This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.New England in the fall. It’s an iconic time of year for an iconic region. Last year I got an opportunity to visit Maine, one of the states of this iconic region in the fall, its iconic season. Timing can be tricky. Too early and the leaves won’t have changed colors yet. Too late and they will have already fallen off the trees. That perfect in-between time doesn’t last long and nailing it is difficult. Thankfully, I succeeded and can honestly say that Maine in the fall is one of the prettiest destinations out there!
Maine Resources & Recommendations
- Accommodations– Find the best places to stay in Maine
- Skyscanner– Find the best prices on flights | best prices on rental cars
- Allianz Travel Insurance– Protect yourself and your trip. Get a free quote!
- Lonely Planet Guidebooks– The best (and my personal favorite) guidebooks out there. Get the Lonely Planet New England Travel Guide or the Lonely Planet New England’s Best Trips Travel Guide.
Maine In The Fall
Found this gem laying on a log when I was taking photos of Penobscot Bridge from the viewing area. Being from the South and finding this in Maine was both cool and comical!
The places I visited in Maine last fall were in the central coastal region in the triangle of Bangor to Rockland to Bar Harbor. For reference, I was there October 4-12 (2017), but unfortunately, you can’t depend on the leaves to always go by someone else’s travel dates. Fall arrives at different times and this was my second trip to Maine in this season, but my first to get the timing right to see the fall foliage in all of its glory.
So how are you supposed to time it? Luck, honestly. You can maybe research the previous few years to get a good idea, but in the end, it’s luck unless you can visit for 2-3 weeks. The window of time is usually the last week of September for an early fall to the second week of October with Columbus Day weekend serving as the typical peak time for fall foliage.
Now that we have the timing out of the way, let’s get to what to see and do!
Stephen King Tour
Mr. King has been known to come out and greet his fans.
Didn’t know that you can take a Stephen King Tour in Bangor, Maine? Now you do! The wildly popular author is from Maine and has lived in Bangor for years. His house is totally him don’t you think?
Did we find Pennywise? 😱🤡
I took the tour in October 2017 shortly after It was released in theaters on September 8, 2017. Besides his house, you will see several film locations and learn a lot of the personal side of Stephen King. Spoiler Alert: He’s a good guy!
Pet Cemetery anyone?
TIP: Anything can happen while snapping photos of the Stephen King house. One tour group witnessed a red balloon appearing in one of the front windows-eerie! According to the story, Stephen says he wasn’t home and didn’t play the joke, but he liked it! For more details and to book the tour, click here.
Take a stroll through Waterfront Park while in Bangor. It makes for a beautiful walk, especially during the fall! From July to October, you can catch a concert at the outdoor amphitheater, Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion.
Beautiful views of the Penobscot River
TIP: Great place for a picnic!
Location: 81 Railroad Street, Bangor, Maine 04401
Continuity of Community Sculpture
While you’re in Waterfront Park, make sure you see the Continuity of Community Sculpture. Relocated to the park a few years ago from Market West Square (where it had been for almost 40 years), it is 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
It is also a Moebius strip sculpture. A what? Yes, my thoughts exactly. A Moebius strip is a surface with only one side and one boundary. I’m not going to get into the math and physics of it all (because let’s be honest, I can’t), but you can read more about that here.
TIP: See the granite Sister City Memorial while you are there and learn about Bangor’s relationship with Harbin, China.
Location: Waterfront Pavilion Park
Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory
Left: First visit to the bridge Right: Second visit
If you’ve read my blog or followed my Instagram at all, you know that I love bridges. So naturally, when we came across the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, I had to stop and explore. The first day I visited, it was so foggy but look at those gorgeous red plants!
Left: First visit Right: Second visit
Standing taller than the Statue of Liberty, it is the tallest public bridge observatory in the world and you can go to the top for 360-degree views!
Left: First visit Right: Second visit
So glad I decided to go back!
TIP: There are also picnic tables, grills and a covered area for events such as family reunions and small weddings.
Fort Knox State Park
Named for Major General Henry Knox, America’s first Secretary of War, Fort Knox is one of the best-preserved military fortifications on the coast of New England.
Maine went through several border disputes with the British Canadians and Bangor was invaded and taken over in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. So, in 1844, Fort Knox was established to protect against future invasions.
TIP: The grounds are open year round. The Fort is open May 1-October 31 from 9 am to sunset. Also in October, they have Fright at the Fort and the 2018 theme is Stephen King!
Location: 740 Fort Knox Road, Prospect, Maine 04981
Camden is a small town in Knox County, Maine (not too far from Fort Knox). Its population is around 5,000 but that triples during the summer months when tourists come to explore. I enjoyed just walking around the downtown area window shopping.
Fall was really showing off here in Camden!
