If hiking, napping, drinking wine while watching the sunset, and searching for epic wildlife sounds like a fun adventure for you and your friends, it is time to plan a Maine girls’ trip.
Not every girls’ trip needs to be about shopping, massages, and beachfront cocktails. A Maine girls’ trip is about unplugging, getting into nature, and the joys of shared laughter and a glass of wine around a campfire. Oh, and naps! Because is there anything more luxurious for a middle-aged mom than an afternoon nap? The satisfaction of guilt-free relaxation after the physical exertion of a morning hike is absolutely glorious.
John Muir was right when he said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” We also know that time spent with friends is essential in recharging our batteries and girding ourselves for the busy times ahead. The idea of the “momcation” isn’t new, just the name.
My best friend lives on the other side of the country and to reconnect, we headed to the Northwoods of Maine for a girls’ trip on Moosehead Lake. Even though we talk every week, she lives in Seattle so we don’t get a lot of time to hang out together. We have shared other adventures in Tempe, Scottsdale, and the Florida Keys, but this time we wanted to connect with nature and I wanted to show her a little bit of New England.
Maine has so much to offer for a girlfriend getaway, from coastal beaches to the mountains and lakes. I’ve even taken a sailing cruise on a Maine Windjammer, the Schooner Heritage, with one of my girlfriends. But since we both love hiking and lakes, we headed up to the Maine Highlands to spend some time at Moosehead Lake, near Greenville, Maine.
Where to Stay on a Maine Girls’ Trip
Note: Portions of our trip were hosted in partnership with Visit Maine. All opinions are our own. This post contains affiliate links and if you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no cost to you.
Maine is known as Vacationland and out-of-staters usually picture Maine’s idyllic seacoast or Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Yet Maine’s lakes and mountains region is a great spot to get away from it all and enjoy nature.
Moosehead Lake is the ideal destination to soak it all in. You have Maine’s largest lake, the 100-acre Wilderness, some of Maine’s top hikes, and – MOOSE (of course!)
The first choice on your Maine girls’ weekend is deciding where to stay. Do you want to “rough it” at an Appalachian Mountain Lodge cabin without electricity or a bathroom? Really rough it and tent camp? Or take the more luxurious option of staying in a nicely appointed lakeside cabin?
Gorman Chairback Lodge
If you want to go the semi-roughing it route, you can’t make a better choice than the private cabins at the Gorman Chairback Lodge, of the Appalachian Mountain Club lodges in Maine’s 100-Acre Wilderness. Some cabins have bathrooms, while others need to use the bathhouse at the lodge, and all cabins are equipped with propane-fueled lanterns.
[PRO TIP: the cabins by the lake don’t have bathrooms, request one closer to the lodge on the upper tier that has been recently renovated.]
The cabins are cute and cozy, located right on Long Pond, where you can watch the sunset over the water and lie in bed and listen to the call of the loons. If you stay on property, you can canoe along the three-mile long pond, swim, or paddleboard. Of course you are also located within a short walk or drive from some amazing hikes, like the Gulf Hagas trails.
Kim and I spent two nights at the Gorman Chairback Lodge and it is a great place to unplug and hang out, whether chatting with others that you meet at the family-style breakfasts and dinners, sitting around the nightly campfire, or talking and laughing in your cabin. Of course I couldn’t spend more than two nights running to the lodge for the bathroom in the middle of the night. So for a longer stay, I would recommend a vacation rental.
Moosehead Hills Cabins
You can stay at a nice hotel, like the Lodge at Moosehead Lake or Blair Hill Inn, or something more budget-oriented like the Moose Mountain Inn. However, when staying with friends, I always think it is great to rent a vacation home to have that shared space to hang out in together. Moosehead Hill Cabins offers plenty of options for families or friend groups – both on Moosehead Lake and the nearby Wilson Pond.
We spent a couple of nights at Loon Lower on Lower Wilson Pond (also known at Loon Lake.) This was a fantastic choice with access to the waterfront, kayaks to borrow, an outdoor grill and firepit, and plenty of space. It was so fun to cook dinner together, share a bottle of wine and lots of laughs.
