Maine's Lakes & Mountains
Maine's west, known as the Lakes & Mountains region, is a breathtaking, four-season destination. Home to some of the state’s most bustling cities, as well as quaint, small towns, the region, and its ten sub-regions, is as diverse as it is wide—larger than New Hampshire and Vermont combined. Adorned with incredible mountain ranges, hundreds of glacial lakes and watering holes and interesting, history-infused communities, the region is enjoyed by all who treasure a pristine, uncrowded environment. Families, adventure seekers, retirees and those just looking for a breath of fresh air return to Maine’s Lakes & Mountains year after year.
Relax in the beautiful mountain village of Bethel, where you’ll discover a variety of boutiques and quaint eateries offering everything from decadent lobster and fried haddock to pit-grilled burgers and handmade ice cream. Interested in the geology of the state? The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum not only features collections of Maine’s most precious gems and minerals, but tours of actual mines are also offered periodically. Bethel is also a favorite destination for skiers, offering several ski and snowboarding options for everyone from the novice to the professional.
The sub-region of Flagstaff encompasses the charming villages of Kingfield, Carrabassett Valley, Stratton, Coplin, and Eustis. Resting near the shores of Flagstaff Lake and nestled in the foothills of Bigelow and Sugarloaf Mountains, the communities comprise some of the best trout fishing and big game hunting in the state. If you’re visiting in the summer, take in the sounds of Kingfield POPS, the premier music event in western Maine.
Ready for some exciting outdoor adventure? A skier’s paradise, some of the most challenging ski terrain in New England can be found in Maine’s Lakes & Mountains region. Some of the best places to take on the slopes are Shawnee Peak in the Greater Bridgton Lakes area, Sugarloaf in Carrabbassett Valley and Sunday River in Newry. These areas also feature exquisite golf courses, chic resorts and expansive shopping venues, making them year round destinations.
The 11 towns comprising Oxford Hills are calling your name with an abundance of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams that are ideal for swimming, boating and fishing. Oxford Casino has state-of-the-art slot machines, exciting table games and an on-site restaurant and bar, providing ample indoor entertainment.
The River Valley towns of Andover, Byron, Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Hanover, Mexico, Peru, Roxbury and Rumford form picturesque New England communities with country stores, tree-lined main streets and historic buildings. Take in the sights with a stroll out to Pennacook Falls, the highest waterfalls east of Niagara, or a ride over one of six covered bridges.
Round off your trip splashing in the water or making your home away from home in a lakeside cottage at Sebago Lake. At 8 miles wide and 10 miles long, Maine’s second largest lake is bursting with recreational opportunities.
Next up is Franklin County, home to one of the top 10 golf courses in the U.S. and unparalleled recreational opportunities. Off to Jay, Livermore, and Livermore Falls, an area that overflows with heritage. The Rocomecos, the largest tribe of Native Americans east of the Mississippi, call this area home.
Androscoggin County is also a part of Maine’s Lakes & Mountains region. The “hub” and twin cities of Lewiston and Auburn, separated by the Androscoggin River and mighty “Great Falls,” welcome visitors with lots of history and plenty to see and do. The cities are bursting with historic landmarks. The Auburn Public Library was built in 1903 with a donation from Andrew Carnegie and added to the National Historic Register in 1984 for its early Renaissance style. Other historic points of interest include the Odd Fellows Block, Kora Temple and Grand Trunk Station. The arts scene is also thriving in the twin cities. Explore the permanent collection of more than 5,000 works of art at the Bates College Museum of Art and then hop on over to Museum L-A, which features industrial artifacts from textiles, bricks and shoes manufacturing. Further out in the county, be sure to visit the Shaker Village of New Gloucester–the last Shaker community in the country. Staying awhile? The larger, nationally recognized hotels and motels are ready to book your stay.
Maine’s Lakes & Mountains region is host to many events, fairs and festivals, including the popular Fryeburg Fair and the Great Falls Balloon Festival. In the winter, The Dumont Cup brings two days of world-class free skiing competition to Newry, while The Moxie Festival features the official soft drink of Maine in the summer. For a full listing of all area fairs, festivals, and events, visit the official Events page.
Fun facts and interesting tidbits:
- The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a fascinating paddling route spanning 740 miles and covering 4 New England states, including western Maine.
- In the winter of 2008, the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce built ‘Olympia SnowWoman’, the Guinness Book’s “World’s Tallest SnowWoman”!
- Lewiston hosts 372 vast acres of the largest bird refuge in New England.
- The Songo Lock, which connects Sebago Lake with Long Lake, is the only lock left in existence anywhere in the United States today.
Each season dramatically unfolds, from the vibrant colors of spring to the stunning white snowcapped mountains of winter. Catch a glimpse or relish for days in the Lakes & Mountains of Maine.
My favorite spot in the Maine's Lakes & Mountains region is Sunday River Bridge in Newry. In the Spring the river runs wildly, then calms and you can watch the trout swim lazily by. In the fall the foliage is spectacular. Gorgeous spot year round.
–Karen A., Brunswick, ME