Located on the northernmost part of the East Coast, Maine is often overlooked in favor of other states on the Atlantic Ocean. With a coastline made up of hidden inlets, coves and jetties covering more than 3,500 miles (even longer than California), it is not hard to see that there is more to Maine than meets the eye. Boasting a beautifully rugged landscape made up of sandy beaches, rocky mountains and even a desert, this state is a treat for any traveler who enjoys a bit of nature. Visitors can also enjoy its many diverse museums, the local cuisine and countless other adventures and activities. So let Maine be the guiding beacon to exciting opportunities for student travel groups.
Become One with Nature
Acadia National Park is home to a diverse group of plants and animals. Located on the coast of Maine near Bar Harbor, visitors can hike its granite peaks, bike historic roads or simply enjoy the scenery. The park is home to Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the US Atlantic Coast. Here, students can be the first in the nation to view the sunrise from Oct. 7 through March 6.
Travel back in time with a trip to Monhegan Island. This small island has no cars or paved roads and is a summer haven for anyone who loves nature. The few dozen inhabitants make it their job to preserve the beauty of the island, which boasts 12 miles of trail to explore and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere.
It wouldn’t be Maine without lighthouses, which is why Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth is the perfect place to visit. This historic lighthouse sits at the entrance of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor. Watch the ships pass by this iconic landmark and visit the museum in the Keeper’s Quarters. At Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay a horticultural adventure awaits. Containing 270 acres of tidal shoreline, this vast landscape is made up of manicured gardens, natural landscapes and trails.
Get in Touch With Your Adventurous Side
With zip lining and over 60 other activities, Take Flight Aerial Adventures in Kittery will satisfy any adrenaline chaser. The company also provides aerial team building/communication building courses and low ground challenges to help students develop interpersonal and team skills. Adventure Bound in Caratunk focuses primarily on youth and school groups; it is Maine’s only alcohol-free adventure company and provides summer-long programs. Programs include rafting, rope courses, paddling and climbing/hiking. The company will work with groups to create customized programs/adventures.
For some down time to blow off steam, Funtown Splashtown in Saco is the place to go. At this amusement park and water park all in one, students can enjoy roller coasters and other thrill rides and then go cool off at the numerous pools and water slides. For a more relaxing activity that still offers lots of adventure, Bar Harbor Whale Watching Tours shows the awe-inspiring beauty of the Maine coast and its abundant wildlife. Located in Bar Harbor, this boat tour company also offers puffin watching, seabird watching and nature cruises.
Exciting Educational Opportunities
Recently renovated and expanded in order to better house and display its renowned collection, Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick is one of the oldest collegiate art collections in the nation. It houses more than 20,000 objects including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, decorative arts and artifacts. A former British colonial outpost, Old Fort Western Museum in Augusta, is New England’s oldest surviving fort.
Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor is Maine’s largest children’s museum. Here students are challenged to learn in new and innovative ways. The museum has numerous interactive exhibits and programs that cover topics such as science, nature, geography, children’s literature, music, art and anatomy. The Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport is the world’s oldest and largest museum of mass transit vehicles. Its collection contains over 250 vehicles from all over the world. Students can follow the ever-changing story of mass transit, from its beginnings with the omnibus to the development of the electric streetcar. Explore the three exhibit carbarns, witness the restoration process of a streetcar and ride an authentic streetcar along a rebuilt portion of the Atlantic Shore Line Railway.
Victoria Mansion in Portland is a historic house museum. Built between 1858 and 1860 as a summer home for Ruggles Sylvester Morse, this mansion is an exceptional example of pre-Civil War grandeur. Known as the “World’s Largest Revolving/Rotating Globe,” Eartha in Delorme is a sight to see. This globe holds the Guinness World Record for largest scale model of Earth. Students can view its 3-dimensional model with mountains and landforms in full 3D that rotates and revolves, simulating Earth’s movements.
Old Port is a district of Portland known for its 19th century brick buildings, fishing piers and cobblestone streets. Visitors can take walking tours of this historic district and enjoy its boutiques and restaurants. Located an hour from Boston and Portland, Kittery Shopping Outlets has over 60 stores for discounted shopping. Its close proximity to Maine’s southern beaches ensures that there is always plenty of shopping and fun to make it a location to remember.
Maine is the premier location for student travelers looking for student-friendly activities. Make sure to check out the locations listed here; they are the perfect places for fun and educational activities. Just like its state slogan the adventures in Maine are “the way life should be” fun and educational. If you’ve visited Maine before, tell us about your trip below!