Maine is also known as the Pine Tree State! Its nickname is after its many white pine trees, which are the biggest evergreen, pine-bearing trees in the US! Its capital is Augustus, but its biggest city is Portland. It is the biggest New England state and it shares a border with Canada. Its state name is said to come from the nautical term “mainland”. Historians believe colonists would have used this to set it apart from Maine’s many islands.
Maine is known for its delicious lobster, its many islands, and its iconic coastline. It has amazing wildlife, especially marine life. Many people visit for whale watching and to see nesting puffins. It is the endpoint of the Appalachian Trail which goes through 14 states!
Maine Lobster is hands down some of THE best lobster in the US. Also called the American Lobster, this species is different (read: better) than other lobsters because of its two strong (and meaty) front claws. Almost half of the lobster’s body weight is in those two front claws.
The cold waters of Maine are the perfect conditions. The lobsters grow more slowly, keeping the meat succulent, sweet, and firm.
There are 4,500 lobstermen in Maine. They supply 40 million pounds of lobster every year, making up almost 90 percent of the entire US lobster supply.
Stephen King, the famous author was born in Portland, Maine. He grew up in Bangor and today, his old family home is still there.
The Maine native has set many of his novels in the state. King himself has said that the town Derry from “IT” is loosely based on his hometown of Bangor. Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot are also both fictional towns from his books that are based in Maine!
The large forests, misty weather, and small towns in the state are the perfect inspiration for a spooky novel.
Portland is Maine’s biggest city. You may think of the more famous Portland, Oregon when you hear the name. But the Oregon city was actually named after Portland, in Maine after a coin toss!
Around 40 percent of the Maine population lives in the greater Portland metropolitan area. It was Maine’s first state capital, but Augusta got the title seven years later.
The city has more microbreweries per capita than any other city in the US and briefly held the record for the world’s biggest lobster roll.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is one of the top 10 most visited parks in the US. It is over 49,000 acres and gets around 3.5 million visitors every year.
While it runs along Maine’s rugged coastline, the park has a range of incredible landscapes.
There are lakes, woodlands, and ponds, plus over two dozen mountain ranges, including Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the Atlantic coast and is 1,530 feet tall.
With over 3,478 miles of coastline (including inlets and bays), Maine has the fourth largest coastline of any state in the US. This means its coastline is even longer than California’s!
What makes Maine’s coastline so unique is the huge number of indents and narrow peninsulas. Its coastline is incredibly rocky and jagged, with only two percent considered as “beach” (sand and cobble).
This is because the whole of Maine used to be part of a mountain that was above sea level during the Ice Age.
Maine has over 4,000 offshore islands. This makes it the state with the most offshore islands in the US, including Alaska!
Only 1,200 of these islands are larger than an acre, and only 15 have year-round residents. What’s more, 600 of the islands make up 95 percent of the total island area!
The most well-known island in Maine is Mount Desert Island. It is the largest island in Maine and the second largest on the eastern seaboard after Long Island. It houses most of Acadia National Park and has a year-round population of 10,615 people.
Maine is known as an amazing place for whale watching, with numerous tours all along the coast. The whale-watching season starts in mid-April and lasts until October.
There are several species of whales in Maine’s waters. There are minkes, humpbacks, fin whales, and pilot whales. Whale-watchers have also spotted sperm whales, orcas, and sei whales.
Many humpback whales return to Maine’s coast year after year and are well-known to tour operators. You could even say they have sort-of celebrity status.
There are 65 historical lighthouses in Maine, which is also called “The Lighthouse State”. Many of them are on islands, so they aren’t easily accessible. However, they are still open to the public and can be visited on lighthouse tours.
Portland Head Light is Maine’s oldest lighthouse and was commissioned by George Washington. It is a beautiful lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth that dates back to 1791. It has an award-winning museum in the old Keeper’s Quarters and is adjacent to Fort Williams Park.
The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. It starts in the Springer Mountains in Georgia and ends in Katahdin, Maine’s highest mountain.
Of the trail’s 2,193 miles, 282 are in Maine. These are some of the most challenging along the entire route. But this section of the trail has some of the best wildlife. Hikers can spot moose, black bears, loons, and deer.
The eastern section from Monson to Mt. Katahdin is called The Hundred Mile Wilderness. In itself, it is a bucket-list hike. This remote stretch goes through stunning mountain ranges and scenic lakes.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park spans 209,644 acres and houses Mount. Katahdin. The park was actually a gift from Percival P. Baxter (the park’s namesake) to the people of Maine.
The park has over 220 miles of trails, including 10 miles of the Appalachian Trail! There is everything from beginner to expert hikes, making it a popular place for hikers.
Baxter State Park is a hotspot for biodiversity. It has around 857 species of plants and is the largest concentration of rare and endangered plants in the state. It’s also a great sanctuary for wildlife and is excellent for bird watching.
Maine is the only state in the US where wild blueberries are grown commercially. The Maine Wild Blueberry is the state’s official fruit. It is one of the few fruits native to North America.
They are said to be tangier and have a more intense flavor than other blueberries. Wild blueberries also contain double the fiber and antioxidants!
These antioxidant powerhouses are so delicate, that they’re traditionally picked by hand to prevent bruising.
Maine has some fantastic colleges. The “Maine Big Three” is the nickname given to Colby College, Bates College, and Bowdoin College. It’s a play on the Ivy League “Big Three”.
The Main Big Three are all liberal arts colleges and are amongst the top 25 in the country. Bowdoin in Brunswick is the most prestigious, ranking at number 6 in the US.
Maine contains the only nesting sites for the Atlantic Puffin in the entire US. Maine’s oceanic islands are the ideal habitat for these marine birds to nest. They come ashore every year between late April and August to breed.
Egg Rock is one of the most popular islands for viewing breeding puffins. There are other islands where they nest, but Egg Rock is the most accessible.
The popular cosmetics brand Burt’s Bees had its humble beginnings in Maine. The co-founder Roxanne was hitchhiking in Maine in 1983 when she met the “Bee Man” Burt Shavitsz. He was known for selling honey out of the back of his truck and the two struck up a friendship.
After a summer apprenticeship with Burt, Roxanne began making candles in cute shapes out of leftover beeswax.
In the late 80’s a boutique store in New York city began selling its candles. They eventually began selling beeswax skincare including the iconic Burt’s Bees lip balm!
The Maine Coon Cat
The Maine Coon is descended from the cats brought to the US by settlers. It is a large breed of a domesticated house cat.
Legends say they were bred by crossing bobcats or raccoons with cats but this isn’t true! They evolved naturally in the Northeastern US. Their large size and thick, shaggy coat were necessary to survive the harsh, New England winters.
A female Maine Coot was the first cat to win the first American cat show in 1895. However, they were first exhibited in the 1860s by local Maine farmers at the Skowhegan Fair.
Cold, snowy winters
Maine is the third coldest place in the US. This is taking into account year-round temperatures, but, when it comes to summer and winter temperatures only, it ranks fourth.
During winter, the average low in Maine is as low as 12°F. Throughout the entire state, there is an average of 75 inches of snow per year. For comparison, the US average is 28!