Cycling in Maine is almost certain to include the popular coast area near Portland which is where we started our cycle vacation. The bike culture in Maine is second to none combined with spectacular scenery and friendly people.
Three areas for Cycling in Maine
East Coast Greenway
The East Coast Greenway starts at the Canadian border (New Brunswick) and for the first section is a rail trail as it heads south eventually to Florida.
You can cycle the Maine East Coast Greenway from the Boston area to the Canadian border if you have the time, however a better way is be riding on day trips.
Southern Coast Tour
The southern coast tour takes you into the resort town of Kennebunkport from where you can continue along the coast passing elegant homes including the former President George Bush summer home. Cape Porpoise is a typical coastal town with the lobster traps piled high and a fabulous chowder house with patio overlooking the ocean. This area is fairly flat and you can connect with the East Coast Greenway as it heads to the New Hampshire border.
The Portland and Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse tour is about 41 miles long and takes you past four lighthouses and the old port area of Portland. Expect a few rolling hills but this is a easy journey. The bridge across Portland Harbor has bike lanes for safe riding to the south.
The Freeport tour starts in this shopping mecca just north of Portland which is where LL Bean is based and you can bike tour over rolling terrain on local roads to historic Brunswick. There is a very active bicycle club based in this town which invited us to join their ride. The return loop brings you along the coast on a section of the Maine East Coast Greenway. This tour is a provides a great introduction to the state and the bike route was busy with cyclists.
Acadia National Park
In the north many cyclists want to cycle in tourist filled Acadia National Park. A second and quieter option which I loved is the Schoodic Peninsula, also part of the park. This Maine bicycle touring route takes you along the coast and through the picturesque fishing village of Winterhaven and the park along a one way road which during our mid week visit was quite quiet. If you plan to cycle in the main part of Acadia start early on a mid week day along the loop road for less traffic, again the road is one way.
Another bicycle touring option in the same area is the Deer Isle route slightly to the south where basically you are cycling around this scenic island. The highlight is the working fishing village of Stonington with many galleries and cafes.
You might want to check out some of the other cycling routes in New England. What you will find cycling in Maine along the coast is delightful lighthouses, a rugged coast, picturesque fishing villages and drivers who are most patient with cyclists.
One of the top regions for a New England bicycle tour is Maine. Not only is there the East Greenway route from the Canadian border (New Brunswick) along the coast the continuing all the to Florida there are great local rides for Bicycling in Maine as well.
The video below features the area around the coastal city of Portland.
This New England Bicycle tour starts in Portland, Maine. The route actually begins in a city park on Back Cove located in the north end of the city. We cycled the Eastern Promenade coastal bike path before entering the Portland old port area. Just watch traffic as you cycle through this historic district. A little further on you will see the massive Casco Bay Bridge across Portland Harbor. Don’t worry as you there are bike lanes on the bridge for safe cycling and impressive views.
You will require a bike map as this is not a signed route, however the roads are easy to identify and follow. This first part is through a residential neigborhood but you soon get into the countryside which is fairly flat. The entire route in fact is flat with a some gentle hills once you reach the coastal area.
Typical of your New England Bicycle Tour quiet roads greet the cyclist as you visit various coves piled high with lobster traps, and see elegant homes lining the route.
The highlight is the wide variety of lighthouses you see which are found in local parks, the harbor area and on side trips along the peninsula. This includes Cape Elizabeth Light located next to Two Lights State Park and the Portland Head Light located in Fort Williams Park. I understand the Portland Head Lighthouse is one of the most photographed on the east coast. They are also featured in the video above.
We had stopped at Crescent Beach State Park for a picnic lunch although the snack bar was open. Loved the sign they posted reminding us not to feed the seagulls as they love their food too.
South of the Casco Bay bridge this is a circle route so on the return it takes you up a hill and through the University grounds to the coast for views of the Spring Point Ledge Light and harbor. Then take the paved bicycle path back the the bridge for the return across the harbor.
Of course there are plenty of other bicycle touring options in Maine and New England, you can plan your own route with your guide to the best bike paths of New England.
This is a great route for families or cyclists wishing a moderate day trip and introduction to a New England bicycle tour.