The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Fun Things To Do In Maine This Fall (Gail’s Version)


Sept. 23 officially marked the end of summer and the beginning of Maine’s most beautiful and beloved season. The trees are blushing red and gold, and puddles of crunchy leaves have begun to line the walkways all across campus. The days are growing shorter, and the warm, late summer breezes are becoming the brisk winds of early autumn. Most of us are trading in tank-tops for sweaters, florals for flannels and sandals for sneakers (or Blundstones). Fall in Maine is blustery, bright, colorful, cozy and, of course, aesthetically gorgeous. As a born-and-bred Mainer, here is my complete list of things to do in the fall to experience it to its fullest and fall-est. 

The Freeport Fall Festival

This three-day festival is happening this weekend Oct. 6-8! Each year on the first weekend of October, Freeport ushers in the autumn season with fun and festivities. Across the L.L. Bean Campus and the Freeport Village Courtyard, there will be 225 plus of New England’s best artisans selling their unique jewelry, pottery, sculptures, paintings, photographs, glass designs, metalwork and woodwork. There will also be food trucks and local food producers, along with live music (including 35 ukulele musicians playing everything from Bach to the Beatles), scavenger hunts, axe throwing and arts-and-crafts. And the best part of it all…it’s FREE!


You can leaf-peep anywhere in Maine. However, the most popular places among lifelong leaf-peepers are Acadia National Park, Baxter State Park and Camden Hills State Park. These locations are all under three hours away—perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway. They all offer sweeping views of forests bursting with bright yellows, reds and oranges. Acadia and Camden Hills also provide spectacular sights of Maine’s rocky coastline and the rolling waves of the Atlantic. Between these three parks there are hundreds of beautiful hikes ranging in length and activity level—all, I guarantee, will provide you with a stunning view. However, if you want to take leaf-peeping to the next level, you can book a scenic aerial tour of Acadia with Scenic Flights of Acadia. These tours range from 25-75 minutes long and boast gorgeous bird-eye views of Downeast Maine. Remember, peak foliage generally comes in mid-October, so plan your leaf-peeping accordingly!

Go Whale Watching

The best months for whale watching in Maine are April through October. Although spring brings the first sightings of the season, and summer may offer a warmer whale-watching experience, autumn presents off-season rates and a chance to see the fin whale, the second-longest animal on earth (right after the blue whale). These 80-foot whales are primarily sighted in the fall. You will also get the chance to see humpback whales, minke whales, great-white sharks, seals and dolphins. Bundle up and head over to Boothbay or Bar Harbor for a beautiful boat ride off Maine’s captivating coast, and the last chance to see some of the earth’s largest creatures before they swim toward warmer seas for the winter. 

Pick Some Apples

There is nothing more autumnal than going apple picking: dew-dampened trees glistening in the sunlight, their apples ripe and red, with a cup of steaming-hot apple cider clutched in one hand and a cinnamony baked good in the other. Head down to Ricker Hills Orchards, Sandy River Apple Orchard, or, my personal favorite, Hope Orchards for apple-picking, fall picnics and some cute photo opportunities!

Have Corn-y A-maze-ing Fun

Embrace the corniness of this classic autumn activity! There are dozens of fun corn mazes on family farms to choose from all over Maine. Many also include other activities such as pumpkin patches, blueberry picking, farm animals, hay slides, hay towers, corn launchers and tractor rides. Some mazes have themes and contests to spice the maze exploration up with friendly competition, such as the Beth’s Farm Market maze in Warren, Maine. (Tickets are $15, and it’s just over an hour away.) Grab some hot chocolate or apple cider (or hard cider) and get moving through those mazes!

Visit Gardens Aglow

Gardens Aglow is truly a magical experience. Each winter from mid-November to late December, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens transform into a winter wonderland. With over 750,000 LED lights (nearly 65 miles of lights) woven through 14 acres of gardens, Gardens Aglow is the brightest light display in Maine in the largest botanical garden in New England. Spend an hour or two walking through a mile of beautifully lighted pathways, immersing yourself in the illuminated trails and nature-inspired sculptures. (And you might even see a woodland troll dwelling in the forest!) This is truly a Maine experience that cannot be missed. Get your tickets soon ($19) because it gets really popular near the end of autumn during the holiday season!

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About the Contributor
Gail Curtis, Contributing Writer
Gail is a sophomore from Rockport, Maine. She is an English major on the Creative Writing track, and a Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies minor. When she’s not writing, she loves reading gothic novels, swimming in lakes, and drinking honey-vanilla chai lattes from the Ronj.

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