Often, one of the most frequent questions we Mainers get is “What do you do in the winter?”
Surprising at it may sound, people in the Pine State have always been active outdoors in the winter, whether they were snowshoeing on homemade teardrop-shaped wooden snowshoes or sledding down a hill on a wooden sleigh with metal runners.
Today, the equipment might be more advanced, but the winter activities Midcoast Maine offers are just as plentiful as they were a century ago. For those with sharpened skates, the best ponds and lakes to skate are on Chickawaukie Pond in Rockport/Rockland and Megunticook Lake and Hosmer Pond in Camden with ice skate, ski and snowshoe rentals nearby at Maine Sport Outfitters. And on a bad weather day, you’ve got the Midcoast Recreation Center, which offers recreational indoor skating with skate rentals.
And for the ultimate skate night, go to the Samoset Resort on one of its Glacier Bar weekends (January 12-14 and January 19–20) and skate for free on their specially designed outdoor rink.
When it comes to winter fun, there’s only one place that has it all in Midcoast Maine: Camden Snow Bowl. It boasts 20 ski runs, a 4,000-foot triple lift, snowmaking on more than 80 percent of the mountain, night skiing, and ski instructors that moonlight as schooner captains. At the summit of gorgeous Ragged Mountain, you’ll look down to panoramic views of the Atlantic, Hosmer Pond and jagged mountains of evergreen. You can take a straight shot down the Clipper Trail or make your way through the black diamond Lookout trail, which is unsurpassed in Maine scenery.
Not a downhill skier? The Snow Bowl offers a Terrain Peak for snowboarders, and snowshoers can explore the Hosmer Brook Trail into the heart of the Ragged Mountain Preserve. But, the ultimate outdoor party begins February 9-11 this year with the annual 2018 U.S. National Toboggan Championships. For the past 26 years, people from all over the world have gathered here in silly and outrageous costumes to participate in this nationally acclaimed event, braving the 400-foot-long wooden chute, and soaring down close to 40 mph to the cheers of hundreds below.
There’s no excuse for boredom in the winter months. Not when there are dozens of trails in the Camden Hills State Park to do snowshoeing day trips, winter hikes and even fat tire bike rides. Sidecountry Sports, with locations in both Belfast and Rockland, rents fat tire bikes and provides an invaluable resource to help you find the best fat bike-friendly winter trails nearby.
For your next Maine vacation, see why Mainers love living here year-round and consider visiting during the winter in Midcoast. The lack of crowds and unspoiled winter beauty makes this destination a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts.