Aerial view of Lewiston, Maine. Editorial credit: James Aloysius Mahan V /

The Most Picturesque Small Towns In Maine

Maine is a truly captivating state brimming with gorgeous scenery, vast wilderness, a rich history, and a wealth of leisure activities. From its expansive coastlines and revered outdoor spaces like Acadia National Park to its sleepy little downtown areas, there are more than a few destinations in this coastal providence that are beyond breathtaking. So, if you are off to Vacationland, then here are eight of the most picturesque small towns in Maine that you should add to your must-see list.


Franklin St. Bridge (Kenduskeag Stream Trail), Bangor,
Franklin St. Bridge (Kenduskeag Stream Trail), Bangor, Maine.

Known as the social and commercial center of most of Maine, Bangor is a lovely little town with 31,000 residents and one of those residents just so happens to be the author, Stephen King. And, even if you are not in town for some thrills and chills on a horror tour, the city of Bangor has so much more to offer. Located in Penobscot County, Bangor is the third largest city in Maine and is abundant in beauty. For instance, the scenic canals located downtown and bountiful street art, such as The One Native Lupine Mural and the Good of the Hive multi-story mural, are just a few reasons why this little metropolis is a real feast for the eyes. Further out, visitors can marvel at the Penobscot River and make the trek out to many of Maine's nearby outdoorsy areas, including Baxter State Park, with its stunning mountainous terrain and pristine wilderness.


Veterans Memorial Park overlooking Lewiston Falls
Veterans Memorial Park overlooking Lewiston Falls.

Even though Lewiston is more of a city rather than a sleepy little seaside town, there is still ample charm and beauty here. Situated between Augusta and the beloved city of Portland, Maine, Lewiston, with its small population of 39,000, has quite the bustling downtown district. In fact, a prime attraction in downtown Lewiston is the Veteran's Memorial Park, which offers a front-row view of the Androscoggin River. Next to this rushing river, visitors will also find an impressive monument and vistas of the Lewiston cityscape. This area is also an excellent spot for catching a glimpse of the often-annual Great Falls Balloon Festival, which typically happens in mid-August and is a big deal for the second most inhabited city in The Pine Tree State. Scattered throughout the town, adventure types can marvel at the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge and find a few Instagram-worthy spots in the expansive forested green space that is Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary as well.


Aerial drone views of Wood Island Lighthouse on Wood Island in Biddeford Maine.
Aerial view of Wood Island Lighthouse on Wood Island in Biddeford, Maine.

With several spectacular public beaches, including Middle Beach, Fortunes Rocks Beach, and Biddeford Pool, the city of Biddeford is the destination for beach lovers. Fortunes Rocks, in particular, is the perfect place to catch a brilliant and vivid sunset while marveling at the golden sands, tide pools, and sparkling sea. Considered Vacationland's sixth largest city, the town of Biddeford is nestled in York County and has around 22,000 residents. Here, the Maine coastline stretches for miles, well beyond the city limits, but these Biddeford beaches are pretty striking and filled with all kinds of activities, such as sailing, kayaking, and sunbathing. The Saco River also runs through this picture-perfect town, which only adds to its overall beauty and the many opportunities for fun. What's more, Biddeford is known for its delicious culinary scene and impressive history, with roots dating back to the early 1600s.


The Great Falls near Auburn, Maine
The Great Falls near Auburn, Maine.

Yet another scenic splendor in The Pine Tree State is Auburn. While visiting Auburn, there are more than a few spots that showcase this town's beauty. So, whether you decide to admire your lush surroundings via the Riverwalk or while enjoying Mt. Apatite Park, you will quickly see that this particular town, located in Androscoggin County, is quite a sight to behold. Auburn, which is home to 24,000 people, also has a truly picturesque shoreline. Some of the best vistas in this town can be found at Crescent Beach. Besides the abutting wilderness, this city has an aesthetically pleasing downtown area —Auburn Main Street— and a lovely historic district. Littered with 19th-century architecture, Auburn Main Street is an appealing spot in town with restaurants, historical sites, shopping, entertainment, and more. History buffs, especially, can sign up for informative walking tours for an in-depth look into this iconic city's past and see even more of the beautiful architecture here.


