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When the Federal Government creates a National Scenic Byway or All-American Road, it means something. Only the prettiest, most historic and most enjoyable drives in the country earn these titles.
Maine has seven including three designated in 2021.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Scenic Byway
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Scenic Byway begins at the southern entrance of Baxter State Park and winds its way through Millinocket along Route 11 and the Penobscot River to Patten, ending at Baxter State Park’s northern entrance at Grand Lake Matagamon. Byway highlights include boating, camping, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking trails, and wildlife.
St. John Valley Cultural Byway/Fish River Scenic Byway
St. John Valley Cultural Byway/Fish River Scenic Byway is a cultural journey shaped by Maine’s rich Acadian heritage and culture, the St. John Valley Cultural Byway portion is 92-miles running along the northern border of Maine. Communities along this byway celebrate their ancestry along the scenic international river valley that showcases historical landmarks and outdoor winter sports. The Fish River National Scenic Byway corridor is 38-miles long and includes the towns of Fort Kent, Wallagrass, Eagle Lake, Winterville, and Portage Lake. Visitors are treated with panoramic vistas, lakes for fishing, sailing, wildlife and bird watching, and the pastoral beauty of a "working byway" that supports agricultural and forest industries.
Bold Coast National Scenic Byway
Bold Coast National Scenic Byway features a 125-mile route that invites visitors to explore the culture, history, wildlife, and rugged, unspoiled beauty of coastal Downeast Maine. The byway route extends from Milbridge northeasterly through coastal villages to Lubec, skirts the coastline of Cobscook Bay to Eastport. The byway route winds its way along the coast, passing wild blueberry barrens; abundant farmland; tidal marshes and bays; and rivers, streams, and lakes.
Acadia All-American Road
The 40-mile Acadia All-American Road is so special that it’s been designated an All-American Road, considered the gold standard of scenic routes. The journey begins on Route 3 on the mainland before moving onto Mt. Desert Island and through the town of Bar Harbor. From there, it rolls into the primary section of Acadia National Park.
Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway
Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway travels 78 miles along Route 201 through Maine forests from Solon to the Canadian border. Towns such as Bingham and Jackman offer relaxing places to stop. Spectacular foliage, abundant moose and other wildlife make for enjoyable touring.
Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway
Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway offers many locations for outdoor fun including golfing, boating, fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, skiing and snowmobiling. The 35-mile route winds past clear lakes and tree-covered mountains. The Height of Land on Route 17 is one of Maine’s most picturesque overlooks.
Schoodic National Scenic Byway
Schoodic National Scenic Byway explores the quieter, less-developed side of Acadia National Park and its neighboring communities. Visitors drive the 29-mile route through small fishing towns, sheltered harbors and dramatic coastline.
In addition to these Federal routes, there are many picturesque Maine state byways as well.