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Scenic Drives in Maine

Maine is renowned for its natural beauty, from its lush green forests that teem with beautiful plants and wildlife to its craggy shores that offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Believe it or not, 90% of the 35,385 square miles that make up the Pine Tree State is composed of forests!

Hiking may be the best way to take in all of nature’s glory, but you simply can’t cover all of that land on foot in a single visit, or even ten visits, so your best bet is to get behind the wheel and see the state from some of its many scenic roadways.

In order to help you map out the best possible route for your road trip, we’ve compiled this list of the five most scenic drives in Maine. We suggest you use it to create a rough plan and then let yourself go wherever the road takes you. Remember: some of the greatest destinations are the places you never expected to go!

Bold Coast National Scenic Byway

If you want to see all of the breathtaking beauty that Downeast Maine has to offer, the best way to do it is by driving the Bold Coast Scenic Byway.

This 125-mile route will make you feel as though you have been transported back in time with its untouched natural scenery. Cut a line between verdant timberland and shining blue coastal waters as you travel from Milbridge to Lubec.

It’s not all natural wonder on the Bold Coast Scenic Byway, though. There’s plenty of history and culture to take in at the charming fishing villages and downtown areas you can find along the way. Make sure to stop off in Jonesport for some incredible views and fantastic seafood.

Moosehead Lake Scenic Byway

The 59-mile stretch of Route 15 between Greenville and Jackman is easily one of the most scenic drives in Maine. It’s loaded with awe-inspiring scenery that will have you pulling over at every bend to take it all in.

One of the key sights along the way is the scenic byway’s namesake: Moosehead Lake. With an area of about 118 square miles, it’s the second-largest lake in all of New England, and it is a sight to behold.

Other major stop-off points are Brassua Lake and Moose River. If you’ve got some extra time, consider getting even more well-acquainted with some of these bodies of water by renting a canoe or kayak and taking a cruise.

Acadia All-American Road

The pinnacle of Maine’s natural beauty, and perhaps the pinnacle of natural beauty on the entire eastern seaboard, is Acadia National Park.

This 49,075-acre expanse of wilderness contains everything from rocky beaches to craggy peaks, bluebirds to black bears, wild moose to humpback whales. It’s also home to one of the most scenic drives in Maine.

Traversing this incredible national park on foot is a special experience, but you can get a whole lot more sightseeing done if you hop on the Acadia All-American Road and take a three-hour drive through both awe-inspiring natural scenery and historic villages such as Northeast Harbor and Bar Harbor.

Once you’ve gotten your fill of picture-perfect mountains, trees, lakes, and streams, you can get your fill of food at one of the many great restaurants in the historic villages.

Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway

Route 201 runs from Solon up to the Canadian border, and it has an unbelievable amount of beauty to take in along the way.

You’ll ride alongside the Kennebec River, the Dead River, and Wyman Lake in your travels, and you’ll be inclined to stop many times along the way to take them all in. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some of the many forms of wildlife that are abundant in the area.

There are also some historic villages situated along Route 201 that are great to stop off in when you’re looking for some food and refreshments or if you’re just interested in taking in a bit of Maine history. If you’re looking for a great stop-off point to eat or take a closer look at some natural scenery, check out West Forks.

Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway

This 52-mile stretch of road is not only flanked by absolutely breathtaking scenery nearly the whole way through, but it also has a ton of stop-off points for you to wander off on.

You could drive the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway in a few hours or turn it into an entire vacation. This road features canyons and waterfalls to view, state parks and museums to explore, and an entire ski mountain to tackle.

To get the most out of Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway, make sure to check out Height of Land, Mooselookmeguntic Lake, and the Swift River. If you’ve got some time for hiking, step out onto the legendary Appalachian trail and go from one of the most scenic drives in Maine to one of the most famous trails in the country.

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