While there may be a strong argument for every season, the best time of year to visit Maine has got to be the fall. The weather is cool but not cold, the majority of the crowds have disappeared for the year, and the changing foliage makes the already beautiful scenery even more breathtaking.
If you’re looking for the perfect autumn trip, then Southern Maine should be at the top of your list. And there are eight things to do in Southern Maine in the fall that you will definitely want to add to your itinerary.
1. Visit a State Park
It’s always a great idea to visit one of Maine’s 32 state parks, but they can get fairly crowded during tourist season, which may make it a bit harder to enjoy nature’s serenity. During the fall, however, the crowds have mostly dispersed, and the multicolored trees make for an unforgettable setting for hiking or biking.
Some parks in Southern Maine to consider are Ferry Beach State Park, Scarborough Beach State Park, and Bradbury Mountain State Park.
2. Go Whale-Watching
Whale-watching is easily one of the best things to do in Maine in the fall. While it’s definitely a popular activity during the summertime, the season runs through October, which means you’ll have plenty of time to spot some humpback, minke, pilot, and finback whales on your autumn trip. Also see: A Quick Guide to Whale Watching Near York, Maine
3. Go for a Scenic Drive
If you really want to take in the autumnal scenery, you can cover a lot of ground on a scenic road trip. There are many different scenic byways throughout the state, but the most Southern one is Pequawket Trail Scenic Byway.
This stretch of road covers 60 miles of land dotted with both natural and manmade wonders that will look even more awe-inspiring when blanketed in autumn splendor. Also see: 5 Scenic Drives in Maine To Take In The Pine Tree State
4. Eat Some Soft-Shell Lobster
Lobster is one of Maine’s calling cards, and soft-shell season runs all the way until November, meaning you won’t be too late to try it for yourself if you come for an autumn trip.
Soft-shell season is the time of year when the lobsters have recently molted and their shells have not yet thickened. This makes their meat more tender and their shells a lot easier to crack.
Some of the best places in Southern Maine for soft-shell lobster are Barnacle Billy’s in Perkins Cove Ogunquit, Chauncy Creek Lobster Pound in Kittery Point, & Mabel’s Lobster Claw in Kennebunkport.
5. Go Apple-Picking
Apple-picking is a fall staple, which, of course, means that it’s one of the quintessential things to do in Maine in the fall. There are countless orchards to choose from, and virtually any of them will offer not only incredible apples, but all kinds of fall activities like hayrides, corn mazes, and seasonal baked goods as well.
Some of the most popular options for apple orchards in Southern Maine are Snell Family Farm in Buxton, The Orchard at Chase Farms in Wells, and Giles Family Farm at Notre Dame in Alfred. There will no doubt be a great spot for you relatively close to where you’re staying.
6. Find a Fair or Festival
Fall in Maine is fair and festival season. No matter where you’re staying, you’re more than likely going to be close to a seasonal celebration.
In Portland, there’s Harvest on the Harbor, and in Lewiston, there’s Great Falls Balloon Festival. You can find Harvestfest in York. Look into what fairs and festivals will be held around the time when you plan on visiting, and you’ll no doubt find something interesting to check out.
7. Go to the Beach
There’s something special about visiting the beach in Maine in the autumn. It may be a different experience from what you’d get out of a summer trip to Maine’s sandy shores, but standing on the sand when the air is crisp and cool can be nothing short of magical. And the serenity you can enjoy without all the crowds is especially rejuvenating.
Southern Maine has plenty of perfect destinations for that kind of fall beach appreciation.
8. Visit a Lighthouse
Another Maine vacation staple is checking out one of the 65 lighthouses dotting its shores. It’s always breathtaking to get a close look at one of these beautiful structures against an ocean backdrop, but the fall adds even more awe to the experience, making it one of the best things to do in Southern Maine in the fall.
There are a number of great lighthouses to check out in Southern Maine, but three of the area’s finest are the Nubble Light, the Goat Island Light, and the Wood Island Light. You may even want to take a day and visit more than one, with some scenic driving in between. Also see: 8 of the Best Lighthouses in Maine to See While Visiting.
No matter which activities you choose for your vacation, visiting Maine in the fall is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
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