With over 5,000 miles of coastline (more than even California!) Maine boasts some of the most scenic and storied coastal drives in the country. This iconic route is redolent with the salty sea air and quaint surroundings of the bygone seaside vacations of your childhood, combining a smooth and leisurely road for a relaxing summer ride with vast coastal panoramas and sweeping curves. Scenic detours winding past stately weathered lighthouses, seaside villages nestled into the shore, and the region’s famous lobster shacks are all attractions you’ll be glad to discover along this bucolic road.
The famous Coastal Route 1 features three distinct sections of highway, each known for a particular flavor of attractions and scenery. Southern Maine is most popular for those seeking sandy beaches, Mid-Coast Maine attracts boating enthusiasts with its numerous harbors, and Downeast Maine feeds the souls of photography hounds and nature buffs alike with the lush foliage and dramatic views of Acadia National Park.
Three towns along the route stand out as ideal stopping points, one for each of the Coastal Route’s iconic sections: Kennebunkport for Southern Maine, Rockland in Mid-Coast Maine and Rockport for Downeast Maine. Conveniently situated a mere two hours between each town at highway speeds, these three iconic places each offer a specific flavor and feel for riders looking to take in the essence of Maine.
Kennebunkport is notable for being one of few towns with both a harbor and a river, and is popular with sun-seekers eager to stick their toes in the sands of a pristine beach and lose themselves in the lullaby of sea and sky. Rockport is a less-touristy, 100% authentic taste of classic Maine seaside culture popular with visitors who prefer authentic lobster rolls, art galleries, local wine-tasting events, world-class museums and beautiful views from the Owl’s Head Lighthouse to the crowds and long lines at tourist meccas such as Camden or Wiscasett. In Bar Harbor, be sure to stop and visit the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory – the only bridge observatory in the US and one of only four in the world – and the pristine beauty of Acadia National Park. Photography buffs will love the wildlife, such as bald eagles, seals, shore birds and lobsters, and the 130 miles of hiking trails will help you stretch your road-weary legs before getting back on the highway.
While out driving the gorgeous countryside, particularly in Downeast Maine and near Acadia National Park, watch out for the dual constant companions of other tourists and moose on the road, the latter of which can be truly hazardous to bikers – keep two fingers on the brake lever just in case you come across one.
All in all, this 167-mile ribbon of two-lane asphalt is like a trip down memory lane, hearkening back to lazy summer days spent in light-hearted rambling along country roads. Take a detour here along your summer travels for a dose of sunny enjoyment.
Is finding the right place on the road becoming a source of stress? Never fear, Biker Buddy is here! We help those who live life on two wheels find other bike-minded people with lodgings available, and vice-versa. Check out what it takes to become a Biker Buddy host and make some extra cash while meeting fellow motorcycle enthusiasts here, or check out this page if you’re a biker looking for a great place to stay while on your next adventure.