As a California girl, I was going absolutely insane sitting in the middle of inland Rhode Island. I needed to explore, go on an adventure and get some real fresh air. Maine was calling and I had to answer. I thought of going inland, seeing some wild forests and going hiking… but then I recalled my last trip to Shenandoah National Park and how much I wished I had been on the coast of Virginia.
So I helped some friends move up to Farmington, smack dab in the middle of southern Maine and then I headed straight to the coast with no real destination. I just drove. It took me about 2 hours to reach the coast, where I decided to follow some signs for a lighthouse. Little known fact (at least little known to me), if you just follow the coastline of Maine, you will run into more lighthouses than you ever knew existed and they’re all beautiful… but it will take you a very long time.
That night I slept in my car so I could get up bright and early to hike around Sear’s Island. It’s a little island off the coast of Searsport, Maine where you can park at the entrance and hike through it, about an hour or so south of Acadia National Park. There are about 5-7 miles of trails and the views are gorgeous. It’s also much less crowded than most hiking spots I found in Maine, probably because it’s a little off the beaten path.
After my hike, on my way back down the coast, I hugged the shoreline. It took me 12 hours to go from Searsport to Boothbay because I stopped at every lighthouse I could find and I even found a great little lobster shack right on the ocean called Waterman’s Beach Lobster.
I loved Maine so much that when Charlie arrived from Arizona a few days later for a 4-day visit, I got us a campsite in Searsport. If you decide to go ocean camping in Maine, go to Searsport Shores Ocean Campground. Skip the South Coastal Region… It’s too crowded and not as beautiful. Not only are the people at the Searsport campground amazingly nice, but you will have the opportunity to sleep literally on the ocean, listening to the waves crashing on the shore. When the moon is low, or there is a new moon, you can see all the stars there is to see too. I think that was the first time I’ve ever clearly seen the Milky Way.
On our first day on the Mid Coast, Charlie and I went up to Bar Harbor to see Acadia National Park for a minute. It was crowded though, so we only drove through and stopped once for a photo session. On the way out, we decided to stop at The Atlantic Brewing Company/ Mainely Meat BBQ for some lunch. It was incredible. Go there, definitely go there. And get the sampler platter. Forget ordering one thing to eat, try them all. The beer was pretty good too.
The next day, we were on a mission to find some “Lobstah,” but as it was the Tuesday after Labor Day, most of the lobster shacks had closed down. We weren’t able to find another open one until much further south, so we stopped at Owl’s Head General Store for Maine’s best burger according to Food Network. It was actually amazing. I was surprised. From there we continued our lighthouse hunt.
My favorite lighthouses were at Owl’s Head, Marshall Point, and Pemaquid Point. I had no idea the first time I stopped at Marshall Point that Forest Gump was shot there, but it was! Charlie posed in some Forest Gump recreation shots there. And Pemaquid Point is one of the very few, if not the only, lighthouse you can actually go up inside of. We got to go in and see the beautiful staircase and the light that helps guide sailors at night.
In New Harbor, on the way out of Maine, after all the lighthouse stops, we went to Shaw’s Fish and Lobster on the wharf. It was Charlie’s first ever lobster… and I’m thinking I should have broken him in with a lobster roll instead of a whole lobster, but the experience of tearing apart your first lobster is something you never forget, and something I didn’t want to miss witnessing. My first time was at Waterman’s a few days prior, and I actually had to Google the proper way to take apart a lobster. Don’t be afraid to Google it… it’s useful and then you don’t look like a fool ruining your lobster meat as you crush it.
Overall, if you ever go anywhere on vacation, I recommend Maine. Of all the places I’ve seen so far in the United States, this is my favorite.