One of the benefits of living in this part of the state is easy access to some of the best day trips in Maine. As we explore our new environs, we realize that there is so much to see and do within an hour’s drive of our lakeside inn in western Maine. And when we have the time to go a little further afield, a visit to Midcoast Maine and the mountains of nearby New Hampshire tops our list.
While spending a day lounging by or on Tripp Lake always entertains. Sometimes the need to get out and about fills us with anticipation of finding new places to recommend to our guests. So, when the mood strikes to hop in the car and take a road trip, here are a few interesting spots to check out.
Brunswick exudes to the charm of a small college town. It offers a unique combination of art and history, outdoor adventure, and a vibrant downtown filled with trendy shops and cafes. Wander the campus of Bowdoin to get your fill of museums and historic homes. But don’t miss the opportunity to take a bike ride along the Androscoggin River. Better yet, get on the river in a canoe or kayak.
Four seasons of fun await you in quaint Norway. The lake serves as the hub of activity in the summer months. Fall hiking and mountain biking bring outdoor enthusiasts to town, followed by cross-country skiers and snowshoers in winter. Spring weather can be iffy, but the McLaughlin Garden and Homestead offers a quiet respite from the opening weekend on Mother’s Day through late December.
A day trip to Oxford might fit the bill if gamblers are among your party. The Oxford Casino gets the adrenaline flowing with slots, video gaming, and table games. Dining options include grab-and-go snacks, a brew pub, and the Grille, where you can get your fill of local and regional fare. The Oxford Plains Speedway and New Oxford Dragway feature heart-pounding auto racing for thrills and chills. And the Oxbow Beer Garden is the spot for a wood-fired pizza and craft brew.
The historic Naples Causeway is the heart of activity in this picturesque town. Here, you’ll find all manner of water sports. Take a cruise on an authentic paddle-wheeler or rent a personal watercraft to explore the lake from Dingley’s Wharf. If you’re up for something truly unique, sign up for a seaplane tour of the lake or take an Amphicar ride in a vintage 1960s amphibious automobile.
Loaded with parks and preserves, Bridgton is a haven for lovers of nature and wildlife. Take your pick of wetlands and forest trails to explore. Be sure to keep a careful eye out for migrating birds in spring and a chance to spot a moose in fall and winter. And if you’re looking for a romantic spot to catch a retro vibe, head out to the Bridgton Twin Drive-In for a night at the movies.
Portland and Portland Head Light
If your tastes turn to “bright lights and big cities,” visit Portland, on the coast of Maine. It offers everything a city-slicker might want. An epic food scene, intriguing walking or biking tours, and plenty of adventure on the high seas await you in this mid-sized city on Casco Bay. The Old Port area conjures up images of salty seafaring days. However, in reality, it offers an excellent combination of unique shops and dining spots.
Just outside the city, you’ll find the most photographed lighthouse in the state. Portland Head Light sits on a rocky promontory jutting out into the Bay. It clearly offers plenty of opportunity to capture the perfect Instagram-worthy photo op. Let us pack you a picnic to enjoy at Fort Williams Park, which lies adjacent to the lighthouse. Or, if there are lobster lovers among you, head to the Lobster Shack at Two Lights State Park. You’ll enjoy one of the prettiest spots to enjoy fresh Maine seafood al fresco.
Day Trips Slightly Further Afield
When wanderlust truly grabs you and a day spent rolling along some of the back roads of Maine seems tempting, try any one of our suggested routes. Some will take you north to Canada or west to New Hampshire. Others feature a European flair but still keep you close to home. And for a taste of the Midcoast, head to the quintessential Maine village of Camden.
Clearly, when you lust for a change of scenery and the road seems to be calling your name, taking one of the best road trips in Maine will lead you to sights unseen and adventures unknown. Take plenty of photos to share with us at the Inn and keep great memories for years.
Published October 2023