People from warmer regions may find the thought of cold and snowy winters in Maine daunting at first but many who live here love winter! There are so many fun activities that can only be done in the colder months, from skiing and snowmobiling to ice fishing and winter camping. So residents put on their coats, grab some mittens and a hat (and their trusty L.L. Bean boots, of course) and head outside to enjoy it all. Maine’s average snowfall ranges from 50 to 110 inches annually depending on what region of the state you are in. The northern area has 90-110 inches while the coastal region only gets 50-70 inches. This means that you can always find a good place to do whatever you love best in winter.
Snowmobiling: Once there is enough snowfall for good trails, the whole state of Maine opens up to snowmobilers for adventure. Our snowmobile trail system includes more than 14,000 miles of trails, including 3,500 miles of primary trail known as the Interconnected Trail System (ITS). With so many trails, you can always find a new place to explore. Enjoy miles of splendid wilderness and then stop by a local restaurant to warm up. Many local businesses provide parking for snowmobiles or your trailer.
Skiing: Maine offers wonderful skiing terrain for cross-country, downhill and snowboarding. There are 17 downhill ski areas with nearly 600 trails – and a perfect mountain for everyone, from beginners to the pros. Maine also has 21 nordic ski areas with groomed trails for cross-country skiing. Many have trails for snowshoeing, as well. These winter activities are very popular and rental equipment is easy to procure.
Ice: When the mercury drops, Maine’s hundreds of lakes and rivers become your frozen ice playground! There are many smelt fishing camps along the Kennebec River and Merrymeeting Bay, and ice fishing is allowed on many ponds and lakes, as well. Don’t miss out on the dozens of ice fishing derbies, either. If skating is your favorite way to enjoy the ice, you’re in luck. Many communities maintain ice rinks to enjoy!
Winter Camping: To avoid cabin fever, some folks go camping – in the winter! With Maine Huts & Trails you can enjoy snowshoeing or cross country skiing from hut to hut and at the end of the day you can enjoy a hot meal, warm showers and a comfy bed.
Winter Festivals and Events: Not everything in winter is about snow and ice, of course. We have many winter traditions that celebrate what is uniquely wonderful about Maine – from our midnight sardine drop in Eastport every New Year’s Eve to the Maine Lakes Winter Carnival. Maine is also host to the U.S. National Toboggan Championships in Camden. The ski resorts are host to numerous wacky and fun events as the winter season draws to a close, like the annual pond skimming event at Saddleback where contestants in costumes try to ski or ride across a pond. Whatever the season, Maine has something for everyone!
One of the best ways to herald the coming of spring is on Maine Maple Sunday – a statewide fun family event in March – where sugarhouses serve freshly made maple syrup and other yummy treats to warm you up.