Route
- Kennebunkport Google Maps Location
- Kennebunkport Accommodations (via booking.com, price match)
Just a 20 minutes drive from Ogunquit and a half an hour drive from Portland, you’ll find this historic town with the typical New England charm.
Summer Visit: The best time to visit Kennebunkport for favorable weather is from June to September. Top Tip: Late May and early June, as well as the first two weeks after Labor day, are the best shoulder months. You will enjoy pleasant weather without the heavy summer tourist crowds. Also, all the restaurants and shops are open, and almost every activity, from sailing tours to kayaking, is possible.
Activity Tips: The 15 best things to do in Kennebunkport via TripAdvisor
Kennebunkport vs. Ogunquit: Kennebunkport is located very close to Ogunquit (north of it) and offers similar beautiful beaches, also a great downtown area, shops, seafood restaurants, and the famous ‘Clam Shack,’ known as the best lobster shack worldwide, for quite a while. Locals say that Kennebunkport is classier while Ogunquit still has the ‘younger vibe.’
Winter Visit: Kennebunkport is quiet in the off-season from late October to March/April. However, there are enough shops and restaurants around Dock Square open in the winter months. Also, hotel rates are much lower. Exception: It can get busier on the first two weekends in December due to Christmas Prelude.
5. Portland | Year-Round
Portland is Maine’s cultural center and a vibrant city throughout the year. There is something to do in Portland every season. Visit captivating museums, explore attractions downtown, the brewery scene, and eat lobster in the best restaurants at any time of the year.
Great Base: Portland is the best base for those who want to enjoy food, shopping tours, and see the magnificent coastal scenery but are not that much into extensive hiking or camping.
Day Trips: Portland is also the perfect location for day trips to gorgeous coastal towns like Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, or Camden, as they are just nearby via a short drive (35-45 minutes). Winter Tip: If you’re visiting in the winter months, plan your day trips to one of the beautiful smaller coastal towns on the weekend, as more restaurants are open in the off-season.
Islands via Ferry: The ferry is an iconic and inexpensive way to visit the nearby Casco Islands, or just to view the stunning coastal scenery is a must-do activity. Check Casco Bay Lines for the schedule. They are usually operating year-round. Locals suggest a trip during the more pleasant months from spring to fall.
Food Tip & Lighthouse: The restaurant with the tastiest lobster roll is Eventide! And don’t forget to see the historic and iconic lighthouse Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, which is probably the most photographed lighthouse in the whole world!
Winter Eating Tip: Lobster shacks (preferred by locals over restaurants) usually close in winter. Not in Portland! There are some shacks that are open year-round. Ask a local or the staff in your hotel for recommendations.
6. Boothbay Harbor | Spring to Fall
- North of Portland
- 1 hr 12 minutes drive from Portland – Google Maps Route
- Boothbay Harbor Google Maps Location
- Boothbay Harbor Accommodations (via booking.com, price match!)
The best time to visit Boothbay Harbor is from May to October. However, it’s a year-round town, and there are still restaurants and hotels open in the off-season. Personally, we recommend staying in another slightly bigger coastal town like Camden or Rockland when visiting during the winter months.
Boothbay Harbor is one of the tinier and less touristy coastal towns:
- A beautiful harbor
- No beach
- Fewer crowds in peak season
- Not as busy as Camden, Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, etc.
- It has a downtown area but not as big as other coastal towns with those dozens of shops and galleries.
- Take a kayak tour around the islands.
- Book a boat trip from the docks.
- Visit the botanical gardens! Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
- TripAdvisor Tips: Things to do in Boothbay Harbor
Best Lobster: Visit Kaler’s Lobster directly in Boothbay Harbor (closed in winter until mid-May)! However, we also recommend that you either walk half an hour or drive the 6 minutes over to Robinson’s Wharf in Southport (open year-round, no winter closures). They offer excellent lobster and a great outdoor opportunity to watch the boats while eating.
7. Rockland | Spring to Fall and Year-Round
- North of Portland
- 1 hr 40 minutes drive from Portland – Google Maps Route
- Rockland Google Maps Location
- Rockland Accommodations (via booking.com, price match!)
Rockland is located alongside Penobscot Bay. The best time to visit is from spring to fall. However, especially if you’re looking for open restaurants, you’ll find plenty of them in the off-season in Rockland.
