Winter Wonderland: 5 Must Do Winter Activities in Maine
Sure it's cold outside, but there's a reason we don't mind! While most people know how to have fun in the sun, it can sometimes be a real challenge to be excited for the cold months. Fortunately, that's not always the case in Maine. Check out some of our team's favorite winter activities below and start planning your own winter getaway (and be sure to visit us while you're here if you make it up!).
1. Winter Festivals
One very special thing about Mainers is that they always know how to have a good time - whether it's with just a couple of friends or with their whole community. Nothing shows this ingenuity more than with Maine's many festivals that take place in the winter months. Here are a few of our favorites but be sure to check with locals to see what else may be happening wherever you may be heading:
Snowmobile Snowdeo (Jan 22 - Jan 24, 2015): Exactly what it sounds like - a rodeo for Snowmobilers. This weekend event takes place in the Rangeley Lakes Region of Maine. It kicks off with a warm your soul Chili/Chowder Cook Off and includes lots of fun activities for the whole family. Learn more here.
Camden Winterfest (Jan 31 - Feb 7, 2015): From a snow sculpture competition to the National Toboggan Championship, you're sure to be amazed by all the events scheduled for this year's Winterfest in one of Maine's most picturesque areas. Plan your trip here.
Liberal Cup Biathlon (Jan 25, 2015): At this annual event, you'll get the to try out the biathlon, a sport combining skiing and shooting. Not for the faint of heart but this may be the closest you'll get to being James Bond. Sign up here.
2. Hiking & Snowshoeing
Maine is famous for being one of the most forested states in the country (86% of the state is forested!) making it a great spot to head into the woods and enjoy nature. The winter time offers many great opportunities to hike or snowshoe into some of America's most beautiful landscapes. Whether you choose a hike along the Maine's famous coastline or head more inland into the mountains, you'll find the perfect trail on the Maine Trail Finder.
3. Skiing / Snowboarding
Whether you love the calmness of cross country skiing or prefer the thrill of downhill, you'll find it in Maine. Maine has over 500 alpine trails and 21 nordic ski centers across the state to choose from. Many of the larger ski areas also host festivals and events through the winter season making a weekend visit fun for those who ski and those who prefer to stay warm inside. Sunday River offers entertainment weekly (from live music to murder mystery dinners) and Sugarloaf also offers an extensive entertainment calendar. Visit the resorts and centers websites to learn about local lodging options as well as for other information.
4. Ice Fishing & Smelting
We are fortunate to find ourselves in the heart of lake country here in Maine and in our own town, we have a fellow manufacturer that actually makes some of America's finest ice fishing traps, JackTraps (They sell all the equipment that you would need to get started and also offer live bait). It's actually quite easy to get a taste of ice fishing here in Maine as local shops are quite friendly in telling you where to go and how to get started. In addition to the classic tip up traps you often see on the ice, another option that may be a bit more comfortable to those new to the sport is smelting. Basically with smelting, you'll be on a frozen river in an often heated ice shack waiting for the small fish to run. There are many outfits that allow you to rent these shacks by the hour and will get you completely set up from start to finish.
Snowmobiling is a huge part of Maine's winter culture. For some folks, it's even their chosen method of transportation on their commute to work or school during the snowy months of the year! There are over 10,000 miles of trails in Maine and this network also includes 3500 miles of trails that are called the Interconnected Trail System that basically allows you get anywhere in the state. Visit the Maine Snowmobile Association's website for maps, information on local events and how you can get a taste of this adventurous sport.
Did we miss something or perhaps you have your own favorite winter activities where you live? Share in the comments.