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MAINE COAST - DRIVING ROUTE 1
FROM KITTERY TO BAR HARBOR

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Route 1 is a spectacular drive. Following the rugged coast of Maine northeast, we found lighthouses, fishing villages, comfortable inns and artist colonies. We rode ferries to small islands, and enjoyed picnics in coastal and island state parks.

Cape Porpoise buildings and boat reflected in water
Cape Porpoise buildings and boat reflected in water
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Outlet stores

There are enough factory outlets along Route 1 to distract shoppers for days. Most are clustered around Kittery, which has 120 outlet shops, and Freeport, which has the L.L. Bean flagship store and more than 100 factory outlet stores.

White church near York Village
White church near York Village
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Even the most dedicated bargain hunters, however, soon find themselves drawn to the ocean. There are more than 30 miles of beaches on the Southern Maine coast, between Kittery and Old Orchard Beach.

York Village

We time travelled back 300 years in Old York. Just past a beautiful white church are nine Old York Historical Society museums, including former homes, a tavern and a store.

The Old Gaol, complete with cells and a pillory, is the oldest standing jail in the United States. The early 18th-century Old Schoolhouse still bears graffiti scratched by students on the walls.

Kennebunkport

Ogunquit, called "beautiful place by the sea" by the early Indian inhabitants, is where the rocky coast of Maine gives way to a wide sandy beach. A 1.25-mile paved walking path along the cliffs overlooks the ocean, providing awesome views. The Marginal Way begins near the harbor at Oarweed Cove and ends at Ogunquit Beach.

The surf-lashed shores of Cape Arundel are also very picturesque, especially at Cape Porpoise. On the way here, we stopped at the old ship-building town of Kennebunkport to ride an historic trolley at the Seaport Trolley Museum. The collection of more than 250 transit vehicles is the oldest and largest electrical railway museum in the world.

Maine lobsters

Mention Maine food and everyone thinks of seafood, especially lobster. The Maine Lobster Festival is held in Rockland in late-July to early-August, while the Yarmouth Clam Festival, which also features fish, shrimp, crab, calamari, oysters and lobsters, takes place in July.

Portland, the largest city in Maine, has restaurants for every food craving and budget. George Washington ordered the building of the Portland Headlight lighthouse here.

The Marginal Way overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in Ogunquit.
The Marginal Way overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in Ogunquit.
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Whale watching trips

Maine has more than 60 lighthouses along its coast. We saw several of them by driving along Route 1. You can also take lighthouse boat tours offered by the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and the Penobscot Maritime Museum in Searsport.

Other summer cruises along the 5,000-mile Maine coast offer whale-watching and birdwatching for Atlantic puffins.

Acadia National Park

With 47,000 acres of jagged rock shores, wave-worn cliffs and unspoiled tide pools, Acadia National Park is quintessential Maine. It lies on Mount Desert Island, which is joined to the mainland by a bridge.

We drove to the lookout on Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the U.S. Atlantic coast, and admired the stunning vistas from Park Loop Road. You could easily spend days at Acadia National Park, swimming, biking, hiking, exploring tidal pools and viewing beautiful sunrises.

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is the principal town on Mount Desert Island. We strolled along the waterfront to a restaurant on the pier and enjoyed freshly steamed lobster and plump steamers, dipped in clam broth and melted butter.

Sailboat on Atlantic Ocean
Sailboat on Atlantic Ocean
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Bar Harbor offers many things to see and do: the Wendell Gilley Museum of Bird Carving, Seal Cove Auto Museum and Mount Desert Oceanarium, with its marsh walking tour, lobster museum and hatchery.

The Maine Travel Planner lists hotels, bed & breakfasts, inns and campgrounds where you can stay, while you enjoy the attractions of coastal Maine.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Maine Office of Tourism: www.visitmaine.com

More things to see and do in New England:

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