The Top 10 Most Popular Maine Tourist Attractions
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
This is ranked by attendance in 2021.
I was surprised by some of the attractions that made the top 10. I have been to seven out of ten. Remember this is by attendance in 2021. The numbers were put together by MaineBiz. They provided just how many people visited. You may not be surprised at who came in first, but I bet you are surprised at how popular some attractions are.
10. Portland Museum of Art - Portland - 92,543 visitors
The Portland Museum of Art was founded in 1882. You might think that an art museum would only be busy on rainy days. Nope. PMA has over 18,000 works of art, exhibitions, guest speakers, free school tours, things to do with the family, and tours of the Winslow Homer Studio.
8. (tie) Great Falls Balloon Festival - Lewiston - 100,000 visitors
The price of admission might be a big attraction because it's free. This has been a hit since it was founded in 1992. You can watch the launch of balloons, there's a big carnival, food vendors, Family Fun Day, live music, and a huge parade!
8. (tie) Allagash Brewing Co. - Portland - 100,000 visitors
Founded in 1995 by Rob Todd, they are a destination for so many reasons. This brewery in Portland had 100,000 people visit in 2021. That was an excellent year for Allagash. In addition to having a ton of people visit, they also won Brewery of the Year, for their size category at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival. In 2019, Rob won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional.
7. Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows Observatory - Prospect - 113,326 visitors
This is such a cool historic Civil-war seacoast fort and observatory. An elevator takes you up over 400 feet for views of the whole Penobscot Bay region. This is one of the oldest attractions on the list. It was founded in 1844.
6. Songo River Queen II - Naples - 118,000 visitors
This is a privately built replica of the famed Mississippi River Paddle Wheelers. Even if you are not a fan of boats, this is an exceptionally smooth ride. It's a great cruise for some great sightseeing.
5. Fryeburg Fair - Fryeburg - 170,000 visitors
Founded in 1851, this is one of the most popular and oldest attractions in Maine. It's 8 crazy days of agricultural fair fun with food, horse & oxen pull, tractor & truck pulls, livestock competitions, exhibits, and Maine products. That barely covers all that is offered.
4. Funtown Splashtown USA - Saco - 300,000 visitors
I have been to Funtown Splashtown a thousand times, but was surprised that it was such a destination! Good for them. This is a family-owned water and amusement park founded in 1967 and it rocks!
3. Coastal Maine Botanical Garden - Boothbay - 336,000 visitors
Founded in 1992, save a full day to really soak up this experience. I'm sure a lot of the hundreds of thousands who visit come for Gardens Aglow, the holiday light spectacular - but this is a year-round experience. There are gorgeous gardens, waterfalls, stonework, sculptures, and these awesome trolls.
2. Sugarloaf Mountain Resort - Carrabassett Valley - 350,000 visitors
Sugarloaf has been the 'it' ski resort for years. Founded in 1951, this is one of the largest ski resorts in the East. This is part of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts and attractions.
1. Acadia National Park - Bar Harbor - 4,069,068 visitors
Okay, so not a surprise that this isn't just the most visited attraction in Maine, but it is by about 3.5 MILLION visitors! 50,000 acres of the Acadia archipelago and Schoodic peninsula with historic carriage roads, hiking trails, and roads along amazingly beautiful glacially-sculpted mountains.
So, how many of the top ten have you been to?