Route 1 links the seaside communities of Midcoast Maine, and while it’s got some stunning views, the real gems are farther off the beaten path. All the way from Brunswick to Rockland, tiny roads wind south from Route 1 onto fractured peninsulas dotted with lobster shacks, deep harbors, and old fashioned country stores.
Drive down Harpswell peninsula to tiny Orrs Island and Bailey Island, whose granite bridge is one of the most scenic drives in the state. The granite bridge on Bailey Island is noteworthy and interesting in another way. It is the world’s only cribstone bridge, a design that allows the tide to flow more freely through the narrow channel.
If you love oysters, you are already familiar with the Damariscotta River – which enjoys the ideal oyster-growing conditions: just the right level of salinity with a fresh water mix. You will want to plan a stop in charming Damariscotta, known world-wide oyster lovers paradise. Taste them in just about any restaurant in town, or head out on the river for a narrated cruise and shuck your own. Delicious!
But don’t stop there. The Midcoast is the perfect spot to stay in Maine for daytrips to venture off and explore. Head offshore! Island hopping is easiest here. There are more than 4,000 islands off the coast of Maine. Many have a ferry service, like Vinalhaven, Monhegan and Isleboro. Most of the islands that have ferry or car access are populated year round, which means you’ll find shops and restaurants, and usually a historical tidbit or two.
Tucked within the Maine coastline are picturesque villages next to vibrant waterfronts where Maine’s food scene continues to thrive. Bath, Brunswick, Phippsburg, Damariscotta, Wiscasset, and Boothbay Harbor. Whichever village you’re visiting, the choices of cuisine are as endless as the coastal views.
If that's not enough already take a walk on the phenomenal beaches. Reid State Park and Popham Beach are two of the natural hidden gems of Midcoast Maine and we haven’t even gotten to the islands yet. Monhegan, Bailey, Orrs, Matincus, and North Haven each have their unique island charms. From there wander through local shops, wheel into one of the pottery or local artisan studios. Or, just sit, relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the coast.
Many locals call Mid Coast Maine home for a laid-back atmosphere and amazing proximity to outdoor recreation areas