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    Road Trip to Experience Maine's Great Outdoors

    Ah, smell those pine trees. Hear those chickadees sing. Show us around Vacationland with a Portland, Maine car rental from Auto Europe!

    Reserve your Portland, Maine car rental

    Maine motorhome rental

    Welcome to Maine. Where trees outnumber people and big fat lobsters roam the ocean floor. As the easternmost state for cost-effective USA rental cars, Maine is among one of the most geographically isolated places in the country that only borders New Hampshire and Canada. From the potato fields of Aroostook County to coastal villages along Route 1; this secluded corner of the United States was recently named the number four destination for world travelers in 2020 by Lonely Planet!

    Where to take your USA car rental in Maine?

    Certainly a New England gem, tourism is a major pillar of the Maine economy where over 37 million people visited in 2018, spending around US$6.2 billion and supporting about 110,000 jobs. Many come to encounter the 3,478 miles of pristine coastline, the longest in continental USA. Add up all of the islands plus inlets and there are over 5,000 miles to explore with your Maine car rental. Comparatively, California only has 3,427 miles of coastline!

    Whether you are lucky enough to witness a clan of black bears crossing the street or see a moose wandering through the woods, the Maine wilderness is also something that allures tourists into visiting the Pine Tree State!

    All in all, this blog provides readers with a prospective circuit to enjoy at your own leisure while road tripping across Maine. Driving time between these locations won’t take more than three hours, and if followed accordingly, you’ll end up right where you started; the charming seaside city of Portland where your car rental awaits you!

    Road Trip Drive Distance Driving Time
    Portland to Popham Beach 49 mi / 80 km 1 hr
    Popham to Boothbay Harbor 40 miles / 64 km 1 hr
    Boothbay Harbor to Bangor 111 miles / 179 km 2 hr and 11 min
    Bangor to Baxter State Park 88 miles / 142 km 1 hr and 38 min
    Baxter State Park to Lubec 136 miles / 219 km 2 hr and 48 min
    Lubec to Acadia National Park 96 miles / 154 km 2 hr and 4 min
    Acadia National Park to Rockland 80 miles / 129  km 1 hr and 56 min
    Rockland to Portland 78 miles / 125 km 1 hr and 34 min
    Total Distance Covered: 678 miles / 1,091 km 13 hr and 27 min

    Pick-up car rental in Portland, Maine

    Skyline view of Portland Maine

    Most likely, you’ll be arriving or driving through Portland at some time during your journey in Maine. After all, it’s Maine’s largest city with a population of over 66,000 in 2018. Acclaimed for its Old Port party scene with innumerable bars, cafes, restaurants, and breweries; “foodie” is Portland’s middle name. Keep in mind that Portland is only 1 hour and 45 minutes from Boston, meaning one-way car rentals from Boston to Portland can totally be arranged!

    Portland also earned the accolade by SmartAsset as the city with most microbreweries in the country with 17, equating to one for every 4,000 people! Outside of the food realm, Portland is also a tried and true artist community with the Maine College of Art located downtown. For outdoorsy folk, Portland also has an impressive system of urban trails and even low-cost car rentals from the Portland International Jetport.

    Drive from Portland to Popham Beach

    Maine has its fair share of rocky beaches but if you’re seeking to sprawl out in some smooth sand, then Popham Beach definitely deserves a spot on your agenda! Home to Fort Popham, the destination is a great place to experience those Atlantic waves or go sea fishing for striped bass plus bluefish. Bring along the whole gang in a bargain Maine van rental available over our search engine!

    Historically, Popham was also the home of a failed English colony dating back to the 1600s, making this place very educational! This is also where the Kennebec and Morse rivers converge, providing visitors with plenty of pretty backdrops. Beachgoers will have unperturbed views of Fox and Wood islands from the shore. Fun fact: portions of the 1999 film Message in a Bottle were produced at Popham Beach!

    Drive from Popham Beach to Boothbay Harbor

    No matter if you're traveling in a compact vehicle or shiny luxury sports car rental, the next pit stop on your Down East Maine expedition will be the fishing village of Boothbay Harbor. The population may only hover around 2,000 yet this small town is one of Maine’s most popular tourist hubs between whale watching opportunities and boat tours across the Gulf of Maine. Some of the local residents even call themselves "the soul of the coast" based on all of the quintessential Maine activities here in Boothbay Harbor!

    Practically the entire region becomes a yachting, sailing and kayaking mecca over the summer. Some well-known local spots include the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, the historic Pemaquid Point Lighthouse dating back to 1827, in addition to the Maine Maritime Museum for some good old boating history. Let's not forget about all of the scrumptious seafood, outdoor jazz concerts or shows at the local Opera House!

    Drive from Boothbay Harbor to Bangor

    Founded upon the Penobscot River, Bangor is Maine’s third-largest city and frequent gateway before trekking even further north into Baxter State Park and the North Woods. Once the largest lumber port in the world, the city’s lumbering industry history is particularly interesting. After all, this happens to be the hometown of American folkloric hero Paul Bunyan!

    Drive to Baxter State Park from Bangor

    Once you have adequate provisions, now will be the time to head about two hours north to Baxter State Park located in the rustic logging town of Millinocket. From ponds to lush forests to towering mountains, this place is an outdoor paradise that both Mainers and out-of-towners adore. Moreover, if you have always dreamed about renting a motorhome in New England, now will be the chance!

    On top of your agenda should be Mt. Katahdin, which is actually a cluster of mountains with Baxter Peak being the highest point at 5,267 ft (1,605 meters). For one heck of a thrilling trek, reach the summit via Knife Edge Trail! All the while, this area is where the Appalachian Trail begins within the northern terminus, so don’t be surprised to see tons of hikers coming through!

    Drive from Bangor to Lubec

    Time to experience an Extreme Point of American geography! That’s to say, the sleepy village of Lubec is the easternmost part of the United States and awaiting your arrival. This is where you will find Quoddy Head State Park with its West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in shimmering red. From the lighthouse, take your Maine car rental to Cobscook Bay State Park for some of the most serene views of the Atlantic Ocean.

    Drive from Lubec to Acadia National Park

    Known as the Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic, Acadia is the only national park in New England that welcomes over 3.5 million annual visitors. Majority of the park is located on Mount Desert Island that is seeping with dense woodlands, rocky beaches, granite mountains formed by glaciers, in addition to endemic wildlife such as moose, bear, whales and seabirds.

    Being one of the 10-most visited national parks in the country, this is where your Portland, Maine SUV rental will come in hand since the park expands 47,000-acres! Within this area are over 27 miles of historic scenic motor roads, 45 miles of carriage roads, and 158 miles of hiking paths. Outside of the park are quaint villages such as Bar Harbor or Southwest Harbor, as well as some unforgettable landmarks like Jordan Pond and Cadillac Mountain that is the highest peak on the eastern seaboard of the United States!

    Drive from Acadia to Rockland

    After seeing the coastal glory of Acadia, your final stop before returning to Portland will be the undeniably artsy town of Rockland. With a population of around 7,000 and a reputation for being one of the “coolest towns in the USA,” many consider Rockland to be the lobster capital of the world! Once you have arrived in Rockland you can also hop on a ferry to nearby Penobscot Bay islands like Vinalhaven, North Haven and Matinicus.

    For a small fishing village, Rockland is home to numerous tourist attractions such as the Maine Lobster Festival, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art Museum, and the Farnsworth Art Museum with many Andrew Wyeth paintings. Paired with Rockland’s eclectic Main Street full of cafes and shops, this will be a cozy pit-stop to wrap up your Maine road trip.