When searching for a quintessential New England getaway, forget Maine's rocky coastline and head inland to one of these quaint lake towns.
There are no signs for the Height of the Land along Route 17, but look west as you drive toward the town of Rangeley and you'll find one of the most stunning scenic overlooks in Maine -- panoramic views of Mooselookmeguntic Lake framed by New Hampshire's White Mountains. Once in Rangeley, fish for trophy-sized brook trout and salmon at any of its 6 main lakes or picnic beside one of 4 waterfalls.
With Saddleback Mountain in the distance, Rangeley is popular year-round. Saddleback Mountain's 4,120-foot high-altitude snow is ideal for downhill skiing and snowboarding. In the summer months, take a leisurely lake cruise or seaplane tour for unparalleled views.
If you're looking for a resort area that has a downtown Main Street (with charming art boutiques and antique shops), a throwback drive-in movie theater and 11 lakes and ponds, look no farther than the quaint town of Bridgton and tranquil Moose Pond. Halfway between <a href="http://blog.travelchannel.com/the-traveling-type/2013/08/01/why-we-love-portland-maine/">Portland</a>, ME, and North Conway, NH, Bridgton is also an ideal winter destination thanks to world-class skiing, and dog sled races like the annual Mushers Bowl Winter Carnival.
Named for <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/host-central/articles/tony-bourdains-guide-to-naples">Naples</a>, Italy, the lakeside town of Naples, ME, has been a tourist destination since the 19th century. Visitors to the downtown Causeway can board a replica of a Mississippi River paddle wheeler, the Songo River Queen II, to take in the Long Lake scenery.
Hidden in the foothills of the White Mountains, Kezar Lake in Lovell, ME, is marked by its beautiful emerald waters as well as the moderately sized Kezar Falls Gorge, a popular picnic area amongst the waterfalls. Stop by the <a href="http://www.kezarlake.com/store.html" "target=_blank">Marina Store</a> for some live bait before bass fishing (catch and release, of course) or to scoop water sports supplies -- whether you're a seasoned water skier or hang-on-for-dear-life tube rider.
Fashionable Maine families have long summered on the shores of Moosehead Lake, but the region that touts itself as "more moose than people" is no longer an insider's secret. Just 1.5 hours from Bangor and 3 hours from Portland, <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/daily-escape/lodge-at-moosehead-lake">Moosehead Lake</a> draws vacationers looking to go hiking (its trails include a stretch of the Appalachian Trail), mountain biking, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, snowmobiling, skiing … you name it.
One of Maine's oldest towns, Fryeburg is ripe with historic sites such as Hemlock Bridge, built in 1857 over an old channel of the Saco River -- whose gentle current is ideal for kayaking, swimming and fishing.
The White Mountains seen from the <a href="http://www.oldsacoinn.com/" "target=_blank">Olde Saco Inn's</a> long veranda exemplify the views that draw visitors to Fryeburg. The popular bed and breakfast sits on 65 acres along the Old Saco River and includes a unique, mountain lodge, pub and carriage house.
Think of the beautiful mountain village of Bethel, like most towns on our list, as a year-round destination. It's a prime spot to view <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/fall/articles/fall-foliage-map">fall foliage</a> along the Androscoggin River, hike trails in Grafton Notch State Park in the summer, and ski the more than 120 trails at Sunday River Resort during the winter.