The distances here are enormous, and pine trees can quickly become monotonous. Unless you want to spend the whole time in the car, it’s wise to choose one or two destinations in the region—sticking either to Acadia  and the Downeast  coast, or penetrating into the heart of the North Woods .
On the coastal route, it’s worth making the diversion to Fort Knox , which while never used for battle, is a fascinating journey into postcolonial America. No trip downeast is complete without a visit to Acadia National Park . At the very minimum, stay overnight in Bar Harbor  and take an afternoon to drive the Park Loop Road. Three or four days, however, allows time to take a hike or two, ride the carriage roads, take a cruise, and explore some of the smaller villages of Mount Desert Island .
Another two or three days is sufficient to visit the beguiling Downeast  coast. Stephen King fans shouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit the horror writer’s home town of Bangor , the largest city in these parts, where a Stephen King Tour  visits sites mentioned in his novels. Along the coast northward is the heart of Maine blueberry country, where Maine’s famous fruit is grown in a vast moonscape known as the blueberry barrens. At the far end of the Sunrise Coast , so-called because it is the first place the sun touches the United States, West Quoddy Head Light  is as much a symbol of Maine as Pemaquid  or Portland Head.
In the North Woods , you can count on seeing moose just by driving along the roads at night. A more surefire, and certainly less frightening, way to view them is on a moose safari , which pokes into the estuaries in Moosehead Lake  where they are known to lurk. In Baxter State Park , the prime attraction is Mount Katahdin , the beginning of the Appalachian Trail and a pleasing day hike. But outdoors enthusiasts will want to spend several days in the park, allowing time to camp out on some of its more remote backwoods trails. The Allagash River is the most serious river in New England for serious canoeing, kayaking, and river rafting. A standard trip takes a week to travel the length of the river from Katahdin to Canada; three- or five-day trips take in shorter stretches of the river.
For all of these areas, keep in mind that Maine  is significantly farther north than the rest of New England, and temperatures dip here early. The snows don’t melt from the mountains until at least the end of April, and the region doesn’t really get pleasant to visit until May. On the other side, leaves can start changing early, reaching their peak in early October or even late September in the northern reaches of the Allagash . By Halloween, the nights are frosty and dark—and the whole region shuts down between December and February.