Camden Hills State Park, Maine in autumn with a view of the harbour from the summit of Mount Battie in the foreground against a blue sky and the sea in the distance.
E.J.Johnson Photography/Shutterstock.com
Road Trips

Road Trip from New York to Maine

By Dianne Titos | Published on 28 April 2022

Maine is a gem of the United States, filled with beautiful scenery, stunning small towns... and some truly great seafood. If you are looking for a fun weekend or week-long adventure, consider a road trip from New York to Maine. This short trip is filled with things to do, taking you through some of the prettiest towns and cities in America.

The 470-mile road trip from New York to Maine will take you at least 8 hours 30 minutes to drive, without breaks. Notable stops along the way include Stamford, New Haven, Hartford, Portland (Maine), and Acadia National Park.

If the sound of a road trip like this interests you, read on for more information about what route to take, where you should stay, and some of the best things to do along the way.

How far is Maine from New York and how long will the road trip take?

The road trip from New York to Maine will cover 470 miles and take you at least a day to drive. However, we think you should avoid rushing and give yourself at least two days, if not more, for this trip.

This route will take you from New York into beautiful Connecticut, through the forested state of Massachusetts, before taking you along the spectacular coastline of Maine to Acadia National Park.

Nubble Lighthouse, Maine USA with a sea hitting rocks in the foreground and an island on the horizon with a lighthouse and a few buildings dotted beside it on a cloudy day.
Nubble Lighthouse is a great example of Maine's varied and interesting coastline
Cheri Alguire/Shutterstock.com

Most of the driving takes place on a network of interstates, as you navigate out of the city towards quieter roads. Once you reach Portland, Maine, you turn onto Highway 1, which is going to be one of the best parts of this trip.

Traffic could be an issue on this route, as you pass through some densely populated areas. From New York to Hartford, you may encounter your heaviest traffic, so try to travel this first stretch of the journey outside of rush hour.

Once you are past these areas the likelihood of congestion issues decreases.

Best road trip route from New York to Maine

A road trip from New York to Maine is a great length for a weekend or week-long trip. However, figuring out the best route and your ideal via points can be challenging. Read on for more information about the best route from New York to Maine.

The Route from New York to Maine, following US Highway 1

Assuming that you begin your journey on Manhattan, you will need to take FDR drive north until you reach Randall's Island. Here, take I-278 north, through the Bronx, and out of New York City.

Merge onto I-95 taking you towards New Rochelle. Stay on I-95 as it leads you along Long Island Sound towards New Haven.

At New Haven you will join I-91 taking you away from the coast towards Hartford. In East Hartford you will exit I-91 and merge with I-84.

Follow I- 84 up to Sturbridge, where you will join I-90. Follow I-90 to Auburn. At Auburn turn onto I-290, taking you towards Worcester and I-495.

You will stay on I-495 for a good distance, passing Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill. I-495 will take you back towards the coast, where you can then link up with I-95.

Follow the Interstate up to Portland. Here you want to get onto I-295 and then US Highway 1. Highway 1 will be the highlight your time on the road, as it winds along the beautiful coastline of Maine.

You can follow US-1 along the coast to Ellsworth, where you can join Route 3 to take you to Acadia National Park, crossing the Trenton Bridge just before you reach your destination.

Best places to stop between New York and Maine

If you are looking for a few places to stay on your road trip from New York to Maine, then this next section is here to help. Here are our top recommendations for some beautiful places to stay on your trip.

New Haven, Connecticut with a view of the New Haven Green in the foreground and the city in the background under a blue sky.
Take a stroll and soak up New Haven's beautiful architecture.
Jon Bilous/Shutterstock.com

Be a student of culture in New Haven

Home to world-renowned Yale University, New Haven has a rightful claim as a cultural and intellectual center.

While New Haven is situated just an hour and a half north of New York City, this coastal city is still a great stop for an overnight stay. A tour of Yale University - as well as its museums and Art Gallery - is a must on any intellectual's bucket list, and the city is home to many outstanding restaurants, too.

As far as accommodation is concerned, The Study at Yale, in New Haven, oozes charm and sophistication. If you are looking for a relaxing place to stay on your road trip, look no further than The Study.

The Study is at the center of New Haven, making it a perfect place for you to enjoy everything on offer in this pretty city. As soon as you arrive at the hotel you will be impressed by its class and sophistication. The d├ęcor is classic, utilizing lots of leather and wood for a very scholarly feel, which fits the city perfectly.

An on-site bar gives you a place to relax and enjoy a drink after a long day of driving or sightseeing. The Heirloom restaurant is on-site and specializes in using local ingredients to make exceptional food.

Dine like a locavore in Portland, Maine

Famous for its exceptional seafood cuisine, Portland is an absolute no-brainer when it comes to choosing somewhere to stop over and enjoy an evening meal. The city is thought of by many as the best food town in New England: and that extends well beyond just shellfish.

