Skip to content Skip to footer

Frommer’s Maine Coast: Our Latest Guide to Acadia, Portland, and Other Seaside Stunners

“Maine is a beautiful place that I paradoxically want to hoard to myself and share with everyone I meet,” humorist John Hodgman writes in his 2017 book Vacationland

On a recent episode of the Frommer’s podcast, guidebook author Brian Kevin said he can relate to Hodgman’s remark—though Kevin keeps precious little of the good stuff to himself in his brand-new edition of Frommer’s Maine Coast, spilling the beans on everything readers need to know for a satisfying sojourn in the land of lobster, lighthouses, and L.L. Bean. 

Packed with colorful photos, useful maps, and bespoke itineraries tailored to specific time frames and themes (such as outdoor adventures, arts and culture, and family-friendly stuff), the book takes you to all the region’s classic attractions while updating you on fresh additions and practical information to help you make the most of your vacation time. 

The natural splendor of Acadia National Park, the renowned culinary scene of Portland, and the seaside charms of places such as the Kennebunks, Camden, and Ogunquit all get their due. But readers of Frommer’s Maine Coast get a leg up on other travelers, thanks to invaluable intel on what’s new and noteworthy in the region.

And what’s new and noteworthy in the region?

• Certainly not the large peak-season crowds at Acadia, though the local response to managing the summer and autumn hordes has evolved over the last few years.

The national park’s seasonal reservation system (in place through Oct. 27 this year) had only recently made its debut the last time Frommer’s published a Maine guide. But advance bookings for driving the park’s Cadillac Summit Road are now firmly entrenched and appear to be a perennial feature, according to Kevin. The $6 vehicle registrations must be purchased online at Recreation.govPer the National Park Service, 30% of available time slots become available 90 days in advance, with the remaining 70% going up for grabs 2 days in advance. (Click here to see all the national parks requiring reservations this summer.)

In the Acadia gateway town of Bar Harbor, meanwhile, a growing backlash among residents against overwhelming traffic from cruise ships is counterbalanced, somewhat, by what Kevin describes as exciting, recently opened lodging options such as Queen Anne’s Revenge, a boutique property fashioned from a pair of 19th-century summer cottages that have been done over in a playful nautical motif involving golf-leaf doors, ornate globes, and the odd kraken. 

• Farther down the coast, Portland remains a thriving destination for fans of breweries, live music, and some of the East Coast’s most lauded restaurants, our author reports. But some focus is shifting to lesser-known gastronomic outposts such as the former mill town of Biddeford, where even Portland’s “brunch pilgrims” journey for standout breakfast sandwiches at the Palace Diner.

• And in the state’s Upper Midcoast region around Penobscot Bay, there are fresh reasons for going island- and gallery-hopping in and around Rockland (check out the special exhibits this summer at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and the historic art colony on the island of Monhegan) or for taking in new harborfront developments in Camden, where gazillion-dollar yachts and the scenic Camden Hills flank an elegant, pedestrian-friendly town with enticing restaurants and pubs such as Barren’s Distillery, which capitalizes on the area’s blueberry-growing heritage. 

• Frommer’s Maine Coast is so eager to share the state’s glories, in fact, that there’s a chapter dedicated to inland side trips. One of them, to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in the North Woods, not only shows off unparalleled views of the state’s tallest mountain but also highlights improving tourism infrastructure in the form of recently installed campgrounds, boat launches, and interpretive elements. A $31 million visitor center designed to tell the story of the land and its inhabitants from the perspective of the Wabanaki people is slated to open later this summer. 

Yet another spot in Maine it’s hard to keep mum about. 

Frommer’s Maine Coast by Brian Kevin is available now in paperback and e-book versions