If you’re looking to plan ahead for an all-American summer vacation, Maine is your ticket. Blueberry picking, swimming in hidden ponds or the salty sea, and eating all the lobster rolls you can get your hands on—that’s a Maine summer in a nutshell (or shall we say, seashell). Start picturing your trip to the coast of this New England gem now.
Read: One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
This children’s classic is so quintessentially Maine, it’s well worth the read, especially if you have little ones around. The story gives readers a slice of everyday life in Maine as it follows the author’s two real-life daughters through their morning, which starts off with a loose tooth and ends with ice cream and a boat ride in the bay.
Read this if you have kids or enjoy children’s literature.
Read: Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert
The first novel by Big Magic author Elizabeth Gilbert, Stern Men is set on two fictional islands off the coast of Maine. For generations two groups of local fishermen have feuded over the fishing rights to the waters that lie between the islands. Having grown up among this dispute, the main character Ruth Thomas returns home from boarding school at 18 determined to join these stern lobstermen on their boats. In her homecoming she forges friendships with eccentric islanders, falls in love, and solves the feud of the lobstermen. A coming of age story, Stern Men gives a fascinating look into local lobster-fishing culture.
Read this if you love New England and its tough but lovable locals.
Watch: Message in a Bottle
Though this 1999 romance is set in the Outer Banks of the Carolinas and Virginia, the beach scenes were filmed in Maine—Popham Beach in Phippsburg, to be specific. You’ll get a feel for the beaches of Maine while enjoying a heartbreaking 90s love story that unfolds when Robin Wright’s character discovers a bottle in the sand with an anonymous love letter and tracks down its reclusive author, played by Kevin Costner.