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16 Magical Ways to Experience Winter in Maine

Charlotte Bailey

If you want to experience a magical winter in Maine, you’ll want to read this article filled with incredible things to do!

Beautiful Maine is famous for its eye-catching landscapes, sparkling shores, classic lighthouses, and decadent lobster and seafood dishes. Still, winter in Maine offers another list of reasons to love this incredible state.

Maine in wintertime brings locals and tourists alike a range of simple to elaborate activities that usher in the snowy months with ease. 

With an average annual snowfall of 50 to 70 inches along the coast and 60 to 110 inches inland, there’s plenty of snow for you to explore Maine’s snowshoeing trails, world-class ski resorts, hundreds of miles of groomed Nordic skiing, and much more. 

These seasonal activities and festivals only add to the already awe-invoking natural beauty of winter in Maine.

Winter in Maine

Here are 16 charming reasons you’ll want to be sure to go on your Maine winter getaway sooner than later.

1. Hit the Gorgeous Slopes

Skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy winter in Maine

Skiing in Maine is a no-brainer. Outdoor junkies can’t visit Maine in the winter months and not ski. That’s a big no.

Luckily, there are a number of places where you can hit the slopes in the states. Here are some of them:

Sugarloaf: Sugarloaf is Maine’s biggest winter sports resort and the only one to offer lift-serviced ski terrain above the treeline. This location is not only stunning but is also perfect for expert skiers.

Sunday River: Sunday River offers family-friendly and beginner-friendly skiing throughout its incredible snow-covered slopes. 

This location is fantastic for tourists and individuals who have always wanted to give downhill skiing a go but didn’t know where or how to begin. 

Sunday River offers lessons and fun ways to learn how to enjoy this popular sport properly. What a way to start off your fantastic winter in Maine!

Camden Snow Bowl: Camden Snow Bowl is an incredibly popular local ski hill with epic views over the Atlantic Ocean and an exhilarating toboggan chute. 

If you’re an intermediate skier looking to slide down some gorgeous hills while enjoying the sites, this spot is for you.

2. Grab a Snowboard

Going Snowboarding is one of the things to do in winter in Maine

Pick up a snowboard, and let’s go! Here are a few ski resorts that have excellent snowboard areas:

Shawnee Peak: Shawnee Peak is kid-friendly and perfect for new snowboarders of all ages. Even though it is incredibly beginner-friendly, you can just beat the hilly views.

Lost Valley: Lost Valley is a great place to take your friends and family and enjoy a meal and a few drinks as you view the slopes from the gorgeous restaurant decks. 

This lovely location is sprinkled with incredible places to grab a bite and warm up while still being able to watch the snowboarders just beyond the deck.

3. Test Your Stamina with Cross-Country Skiing

Going Cross-Country Skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy winter in Maine
Going Cross-Country Skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy winter in Maine

With such vast terrain, Mainers have been cross-country skiing for centuries.

To test your stamina, you can head over to Aroostook County, where the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle offers scenic groomed trails that stretch over 20 miles with gorgeous wildlife, trees, and natural wonders, the staff is also fantastic and accommodating.

Further out, winter in Acadia and Bar Harbor is not only spectacular but also perfect for heading out to cross-country ski on the 44 miles of carriage roads.

4. Dash with the Dogs

Going dog sledding is one of the things to do in winter in Maine

Mahoosuc Guide Service in Grafton Notch is a fun and ethical full-service dog sledding experience.

They offer a variety of packages with different experiences that challenge even the most seasoned of winter warriors. 

Many of these experiences are physically challenging and combine skiing, mushing, and snowshoeing, but they are completely worth it to hang out with these adorable hounds and fun staff.

5. Try Out Maine’s Fat Biking Through the Snow

Fat biking through the snow is one of the best things to do in winter in Maine

Fat biking is fun all the way up until April in Maine.

There are countless trains around the state, but here are places to rent and ride your fat bike–Pineland Farms is 5,000 acres and rents out fleets of bikes at a low hourly rate. It is located in New Gloucester.

Ski Rack Sports in Bangor rents out bikes by the day or week for extended stays and riding fun.

6. Go on a Snowshoeing Adventure

Going on a snowshoeing adventure is one of the best things to do in winter in Maine

Discover another outdoor adventure in Maine that’s just waiting for you.

