Bridgton Lakes Maine Vacation Guide
Quiet, fish-filled lakes, mountains tinged with painter’s palette sunsets and enough activity to keep you going year round are the calling cards of Bridgton Lakes. Part of Maine’s Lakes and Mountains Region, this is the playground of the rich and the not-so-rich, the sun-worshiper, the alpine skier and the backwoods camper. The towns surrounding the various lakes have their own character, their own entertainment, and are all worth a look.
Bridgton is considered the hub of this tranquil region. It sits off of Route 302 and fronts Highland Lake and the smaller Moose Pond. Beach lovers will find places to sun at North Bridgton Beach, Salmon Point and Highland Lake, which all have boat ramps nearby. This is a town that still has a drive-in movie theater, three museums, art galleries and artists’ studios, two ice arenas and enough hiking and nature trails to keep you busy for days.
Do a bit of skiing at the Shawnee Peak Ski Area or watch the sled dog races each February at the Maine Lakes Mushers Bowl. The Salmon Point Campground on Long Lake is open during the summer months. The area has a limited supply of B&Bs and/or inns and a number of restaurants. Click here for the Bridgton Business Directory.
Located south of Fryeburg on Route 160, Brownfield is a laid back community that was completely rebuilt after being destroyed in 1947 by forest fires. The main attraction is the Saco River, famed for its excellent canoeing and fishing. Burnt Meadow Pond and Brownfield Bog are just two of the other nature areas. The bog is a wetland habitat covering 5,700 acres, perfect for hiking in summer or snowshoeing in winter. Moose, deer, beaver and a number of birds are in residence. Brownfield Days, a fair-like celebration is held in August and in November the Brownfield Fire Department holds it annual Turkey Shoot. There are limited services in Brownfield, most are in neighboring Fryeburg. Click here for the Brownfield Business Directory.
Sitting on the south edge of Moose Pond, the hamlet of Denmark sits beneath Pleasant Mountain. Hikers challenge the trails leading from the town up the mountain, four at last count. Moose Pond has a boat launch as do Hancock, Walden and Pleasant Ponds. Roughly 1,000 residents live within Denmark’s 48 square miles. One of the highlights is Denmark Bicentennial Park, built at the foot of Moose Pond’s dam. In winter visitors ice skate on the pond and in summer they canoe, kayak and picnic along the banks. Camp Wyonegonic, founded in 1901 was Maine’s first children’s camp. Most services and accommodations are in neighboring Fryeburg. Click here for the Denmark Business Directory.
Fryeburg is known as Oxford County’s oldest town. It sits on the Saco River and is the proud home of the Hemlock Covered Bridge, built in 1857. The span has been reinforced so you can drive on it, but it is more nostalgic, and romantic, to walk across. Active people will have no problem finding something to do. There are 12 parks, miles of hiking trails, snowmobile trails, two beaches, three boat launches and two campgrounds. Eleven of the town’s buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of the biggest events is the Fryeburg Fair, held at the end of September and into the first week of October, just in time for the fall colors. This is one old-fashioned celebration with all the carnival food, rides, exhibition halls and shows you can handle. It is such a big even that a campground is set up each year so you won’t be too far from the action. Most of the motels and restaurants are along Route 302 and on or near Maine Street. Click here for the Fryeburg Business Directory.
Harrison is on Long Lake’s northern edge just off Route 117. This artsy place is home to the Deertrees Theater and Cultural Center, offering live productions. The Backstage Gallery offers local artwork, the Ballroom hosts dance lessons and in winter Long Lake becomes an ice skating rink. At Christmas the town lights up with a Candlelight Parade as part of the Christmas in Harrison celebration. Craft fairs and Old Home Day events are held during the summer. A few B&Bs and restaurants are in town but most are in neighboring Bridgton. Click here for the Brownfield Business Directory. Click here for the Harrison Business Directory.
Lovell is a rural community, lightly populated but covering 43 square miles. Found off of Route 5, almost every road has the word “hill” somewhere in the name. The terrain is decidedly rolling, offering lovely views of the White Mountains around many turns. The area is known best for the Kezar Falls Gorge, found at the end of an unmarked dirt road in Lovell.
Leave your car in the small parking area and head for the top of the gorge where you can look down at the falls. A chain link fence keeps people from falling off the ledge, but pathways on either side lead down to the swimming pond at the bottom of the gorge. The Lake Kezar Country Club is on the southern end of town. Middle Bay and Lower Bay frame the western end. There are craft shops and limited services in town. Click here for the Lovell Business Directory.
Naples is off Route 302, next to the Chute River, the waterway that connects Brandy Pond with Long Lake. This is the home of the Songo River Queen, a New Orleans style paddleboat offering cruises to the public. Naples loves festivals, hosting a Winter Carnival, the Maine Blues Festival, Memorial Day Parade, 4th of July Parade including fireworks and the Naples Main Street Christmas celebration with plenty of craft fairs.
Athletic sorts will find a golf course, mini golf, batting cages, marinas, fishing charters and kayak, boat and canoe rentals. The Holt Pond Nature Preserve will delight wildlife lovers and bird watchers, and offers a canoe for visitor use, just bring your own paddles. Boardwalks connect trails over the marshy area. Birds love this place because of the bug population, so bring your spray. Restaurants and overnight accommodations are available in town. Click here for the Naples Business Directory.
Locals might argue that there are more horses than people in Stow. Located off of Route 113, there are only 312 people in the township’s 23 square miles. Horseback riding is a favored activity, as is hunting, fishing, camping , hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, canoeing and mountain biking. Bird watchers may want to visit the Deer Hill Bog and its population of Great Blue Herons and the occasional moose. Budding geologists may apply for a permit to look for amethyst or tourmaline on Deer Hill’s eastern slope. At the off-limits Eastman Mine, a nine pound amethyst crystal was found in 1993. Most services are in Fryeburg and Bridgton. Evans Notch, in Stow is an entrance into the White Mountains National Forest. Click here for the Stow Business Directory.
Sweden, population 325, is known for its stone walls, reportedly built between 1810 and 1840. Made of granite, they served as fences for pastures, agricultural boundaries and property lines. They stand, some barely so, as a reminder of the past. This low-keyed agricultural town has few tourist services, but the Blacksmith Shop Museum in the former school house and the Sweden Historical Society both have interesting tales to tell. Fishing and canoeing are popular at Moose, Keyes and Stearns Pond. Click here for the Sweden Business Directory.
Three villages actually make up Waterford, one each along Routes 35, 37 and then 118. The town’s claim to fame is the connection with author Mark Twain. Resident Charles F. Brown was his mentor. Twenty-one of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Old Town Office and Meeting Hall. Annual events include a 4th of July Parade, the Waterford Chili Cook-Off and a Fall Foliage 5K run. Keoka Lake and McWain and Bear Ponds are within town limits. There are two nearby campgrounds, one at Keoka Lake. The Waterford Inne, a revamped 19th century farmhouse on 25 acres of land, offers a B&B experience in a country setting, right down to the Adirondack chairs in the oversized backyard. Click here for the Waterford Business Directory.
Bridgton Lakes Region Directories
Visit the following directories to find lodging, dining, attractions, shops, services and recreational activities in the Bridgton, Maine area.
- Bridgton Maine
- Brownfield Maine
- Casco Maine
- Denmark Maine
- Fryeburg Maine
- Harrison Maine
- Lovell Maine
- Naples Maine
- Raymond Maine
- Sebago Maine
- Stow Maine
- Sweden Maine
- Waterford Maine