Location: Camden, Maine 04843
Camden Public Library
The views from the gazebo are beautiful…
Location: 55 Main Street, Camden, Maine 04843
Spanish-American War Memorial
Between downtown and the library is the Spanish-American War Memorial.
The memorial pays tribute to all of the men who volunteered to fight against Spain in 1898.
Location: Harbor Park on Main Street, Camden, Maine 04843. See the map coordinates here.
Civil War Soldier’s Monument
Location: Harbor Park on Main Street, Camden, Maine 04843
A park right beside the church offers beautiful fall scenery
Location: 29 Chestnut Street, Camden, Maine 04843
The 500-seat Camden Opera House was built in 1894 and at the time was the tallest building in Camden. The first town meeting was also held here in 1895.
Today, the Opera House is home to Camden’s municipal offices and hosts a variety of events including the Camden International Film Festival.
Location: 29 Elm Street, Camden, Maine 04843
Buttermilk Road was a completely random surprise. My cousin lives in Ellsworth and while I was visiting, we went to her friend’s house. One of the roads we took was Buttermilk and I was thoroughly blown away by its beauty!
And yes, I put the car in park to take these photos. The road wasn’t busy so it allowed for this luxury. Please, don’t photograph and drive! 😉
See what I mean? Just beautiful…AND you can get the best damn lob-stah too! How is this not a win-win situation? 😜
Location: Click for the exact location of Buttermilk Road.
On the island of Mount Desert in Southwest Harbor is Seawall Campground. You can actually drive a long stretch of it and get out at different places. The campground is open May-October and features four different campsites along with drive-up sites for RVs and walk-in tent only campsites as well.
Seawall Campground is part of Acadia National Park
Location: 668 Seawall Road, Southwest Harbor, Maine 04679 and I took my photos here.
Mount Desert (Somesville)
Somesville Library Association
On our drive back, along Highway 102 from Southwest Harbor to Ellsworth, we went through Somesville in Mount Desert, Maine. Somesville was the earliest village in Mount Desert settled by Abraham Somes (the first settler on Mount Desert Island), hence its name.
There are two locations right across the street from each other that are so “New England” and quite beautiful in the fall. One was the above view right by the Somesville Library Association. I loved the mums against the backdrop of the water!
Location: 116 Main Street, Mount Desert, Maine 04660. Click for exact map location.
Somesville Selectmen’s Building & Bridge
The second “so New England” location is across the street at the Somesville Selectmen’s Building & Bridge. I don’t think I could have asked for or made up a more picturesque scene if I tried!
TIP: Go down by the water for this view!
Location: 2 Oak Hill Road, Mount Desert, Maine 04660 (right across the street from the Library Association). This is the address for the building and bridge, but the location where I took the photo is up the road a bit.
Acadia National Park
Park Loop Road
A highlight of Maine, especially in the fall, is Acadia National Park and one its main attractions is driving Park Loop Road. It will show you some of the best views the park has to offer!
Location: Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park, Maine
I felt like I was looking at water in the Caribbean…not water in Maine!
TIP: Get there earlier in the day as the parking lot is small and gets crowded fast. There is a shuttle bus that has pickup and drop-off service every 30 minutes during regular season hours. Also, there are changing rooms/restrooms by the parking lot.
Location: Acadia National Park, Maine (via Park Loop Road on the other side of the park entrance on the northeastern side of Mount Desert Island).
On a really clear day, you might even be able to see over 100 miles away which could include Mount Katahdin (Maine’s highest mountain) to the north and Nova Scotia (Canadian province) to the east.
Showing my feelings for this gorgeous view! Photo by Alison Northington
TIP: Much like what happens with the access road to Moraine Lake in Canada, the park will sometimes close the access road to Cadillac Mountain when there is high traffic causing congestion. Sunrise and morning times (think cruise ship passengers) are very popular. To avoid this, try going in the afternoon.
Bar Harbor, the popular port city for Maine, is a quaint town with a small population of 5,394. It is known to tourists as the access city for Acadia National Park. If you visit by cruise ship, you will come through Bar Harbor; however, if you drive in, please be sure not to miss it!
If you prefer not to walk around or are unable, there are carriage rides!
TIP: A good time to visit is mid-morning as the cruise ship crowd is already in the park. Later afternoon tends to be more congested when they are returning to the area to finish up their shopping before returning to the ship.
Where to Eat
Food in Maine is amazing…really. It goes beyond lob-stah! For a complete guide on where to eat, read my Guide to Maine-ly Eating. It offers many options from Bangor to Bar Harbor!
I hope this guide not only helps you with the well-known areas but also presents you with some off-the-beaten-trail discoveries and most importantly, helps you see the beautiful foliage of Maine in the fall!
Photo by Alison Northington
Have you been to Maine in the fall? When were you there? I would love to hear about your trip and when you were able to catch the beauty of the fall leaves!
‘Til next time…