Thanks to Portland's enviable position, right on the coast, it's no surprise that the cuisine is wholeheartedly "locavore" - i.e. focused on locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. Portland's creative foodie scene is second to none.

Portland, Maine at sunset with the downtown skyline in the background below a pinky sky and reflecting in the water in the foreground.
Take a stop and enjoy a meal in Portland, Maine, you'll find the best seafood in this city.
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

With this in mind, you'll want to make sure you stay as close to the waterfront as possible - poised to browse Portland's numerous vibrant restaurants and working seafaring industry.

The Portland Harbor Hotel combines upscale luxury with a decidedly maritime flair and waterfront location. Relax in the hotel's sumptuous surroundings, safe in the knowledge that you're only a few steps away from the action.

And the action isn't limited to eating and drinking: make the most of your time in Portland by visiting the Portland Museum of Art and taking a trip out on a boat tour in Casco Bay.

Where to stay when you reach Acadia National Park

Once you arrive in Acadia National Park, we'd recommend staying on Mount Desert Island itself so that you can completely relax and unwind in this unspoilt oceanfront spot.

Acadia National Park, Maine with the coastline below cliffs and the forest above with a blue sky and the sun starting to set.
Acadia National Park combines stunning coast and woodland, perfect for a relaxing stop.
GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock.com

Our top choice for a stay here is the Bar Harbor Inn and Spa, with its luxurious on-site spa and views of Frenchman Bay. As the highest-ranked hotel in the area, you simply can't go wrong with a stay here.

The hotel also has easily accessible, free parking on site, which is always an added bonus for a weary road tripper!

Places to see on your road trip from New York to Maine

On your road trip you want to make sure you plan time for sightseeing and activities. TO help you figure out where you might want to stop, we have listed some of the top attractions along this route. However, we encourage you to give yourself additional time to do your own exploring.

  1. Stamford - Just a short drive out of New York, this city has a great mixture of things to offer like breweries, theatres, and a pretty coastline nearby
  2. New Haven - New Haven is a trendy University city with lots of museums and very interesting, beautiful architecture
  3. Hartford - Continuing the theme of history, Hartford is home to the Mark Twain Museum and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
  4. Worcester - Like many of the cities on this route, Worcester is also home to an impressive range of attractions, from museums of art and natural sciences to breweries and restaurants
  5. Nubble Lighthouse - The first attraction in Maine, Nubble Point and its lighthouse are worth the short detour to get your first taste of the Maine coastline
  6. Portland Head - Another very photogenic lighthouse sits on Portland Head, nearby Crescent Beach State Park is also worth a visit.
  7. Portland - A very pretty city that we recommend spending a few days in. Make sure you stroll along the Old Port waterfront and visit the western promenade
  8. Camden Hills State Park - If you feel like getting active, and the weather is on your side, plan a hike in Camden Hills State Park
  9. Fort Knox - The lesser known of the two Fort Knox's. This one is an impressive structure that sits on the banks of the Penobscot River
  10. Acadia National Park - A beautiful park set along a rugged stretch of Maine's coastline, home to wildlife like bears, moose, and numerous seabirds
  11. Bar Harbor - A pretty little town that sits on the edge of Acadia National Park, a great place to stay while exploring the park and nearby coastline
  12. Sand Beach - Just down the road from Bar Harbor, this is a pretty beach on an even prettier stretch of coastline

Sand Beach in Acadia National Park, Maine on a sunny day with sand and rock formations to the right and a blue sea in the background.
Soak up some sun at Sand Beach, just a stroll from Bar Harbour.
Allard One/Shutterstock.com

Best time to go on a road trip from New York to Maine

Both New York and Maine can get very cold during winter. Unless you like the cold and are prepared for it, it probably isn't the best time for a road trip from New York to Maine. That being said if you don't mind the cold there is plenty to do indoors to keep you entertained on this trip - just make sure you bundle up with plenty of layers!

Winter will bring with it the cheapest hotel prices, and very low tourist numbers. If both of these things appeal, then winter might just be the season for you.

Be warned, however, that these northern states can get very cold and experience a lot of snow, in our opinion you are best off sticking to the shoulder seasons or summer.

If you don't like the cold but still want to travel in a quieter season, have a look at going in spring or fall. The shoulder seasons offer a great compromise between weather, tourist numbers, and hotel prices.

You may get unlucky and experience some unpleasant weather, but you may also have a beautiful fall or spring day to explore Maine. Fall is particularly nice as the deciduous trees set the forest ablaze with their crimson, yellow, and orange leaves.

If you enjoy a bit more peace and quiet, fall could definitely be a great time for you to go to Maine.

Summer is going to be the busiest time of year. Nice weather makes it easy to get outside and enjoy your road trip. However, it also brings lots of tourists and higher prices. It's a good idea to think about what your priorities are and then you can find a season that works for you.