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Would you suggest August or Sept. for the least crowded time to visit Maine?

Would you suggest August or Sept. for the least crowded time to visit Maine?

Jan 27th, 2005, 08:50 AM
  #1  
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Would you suggest August or Sept. for the least crowded time to visit Maine?

Ok I am back with another crazy question. We want to visit Maine during the least busy season if possible before the weather gets too cold so we are thinking August or September. Which month would be best?
Also how would you compare the driving in Maine - large city or small town? We are hoping to drive up the coast for as much scenery as possible but terrible traffic conditions make my husband nervous. Would you compare it to driving in Kauai - he was fine driving there. Thanks for everyone's help. We only take one trip a year and everyone here always comes through with great suggestions.
Sheila54 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 09:32 AM
  #2  
KMK
 
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We went to Maine the 3rd week in Sept. one year. It was beautiful and uncrowded, including Bar Harbor/Acadia. Booked a kayak trip the morning we wanted to do it, and no problem getting into any restaurants. We did drive the coast from northern Maine down to Bar Harbor, and I really don't remember there being much traffic - just seemed like you drove from one small town to the next. (Sorry, never been to Hawaii, so can't compare to the driving in Kauai. Also can't comment on the coast south of Bar Harbor, as we cut inland to get to the White Mtns. in NH.)

I would think anytime after Labor Day would see significantly less crowds.
KMK is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 09:37 AM
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I would agree that Sept. would be less crowded. I also cannot make the Kauai comparison, but it was a lot of highway and small town driving when we were there. The only time it becomes more like city-traffic is when you are on the only road into a typical tourist spot (like the single road leading to Mt. Desert Island).
jennanddustin is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 09:38 AM
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August is the single most crowded month to visit Maine. If you go at the end of September there will be fewer tourists and things will not have started to close down yet - but it will be distinctly cooler.

I'm not sure what you mean by traffic. the Maine coast is small towns - not cities - but in the height of tourist season the major roads can be mobbed - especially on weekends.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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The only downside to going in September is that the water will be cold. It's cold in August, but colder in September.
HowardR is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 09:44 AM
  #6  
gc
 
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September,IMHO, is the best month in NE. Still sunny and warm, typically dry, unless a hurricane is coming up the coast (highly unlikely), and uncrowded from a tourists perspective, especially during the week.

In September, the crowds consist of mostly weekend people up from Boston/Providence/Hartford. The farther north you are, the less traffic you will encounter.
gc is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 10:11 AM
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Sheila,
Maine is a wonderful state to visit either summer or fall. September brings glorious days most of the time, with wonderful light on the water. However, you should realize that Maine weather is iffy. Always possible to have long stretches of fog/rain as well as sunshine. In September, the crowds are gone and many people prefer this month to visit. It is the locals favorite.

Regarding driving in Maine, it should not be a problem most of the time. Maine has both interstates (Rte #95) and state highways. The latter travel through many small towns and pass lots of stip malls, especially in the south coastal area. You should realize that in contrast to the west coast, Maine has no real coastal route. Although Rte #1 is often referred to as a coastal highway, it goes through many towns and only has occassional glimpses of the water.

You may want to consider focusing your trip. Maine is a very large state. It is really best experienced by settling down in an area for a few days and doing some local day trips. You can consider south coastal Maine (many beaches, cold water, and the most crowded), mid-coast Maine (Camden, Rockport, Boothbay Harbor, etc) or down-east Maine (the most spectacular, Acadia National Park). Acadia National Park has a wonderful coastal loop road and provides free public transport. The inland areas also have many magnificent lakes. Whichever you choose, you should try to get out on the water by boat - an entirely different perspective.

Driving is generally easy compared to California freeways or urban traffic. However, avoid summer weekends if at all possible. Long backups at the toll booths and congestion everywhere.

Hope you have a wonderful trip.
puffin2620 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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Thankyou. Would it be easier to fly into Manchester, New Hampshire or Portland, Maine and pick up a rental to drive to the southern coast of the state. We are thinking we might start around Ogunquit, then move up around Camden and end up in Bar Harbour spending a few nights in each area. Should we then fly out of Bangor or come back down and fly out of Portland or Manchester. We are looking for the easiest drive with the least traffic if that is possible. This will be after Labor Day in September. We are flying in from Memphis. Thanks
Sheila54 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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We always go in September or October...last year we only planned to go to Bar Harbor for a few days but found out they have shuttle buses (free) which take you to many different areas so we stayed there a week...

