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September, October, and November — the best times for a trip up north to New England. With the weather cooling before it gets too cold, farmer’s markets with fresh produce every week, tons of outdoor activities to keep you busy, and of course the stunning fall foliage that makes New England the loveliest place towards the end of the year, a Maine vacation is a must. Here are our favorite places to see the best of Maine fall foliage.
1. Fort Kent
Head way up to one of the northernmost towns in the state of Maine, to the fishing and logging village of Fort Kent. With 3.5 million acres of untouched land in the North Maine Woods, you can rest assured that Fort Kent boasts some spectacular colors in the chilly fall. The town is home to sprawling forests, canals and rivers, and rolling countryside ready to stun you. While in town, enjoy one of the many outdoor sports and activities available, including hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. Fort Kent is also home to winter dog sled races once it gets colder in the year.
2. Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is sure to bring beauty year round, but it’s that bit more intense in the fall, with the oranges, yellows, and reds of the fall foliage. The Bar Harbor region, in general, is perfect for a little fall leaf peep. Located on Maine’s central coast, the area is known for breathtaking views of the fall leaves and colors dancing across the mountains and reflected in the lakes and harbors. The fall season is also a great time to visit the national park as you’ll see smaller crowds than in the warmer summer months. Go for a hike, camp out under the stars, and get the full effect of Maine’s fall foliage.
3. Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park, located in northern Maine, near the town of Millinocket, is a can’t-miss stop on your fall foliage tour. The park is roughly 200,000 acres of forest land and mountains, giving you vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows on all sides. Head to the park and set foot on one of the many trails available to get the best views the higher up you trek. Pitch a tent at the South Branch Pond Campground to wake up surrounded by the fall colors, and during the days, follow the trails through the park to find creeks and streams, waterfalls, and Instagram-worthy sights of all the bright colors. The trails are also ideal to bring pets on — discover all there is to know about pet-friendly Maine.
4. Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway
Make your fall foliage tour into a road trip along the Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway. The route travels 52 miles through central-western Maine. The region is known for stunning views year-round between the mountains and the blue lakes, but in the fall foliage season, it becomes even more special with the changing colors of the leaves balanced against the blues of the lake region. You don’t have to stick to the car while you’re in the area, either. The Rangeley Lakes area is home to great biking, hiking, boating, canoeing, and kayaking. Other popular activities include fishing, camping, golfing, and wildlife spotting.
5. Camden Hills State Park
Camden Hills State Park sits right outside Camden, Maine, on the central coast just south of Bar Harbor. This park is an entirely public park featuring the colorful Penobscot Bay, dozens upon dozens of hiking trails, and tons of fun. The park is home to the popular Mount Megunticook, ringing in at 1,384 feet high, making it an easy day trip up and down for the ultimate all-around views and fall leaf peeping. Check out Penobscot Bay itself while you’re in the park, and be sure to hit up the town of Stonington, on Deer Isle, and the Stockton Springs.
6. Moosehead Lake
Located just south of Baxter State Park sits Moosehead Lake, the hauntingly beautiful, rural fall paradise. Moosehead Lake is perfect, especially during peak foliage season. The lake is the largest in the state of Maine, and the largest mountain lake in the country. While in Moosehead Lake area, hike up the Pinnacle Pursuit to take in the best sights of the orange and yellow-topped trees. You’ll also get a glimpse at some of Maine’s unique wildlife, from moose to bird species, and maybe even a bear! Feeling inspired to travel in the colder months? Discover the 8 best US vacations in October.