A marshland in Scarborough, Maine
A scenic marshland in Scarborough, Maine.

Also, home to 24,000 or so people, Scarborough is situated in the Greater Portland region of Maine and is just one more spot in Vacationland that is sure to delight visually. With five major bodies of water flowing through town — the Libby, Dunstan, Nonesuch, Spurwink, and Scarborough rivers — if you love freshwater activities, then Scarborough is the place to be. In addition to sparkling rivers, this town has a lush and fertile landscape with forests, farmlands, and Maine's largest salt marsh — Scarborough Marsh. And if you came for the breathtakingly beautiful ocean views, a trip to Saco Bay, Scarborough Beach, or any of the nearby beaches is a must. However, if you appreciate all the splendor of nature but like to spend your free time enjoying the sights and sounds of a place indoors, then you’re in luck. Scarborough also has a lovely antique gallery, a historical museum, and even more indoor beauty worth checking out.

South Portland

A beautiful lighthouse in South Portland, Maine
A beautiful lighthouse in South Portland, Maine.

Due to its picturesque waterfront, the perfect view of Portland's skyline, and dreamy vistas of the Casco Bay islands, people flock to South Portland, Maine, all year round. Fantastic sights like the Casco Bay Bridge, towering sailboats, forested land, and a bustling cityscape await visitors here. This gorgeous seaside town in Cumberland County also has several tourist attractions like the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, Bug Light Park, the Liberty Ship Memorial, and a host of museums. And to top it all off, this town of less than 30,000 people, has quite a lovely art scene, which includes the Mad Horse Theatre Company, where you can see thought-provoking and visually appealing performances.


The scenic town of Westbrook, Maine
The scenic town of Westbrook, Maine. Editorial credit: Jongpol Jujaroen /

Like so many other cities in Vacationland, the coastal haven of Westbrook follows suit with its limitless untouched wilderness and abundant outdoor recreation. And, of course, the surrounding landscape is one of the top reasons why this particular small town in Cumberland County is a beautiful place to visit. Nonetheless, Westbrook’s 20,000 or so residents have cultivated an attractive downtown with unique shops and enticing restaurants such as The Frog and Turtle and the Big Fin Poke. Several sights to see when in Westbrook include the Mill Brook Preserve, Westbrook River Walk, and Smiling Hill Farms. A bonus here is that this city is also home to a music venue, Rock Row, which has concerts and other events during the warmer months. So, you can take in some of this town's spectacular views while listening to some of your favorite artists and musicians.


Babb Bridge in Windham, Maine, on a winter day
Babb Bridge in Windham, Maine, on a winter day.

In the town of Windham, visitors can stand in awe of the many beautifully preserved 19th-century historical sites, including The Old Town House Museum. Also located in Cumberland County, Windham has a diverse landscape teeming with forested land, waterways, rolling hills, and more. That said, this small and picturesque town, with a modest population of around 18,000 people, is only a short drive away from Sebago Lake. A definite prized gem around these parts, Sebago Lake, is a favorite among Windham locals and is as scenic as it is entertaining. Ranked as the second largest lake in the entire state, Sebago Lake is the centerpiece of Sebago Lake State Park. From beaches, boating, and campgrounds to fishing, wildlife watching, and golfing, there is more than one way to enjoy Sebago Lake. So, make sure to add this sparkling treasure to your trip agenda when you are nearby admiring Windham and all its beauty.

In Summary

Small towns like Windham, Scarborough, Bangor, and the others mentioned above are just a few destinations in The Pine Tree State that will take your breath away. As a whole, Maine is a striking compilation of cities that have a natural charm and ample vacation activities, including first-rate stargazing and boating. But if you are looking for that laid-back yet welcoming feel you can only get in small towns, then why not opt for someplace in Vacationland that is absolutely picturesque?

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