The area referred to as Way DownEast is a place to immerse yourself in both the natural wonder and cultural vibrancy of DownEast Acadia and our shared international heritage with our neighbors in Canada on Campobello Island and in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.
Rejuvenate in the tranquility and great natural beauty of Down East Maine’s Cobscook Bay area. Cobscook Bay and the Cutler coast boast some of the most dramatic hiking trails and greatest variety of wildlife habitat on the entire eastern coast of the United States. And thanks to the many thousands of acres of public land managed by local land trusts and State and Federal agencies, these trails and wildlife watching opportunities are here for you to enjoy.
These public lands have a long historic significance as important cultural places for the Indigenous Wabanaki people. Learn more about Wabanaki history and heritage of the Way DownEast region at the Wabanaki Culture Center and Museum in Calais or by visiting the Wabanaki Alliance website.
Please recreate responsibly - public lands are managed by small non-profits and local volunteers, and they need your help to keep these spaces open, safe, and enjoyable for all. Learn more about treading lightly and giving back at https://visitmaine.com/look-out-for-me.
Hiking the Bold Coast
Thousands upon thousands of waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors migrate southward through Cross Island National Wildlife Refuge each fall. Charter a boat tour or hire a kayaking guide to view the remote islands of this refuge safely. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, and its huge tidal fluctuations, strong currents, and sudden changes of weather become increasingly prominent from Cutler eastward.
Coastal hiking trails are great places to spot sea birds and sea mammals safely from land. Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge has two inland divisions, in Edmunds and Baring, that provide habitat for 225 species of birds, endangered species, rare plants, and myriad other wildlife species. The Orange River Conservation Area has two public boat landings that connect nearly 6 miles of flat-water via the Orange River Water Trail for easy, family-friendly wildlife watching.
The annual Down East Spring Birding Festival held in the Cobscook Bay area every Memorial Day provides a unique birding experience during spring migration and the breeding season with guided hikes and boat tours, all led by local guides with local knowledge.
Lubec, the easternmost town in the U.S., is famous for its iconic red and white striped West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. Quoddy Head State Park provides views of the rugged coast that have inspired the arts and culture scene for thousands of years.
Cobscook Bay State Park offers camping, hiking trails, and plenty of places to view the area's powerful tides. The features of the bay make it nutrient-rich, attracting numerous types of wildlife, both terrestrial and aquatic. This part of the world offers the chance to explore the night skies above us, which is possible in part due to the lack of light pollution found elsewhere.
Explore the entire Way DownEast coast on the many trails managed by Downeast Coastal Conservancy and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. The municipal Devil’s Head Conservation Area and Calais Riverfront Walkway are peaceful, scenic places to touch the waters of the St. Croix River that connect Way DownEast Maine and New Brunswick, Canada.
Make Way Downeast your cultural destination! From the original Indigenous inhabitants, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, to painter Dougal Anderson (1854-1921) who grew up on Kendall Head in Eastport, and George Pearce Ennis, founder of the Eastport School of Arts (1926-1936), to artists of today, the majesty of the Bold Coast in Way DownEast Maine has provided inspiration to artisans through the ages.
During the summer, Eastport and Lubec team up to host ArtWalk Passport weekends to celebrate the arts and music. Take the Ferry between Eastport and Lubec for a full Way DownEast coastal experience. The ArtWalk Passport weekends kick-off in Eastport’s historic downtown with events sponsored by the Downeast Rainbow Alliance. Enjoy an all-age Down East Dance Party in the Sutherland Amphitheater. The Eastport Arts Center hosts KinderArts activities and the Tides Institute's StudioWorks hosts interactive art activities. The outdoor Sutherland Amphitheater on Water Street bustles with an artist roundtable discussion, live music, Stage East and Moonlight Movies.
Each summer, Lubec becomes a musical mecca with concerts from the Lubec Area Musician’s Philanthropic Society, Cobscook Bay Music, and Summerkeys.
Campobello Island, in New Brunswick, Canada, is just across the channel from Lubec. Campobello is home to the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, which features President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's summer home, Tea with Eleanor, and numerous hiking trails. Fogfest, an annual music and Arts festival, is the perfect way to discover the island’s rich cultural history and tremendous natural beauty. Passports are required to cross the international bridge between Lubec and Campobello Island.
Calais is the international gateway to Canada. The city was named Calais after the French town to honor French assistance during the American Revolution. Closely linked to the St. Croix River and the town on the opposite shore, St. Stephen, New Brunswick, it is a perfect jumping-off point for a Two Nation Vacation. The annual International Homecoming Festival is a two-nation celebration of friendship between the two international communities of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada and Calais, Maine.
The St. Croix Island International Historic Site in Calais commemorates the beginning of a permanent European presence in northern North America.
Pierre Dugua at St. Croix Island
Visitor Resources: Visit Lubec, Cutler Coast Public Reserve Land | Maine Coast Heritage Trust Preserves | Eastport Area Chamber of Commerce | Down East Spring Birding Festival | Pleasant Point Tribal Government | Tides Institute and Museum of Art | St. Croix Island Historic Site | Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge | Downeast Sunrise Trail | Cobscook Bay State Park