While snowshoeing is more complicated than hiking, it is an incredible sport where no prior experience is necessary. Here are some places for snowshoeing:

Neoc: New England Outdoor Center offers Mountain biking, hiking, and snowshoeing. Located on Millinocket Lake with direct views of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest mountain.

They offer nearly 16 miles of groomed XC ski trails as well as guided snowshoe tours that include snowshoes, poles, and winter boots.

Acadia National Park: easily accessible snowshoeing spots for all levels. (and it’s easily one of the best places to visit in the northeast, USA[].)

Aroostook, Mount Blue, and Bradbury Mountain: popular state parks packed with snowshoe trails, and that offer a wide variety of trekking for all skill levels.

7. Take a Scenic Winter Hike

Taking a scenic winter hike is one of the best things to do in winter in Maine

Looking for the best places to hike in your winter vacation? Well, Maine makes it as easy as ABC– Acadia, Baxter, Camden.

There are many hikes in Acadia National Park[] for all levels and tastes.

This national park offers many excellent hiking trails and a woodsy coastal view that you’ll never forget and is well known far and wide for its beauty and vastness.

As for Baxter State Park, this place offers a gorgeous view of the mountain and is arguably more alluring when powdered in the sparkling Maine snow.

Finally, Camden Hills Park offers classic views of Maine’s incredible Camden Harbor.

What better way to finish a hike than on a bench enjoying a view of the frosted shore with a hot cup of cocoa?

Oh, be sure to wear extra layers, shoes with spikes, and bring good trekking poles, too.

8. Snowmobile Around Maine

Snowmobiling is one of the fun things to do in winter in Maine

Let’s take a trip over to Moosehead. This place offers a snowmobiling winter getaway that you’ll be talking about for years to come! 

Besides the cozy and festive cabins, adorable shops, and breathtaking views, Moosehead is well known for its incredible snowmobiling through the wildlands of Moosehead’s Lake Region and mountains.

Snowmobile rental is available in the towns around the lake.

9. Speed Away On a Snowy Day

Sledding is one of the fun activities to do in winter in Maine

Bangor! This city is a sledder’s dream! Whether you’re taking the kids out for a wintery adventure or flying down the hills solo style, Bangor has an exuberant list of hilly delights to test your speed. 

Widowmaker Hill is an excellent option for those who love a fun challenge, and Hayford Park is perfect for those who are sledding with younger children or would like to start off a bit tamer.

10. Test Your Speed with Tobogganing

Tobogganing is one of the fun things to do in winter in Maine

Have you ever heard of “Tobogganing”? Like sledding, tobogganing is a fun winter activity where you slide down snow-covered hills in joyful glee.

Still, instead of a sled or sleigh, you ride down on a toboggan that is completely flat on its underbelly. 

Unlike sledding, toboggans are allowed almost everywhere– think parks, sledding hills, resorts, and more.

So when you check out Widowmaker Hill and Hayford Park, keep that little secret in mind. 

And if you’re looking for an area that specializes in toboggans, check out The Camden Snow Bowl. It’s a gorgeous ski resort with everything you’ll need to test your speed.

11. Wander Around Sparkling Winter Shops

Wandering around sparkling winter shops is one of the fun things to do in winter in Maine
E.J.Johnson Photography /

Wanting to spend time playing Santa in the shops instead of in the snow this winter? Say no more! 

The cute shops in Maine adorned with bright colors, and snow-powdered, pointed roofs are enough to turn anyone jolly as old Saint Nick himself.

Check out Kittery’s Outlets and Freeport’s shopping center. These two locations are not only visually pleasing but also offer everything you’ll need to brave the cold and even adorn your Christmas tree.

12. Cuddle Up in a Warm and Cozy Cabin

Cozying up in cabin is one of the fun things to do in winter in Maine

If you want to get cozy by the fire while your friends or family are out in the snow, many cabins in Maine offer a unique and comfortable stay.

From small cozy cabins to large and welcoming cabins and cottages, staying in one of these places during winter is an unforgettable experience.

To sit by the window with your family while drinking hot cocoa and relaxing is truly priceless!

13. Enjoy Winter Wildlife Watching

Enjoying winter wildlife watching is one of the things to do in winter in Maine

Maine Audubon in southern Maine offers magical ecotours that engage nature lovers in the art of bird and wildlife watching. 

Each of Maine Audubon’s eight wildlife sanctuaries across Maine offers unique opportunities to explore different ecosystems and habitats and to see a wide variety of wildlife.

