​Winter Activities in Maine

It's common knowledge that Maine is an excellent place to spend a summer. White sandy beaches, the cool sea breeze, and plenty of things to do make it a great summertime destination. But what most people don't know is that there's just as much to do in Maine in winter as there is during the height of tourist season — and you won't have to fight mobs of people to enjoy it. Here's a sampling of some great winter activities in Maine — beyond skiing and snowboarding — to scratch your off-season travel itch.

Snowmobiling is a classic winter pastime in Maine

Snowmobile Adventures
In the western lakes region of Maine you'll find the Loon Lodge Inn, a charming log cabin style inn with a secret: it's one of the best winter activity centers in Maine. The nearby town of Rangeley is the home of one of Maine's largest snowmobile clubs, and offers miles of trails surrounding the town and lakes for the exploring. Seeking a slightly slower pace? You'll find extensive trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as well.

Outlet Shopping Paradise
One of the best activities in Maine any time of the year is outlet shopping. The Freeport Village Station is a humongous outlet mall with big-brand names at unbeatable prices. Whether you're looking for Coach purses, L.L. Bean boots, or a new suit from Brooks Brothers, you'll find it here. And if you can't get to all the shops in one day, fear not – there are plenty of comfortable inns and hotels nearby. We recommend the Harraseeket Inn, a AAA Four Diamond hotel with two restaurants and an indoor pool.

Brewery and Distillery Tours
We've talked before about some of the fantastic breweries and distilleries in New England, and Maine is no exception. If you're looking for great beer, we recommend the Allagash Brewerey in Portland, a Belgian-style brewery that brews more than a dozen different beers. If you're in a more "spirited" mood, we'd suggest the nearby New England Distilling company, which produces a range of premium whiskeys, rums, and gins. To enjoy touring Portland to its fullest, do the responsible thing and book a place to stay in within walking distance, like The Danforth or the charming Pomegranate Inn.

Camden National Toboggan ChampionshipsPhoto Safaris
Wintertime in Maine brings scenery that most people never experience, which makes it a perfect time for budding photographers to document their adventures with a photo tour. We recommend starting on the coast, where you'll get to experience the sea, snow, and ice all together. Fantastic sights and views are common, like ice-encrusted lighthouses and huge seasonal waves. Just make sure you visit a town that has an open inn or hotel, since many close until the snow banks and ice dams retreat. In the southern part of the state, Gorges Grant Hotel in Ogunquit is a great start, as is the Mira Monte Inn in the northern town of Bar Harbor.

Toboggan Time
Of all the winter activities in Maine, this is certainly the most unique. The National Toboggan Championships in Camden, Maine have been going on for 24 years, and feature teams of costumed tobogganers racing downhill at speeds approaching 50 miles per hour. It's got rugged New England written all over it. And with a variety of other activities happening at the same time, such as snow sculpting and ice carving competitions as well as public shows and wine tastings, you'll have no trouble filling up your weekend. There are also lots of places to stay, such as the Blue Harbor House Inn, just a short way away.

So there you have it: proof that winter in Maine doesn't have to just be the time you spend waiting for summer. Although with all of this wintertime activity, you might just end up staying until it gets warm again anyway.  


Photos: New England Outdoor Center, Maine Office of Tourism