Love Maine...all parts of it.
loisco is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Sheila,
You need to do some pricing research. Manchester N.H. is often the cheapest, but the longest drive from Maine tourist areas. Portland has reasonably priced flights (Indenpendence Air and perhaps others) but puts you above Oqunquit. You could always backtrack - not too long a drive. Bangor is generally the most expensive destination and is generally used by people heading directly to Acadia. The least driving would probably involve going into Portland, driving up the coast, and flying out of Bangor if price is not a factor. The direct drive from Acadia to Portland is at least 3 hours.
puffin2620 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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Puffin gave some good advice. Mid-Coast Maine is our favorite area, more scenic and less traffic. If you flew into Manchester you could start your coastal trip in Portsmouth NH. I don't think the drive from Bangor to Manchester would be more than 4 hours, it might not be worth it for the additional expense of flying out of the Maine airports and/or doing a one-way car rental. It's an easy run down Rt 95 to Rt 101. Keep in mind that even in September and October, the southern coast of Maine is a weekend destination and there will be a lot of traffic. Even in July and August there are places that are not crowded which you can seek out. My husband hates traffic. A weekend in Camden will probably have a lot of traffic but not in Damariscotta. We've left crowded Boothbay to discover a quiet, lovely drive just a few miles away. But Camden is worth it and you won't find much traffic at the top of Mt Battie which overlooks Camden harbor (take the auto road). My husband loves that place but not downtown Camden. It will be best to avoid Kittery outlets/Rt 1 unless you go with the traffic and don't try to cut across. We tend to stay on Rt 95 heading north until we get to Brunswick.
dfrostnh is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 06:37 AM
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We were in Maine the second and third weeks in September last year. The weather was great, no crowds, easy small town driving, wonderful time!
Barblab is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 09:00 AM
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I agree with September.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 04:55 PM
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Definitely September. For all the reasons the others have given you. Less traffic, not as hot, but comfortable, lots of places still open.
Manchester, NH is 1.5 hr. drive from Portland. But depending on where you are flying from, it can be cheaper than flying into Portland. But time and mileage can be expensive too. Do your homework. Ogunquit is half hour-40 min. from Portland. Camden is 1.5 -2 hrs. from Portland. Rt. 1 can be scenic in some parts. Other parts are kind of tacky. But it's the best route to Camden, Bar Harbor, etc. from Portland. Personally, we love to drive some of the back roads and we suggest you purchase a Delorme Atlas of Maine and really explore. Harpswell, Boothbay, Pemaquid, Georgetown, the Blue Hill area, Castine...all are lovely little side trips, as well as the places the others have recommended. Acadia park is exquisite. We camped there last September, the weekend after Labor Day, and the weather was nice & warm and much of the crowd had abated.
Definitely see Portland, too. Spend a couple of days there. Lots of great old buildings, a great art museum, the Old Port (lots of fun shops) and great dining.
Have a great trip.
belgoswede1 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 04:38 PM
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We have been to Maine in August and September and September was far less crowded. Late June is also a nice time to go.
cindyloo is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 07:56 AM
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We go to Maine every year in either late June or mid to late September...less crowded!
Fairwinds is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 09:19 AM
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How about the weekend after Labor Day? Schools will be back in session and it will still be warmer than waiting until mid-late September.
caniac is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 01:00 PM
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I'd fly into Manchester and take I-93 to Concord, then cut over on Route 4 to the seacoast. Why? Because you get to stop at the dozens and dozens of little antique & collectible shops along Route 4 (known as "Antique Alley").

Then, once you get to Portsmouth, take Route 1, then 1A up the coast - perfect.

And, September is infinitely better than August. In August you will sit in the traffic jams for a long time in some areas.

Gayle
leonberger is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2005, 08:52 AM
  #19  
 
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As far as your question goes regarding flying in and out. I would fly into Portland and from Bar Harbor, fly out of Bangor. It's about 45 mins from Portland airport to Ogunquit.

When we drive from our home in southern Maine to Camden or Bar Harbor, we stay on 95 to Augusta and then cut over to Camden. If you follow Rt. 1, it can take a while and not that scenic. However, prior to getting on 95, I would stop in Kennbunkport for a short while.

When flying home out of Bangor, it will take you about an hour from Bar Harbor to Bangor, compared to about 3 to 4 hours from Bar Harbor to Portland.
DJCV is offline  
Apr 25th, 2005, 05:02 AM
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If cost is a concern, flying into Manchester is usually the best bet (both airfare and car rentals). it's also an easy airport to deal with. Make sure there isn't a huge one way drop off fee if you are going to fly out of Bangor. Also recognize that there are fewer airlines that fly into Bangor and you will most likely end up on a small commuter plane. The drive from Manchester to Bangor is about 4 hours and although you are on the interstate, it is still a somewhat pretty drive with mostly trees and fields beside you. If you want to avoid corwds, you should probably avoid August. Although in terms of weather, that's my favorite month. That's also when the blueberries are ripe and the cost of lobster is reasonable. Enjoy the beautiful state of Maine - my second home!
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