Like other mid-coast towns, Rockland is not known for its beaches, as the shoreline along this section of Maine’s coast is very rocky. That means you won’t find those beautiful long beaches here like in towns of Southern Maine. However, the views are just stunning!
Foodie Haven: Rockland is recognized as the one mid-coast town with the most restaurants, including the famous Primo: ‘A farm, with a restaurant at the edge of it’.
Things to Do: Visit the art museum, photograph the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, take a schooner (‘Windjammer’) sailing trip, and more: TripAdvisor – Best Things to Do in Rockland – Maine
Local Tip: Do something uniquely different: Visit the island of Vinalhaven with the Maine State Ferry Service in Rockland.
8. Rockport | Spring to Fall
- North of Portland
- Rockport Google Maps Location
- Rockport Accommodations (via booking.com, price match! We highly recommend Glen Cove Inn & Suites)
Rockport is situated right between Rockland and Camden (10 or 5 minutes drive to each town) and home to the historic coastal Samoset Resort. Rockport is smaller and less touristy. There are also fewer activities being offered. As one of the smaller coastal towns, the best time to visit Rockport is from May to mid-October.
Activity Tip: Since Rockport belongs to the Rockland/Rockport/Camden area, you’ll find at least one excellent sailing tour operator here: Schooner Yach Heron (an unforgettable sailing experience!)
9. Camden | Spring to Fall and Year-Round
- North of Portland
- 1:40 hour drive from Portland – Google Maps Route
- Camden – Google Maps Location
- Camden Hotel Deals – via booking.com
The best time to visit Camden to enjoy the captivating local activities is from May to mid-October. However, Camden can be visited year-round. You’ll find enough places for eating and lodging in the winter.
Crowds: The best time to avoid the crowds in Camden and already enjoy somewhat pleasant weather is in April and May when there are no crowds, no long lines, or fighting for parking spaces. However, April weather, especially until mid-April, can be icky.
In the fall, a mid-week visit after Labor Day weekend is perfect in terms of fewer crowds and mild weather.
Views and Shops: You’ll find truly gorgeous scenic views of the bay in Camden Hills State Park’s overlooks and in Camden itself along the coastline at any time of the year. If you’re looking for uniquely crafted items, visit the gift shops on the main street in downtown. A must-visit is Camden Harbor Park, with a stunning landscape design and a beautiful panoramic view of the harbor.
Special Tip: Visit Camden Library and take a stroll around it. It’s a gorgeous building with an impressive view of the harbor.
Restaurants: Waterfront vs. Petter Otts? The Waterfront Restaurant is the perfect place for eating delicious burgers and, of course, lobster rolls. Tip: Wait for a table outside and enjoy the fantastic view while eating. However, for lobster and other seafood, we recommend ‘Peter Otts on the water.’ It’s the perfect seaside restaurant, and the lobster is fantastic (first, eat a burger at Waterfront and then lobster at Peter Otts). Both restaurants offer lovely views. Visit Megunticook River Falls as well.
Sailing Tour Tip: Take a schooner sailing tour. They are available between May and mid-October and are a must-do activity in Camden. Experience the magnificent coastline in such a unique way. View the islands, wildlife, and views of Camden Hills and other coastal mountains from a historic schooner. Penobscot Bay / Camden: Historic Schooner Day Sailing Trip starts at Peter Ott’s restaurant (see above).
10. Bar Harbor | Spring to Fall
- Google Maps Location
- Bar Harbor Accommodations via booking.com, price match (save the link!)
Bar Harbor is the gateway for all your explorations in Acadia National Park. Additionally, you can do so many things right in Bar Harbor: Eat fresh and tasty seafood, discover all sorts of shops and even art galleries, and explore the village environment. Keep in mind that many restaurants and hotels close during wintertime.
Special: Acadia National Park | Spring to Fall (and Year-Round)
Maine, New England, is not only Acadia National Park. However, it’s definitely one of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. and a must-visit between spring and late fall. It offers gorgeous drives along Park Loop Road (a major part of it is closed from December 1 to mid-April), awe-inspiring coastal views, stunning hiking trails for everyone (from very easy and short to strenuous). Check out our complete Acadia National Park Guide