After we all get through the Christmas and New Year’s season, we will really need to get outdoors from time to time this winter. One excellent solution to this question in New England is simply: Maine. Every region of this state of dramatic outdoor beauty has outdoor winter activities to offer, usually with extra help from experts in the form of gear and instruction.
We are talking about popular sports like skiing and snowboarding at the Pine Tree State’s majestic ski areas, along with simpler fun for softer athletes, like snow tubing – easy and great fun for all ages. Want to get esoteric? How about fat biking (like off-road biking, but with fat tires to move through snow)? A few hearty souls in western Maine take guests out on dog sled rides – a memory for a lifetime!
Check out this FAQ for all you need to know about traveling into Maine during the Covid pandemic, then skim these winter outdoor places and activities:
Cross-Country Skiing in the Woods — Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, just a bit north of Portland and south of Lewiston/Auburn, is a place to cross-country ski on groomed trails through beautiful snowy woods. Rent your equipment and get expert advice if you need it. There are also opportunities for sledding and ice skating. 207-688-4539. Map.
Western Lakes and Mountains region
Dogs + Sleds = Wow!
New England Dogsledding in Mason Township, on the Maine and New Hampshire border of the White Mountain National Forest will treat you to an experience of dog sledding, mushing, and sled dog tours in the Bethel, Maine; the Sunday River Ski Area; North Conway, New Hampshire; and on 15,000-acre Wilderness Trail System at the Balsams, New Hampshire. Map.
Sugarloaf Has It All — Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley, one of the major ski mountains in New England, offers enough winter activities to satisfy the whole family. It has one of Maine’s largest Nordic centers, fat biking on select trails, Sno Go Snowbikes, an ice skating rink, and a cool cool anti-gravity complex consisting for skate park, trampolines, a climbing wall, basketball court, track, and gym. Map.
Snow Tubing doesn’t Care If You’re Not an Athlete — People who are not very coordinated can have a blast in the snow by trying out snow tubing – the winter outdoor sport that is skyrocketing in popularity. Seacoast Snow Park in Windham offers 12 lanes of intense snow tubing and Express lift to the top. Night sledding is glorious! 207-892-5952. Map.
Where the Mountains Meet the Sea – That is the motto of Camden Snow Bowl, where skiers really can see the ocean from the top of 1300-foot Ragged Mountain in Camden. Other winter activities at the Snow Bowl include snow tubing, ice skating, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and a thrilling toboggan chute. 207-236-3438. Map.
Bar Harbor Region
You thought Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor were splendid in summer?? Come let this place dazzle you in the snow. The 45 miles of Acadia’s charming carriage roads throughout the park are a cross-country skier’s or snowshoer’s dream. Snowmobiles are allowed on the Loop Road system. A quieter pleasure is bird watching and -photography. 207-620-9074. Map.
Northern Maine Region
Have Snowmobile; Will Travel — Maine’s Interconnected Trail System (ITS) provides maps and directions, information on trail conditions and planning a trip, calendars of snowmobiling events, activities, directories of snowmobiling clubs, and other great things to do. You can get a detailed map of the Interconnected Trail System by contacting the Maine Snowmobile Association at PO Box 80, Augusta, 04332. 207-622-6983