Visiting Maine is an adventure. Get the most out of your visit by taking a guided trip or tour. Put on your comfy walking shoes and explore historic mansions, museums, forts and lighthouses. Hop a tour bus for a more expansive look at the cities or to explore the villages and wildlife areas along Maine’s scenic coast. The adventure deepens as you head into the interior where moose and birds outnumber the two-legged folk. Registered Maine guides lead you into the wilderness and bring you back safely, giving you some incredible memories and, of course, bragging rights.
Maine Walking Tours
Portland is a great place to start if you are looking for a Maine walking tour. Take a guided tour of the history museum next to the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, affectionately named the “Bug Light.” Learn about Portland’s role in the Civil War, and how the local shipyards contributed Liberty Ships to aid in the more recent World War II. Take a culinary walking tour around the city’s Old Port or Freeport Village and sample some of Maine’s tastiest treats along the way. A particular hit is a chocolate walking tour that lets you sample both sweet and savory creations flavored with chocolate. Hand made gelato, truffles and rich chocolate cupcakes are only the beginning.
In Lubec, take a walking tour along the Water Front and learn about the town’s turbulent history. Visit Augusta and the State House and tour the adjacent museum. If you are there early enough your might catch a concert in the Rotunda, held occasionally before the House of Representatives opens its session. In Kennebunkport take a tour of the Nott house, dating back to 1853 and built in the upscale Greek revival style. The original furnishings including the ornate French wallpaper remain intact.
Unusual Maine Guided Tours by Bus or Boat
The one-time lumber town of Bangor is home to author Stephen King and has served as the fictional backdrop for many of his harrowing tales. One bus tour visits the various sites described in those novels, enhancing the experience with historic tales and legends of the city.
One unusual tour out of Bar Harbor combines a boat ride out to Frenchman Bay with a multi-media presentation. Called Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater, this is one way to see what goes on under the waves without getting your feet wet. You stay aboard the boat while your hosts dive below with their sound and video equipment bringing you real time pictures from the deep.
Heading back to Portland, it’s time to board “The Duck.” Start your journey through the town’s Old Port while listening to legendary tales of this historic district. Just when you thought you’d seen and heard everything, your wheeled “bus” plunges into Casco Bay. The amphibious vehicle becomes a boat, taking you past the waterfront and the wildlife-rich Calendar Islands.
Maine Ghost Tours
When the evening fog rolls in along Maine’s rugged coast, it’s not hard to imagine that some who have left this world for the next are still watching us. Taking a Maine ghost tour is one way to return the favor and have a bit of scary fun at the same time. Walk the streets of Portland after dark and hear tales of pirate ships, witches and even a haunted mansion that was featured in a Stephen King novel. In the quaint seaside village of York walk past the Old Gaol, a prison open for business between 1719 and 1860, and a 17th century graveyard, both decidedly ghostly. In Bangor, take a tour offering ghost-laden tales of gangsters and ill-willed sailors. Other locations offering Maine ghost tours include Bath, Camden, Boothbay and Wiscasset. You might even find a haunted lighthouse or two.
Maine Whale Watching and Lighthouse Boat Tours
Along Maine’s coast the most talked about boat tours are those that involve whale watching and lighthouses. Choose from two-hour excursions into the Gulf of Maine or multi-day voyages that sail to some of the many coastal islands or up into the Bay of Fundy. Either way your chances of seeing humpbacks, finbacks and even the showy killer whales are good. Dolphins, harbor porpoise, seals and birds, especially the plumpish puffins are a particular hit. The coastline is dotted with lighthouses, giving you photo ops of the land variety.
Tours with Registered Maine Guides
Taking a tour with a registered Maine guide makes the most out of your visit to the state’s rich interior. These skilled professionals must pass a number of tests to be state certified. In the Aroostook, Maine Highlands and Kennebec & Moose River Valley regions, guides lead canoe and kayak trips into the wilderness. Tours may include some whitewater rafting, finding a moose or two or a bit of bird-watching. Overnight trips often include camping on the shores of remote lakes or streams. Guides also offer boat or land-based fishing and hunting trips in season.
Winter’s snowy blanket may cover most of the state, but registered Maine guides are still on the job. Fly fishing becomes ice fishing. A guide lead you out to a safe spot on an ice covered lake and drills a hole through that ice. In goes your line, and with luck, out comes a fish. Other winter guided tours include cross-country skiing, snowmobiling through Maine’s remote wilderness and winter camping. One particularly fun way to become one with the wilderness is to take a dog-sledding tour. You’ll have an experienced guide to lead the way and furry-four legged friends doing most of the work.