Maine, most famous for fresh Maine lobster, the horror writer Stephen King, and some of the best-known skiing in the continental United States, is also home to several beautiful cities. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so here are nine of the most beautiful cities located in the great state of Maine, from Portland and the famous Portland Head Lighthouse to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, offering visitors panoramas of beauty. These nine cities offer stunning views of nature in all its glory, whether enjoying a national or state park or experiencing the architecture of the buildings in town.
Though frequently confused with Portland, Oregon, the city of Portland, Maine, founded in 1632 from a portion of Ancient Falmouth and incorporated in 1786, possesses some of the most beautiful attractions available in the continental United States. The Portland Head Lighthouse, the muse for Edward Hopper’s Lighthouse Hill, the most famous painting of a lighthouse in the world, is just outside Portland in Fort Williams Park. This lighthouse offers stunning, breathtaking views of the savage Atlantic Ocean to the east and north, as well as views of South Portland to the west. Visitors can also appreciate breathtaking scenes of the Atlantic coast all along the Eastern Promenade, a 70-acre public park and recreation area.
Bangor, originally established in 1791, was initially planned to be named Sunbury. The town instead received the name Bangor from the title of an Irish Hymn, a favorite hymn of Seth Noble, a local pastor at the time. Famous for being the hometown of Stephen King, the notable horror fiction writer, as well as several others, Bangor has numerous reasons for being a beautiful city. First is the eerie yet majestic picture of Stephen King’s house, surrounded by a wrought-iron fence, complete with bats, spiders, and even a three-headed dragon. Then, less than twenty miles south of Bangor, is the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, offering spectacular, 360-degree views of the Penobscot River and Bay.
Lewiston-Auburn, twin cities like Minneapolis-St. Paul and Dallas-Fort Worth are best known for the Auburn Riverwalk and the Great Falls Balloon Festival. Professional and amateur photographers gather from all over the country, and even from points around the world, to capture pictures along the riverwalk, as well as the numerous hot-air balloons, taking off and landing in the fields outside of town during the festival. Lewiston-Auburn, situated halfway between Farmington and Portland, and commonly called "the Cities of the Androscoggin," is also recognized for Veteran’s Park and the Androscoggin River, which flows over a hundred miles south before joining with the Kennebec River and continuing on to empty in the Gulf of Maine.
Biddeford, and its next-door neighbor, Saco, are also twin cities. The town of Saco, incorporated in 1653, had a river, also claiming the name Saco, running through town, effectively splitting it in two. At a later time, the part of town south of the river became Biddeford while the part of town north of the river stayed Saco. Along with the spectacular attractiveness of the Saco River, known by some to be a hidden cove of beauty, the town of Biddeford is also one of the most beautiful cities in Maine due to the Blandings Park Wildlife Sanctuary, a non-profit sanctuary created and dedicated to preserve and protect animals through conservation.
Incorporated as Harrington, and then changing its name in 1797, the town of Augusta possesses a beauty not known to many other places in Maine. Not relying on scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean, as the town is several miles inland, Augusta has other unique attractions that take one’s breath away. The Viles Arboretum, previously known as the Pine Tree State Arboretum, is over 200 acres of botanical gardens, picturesque vistas, and natural habitats. There are also several trails in Augusta, including the Kennebec River Rail Trail, the Bond Brook Trail, the Augusta Nature Center Loop, and the Augusta Greenway Trail. All in all, there is something to please the palette of every outdoor enthusiast in Augusta.
Visiting the state of Maine would not be complete without stopping in the beautiful city of Waterville. The Two Cent Bridge, also known as the Two Penny Bridge, a suspension bridge formerly owned by the Ticonic Foot Bridge Co. and given to Waterville as a gift, offers amazing views of the Kennebec River. Waterville is also known for its many street fairs. During the Taste of Waterville, vendors set up stalls along the Riverwalk and offer residents and visitors samples of local brews, and grilled burgers, as well as a "taste" of everything else. Waterville is also one of the most beautiful cities in Maine due to the Quarry Road Trails, which offer avid hikers, cross-country skiers, and snow-shoers scenic vistas that most people are not able to experience in person.
The city of Brunswick, considered to be part of the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford metropolitan area, is in close proximity to several nature parks, including the Reid State Park, the Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, and the Popham Beach State Park. Hundreds of acres of beautiful, secluded woodland are not all Brunswick offers visitors, though. There is also access to Sebago Lake to the west, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor, and the Eastern Promenade in Portland. From the numerous outdoor activities in the area to the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the St. Croix River, Brunswick is one of the prettiest coastal towns in Maine.
Just outside of Portland is beautiful Westbrook, Maine. Becoming a city in 1891 and famous for several famous people, including the sculptor Benjamin Paul Akers, who was claimed to have been the first person to sculpt anything in the shape of a human head, Westbrook has its own reasons for being one of the most beautiful cities in Maine. Some of the more prominent attractions available to visitors staying in Westbrook are the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, almost a thousand acres of stunning land located along Maine’s southern coast, and the Maine Wildlife Park, home to over thirty species of Maine wildlife, both excellent for photographers and animal lovers alike.
While not as large as some of the other cities on this list, Bar Harbor was established as Bar Harbor in 1918, though it was previously called Eden. Located on the border of the Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor possesses several attractions that bring beauty to the city. Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in Hancock County, numerous nature trails, and the Wild Gardens of Acadia all offer wonder and awe to those visiting. In the winter, Bar Harbor and the Acadia National Park offer both guests and residents a winter wonderland, with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing opportunities. Everywhere you turn, there are stunning, breathtaking sights of the surrounding landscape to witness or photograph.
Whether you and your family are looking for a beautiful city to escape traffic jams, you want to take the wife or husband on a romantic, weekend getaway, or you only want to be alone in a city that takes your breath away, these nine beautiful cities in Maine might be just what the doctor ordered. And remember, whether you are looking for a beautiful city or a pastoral lake, these nine most beautiful cities in Maine might be what you are looking for.