The saying goes, “if you don’t like the weather in Maine, just wait a minute.” Maine is one of the best places in the US to experience the four seasons, and its distinctive seasons each showcase Maine in new ways that travelers love to explore all year round.
But there’s always the question of when is the best time to visit Maine. If you’re considering a trip to Maine, the best time to visit is during the summer—but there are plenty of people who will debate that the winter is just as good a time to be in Maine. Our professional travel agents provide our members with the best things to do in Maine and consult on the best times to do them.
Our complete travel guide gives the best times to visit Maine and the different attractions you can see to make the most of each season!
When Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Maine?
The best time of year to visit Maine is during the summer. Summer is the peak travel season in Maine when the weather is the nicest for enjoying attractions like Acadia National Park, coastal beaches, and islands just off the shore. Even though it’s the busiest season for travel in Maine, each season has its charm that makes it worthwhile to visit.
Fall is an excellent time to witness the iconic New England fall foliage. Although cold, winter sports like skiing and snowboarding attract many travelers to the state during the season. As for the spring, it’s a time when seasonal businesses begin to open and welcome travelers back in preparation for the upcoming warm weather.
Maine is located in the north, so it experiences drastic changes for each season. It’s known to have warm, sunny summers and cold, snowy winters. There are days when you will have a jacket on in the morning but warm enough to swim at the beach by the afternoon.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes each season unique and what kind of weather you can expect when you visit Maine.
Visiting Maine In The Spring
The shoulder season of Spring in Maine is considered the transitional months between the cold and warm weather. It’s when the sleepy towns start to wake up, and the lush vegetation begins to bloom in preparation for warm, sunny days ahead.
Spring in Maine runs between March to May. Temperatures vary drastically from the start of the season (right after the winter) and the end of the season (right before the summer). The average high temperatures range from low-40s to high-60s during the day and high-20s to high-40s at night.
One of the defining characteristics of spring in Maine is precipitation. These are the rainiest months of the year, with an average of 9-10 days with rain each month. But this rainfall helps the trees and flowers bloom to give the state a colorful welcome to the warm weather.
Since early spring is still cold, most people don’t start visiting Maine until the latter half of the season when the weather warms up. But keep in mind that since the weather is transitioning, it can be highly unpredictable, and the warm and cold air mix can cause frequent storms and rapidly changing temperatures from morning to night.
Visiting Maine In The Summer
Summertime in Maine is when the warm weather finally comes to stay. Mainers take advantage of these few months to experience outdoor recreation in the coastal areas or visit a nearby state park. And travelers from around the world treat it as a perfect New England summertime getaway.
Maine summers last from June to August. These are the warmest months, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the low-80s during the day and high-50s to low-60s at night. There are a handful of rainy days each month, but the summer is typically dry and sunny.
The best time to visit Maine is during the summer, and it’s the most popular time when tourists come to the state. All of Maine’s seasonal attractions are open during these months to support the tourism industry.
Summer in Maine is the perfect time of year to enjoy the beaches on the coast. The waters of the Gulf of Maine are the warmest towards the end of the season. It’s also an excellent time to take the boat out for a day cruise and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, running, kayaking, and rock climbing.
Although the summer is short, it’s plenty of time to experience Maine’s favorite season.
Visiting Maine In The Fall
New England is famous for its colorful fall foliage. Maine is one of the best places to experience Fall in New England, an opportunity to see the beautiful colors and last bit of moderate weather before the colder seasons.
Fall in Maine is from September to November. In the first half of the season, September to early October, Maine still has many characteristics from the summer before the weather transitions. It’s a popular alternative time to visit with fewer crowds, yet still, have the ideal weather to do many of the same activities. Starting in late September, however, the weather begins to cool down. But there are plenty of events happening like the annual Harvest on the Harbor festival, one of the largest food and drink festivals in Portland, which occurs in November.
The average temperature in Maine during the Fall ranges from the low-50s to the low-70s during the day and 30s to low-50s at night. The colder temperatures typically reflect the temperatures in late October to November as the weather cools down.
Visiting Maine in the Fall is a favorite time of year. Drive between the quaint towns where the local highways cross through tree-covered regions boasting colorful reds, browns, yellows, and other vibrant colors.
Fall is the best off-season time to visit Maine.
Visiting Maine In The Winter
Winters in Maine are frigid, with lots of snowfall and very short days. You’re lucky to see the sun, even if just for a few hours during this season. But with all the cold weather, there are still ways to find the beauty of Maine during the winter.
In Maine, the winter months are December to February, although many would say it starts much earlier and ends much later because of the cold weather. Average temperatures during the winter stay consistent around the freezing level in the 30s during the day. However, the nights can drop to the mid-teens.
Heavy snowfall is always expected during Maine’s winter season. Depending on where you are in the state, you might experience an average of 50-70ft of snow annually. Or upwards of over 100-feet of snow in the state’s northern regions. Also, the further inland you go from the coast, the colder the temperatures get.
The best way to survive winter in Maine is to embrace the weather. The Winter season is a favorite time for winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding. It’s also a beautiful time of year when the snow-covered trees give it a unique appearance.
Attractions & Things To Do In Maine
Visitors can find fun things to do in Maine in any season. While the summer is the favorite time of year to visit the state, the winter also has plenty of exciting things to do—even outdoors! Here are just a few of the popular activities recommended by our travel agents to our members.
