Maine definitely has its own pace and ambiance amidst the hustle and bustle of New England. Rangeley perfectly depicts the true rhythm and laidback vibe of the state, with its soothing lakefront breezy air and lush pine-scented forests. The uniqueness of the town is highlighted by many attractions and outdoorsy activities which makes it a great summer destination. It’s a chance to take a road trip, connect with nature and enjoy warm rays of the sun. And here are just a few bucket list worthy suggestions that will make your trip the best possible.
Maine’s Lakes and Mountains from GLP Films on Vimeo.
Summer Activities & Things to Do in Maine’s Laidback City of Rangeley
Tour the Rangeley Lake by Boat (or Kayak)
Jump onboard the 36-foot Oquossac II for a lake cruise that is scenic and informative with Rangeley Region Lake Cruises & Kayaking. Sail through the calm waters as the sky is painted in lovely shades of sunset and learn about the rich history of the Rangeley Lakes Region while soaking in the picturesque beauty all around you. If you’re looking for a more secluded experience with a bit of low-key adventure, you can rent a kayak (or join a guide trip) and paddle away amidst the sheer beauty of the lake with a magical backdrop of mountains.
Take in the Panoramic Views of Rangeley
Drive to the Height of Land Overlook // The Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway is one of Maine’s most scenic road trip routes, and on that route is the Height of the Land. This awe-inspiring overlook gives you miles upon miles of sprawling lake views along with the mountains encircling it. It’s a quick stop, but memorable. And on a clear day you may even get a peek at some Appalachian Trail hikers!
Drive up to Quill Hill // For one of the best views of Rangeley Lake, take the 30-minute drive from the city’s downtown to the tippy top of Quill Hill. You’ll not only see the lake down below, but it has amazing panoramic views of the Saddleback, Flagstaff and Kennebago too. The area has places for a picnic, so don’t forget to make a pit stop at Classic Provisions for some yummy sandwiches and salads!
Visit the Outdoor Heritage Museum
The tour of any town isn’t complete without stopping by its museum to learn a little bit of the area’s history. The Outdoor Heritage Museum located in Oquossoc Village was named the “Best Sporting Museum in New England”, and for good reason. It is beautifully curated to display wildlife art, nature exhibits and artifacts that share outdoor sporting history and the personalities behind it. Don’t miss stopping at the museum’s gift shop to pick up a little souvenir to take back home! PS: if you are a dog lover, the curator Bill often brings his dog Zeke to the museum. Give him a belly rub for me! The dog, not Bill.
Take a Dip in the Swimming Hole at Small Falls
Taking a dip in a swimming hole is pretty common in Maine, but can you imagine being able to do it at the bottom of a waterfall? Small Falls are multiple waterfalls with a total combined drop of just over 50 feet. The set of short drops are surrounded by overlapping bands of rocky cliffs that frame the small falls, as it tumbles down into splashing swimming holes.
Small Falls is an easy 15-minute drive south from downtown Rangeley, just off Route 4. There is a rest/parking area that has picnic tables and restrooms. The trailhead is a few steps from here, and the falls are a couple minutes after you begin hiking. Easy peasy! For a little more adventure, take the other trails to find a more secluded spot for a swim or to climb to the top of the falls for a killer view looking down.
Hike One of the Many Trails
Hiking is a great way to be enjoy the summer sun while getting in touch with nature, and there is no shortage of pretty hikes in the Rangeley area (here’s a list and some reviews). Here are a few of the most popular:
Cascade Stream Gorge Trail // If you love photography, on the Cascade Stream Gorge Trail you will have a chance to spot wildlife and local flora to put your talents to use. Plus, the trail includes a 90-foot deep gorge and 50 acres of forest. The short trail follows the gorge along the Cascade Stream with several viewpoints and a series of waterfalls.
Angel Falls // If you are looking for an easy hike with gratifying scenic views, Angel Falls is the place for you. Although the hike is short (one mile round trip) and considerably easy, you will still get your adrenaline fix with rock hopping adventures and crossing flowing streams. The falls themselves have an impressive 90-foot plunge, and the gushing tumbling water sometimes appears in the form of angel’s wing, giving the waterfall its unique name.
Hatcher Brook Preserve // Nestled in the outskirts of Rangeley village, the Hatchery Brook Preserve offers 50 forested acres, a small network of scenic trails and quaint lakeshore picnic spots for hikers. The wetlands there provide a haven for the abundance of wildlife, and the bog walkways limit the human impact of the plant and animals alike. It’s fun to have a stroll along these boardwalks, spotting wildlife and flora along the way, but for an even more challenging visit you can explore your talents as a mountain biker along the loop! It is located off Route 4, on Manor Road.
Shop (& Eat) in Downtown Rangeley
Of course there’s lots of outdoorsy opportunities in the summer in Rangeley, but you don’t want to miss spending an afternoon or evening just hanging out downtown. Start by grabbing a beer on the patio at Furbish, Rangeley’s first brewery, then do a little shopping at some of the cute stores, like The Alpine Shop. After you’ve built up an appetite, have a nice dinner at Forks in the Air. Then it’s time for a nightcap and more fun by bowling the night away at Moose Alley.
Sleep in a Historic Inn
The Rangeley Inn is a historical landmark in Maine’s Lakes and Mountains region, dating back to the 19th century. It used to be the main hotel that welcomed visitors coming by train to experience the outdoor sporting that the region is know for. It has been beautifully restored, so has that historic charm with modern amenities, and it’s downtown location is convenient for exploring the area.
By now, we are sure you have realized how unique the little town of Rangeley is. It is a nice summer vacation spot for nature lovers, with pleasant and sunny weather. Besides the delightful summertime excursions, you can also enjoy Rangeley amidst the colorful fall foliage, ski through its trails in winters, or fish and swim in springtime with blooming flowers and cool winds.
Essential Tips for Visiting Rangeley Maine
Getting There: Stephen A. Bean Municipal Airport is a town-owned public airport in Rangeley, ME. However if you are looking for a major airport near Rangeley, Augusta State Airport is the nearest one and is 83 miles away from the city center. You can easily check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination. The best way to get to the city center from the airport is to drive.
Where to Stay in Rangeley Maine: It’s best to stay near the city center, public transportation or the area that you will be spending the most time in. Rangeley Lake Resort a Ramada by Wyndham is a great choice in the Rangeley district. For something on the less expensive side, try Rangeley Saddleback Inn located in Rangeley. Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice at Booking.com. If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), book a room at the Chestnut or head over to VRBO that has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range.
Getting Around: Driving in a new destination can be a bit of a challenge, but if you choose to rent a car, RentalCars.com has great deals. If you are not renting a car, there are plenty of other options. Taxis are available all over the city, plus you can also rent a Seaplane or have Seaplane tours.
Insurance: It’s always a good idea to travel fully insured so you are protected in case of trip cancellations or medical emergencies. You can check out pricing at Travelex Insurance.
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