What to do on a Girls’ Trip to Moosehead Lake
While it is absolutely divine to laze around a cabin in the woods and bask in the warmth of the summer sun, it is also nice to feel like you have earned the reward of a glass of wine at the end of the day. Personally, I always enjoy a girls’ trip with something physical paired with downtime.
I picked up Kim at the airport and we headed north to Greenville, but first I had to show her a few Maine icons. We stopped for lobster rolls and fried clams at Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, then stopped for photos at the gorgeous Portlandhead Light in Cape Elizabeth, before doing some shopping at L.L. Bean in Freeport.
Then, it was time to drive to Moosehead Lake. We had so many laughs driving along the gravel logging roads in Northern Maine, cooking shrimp scampi while drinking wine and jamming out to ’80s tunes, and scrambling up rocky trails while hiking.
If your friend group also enjoys outdoor adventure, work a few of these into your plans:
So if you like to be active, Moosehead Lake is your jam. Nearby, there are six of the best hikes in Maine that make up the Pinnacle Pursuit: Mount Kineo, Number Four Mountain, Whitecap Mountain, Eagle Rock, Big Moose Mountain, and Borestone Mountain. Hike all six for panoramic views from each corner of the Moosehead Lake region and receive a letter of participation as a registered member of the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit.
Little Mount Kineo
If you aren’t quite that ambitious, you can try the 1.5 mile-round trip Little Mount Kineo hike. The moderate difficulty rating is well-deserved at points, and the hike will take you about two hours if you give yourself time to take in the panoramic view at the summit.
Getting there is part of the adventure and requires some careful navigation through a network of gravel logging roads that crisscross northern Maine. Be sure to bring along lots of water and bug spray, snacks, and those hiking poles!
Gulf Hagas Area
Gulf Hagas is located in the 100-mile Wilderness, inside the Katahdin Iron Works Forest. The majority of the hike is a challenging rim trail, along with a more moderate to easy road trail through the woods. The entire hike is 8.5 miles round trip and would take a full day, but you can take a slightly shorter loop that is about 6 miles and takes around four hours with some rest stops.
The rim trail takes work but is incredibly satisfying when you complete it (and much deserving of a nice afternoon nap!) There are also great stops along the way at the swimming hole at Screw Auger Falls and overlooks at the Jaws gorge and Buttermilk Falls.
PRO TIP: this hike requires fording a river so check on current conditions and to bring water shoes to switch out with your hiking boots.
In the small town of Greenville at the foot of Moosehead Lake, you can meet up with Northwoods Outfitters for a moose safari. While they have found up to 15 moose during their tours, the average is closer to one to three. We fulfilled my dream and finally spotted a moose in the wild hanging out at Lazy Tom’s Bog, north of the town of Kokadjo.
PRO TIP: Lazy Tom’s Bog is a good spot to find moose on a self-driving moose search too!
From there we headed up to Lower Roach Pond and spent an hour silently canoeing around the lake looking for moose. We didn’t luck out but it was still beautiful out on the water in the early morning.
The Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway is a great scenic drive in Maine if you want to look for moose nearby. If you just want to explore on your own, head out in the early morning or evening and keep a sharp eye on the ditches along the side of the road. Especially in the spring, since moose like salt and will eat the grass that has soaked up the salt that is used on the roads.
Getting to Moosehead Lake
Greenville is the primary town near Moosehead Lake and it is located about three hours north of Portland. It makes a great road trip for anyone in New England, but you can also fly into Portland and combine it with a visit to this charming port city or a shopping expedition at the L.L. Bean Outlet in nearby Freeport.
If you are renting a cabin, I’d suggest bringing along some supplies because there is only a small grocery store in town and a handful of restaurant options.
Watch our Maine Girls’ Trip Highlights
What to Pack for a Maine Girls’ Getaway
- LOTS of bug spray. And one of the those mosquito nets that goes around your hat isn’t a bad idea if you are doing a lot of hikes in the woods.
- LAYERS – it gets cool in the evenings and mornings but don’t be surprised to find hot and humid temps in the summer.
- Hiking poles – seriously a life saver!
- Sturdy hiking boots and good, absorbent hiking socks
- Water shoes and flip flops for lake activities
- At least two refillable water bottles because you should always have extra water on hikes. Consider making one a Lifestraw bottle with built-in water filtration or a collapsible bottle that takes up less space when it is empty.