All ages are welcome to join and learn about the large and beautiful collection of Maine Wildlife.

14. Try Your Hand at Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is one of the things to do in winter in Maine
Ice fishing is one of the things to do in winter in Maine

There’s no reason to put away your bait and tackle just because it’s cold outside.

If you’re into fishing, you’ll love to experience winter in Maine. Spending time on a frozen lake with friends and family is one of the best ways to have fun and (hopefully) catch dinner in the winter. 

Tasty land-locked salmon, lake trout, brook trout, cusk, smelt, and whitefish are popular catches.

Starting on January 1st and going through March 31st, the ice fishing season is a great period to have fun with your family and friends.

While you need a license, know that these are easy to get all over the state, including sporting goods stores and convenience stores.

So bring your fishing gear and head to one of the best fishing spots in the state, including Moosehead Lake and Wilson Pond.

15. Explore Maine’s Dazzling Winter Festivals

Exploring Maine’s dazzling Winter Festivals is one of the best ways to enjoy winter in Maine

Drumroll, please? It’s time to talk about Winter Festivals!

Every year, Maine offers up the most incredible and memorable winter events. Here are a couple you definitely don’t want to miss:

The North Pole Express is on its way to Boothbay Railway Village! All December long, enjoy the nostalgia of your youth by catching a special train to the North Pole. 

The passenger car is equipped with snacks, Christmas stories, and a view that will live in your heart rent-free for years to come. 

This cozy excursion is fun for the entire family and even offers old-fashioned ornament decorating, so you’ll have a sweet keepsake to remember this adventure by. All aboard!

January New Year’s Polar Plunge in Portland, Kennebunk, and Old Orchard Beach: You’ve probably heard about the famous Polar Plunges of New England. This annual event is equal parts hilarious, entertaining, and wholesome. 

Every year, brave swimmers take a bone-chilling plunge into the ice-cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean for fun and charity to benefit causes like the Special Olympics and Camp Sunshine. 

This memorable event is not only fun to view from the shore, and you cheer on the divers, but if you’re looking to check this off of your bucket list, it is also a fantastic way to give to others and share the spirit of Christmas.

16. Spread Christmas Cheer For All To Hear

Enjoying the Christmas Festivities is one of the cool things to do in winter in Maine

To tie everything up with a big red bow, here is a short list of activities that will be the cherry on top of your Maine Winter Getaway:

Last Minute Arts & Craft Fair in Augusta: This elaborate event features the unique and one-of-a-kind art of artists & crafters from all over the New England area, all in one place. 

You can view and purchase the creations of these lovely people with little to no entry fee at all! And you won’t just see beautiful ornaments and holiday decor, but also jams, quilts, woodwork, and so much more!

Harbor Lights Festival in Boothbay Harbor: The Harbor Lights Festival is enough to bring a tear to your eye! 

There is so much to see, from the ceremonial lighting of the tree and viewing the lights sparkle on the water to the Children’s Parade, where you will be surrounded by music and smiling faces.

You won’t help but feel like you’re walking on air the entire time you’re here.

Freeport Sparkle Weekend in Freeport: Lights, lights, and dare we say, MORE lights! 

The Freeport Sparkle Weekend tops the cake with dazzling, sparling, glorious light shows, gift certificate giveaways, shopping, and food! 

This is a one-stop-shop for everything on your holiday bucket list. Between the snow, the lights, and the sweet aromas flooding the streets, there’s no way you can be a Scrooge in this town.

Christmas by the Sea in Ogunquit: And last, but most certainly not least, is the majestic Christmas by the Sea. 

What better way to celebrate the holidays in Maine than to indulge in the sights of the classic Maine lighthouses and shores while enjoying some of the most popular and well-toured places in the entire state? 

Known as one of the Best Christmas Towns in America by Readers Digest, Ogunquit’s Christmas by the Sea offers everything from S’mores to a visit from Mr. Grinch himself! 

There is an “Ugly Sweater” contest, caroling, Holiday Tarot readings, and even caroling. This location is sure to make your winter Maine getaway a snow-speckled dream.

Final Thoughts on Winter in Maine

Once the summer tourists and leaf peepers are headed home, winter reveals a magical and adventurous side of Maine that you won’t want to miss.

So whether you’re seeking a quiet weekend in a cozy cabin or thrilling adventures in the snow, head over to the Pine Tree State and discover everything winter in Maine has to offer.

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