As the leaves are beginning to change, I started thinking about the best ways to enjoy fall foliage season on the Maine coast. Nature hikes, strolling through town, and scenic drives are a given during fall in New England, but coastal Maine offers a special way to enjoy the changing of the leaves – by sea! Fortunately, Kennebunkport offers several excellent options for schooner rides that are ideal for leaf peeping.
There are many guides to fall foliage season out there, but we often like Yankee Magazine’s Foliage Map – it shows our leaves are turning (and they really are starting to!), as is much of the state of Maine. But the signature bright colors are on their way, usually peaking late September through mid-October, which means that it is the perfect time to plan a fall foliage getaway to Kennebunkport.
One of the most stunning ways to enjoy the glorious colors of the fall is by hopping aboard a schooner for a tour of the coastline. The Schooner Eleanor sits moored in the harbor just about a block from our boutique Kennebunkport hotel and offers twice-daily sailings. Set sail and cruise along the Kennebunk River to the open Atlantic and enjoy panoramic views of the coastline and incredible colors while also breathing in the salt air and catching sight of lots of wildlife. Just a few blocks away, the Pineapple Ketch sails out of Nonantum Docks and offers similar tours on a slightly smaller ship. Both are stunning, and these handcrafted sailboats offer a soothing and scenic cruise of the coast. As always, the tours are weather dependent – anyone at the Maine Stay Inn will happily find out what sailings are available during your stay.
Schooner rides are a particularly unique way to experience leaf peeping, but there are plenty of other options for those who don’t love working on the sea legs. Relax in a hammock drinking in the sunshine filtering through colorful leaves or lace up your shoes for a nature walk or leisurely hike to experience the fall foliage up close and personal. Plus the backroads offer lots of options for scenic drives for peak foliage viewing. But no matter how you choose to take in the fall foliage, there is no question that this is an incredible time to be enjoying the Maine Coast!