Maine Coast Bicycle Guide

Development of this Guide

This website, like many others, is a labor of love intended for friends who ask me where to ride on the Maine Coast, and for people I meet on the road who lack good maps and directions and ask me for suggestions. My goal is to gradually document my riding in this area and put it in a format that could be useful to others. I welcome feedback and suggestions ().

Southern CoastMid Coast

Overview: Why the Maine coast?

The coast of Maine is spectacularly and uniquely beautiful. It was mostly formed by the glaciers, which produced ridges and valleys of land, and bays and rivers of water separated by a dramatic rocky coast with occasional sandy beaches and quiet marshes.

Although US Route 1 covers only 280 miles from Kittery to Lubec, the actual coastline of penninsulas, islands, rivers, and bays is often described at 2,500 miles. If you think about fractal theory (measuring with a smaller ruler), the length of the coastline may be even longer. No matter how you measure it, you miss a lot if you only drive up Route 1.

US Route 1 is THE route up the Maine Coast, it has a lot of towns and services, and it carries a LOT of traffic—especially during July and August, and especially on weekends. The Maine Turnpike (I-95 and I-295) carry much long-distance traffic up to Brunswick, but Route 1 is still very busy all the way to Mt. Desert Island.

Organization of Maine Coast Information

These bicycle routes are primarily intended for people who want to ride all or part of the Maine Coast. However, although the routes are mainly one-way (as opposed to loop) rides going from south to north, there are also many possibilities for single- or multi-day loop rides.

Ideally, I want everyone to ride all the quiet back roads along the coast to see and smell the beauty. However, I realize that not everyone has either the time or interest in doing that; so I try to offer options and information to help people make choices.

It is often helpful to describe the Maine coast in three sections:

  1. Southern Coast — 50 miles on Rt 1 from Kittery to Portland
    Beaches, headlands, and occasional harbors
    Many homes close together
    Easy access from cities, higher traffic, and more services
  2. Mid-Coast — 150 miles on Rt 1 from Portland to Mt. Desert Island
    Long penninsulas, bays, and rivers
    Homes more hidden and spread along shores
    Moderate access from cities, traffic, and services
  3. Down East — 80 miles on Rt 1 from Mt. Desert Island to Lubec
    Rugged granite shores with few fishing villages
    Fewer homes on larger lots
    Less access from cities, traffic, and services


Although areas of motels, restaurants, and stores are often shown on the cue sheets with relative price information, they are not intended to be comprehensive. Not surprisingly, prices are higher in popular tourist areas. Prices and availability also vary significantly in shoulder seasons — generally before Memorial Day and after Columbus Day. May and October can be beautiful, less expensive, with less crowded services and less traffic. June and September are beautiful, less crowded, less traffic — but generally summer prices.

To find motels and restaurants, you need to search either the internet or the visitor centers. I have, however, made some exceptions for favorite places I know from personal experience!

Sometime in the future, I would like to add town maps for the major towns along the coast. These will show key features like clusters of motels, campgrounds, downtowns, hospitals, bike shops, etc.