Immerse yourself in the natural wonder and cultural vibrancy of the easternmost parts of DownEast Acadia.
The morning the sun climbs from the sea, shining its rays upon the region and the crimson-striped West Quoddy Head Light. For those lucky enough to visit during the equinoxes in March and September, those rays are the first to shine on Maine. From the Cutler Coast east to the Bay of Fundy and northward to Calais, the area wraps around the beautiful and sometimes mysterious natural wonders of Cobscook Bay.
the Cutler Coast
The Cutler coast boasts some of the most dramatic hiking trails on Maine’s coast, thanks to the thousands of acres of public land managed for recreation and wildlife habitat. The Little River Lighthouse sits on a 15-acre island at the edge of Cutler Harbor, where boat transportation is available.
Thousands of waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors migrate southward through Cross Island National Wildlife Refuge each fall. Because of the powerful tides, it is advised one charter a boat tour or hire a kayaking guide to view this remote island refuge safely.
Eastport‘s downtown Historic District will take you back in time with intriguing shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes. Maine lobster, of course, is our specialty. Since 1900, Raye’s Mustard has produced small-batch gourmet mustards that are not to be missed. Their Pantry Store in town offers a wide selection of other Maine Made food products in addition to mustard.
Explore the vibrant arts community at the Tides Institute and Museum of Art and Eastport Arts Center. Whale Watching and Lobster Cruises are available from May to October. Spot a true natural wonder, the Old Sow Whirlpool—the biggest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere—sits on the international boundary between Eastport and Deer Island, NB. Charter a fishing adventure for cod, pollack, halibut, or larger species such as tuna and shark.
Lubec is famous for its iconic red and white striped West Quoddy Lighthouse, which sits at the easternmost point in the nation. Quoddy Head State Park and local preserves provide visitors with striking views of the rugged coast. Lubec’s downtown is compact and perfect for walking, with small businesses, galleries, and cafes. Enjoy a pint at the Lubec Brewing Company, and while you are there, you might even catch a live set from a local musician or dine on fresh locally-sourced food along with a crisp white, velvety red, or well-paired craft beer at any number of restaurants in town.
You’ll want to take the time for a local bog walk or a history tour, rich with local flavor and culture. Stop into McCurdy Smokehouse Museum, a waterfront museum dedicated to the history of the smoked-herring trade. If the tide is out, walk along the adjacent beach to search for sea glass. If you want to hit the road on a bike but forgot your ride, stop at Cohills Inn or visit their site to set up local and regional biking tours.
Lubec is the gateway to Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. Accessed by the FDR Memorial Bridge in Lubec, Roosevelt Campobello International Park features President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s summer home, Tea with Eleanor, and numerous hiking trails. Passports are required. Check ahead for Canadian border crossing information.
North of Eastport is Calais, the primary gateway to Canada. The city was named Calais after the French town to honor French assistance during the American Revolution. Walk along the Calais River Walk, part of the East Coast Greenway, or visit the Wabanaki Cultural Center & Museum in Calais.
Venture further and make the trip to St. Croix Island International Historic Site, where the earliest French explorers attempted a year-round settlement before Jamestown or Plymouth. Check out the island’s history here.
Calais is the northernmost gateway of the East Coast Greenway, Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway, Bold Coast National Scenic Byway, and the Coastal Link Trail in Canada. It is located at the mouth of the St. Croix International Waterway, with access points that begin in Baileyville. Without question, the cross-border heritage connections in Calais are very strong.
Cobscook, the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy tribal word for “boiling tides,” aptly describes this setting where the tide can reach 28 feet. The bay is an unusual estuary with a narrow opening to the sea, a long and convoluted shoreline, and relatively few feeder streams and rivers.
Eagles, ospreys, seals, otters, and even the occasional bear enjoy the abundant smelt, alewives, shad, sea-run brook trout, striped bass, and Atlantic salmon. The inner coves support the state’s largest population of bald eagles.
Visitor Resources: Visit Lubec | St. Croix Valley Chamber | St. Croix International Waterway | Cutler Coast Public Reserve Land | Maine Coast Heritage Trust Preserves | Eastport Area Chamber | Down East Spring Birding Festival | Pleasant Point Tribal Government | Tides Institute and Museum of Art | St. Croix Island Historic Site | Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge | Downeast Sunrise Trail | Roosevelt Campobello International Park | Campobello Visitor Center |
To help you plan your trip we provide information on drive time and distances to and around the region. Plus info on other commercial transportation options.
Once you arrive in DownEast Acadia, you will want to access local sources of visitor information, state laws, recreation rules, and road conditions.
To help you pack or plan your day, check out the current weather in the region or learn about year-round averages of temperature and precipitation.