Travel

Fall 2018 New England Road Trip Guide: The Ultimate Maine Hike

Scenic sailboat-dotted harbor and mountain peak views for the off-roader.


Chris Bennett/Getty Images/Aurora Open

Total Round-Trip Mileage: 559

Day One
Up and at ’em—you’ll want to leave Boston early to fully seize the day. Today you’re headed for the peaceful Midcoast region; tomorrow you’ll be a world away on rugged Mount Desert Island. Your first stop? The twin peaks of Mount Battie and Mount Megunticook in Camden, where the reward for a steep climb is brilliant panoramas of Penobscot Bay and the lush foliage surrounding it. A short drive brings you to the charming town center, home to art galleries, gift shops, and a sailboat-dotted harbor. Check into the charming Camden Harbour Inn to freshen up, and you’ll never have to leave: The acclaimed bistro Natalie’s is right downstairs.

Miles Traveled: 189

Day Two
It’s time to hit the road again, this time for a two-hour jaunt up to Mount Desert Island, where the fall color peaks in early-to-mid October. Fuel up with fresh-baked pastries at Chase’s Daily, a farm-to-table spot in Belfast, en route to your next hike at Acadia National Park, where 120-plus miles of trails beckon adventurers of all stripes. Looking for a crisp, leisurely autumn stroll? Follow Ocean Path along the coastline, or walk the peaceful Jordan Pond Path before enjoying tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House, open through October 21. In the mood for a thrill? Ascend Beehive mountain with the help of iron rungs. Then it’s time to treat yourself with cava and seafood paella at local favorite Havana before sailing into dreamland at the oceanfront Saltair Inn.

Miles Traveled: 79

Day Three
Back to Boston, but not before navigating your trusty steed up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern coast at more than 1,500 feet, to watch the sun rise (beginning in October, it’s the very first place in America to see a ray of light). By this point, you’ve more than earned a decadent morning meal—and Café This Way, in Bar Harbor, has plenty to indulge in, from fluffy blueberry pancakes to a Monte Cristo sandwich stuffed with ham, cheese, and fried eggs. Need a break on the long ride home? Make a pit stop off 95 to Ogunquit, if you please, to stroll Marginal Way, an oceanfront cliff walk with stunning vistas of the crashing waves below, and return home with a fresh outlook, an empty gas tank, and a very well-loved pedometer.

Miles Traveled: 291

More: Five Fabulous Ways to See New England This Fall