16 Things You Must Do in Maine This Winter
Go Nordic Skiing in Acadia National Park
Many of Maine’s largest Alpine resorts (Sugarloaf, Saddleback, Sunday River) have their own Nordic areas, but the views from Acadia’s trails are a “secret wonderland.” With a few inches of snow and some grooming, the carriage roads in the park make the perfect cross-country ski trails.
Photo Op Of the Year: Only Place to See the Sea On Skis
Camden Snow Bowl is a cozy (1300') mountain with a big perk: it is the only ski mountain in the East where you can enjoy spectacular ocean views from the summit. The snow bowl is also famous for its 400-foot toboggan run, open to the public on weekends and holidays, which attracts thrill seekers to the US National Toboggan Championships.
Try dog sledding/skijoring
Several outfitters will give you an unforgettable taste of winter adventure. Maine Dog Sledding Adventures offers 3-day, 2-day, and full- or half-day tours for groups of 1-4 at the base of Mt. Katahdin. They also teach Skijoring, a relatively new sport making waves across New England that lets adventurers chance to ride with their own dog (or one of theirs) with relatively little equipment. Mahoosuc Guide Service will take you and their dog teams through the Bethel trails and across mighty Moosehead Lake. And Stephen Madera’s Song in the Woods explores the wilderness from Gulf Hagas to Moosehead.
Catch a big one on Moosehead Lake
Seasoned ice fishers can simply obtain a license and head out to the ice on one of Maine’s beautiful frozen lakes. On Moosehead Lake, visitors can rent ice shacks for the day, and several outdoor outfitters (such as Northwoods) offer guided ice fishing tours.
Hike Mt. Abram
Every winter, Mt. Abram in Bethel is open to those wishing to climb the nearly 2000 footer. Your gear is transported to the top where the lodge is open to warm up before skiing or hiking back down. An annual tradition.
Celebrate the life of one of Maine’s greatest poets
To honor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's birthday (Feb.27) Brunswick holds a month-long February festival that includes tours of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home (now the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum), readings, film screenings, “literary-themed” church services and a birthday celebration. Make a day trip and explore all of Brunswick and Bowdoin College, where Longfellow studied and later taught.
Shop for Great Bargains
There is no better place to fill the car with gifts for family, friends, (and yes, yourself) than at the Kittery Outlets where over 100 discount retailers make it easy to browse for hours. A little more than an hour up the coast, join the three million visitors who visit L.L. Bean's founding store and the world of discount shopping that has grown up around it.
Discover the magic of a winter resort weekend by the sea
Samoset Resort's 230 oceanfront acres in Rockport and its ocean view rooms may be even more beautiful and beguiling in the clear winter light. Visitors come back year after year, knowing they have discovered a warm, cozy hideaway with fine dining, a spa and the sound of the surf.
Take part in the timeless ritual of ice harvesting
Huge blocks of ice sawed from frozen lakes and rivers were once loaded onto Maine's ships and carried to distant ports before modern refrigeration. Today in South Bristol, an annual ritual (Feb.14 in 2016) brings townspeople and visitors together to fill an ice house with “winter gold”–an experience you will remember.
Explore the North Pole with Robert E. Peary
At the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum in Hubbard Hall on the lovely Bowdoin College campus a museum filled with artifacts from historic polar expeditions by both Peary and Donald Baxter MacMillan will leave you in awe of the courage and endurance needed to be an Arctic pioneer.
Dine on the best lobster in the world
Lobster season does not end when the summer crowds leave. Robinson's Wharf in Southport, just over the swinging bridge in Boothbay Harbor is a shining example of the transition from a summer favorite that keeps serving winter sweet lobsters to locals who know a good deal.
Make tracks on 18 mountains
The western mountains’ elite, including Sunday River and mighty Sugarloaf USA rival big mountain skiing anywhere with hundreds of trails for all levels, including Sugarloaf's only above tree level lift service in the east. But throughout the state mountains like Shawnee Peak, Mt. Abram and Lost Valley are loved for the relaxed family feel.
Greet Santa and Experience Christmas Cheer by the Sea
Kennebunkport’s Dock Square becomes home to one of the most festive Christmas villages in New England, especially during its Christmas Prelude, the first two weekends in December.
Find Your Own Trail
Snowmobile enthusiasts have long known Maine’s thousands of miles of interconnected trails that wind through forest, past waterways and through welcoming villages.
Maine’s winter festivals are some of the most well-known in New England. Towns and cities all over the state celebrate the season with ice skating, milk jug curling, ice sculpture contests, snowshoe races and dozens of other family-friendly events. The Maine Lakes Winter Carnival and Winterfest Portland are among the best-known.
Stoke Up with Great Food
This year, Maine’s Restaurant Week has extended to the first two weeks of March (1-14). Gourmands have recognized Maine’s chefs as being among the most talented and creative in America. During the week participating restaurants offer specially-priced three-course dinners starting at $25 and up to $55. Many inns, hotels and B&B’s also offer special Restaurant Week packages.