Maine is the only state in the country with just one neighboring state, New Hampshire. But it borders two Canadian provinces—Quebec and New Brunswick—so it really is located way up there. Much of the action takes place along the coast, where you'll find the swankier digs and stately summer homes. From Portland, it's about three hours to Acadia National Park or Baxter State Park.
WHEN TO GO
Most of the coastal attractions, including clam shacks and many inns, shutter their doors from October through April, so for the quintessential seaside experience, you'll want to go between May and September. Summer temperatures are generally in the 70s and 80s, though it's nearly always sweater weather at night. December and January are the snowiest months in Maine; if you want to ski or snowshoe, head inland, as the white stuff doesn't stick around for long near the coastthough the sea winds are brutally cold.
HOW TO GET THERE
Portland Jetport (207-774-7301; www.portlandjetport.org) serves nearly 1.5 million passengers each year, with nonstop flights from as far away as Chicago and Atlanta. (Orlando service begins in June 2007.) Portland is 106 miles north of Boston and 311 miles from New York City.
Unless you're on a sailboat, the best way to explore Maine is with a car. Despite Maine's size, there's only one major highway (and one way into or out of the state with ease): Interstate 95, which runs north from Boston to Bangor. Off I-95 (and its Greater Portland loop, I-295), there are networks of often bumpy "highway roads" for excursions into lake country and the mountains, but pay attention or else you might find yourself deep in woods reminiscent of a Stephen King novel. Sunday drivers, leaf-peepers, and lighthouse fanatics love coastal Route 1, but it becomes notoriously jammed on summer weekends. To avoid those pileups, consider taking I-95 instead. We promise you won't miss much, and you'll have more time for exploring at the other end.
For more information, contact the Maine Office of Tourism at 888-624-6345 or www.visitmaine.com.