Imagine buying fresh lobster or fish and going back to your own kitchen and fixing a home cooked meal. Perhaps you want to spend your Maine vacation with your family and friends and all of you want to stay together. Maybe you want to hang your hat and stay a while, really indulge in a nice long vacation.
In Maine it is possible to rent a half-hidden vacation cottage on the shores of a prime fishing lake or a top-end condo within sight of the ever-changing Atlantic Ocean. Bring the family, your significant other and in some cases your four-legged best friend. Experience living like a local in the friendly, photogenic state of Maine. Click here to see our directory of vacation rental listings categorized by region and town.
What is a Vacation Rental?
The term “vacation rental” covers a lot of territory. One option is a private home, fully furnished, sitting in a Maine neighborhood, along the coast or in the interior. You have a full kitchen, dining room, living room and several bedrooms, all handy when traveling with a family. There is usually a backyard and sometimes a swimming pool and deck area. The property may or may not be in or near a resort area.
Condominiums, or condos for short, are usually in more developed areas, particularly along the rugged coast or fronting one of Maine’s beaches. These units vary in size, from studios meant for two up to large units with multiple bedrooms, again great for families. Many complexes offer hotel-like amenities such as swimming pools, fitness rooms, barbeque areas and recreation rooms. The advantage of the condo is that you have more living space, separate sleeping areas and your own kitchen. Some ski and golf resorts may offer condominiums, sometimes as timeshare units, for lease or sale.
Rental cottages are very popular in Maine. Sometimes the line between vacation home and cottage is a fine one. For example, in Camden you might find a fully-furnished cottage on a large lot with two or more bedrooms only blocks from the ocean and the downtown core. In Wells, there might be a charming but compact studio cottage fronting a sandy beach, close to the Rachel Carson Wildlife Preserve. You have all the basics, but the draw here is location, location, location. Unpack, mix a cold drink, find that beach chair and relax.
Maine Housekeeping Cottages
Maine housekeeping cottages or cabins are another vacation rental option. These units provide all the needed creature comforts but are usually in more remote locations. Some dot the shores of quiet lakes, while others sit within a cluster of buildings that are part of a resort or an RV park. A few are even reminiscent of the old time motel courts seen along the nation’s highways in the 1950s and 1960s, with clusters of little buildings surrounding a pool or playground.
While housekeeping cottages are generally less expensive, this is another time when the line between two property types is whittled down to almost nothing. In West Boothbay Harbor, on the coast, housekeeping cottages sometimes offer a beach, boat dock and even a rowboat to use during your stay. Rustic comfort and toys to play with, a timeless recipe for your perfect Maine vacation.
Unusual Maine Vacation Rentals
Have you ever wanted to spend the night at a lighthouse? How about a whole week? At the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol, the one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of the light keeper’s house offers weekly rentals. Built in 1827 and sitting on a rocky point, this vacation rental is as close as you’re going to get to the ocean without being on it, or in it.
If you really want to get away from it all, head for Matinicus Island, a 22-mile ferry ride from the coastal town of Rockland. There is a small “island center” with a Post Office, grocery store, a sometimes open snack bar and a summer only craft shop. Other than that it’s just you, the beach, the island and the birds.
Cottages on Matinicus Island tend to be rustic and you usually must bring your own towels, linens and supplies. The trade off is being surrounded by nature and the sea. One cottage even has an outdoor shower. Have your morning scrub while watching the lobster boats working off shore or the seabirds looking for a meal.
Big Indian Pond’s log cabin in the 100 Mile Wilderness Conservation Area makes Matinicus Island seem almost citified. The property is isolated at the edge of a quiet 75-acre pond and is only reached by float plane. It has an old fashioned outhouse, uses gaslights instead of electricity and you must haul everything you need with you. But you really can’t beat the view, or the trout fishing, at one of Maine’s more unusual housekeeping cabins.
Finding a Vacation Rental
Most vacations rentals are privately owned and leased out by either the homeowner or a leasing agency. Weekly, monthly and sometimes seasonal rentals are usually offered, with some properties allowing single night or weekend stays. Some vacation rental owners may lease their units out for an entire ski or summer season.
Cost depends on a number of factors, including location, time of year, length of stay, size or type of property and quality. As an example, a five-bedroom, two-bathroom vacation home on the coast with an ocean view might run you $300 to $350 per night, or between $1,800 and $2,000 per week. A one-bedroom lakeside cabin in Rangeley may cost $125 per night and $650 per week.
Many of those that enjoy a Maine vacation rental experience decide to buy a second home for themselves. In one of the country’s largest second-home markets, rental agencies and realtors often share the same office, making it even easier for you to find your perfect Maine vacation home.