While exploring MDI can take a lifetime, it is also fun to find adventures that take you off our little island. We love to feature day trips on this blog, giving our readers ideas for other great places to explore while still being based on MDI. Our Lubec day trip is a little farther afield than we typically travel, but is totally doable in a day. It would also make a great weekend getaway.

General Idea: Lubec is a quaint, coastal Maine town that is the easternmost city in the United States. It is also the gateway to historic Campobello Island.
Distance from MDI: The most direct route takes 2 hrs, and is 95 miles from MDI. If you want to make a loop on your way home, plan 2 ½ hrs for the return route.
Rated for: Scenic views, solitude, history, seasonal day trips or weekend getaways

On the Way

The quickest way to get to Lubec is by taking Rt 182 through Franklin and Cherryfield, which then merges with Rt 1. You will then drive north right through Machias, which makes a good stopping point. Grab some lunch or blueberry pie at Helen’s Restaurant, a Downeast tradition since 1950.



If you need to stretch your legs, take a stroll at Middle River Park, right at the confluence of Middle and Machias rivers. The preserve offers 2 miles of hiking trails, as well as lots of picnic tables and places just to sit and watch the river wildlife.

Once you’ve hit Machias, it is only another 30-40 minutes to Lubec. Follow Route 1N into Whiting, and then take Rt 189 right into town.

To Do

Arriving in Lubec is a little like stepping back in time. You won’t find any shopping malls, chain restaurants, or the hordes of tourists that can take over MDI in the summer. What you will find is a charming downtown right on the seashore, along with a few small shops and galleries, and lots of stunning coastline. The town of Lubec boasts “97 miles of shoreline and the friendliest people,” and I can confirm their claim of super friendly people. I visited at the very end of tourist season (mid-October), and it felt like the town was throwing itself a (very tame) party. Seasonal residents were having their last meals at local restaurants and sharing plans for their winter adventures with anyone who would listen. My impression was that Lubec attracts adventurous, off-beat people who crave both connection and solitude.

Check out Local Art. Lubec is an artists paradise, and you can make a morning of visiting small art studios and galleries. Find a list of local artists here. You can also find art exhibits at the Lubec Memorial Library or The Inn & Restaurant on the Wharf.

Get Outdoors. Lubec bills itself as one of the last peaceful places on the eastern seaboard, and I can attest to rarely passing another hiker on the trails. Outdoor activity options are plentiful, from birdwatching to whale watching (on a boat tour, or if you are lucky, right from land!) to cycling to hiking. The town of Lubec itself is great for a stroll. Hilly streets make you feel like you’re getting a workout while walking up and down cobblestone streets, passing historic captain’s homes, and breathing in the sea air. If you are looking for more challenging hikes, I recommend Quaddy Head State Park, or heading over to Campobello Island (more below).

Visit Lighthouses. Love lighthouses? You have your pick! Check out the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and Lubec Channel Light. Just across the bridge in Campobello you can find Head Harbour Lightstation (also known as East Quoddy) and Mulholland Point Light. Learn more about how to visit the lighthouses here.



Go to Campobello Island. Yes, we know this is a post about Lubec, but if you come all the way to Lubec and skip Campobello Island, then you are missing out. Campobello isn’t part of Lubec. It isn’t even part of the United States (so bring your passport)! But it is a famous, historic site with a true multinational flavor, and all you need to do is cross a bridge right in town. (Important- the bridge is an international crossing, so make sure you have your passport and make sure you are not transporting anything that is illegal to take across the border. Also, note that Campobello Island is in Atlantic Standard Time, so it is 1 hour later over there.)

Why have you heard of Campobello before? It is where the summer home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt still sits today. You can visit their historic 34-room residence, which is a highlight of Roosevelt Campobello International Park. This house is open daily from 10am to 6pm between late May and mid October.

The park also has great hiking trails. Since the house was already closed for the season when I visited, I took the opportunity to take a longer hike. For other avid hikers, I highly recommend the hike from Raccoon Beach to Liberty Point. About a 5 mile loop, it hugs the coast, offering incredible views of the ocean as well as mossy forest sections. At one point, I started hearing a very strange barking sound, which I soon discovered was a huge gathering of seals on the rocks just off shore. There are also many shorter hikes and roads that would be great for bike riding. Find a map and list of hikes and bike rides here.

Food

Your dining options in Lubec definitely depend on what time of year you visit. If you are visiting in the summer or early fall, there are a number of good choices ranging from casual seafood to homemade pizza to a new microbrewery that serves food. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the Lubec Brewing Company, which wasn’t open daily for food in late October but had a nice selection of beers to try and great local flavor. There were a number of friendly locals and tourists there who recommended either the Water Street Tavern  or Franks Dockside Restaurant for a meal. Franks is great for lunch if you are taking a day trip, and I would recommend the Water Street Tavern for dinner if you don’t mind heading back late or are planning on spending the night.

Staying the Night

There are a handful of Bed & Breakfasts and Inns right in downtown Lubec that all get fairly good reviews. It would probably be hard to go wrong with any of them. If you are looking for a cozy, lovingly cared for B&B with an excellent breakfast, I highly recommend the Peacock House Bed & Breakfast. There was nothing I didn’t like about my stay there, from the friendly owners to the comfortable bed, thoughtfully designed room, and delicious homemade lavender ricotta pancakes. The common rooms include a grand piano, guitar, amazing library and CD collection, games, fireplace, and a sunroom.


Cool Stuff to Know

  • A short bridge and international crossing connects Lubec to Roosevelt Campobello International Park on Campobello Island, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt had his summer home.
  • Lubec native Myron Avery (1899 – 1952) was instrumental in the making of the Appalachian Trail.
  • As of the 2010 census the population of Lubec was 1359.
  • SummerKeys: The Mary Potterton Memorial Concert Series. Free concerts on Wednesdays at 7:30 PM at the Lubec Congregational Christian Church from mid-June through August.

  • West Quoddy Head Lighthouse Celebration on the first Saturday after July 4th. Visit the candy-striped lighthouse with tours of the tower by the U.S.Coast Guard. There is also live music, food vendors, raffles, etc., all in beautiful Quoddy Head State Park overlooking the easternmost point in the continental U.S., Sail Rock.

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