Bold Coast National Scenic Byway

The Bold Coast region offers an experience unlike any other in the northeastern United States: a way of life intimately connected across millennia with a wild and scenic coastal environment. 

Quintessential Bold Coast Maine

The Bold Coast National Scenic Byway is a 147-mile driving route through coastal Washington County that offers an opportunity to experience the unique beauty, culture, history, wildlife, and recreational opportunities of an unspoiled Downeast Maine, where the water sparkles, the salt air rejuvenates the soul, and the people still work and play in rhythm with the shifting of the tides, the migration of the fish, the rising of the sun, the turning of the leaf, and the warming of the soil.

Active fishing villages and prolific blueberry barrens reflect this historic relationship as people continue to harvest the natural bounty of land and sea, as their ancestors have done for hundreds, even thousands, of years.   

Sunrise at Klondike Mountain

travel the Bold Coast

The Bold Coast National Scenic Byway  begins on US Highway 1 in Milbridge, approximately, 32 miles east of the city of Ellsworth, 48 miles northeast of Bar Harbor, about 58 miles southeast from Bangor, 59 miles east of Belfast, and 176 miles east of Portland.  From northern Maine and the Maritimes, the Bold Coast begins in the city of Calais.  Calais is located on US Highway 1, approximately 71 miles west of St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, 90 miles south of Houlton, Maine, or 95 miles east of Bangor on Route 9.

The Bangor International Airport offers numerous direct flights and international connections.  The Hancock County Bar Harbor Airport is a smaller airport located in Trenton, between Ellsworth and Bar Harbor, with connections from Boston.

Visitors can access the region by boat directly from Bar Harbor via the Downeast Windjammer Ferry.  Visitors can also connect by the East Coast Ferry from St. Andrews via Campobello Island.

Connect to the Bold Coast from Bar Harbor on the Island Explorer.  From the Concord Coach Lines bus station in Bangor, or from the Bangor Airport, connect with the Bold Coast via West’s Coastal Connection.

stops along the way

The Bold Coast begins with the bustling working waterfronts of Milbridge and Jonesport and the historic riverside villages of Cherryfield, Columbia Falls, and Machias.

Northeasterly of Cutler harbor, the Bold Coast‚Äôs rugged shores become further shaped by the rise and fall of the¬†Bay of Fundy¬†‚Äď one of the 7 wonders of North America with the highest tides on earth, the rarest whales in the world, and semi-precious minerals and dinosaur fossils.

Lubec claims the easternmost point of land in the United States and first sunrise in the USA during parts of the year.  Lubec provides direct entre to the Fundy Isles via Campobello Island, summer home to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and location of Roosevelt/Campobello International Park.

The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Edmunds is one of the oldest National Wildlife Refuges, and located within the Atlantic Flyway.  With over 50 miles of dirt roads for bicycling and trails for walking, the Refuge is a mecca for wildlife watching and wilderness recreation.

Eastport, an historic fishing port and artist community, offers a wealth of dining, arts, and culture opportunities.  Wildlife watching abounds, including whale watching, lobster, lighthouse, and sunset cruises.  A ferry connects Eastport and Lubec by water.

The small city of¬†Calais¬†is the northernmost end of the Bold Coast region, located several miles inland on the tidally influenced¬†St. Croix River¬†‚Äď the international boundary between the United States and New Brunswick, Canada.¬†

From Calais, your playgrounds become the villages and parks of New Brunswick to the northeast; the countless lakes, streams, campsites, and backcountry roads of the Grand Lakes region to the northwest; or the unusual beauty and cultural richness of Aroostook.

If you depart the Bold Coast region from the southwest, nearby must-see places include the working waterfront and artist communities of Deer Isle, Stonington, and Blue Hill; Fort Knox and the Penobscot Observatory near Bucksport. Indulge in a brewery tour around Bangor, or cruise south on US Route 1through the historic seaports of Searsport, Belfast, Camden, and Bath

Loading traps on the boat - Eastport Pier

Visitor Resources:  Cobscook Bay State Park | Roque Bluffs State Park | Shackford Head State Park  | Quoddy Head State Park |  The Downeast Fisheries Trail | Bold Coast Information Centers include: Machias Bay | Eastport | Calais Visitor Information Center

Planning Tools

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.

Maine Office of Tourism,

Paid for by Maine Office of Tourism with support from our member organizations. | ¬©2023, DownEast Acadia Regional Tourism  | Design and Development: Thalo Blue Destination Marketing

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