Maine: best 10 days in September

Old Aug 4th, 2011, 04:27 PM
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Maine: best 10 days in September

Planning a trip to coastal ME in September. Flexible dates
What's a good time to: 1)avoid crowds 2)better chance at finding motel room
Are day trips from larger inland towns (like Bangor, Portland) to coastal cities doable?
We don't mind driving 1/2 hour to bed down at night.
We/re thinking lodging is pricier near/on the coast.
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Old Aug 5th, 2011, 03:05 AM
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See when rates drop. Expect weekends are going to be busy because Sept weather is still wonderful. I would suggest booking soon for a weekend if you are Portland or southern coast. Mid-coast is our favorite area so I would suggest looking around Brunswick. Keep in mind it's a college town but it's also big enough to have a variety of accomodations. Camden is an easy drive from there. Bar Harbor is a bit too far.

We have vacationed in Maine at different times from June to end of Sept. Camden is going to be busy on every Sept weekend so we had trouble with long restaurant waits at night. Avoid driving north on Rt 1 late on a Friday afternoon if you are going thru Wiscasset. Traffic really backs up because of commuters and vacationers and the narrow bridge. But even 4th of July we have found places that aren't busy because everyone else is in Camden, Boothbay, etc. Good lobster shacks might be open weekends only (the kind on the docks with picnic tables).

The problem with Portland is the cheaper motels are probably in the busy mall area so you're dealing with traffic and chain restaurants. Search a little harder for independent motels that might be on Rt 1 but in quieter towns north of Portland. Traffic is very heavy on Rt 1 even on a rainy June Sat in the Kennebunk area. We really don't care for southern Maine because of the traffic although we spent a lovely June weekend last year in Ogunquit. Exploring is a lot better and more fun in the Brunswick area. A couple of years ago we found a very quiet, secluded beach near there. We saw this nature preserve listed on a little tourist brochure, asked the waitress who told us there's nothing there. Exactly. It was a little hard to find, road in was bumpy but it was summer yet only a few other people on this lovely little stoney beach.

Also, if you are interested in vegetable gardening, the Maine organic farmers have the Common Ground Fair in late September. It's a really nice country fair, no midway, only organic food sold, great handcrafts. It's in Unity near Waterville so not near the coast, maybe an hour from where we were staying near Camden.
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 04:42 AM
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After Labor Day will be the first 'drop', the second won't be till after Columbus Day. But September is a great time for Maine. I was just up in Acadia last week and it was not terribly crowded even then so I think you should have no problem with crowds in Sept. Weekends will be busier than mid week of course so depending where you want to be on weekend you should probably reserve, otherwise you are probably ok to just show up. I would NOT stay in Bangor to see Acadia, it's much more than a half hour and no reason, plenty of chain hotels with reasonable prices in Bar Harbor and if you want even cheaper just go inland no further than Ellsworth (which is a half hour). But there's a Quality Inn and a Days Inn (and some other others) right in Bar Harbor.

Portland is nice and certainly worth a night. Tons of chain hotels, and yes they are in the mall areas but still fine. I usually stay in them when going to Portland.

I posted my notes from my trip to Acadia/Bar Harbor here -

Also Ackislander just posted some notes from the Brunswick to Camden area -

How much time in total do you have? Earlier in the month = better weather, later = less crowds. But really, it wasn't that crowded in July this year. All of Sept on the coast is too early for foliage so the leaf peepers shouldn't be a problem then either.
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 06:51 AM
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As long as you're not particular about where you want to stay, a view-room etc, rates go down on Labor Day until the end of he month, with a slight jump on the weekends. You should be able to find accomodations very near the coast. You will do better to search "internet specials" and book ahead, though several motels along route 1 (near but not ON the coast) have signs up on weeknights with $59 specials etc. There are already some great specials posted near Ogunquit/ Camden/ Bar Harbor. I would choose Sept 11 to 21 if I wanted to avoid crowds and traffic.

Budget travelers should have a look at,, the Mt. Battie Motel, Ocean Gate or Smugglers Cove in Southport (near Boothbay) Belfast Harbor Inn, Bar Harbor Motel, Acadia Inn, Best Western Bar Harbor. Only if you find weekend rates too high should you need to consider staying in Kittery, Scarborough, Rockland or Ellsworth (near Bar Harbor).

Have a look at the walk-in last minute specials offered by, you'll get a general idea of budget rates in each area.
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Old Aug 6th, 2011, 05:27 PM
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Wow!! great responses.....thanks a bunch
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