Imagine yourself surrounded by pristine forest and casting a line into a burbling mountain stream, or paddling silently across a misty lake to the accompaniment of a loon’s cry after an afternoon spent hiking on a remote mountain peak. Maine offers all of these outdoor activities and then some.
Since the 1800s, Maine has drawn outdoor enthusiasts of all persuasions, from hunters and anglers to hikers and sailors, kayakers and snowmobilers to campers and skiers. In fact, the state is known world-wide for its year-round recreational attractions, and for good reason.
In order to get the most out of your outdoor experience, visit one of Maine’s many gear shops and outfitters. Whether you need binoculars for bird watching, an extra-light backpack or a new snowboard, Maine’s sporting goods stores will get you outfitted the right way.
Many outdoor outfitters sell Maine guidebooks, and some even offer tours and trips.
If you really want to get back to nature, enhance your vacation by exploring this New England state with a licensed, registered guide. From white-water rafting trips to hunting expeditions, Maine’s guides really know their way around the wilderness.
The Maine Highlands Region
For one-stop outdoor recreational shopping and adventure, Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville operates a store and a lodge, as well as a range of guided outdoor adventures. Set on the shores of Moosehead Lake – Maine’s largest body of water – Northwoods Outfitters offers 30 adventure travel and wildlife trips. Search for the mighty moose on a Maine Moose Tour, or float down the scenic Allagash River on a canoe excursion. You can also stay a lakeside campsite or rent an ATV and explore on your own.
Old Town Canoes and Kayaks in Old Town carries wooden, sporting, recreation and expedition canoes and touring, recreation and tandem kayaks, as well as all the accessories to go along with them. Their line of classic wooden canoes are hand-crafted by Maine artisans using cedar forms that are more than a century old.
Nor ‘Easter Canoes in Brownfield crafts canoes from hand-selected white cedar; some also feature with red cedar inlays. Each boat is custom made in sizes from 12 to 16 feet.
Island Falls Canoe in Atkinson offers custom-designed wood and canvas watercraft. Customers choose from a range of pleasure, cruising and transom canoes, dinghies, scale model canoes and special, custom-made projects.
Maine’s Lakes & Mountains Region
If you’re looking for sporting goods, River’s Edge Sports in Oquossoc has got them. This massive store – 3,500 square feet, to be exact – carries everything you need for a hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, camping, hiking, biking, snowmobiling excursion. Plus, River’s Edge Sports offers guided fishing, hunting, boating and snowmobiling adventures, as well as canoe and kayak rentals.
Rangeley Boats offers a true Maine classic, the hand-crafted “Rangeley Boat.” These rowboats were first designed in the 1800s in western Maine’s Rangeley Lakes region. Sturdy, stable and elegant at once, the Rangeley rowboats were used to carry vacationers on fishing trips. Today, their long, sweeping lines and oak, cedar, fiberglass and epoxy construction make them a Maine favorite. Theier hertiage-rich design makes them the perfect choice for recreation in the Rangeley Lakes region.
Bear Creek Canoes in Sebago manufactures its own line of fiberglass and vinyl canoes with seats, yokes, thwarts and carrying handles hand-crafted from Maine ash.
Sun Valley Sports in Bethel offers outings for all four seasons. It specializes in guided fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking on the Androscoggin and Magalloway Rivers, while winter adventures include cross-country and downhill skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. They also offer fall foliage tours.
L.L. Cote in Errol, New Hampshire — on the border of western Maine — sells a range of outdoor recreation items, from firearms to archery supplies, camping gear to fishing equipment. They also rent canoes and kayaks and provide shuttle service.
Ducktrap Kayak sells more than 40 different lake and sea kayaks from their showroom in Lincolnville. They also offer free demonstrations, lessons, tours and rentals.
Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport and Camden offer sporting goods and technical clothing for a range of sports, from paddling to skating, cycling to climbing. They also offer sea kayaking trips, day tours and instruction and bike, boat, camping and winter sport rentals.
Downeast & Acadia Region
The Bird Watchers Store and Café in Blue Hill is not just a great place to stop for breakfast or lunch — this locally owned shop carries a range of bird watching tools and guides.
Greater Portland & Casco Bay Region
The L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport has been selling outdoor gear since 1912. This Maine-based retailer offers clothing, footwear and luggage, as well as camping, hiking, cycling, winter sports, and paddling equipment. L. L. Bean also carries a wide range of hunting and fishing gear and apparel. The flagship store hosts a regular schedule of events, tours and workshops, such as snowshoe treks, ski waxing clinics, group mountain bike rides, turkey calling demonstrations, and fly tying seminars.
The Maine Beaches Region
The Eldredge Bros. Fly Shop in Cape Neddick carries everything the serious angler could need, from reels to rods, lines to leaders, and fly-tying materials. The shop also offers guided fresh and saltwater fishing trips; species include brown trout, largemouth bass, salmon, shad, striped bass and bluefish.
The Kittery Trading Post has been outfitting outdoor enthusiasts in Kittery since 1938. The store’s three levels are packed with sporting gear, footwear, outerwear and Maine-crafted gifts for outdoor lovers. Specialty areas include fishing, camping, climbing, shooting, and winter and water sports.
The Cabela’s in Scarborough encompasses 130,000 square feet. This massive retail store carries fishing, hunting and camping supplies and also features aquariums and displays of preserved trophy animals.
In order to find the best sites for outdoor recreation in Maine, you’ll need a map. For a comprehensive selection of Maine maps and guidebooks that detail back roads, boat launches, campsites, and other sites of sporting interest, visit the DeLorme Map Store in Yarmouth. From mapping software to GPS accessories, geography-based gifts to atlases, the DeLorme Map Store even features a kid-friendly section.
No matter which outdoor activity floats your boat, a Maine outfitter is sure to have the right gear!