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A nearly ubiquitous view of Maine, experienced by Mainers and visitors alike, is our beautiful state through the windows of a car. Granted, most of the fun happens once you get out. But there are still some absolutely wonderful sites and experiences you can have while behind the wheel.

As people that live and work here, we’ve spent quite a bit of time driving around this ol’ state. And there happen to be a solid number of roads that offer gorgeous panoramas without the need to hike, bike, or paddle so much as a single inch. So, below, here are some of our favorite scenic drives in Maine.

Sargeant Drive

Mount Desert Island, ME

Views of Somes Sound. Mansions that may or may not be completely obscured by foliage (depending on the season). Views of the arbor and rocky coast that just feels unique to any coast we’ve ever visited. This little drive is an excellent way to pass the time as you avoid the crowds, while still taking in some gorgeous views.

Harpswell Islands Rd.

Harpswell, ME

Wind your way from island to island on this beautiful little road. Sabasgodegan island. Dyer cove. Orr’s Island. And finally ending at Bailey Island, this 11-mile stretch of road has coast basically on both sides of the car. Like any good scenic road, there are plenty of reasons to stop, whether that’s for shopping, bites, or just for some good old-fashioned scenic overlooks. Plus, this road is just south of Brunswick, making it pretty dang close to Portland, Maine.

A view of Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse from the peninsula of portland, courtesy of Allagash Brewing Co.

Easily viewable from your car, Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse is a highlight of Portland’s views.

Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway

Bingham, ME

One of only 125 scenic byways in this here country of ours, this scenic byway runs mainly along the heavily wooded shores of the Kennebec River. Back in the 1800s, this river would have been clogged all summer long with log upon log. But now, thanks to the logs now moving by road, this is a rural and relaxing stretch of river to travel next to. Of course, the intermittent stop for a dip in the water, or a picnic, or both, is highly advised. Travel far enough north and you’ll get to the Forks, an ideal spot for whitewater rafting trips.

Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway

Rangeley, ME

“Two scenic byways in one state?” you exclaim. “Indeed,” we reply. Travel Northwest up route 17 in Rangeley and then take a right on route 4. In addition to stunning views (Height of Land is peerless as a roadside view), you’ll have passed hiking trails, state parks, scenic overlooks, and even a ski hill in Saddleback Mountain. Absolutely one of the more stunning drives on this list.

Moosehead Lake Scenic Byway

Jackman, ME

Want to see a moose? Route 15 in Jackman, Maine, is your byway. Of course, you’re not guaranteed to see a moose. They’re wild animals, they’re not contractually obligated to wave at you from a safe distance on the road’s shoulder. But this is an area in which the sight of an antlered, long-legged, lethargically moving moose is more likely than any other drive on our list. Doesn’t hurt that this is right by Moosehead Lake, home to Mt. Kineo, an extremely pretty little lakebound island featuring a panoramic view of the surrounding wilderness.

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Scenic Byway

Millinocket, ME

National scenic byway #3 is by all means the charm. Starting at the southern entrance of Baxter State Park and stretching up and around Maine’s tallest peak, and terminus of the world-famous Appalachian Trail: Mount Katahdin. This is inland Maine at its finest. You’ll see forest and river and hill and dale (maybe not a dale). 89 miles to explore makes this perhaps the most extensive of our byways, but also perhaps the most “destination worthy.” If you’re in the Katahdin region, you’ll also want to get out of the car for some of the absolutely top-notch hiking and camping and rafting and basically any other activity an outdoor enthusiast could hope for.

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Portland to Portland Head Light

Cape Elizabeth, ME

This route is not perhaps what they’d picture under the dictionary definition of scenic. But it’s a route that we, as folks that live here, have driven many a time. What starts with a scenic view of Portland’s historic architecture takes you over the Casco Bay Bridge, with really picturesque views of said bay. Farther along, you’ll see the gorgeous homes of Cape Elizabeth, as well as a few coastal nooks that pop up out of nowhere. And the end result is that you’ll arrive at the most-photographed, and most famous, lighthouse in all of Maine. An enjoyable, and nearby, trip.

Industrial Way

Portland, ME

Ah yes, the sylvan splendor of Industrial Way. Kidding, of course. This is not so much a scenic drive as a wonderful place to visit, as we’re one of the six breweries that call Portland’s Industrial Way our home. Add a distillery, food trucks galore, and plenty of friends just waiting to be made, and you have the perfect place to stop and enjoy a beer and bite after a long (or short) day of driving. Hope to see you soon!

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Brett has been a part of the Allagash Marketing Team since 2016. He's a big fan of sharing the many stories Allagash has to offer through blogs, newsletters, as the host of their podcast, and in intermittent appearances on social media.