#1. Trek Through Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park extends from the coastal beaches up to the peaks of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in Maine. The diverse landscapes are popular for visitors to enjoy recreational activities from hiking the nature trails, visiting the beach, or boating in the lakes. It’s home to an abundance of wildlife like moose and bears. Whale-watching is common in April or October.
#2. Visit The Farnsworth Art Museum
When the weather is cold outside, plan to check out a few indoor activities like the Farnsworth Art Museum. Located in Rockland, Maine, it holds a collection of more than 15,000 works of art from famous American artists. Its galleries exhibit works from the Wyeth family, Gilbert Stuart, Louise Nevelson, and others.
#3. Stroll Through The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
The Coastal Main Botanical Gardens is one of the most popular attractions in Maine, with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Located in Boothbay, it covers 323 acres extending for a mile along the coast. These botanical gardens feature 17 themed gardens showcasing plants native to Maine, the Northeastern region of the US, and other themes. Go for a walk through the gardens on the walking paths for views of the flora and coast. This seasonal attraction is open from May to October.
#4. Kick Back On Monhegan Island
Take a ferry from the mainland visit one of the best islands off the Maine coast, Monhegan Island. This small island boasts some of the best island hikes along the coast, offering scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Trails lead to landmarks like the Monhegan Lighthouse perched atop a cliff. There are plenty of ways to relax in the small fishing village at charming inns or taste a delicious bowl of clam chowder at a harbor view Maine restaurant.
The Bottom Line
There isn’t one correct answer to the best time to visit Maine. Every traveler is different, and each season offers plenty of activities and attractions to fill up your itinerary. For example, beachgoers and boating enthusiasts will have the best time during the summer, while the winter is the best time to visit Maine if you’re looking for excellent places to ski in New England. And as for the days with lots of rain, there are several museums to learn about Maine’s history, see American Art, and more.
The best way to decide when to visit Maine is by first considering what kinds of activities you want to do during your trip. Our dedicated travel advisors are ready to assist members with their travel plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the tourist season in Maine?
The tourist season in Maine is during the summer. The summer months of July and August are especially busy for tourism when Maine has the best weather and warm waters at the beaches.
Maine has year-round tourism welcoming over 35 million visitors in peak years. While most of these travelers arrive during the summer, there are still millions that come during every season for travelers looking to avoid summer crowds.
Keep in mind that there are many seasonal attractions and accommodations in Maine that can affect your travel plans. Be sure to check openings before making any reservations.
Should I visit Maine in the winter?
Yes, you should visit Maine in the winter! Winter is a charming season in the state where the blankets of white snow create a unique beauty only found in Maine. Maine is a famous destination for its ski season. Ski resorts at Sugarloaf, Camden Snow Bowl and Sunday River allow adventurous travelers to hit the slope of world-class ski runs or explore cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The Christmas holidays are full of snow, holiday lights, and cheer, while winter festivals like Maine Maple Sunday happen in March to give a taste of Maine.
Winter is the coldest season in Maine and gets lots of snowfall. Travelers can get prepared to visit Maine during the winter by packing heavy jackets, layered clothing, boots, outerwear accessories, and more.
What’s the best time to Visit Maine for lobster?
Maine is famous for its lobsters. It’s always had a thriving lobster industry and remains a key part of the economy and tourism. Lobster fishing happens any time of the year in Maine, but certain times of year are most popular for them.
The best time to visit Maine for lobster is from late June to December. This extensive lobster season is when lobsters are most abundant in the waters offshore Maine. Many of the restaurants serve freshly caught lobsters from the day. There are also lobster fishing tours available for visitors.
August is the best month to visit Maine for the Maine Lobster Festival, which happens every year in Rockland. This five-day festival is dedicated to the lobsters, showcasing the best Maine lobster dishes like lobster rolls, a lobster parade, cooking contests, and live entertainment.
Why is Maine so popular?
Maine is one of the top destinations to visit in New England. It’s just a short drive from major cities in New Hampshire and Vermont. There’s plenty of reasons to love Maine—home to some of the best beaches in New England, the picturesque lighthouses, the pristine islands near shore, charming coastal towns, the famous Maine lobsters, and much more.
Travelers enjoy visiting Maine all year long to take advantage of the unique attractions and activities across the entire state. Portland is the most popular travel destination in Maine, located less than two hours away from Boston. Other top destinations include Freeport, Ogunquit, Bangor, Bar Harbor, Kennebunk, and Kennebunkport.
In addition to the cities and towns, Maine is also known for its natural landscapes. Preserved lands in Acadia National Park or trekking the Appalachian National Scenic Trail are popular places to enjoy the outdoors.
How many days do you need in Maine to see the Northern Lights?
Maine is one of the top places in the US to see the Northern Lights. This colorful spectacle is best seen in clear skies away from city lights. Maine is perfectly located to have several ideal locations to see the lights.
The best places to see the Northern Lights in Maine are atop Sugarloaf Mountain and the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge. The best time to see the northern lights in Maine is during the winter season. This season also has less daylight for more chances to see the lights in the night.
Plan for at least 2-3 days in Maine to see the Northern Lights. Having a couple of days gives a better chance in case of cloudy weather.