In Maine, there’s an old saying, “If summer falls on a Sunday, we’ll all have a picnic.” Weather here fluctuates on a dime. It can be 59 degrees and rainy one day, flip to sunny and 85 degrees the next, and plummet to 40 degrees that night.
When it’s clear skies, however, Midcoast Maine has among the most comfortable summer climates in the country, with peak temperatures averaging about 70-75°F. But even so, given the weather’s unpredictability, it’s best to be prepared with a variety of clothing. Here are some packing tips for a comfortable and well-prepared summer vacation in Maine.
If you’ll be out for the day, plan to carry a small bag with clothing layers ranging from the lightest t-shirt and shorts to sweaters and long johns or leggings. It’s best to be over-prepared, as you never know whether it will be a scorcher or chilling fog. In August, when the Lobster Festival takes place, we are lucky to have the lowest precipitation of summer, but downpours have been known to happen, so have an umbrella or lightweight rain jacket tucked away in there. We also get our share of clear, hot, sunny days, so pack sunscreen. Skin care experts recommend SPF of 30 or higher.
While you’re here, take advantage of the Midcoast’s abundant hiking trails, like those in nearby Camden Hills State Park, or use the Maine Trail Finder to locate dozens more in the area. Bring good hiking boots or shoes and carry a day pack with appropriate outerwear should the weather turn. Ticks are a major problem in the northeast, so wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and pants (tuck your pants legs into the socks), and apply an effective insect repellant (we call it bug dope) that contains a high percentage of DEET. Other hiking essentials include a water bottle, snacks, first aid kit, map and compass and a few other items that Appalachian Mountain Clubs recommends.
Perhaps you’re more of a beach goer. Luckily for you, the Midcoast has a number of stunning sandy and rocky beaches, some ideal for strolling and sightseeing, and others for swimming. Pack the usual beach gear: sunblock, sunglasses, hat, water shoes, towels, beach blanket or sand chairs, and cold beverages. We recommend that you bring binoculars to check out the lobster boats, windjammers and ferries as they come and go.
And for beach reading? We recommend Maine writers to put you in the mood and give you some insight into why the locals act so funny. (Funny to you, maybe. To us, it’s just “the way life should be.”)
One thing you probably won’t need to pack for your visit to the Midcoast is dressy clothing. Even the best restaurants here (and we have some superb ones) are pretty casual.