Don your favorite flannel shirt and kick back, soak up the Maine relaxed vibe, and enjoy a perfect weekend in Bangor.
Some information in this piece was obtained during a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.
Things To Do In Bangor
Bangor is a wonderful getaway spot where you can canoe a peaceful river in the morning, tour a famous author’s playground midday, and relax in the evening with an elegant, fine dining adventure.
Hirundo Wildlife Refuge
A stunning nature preserve covering 2,460 acres of protected streams, wetlands, and forests, Hirundo Wildlife Refuge offers activities to enjoy Maine’s natural beauty including hiking, canoeing, and nature-focused programming. Hirundo’s mission is to bring people and nature together to live in balance, to create stewardship, and to afford everyone who visits an opportunity to form a bond with nature.
The refuge has over 7 miles of trails through the wooded forests for hiking and snowshoeing in the winter. Its “Trail of the Senses” brings the woodland trail to life, offering a sensory experience for all, including mobility-impaired guests.
Set out on the Pushaw or Dead Stream for a peaceful paddle where birds, beavers, and fish work and play. You can travel on foot to explore the paths throughout the refuge. You are welcome to put your canoe or kayak into the water or you can join the free rental program run on Saturdays. Through donors, Hirundo offers a free equipment rental program where visitors can use the refuge’s canoes and kayaks. Voluntary donations for the rental program are encouraged and you must reserve your boat in advance.
Orono Bog Boardwalk
The Orono Bog Boardwalk, located in the Bangor City Forest, is an easy 1.5-mile loop. Navigating the level, raised walkway takes you through wetlands and a unique peat bog. When you enter the peat bog, the topography change is almost immediate. The trees give way to a low-growth area with unusual flowers that seem to pop up from a crater-like surface.
The Bog Walk is one of Bangor’s hidden treasures. The unique landscape engulfs you as you peacefully stroll along the walkway suspended over the terrain.
Note: there is a wide dirt trail from the parking lot that leads to the raised boardwalk. The trail is mostly flat and well maintained.
Enjoy a stroll along the Penobscot River over the Brewer Riverwalk. The paved, one-mile out-and-back path is perfect for an early morning power walk to start your day, or for a leisurely stroll after dinner.
The riverwalk twists and turns with the riverbed affording pretty views of Bangor. Lined with restaurants and flower gardens, coupled with ample free parking along the walkway makes this a popular spot with locals and visitors.
Stephen King Tour
Famed author Stephen King, master of the pen, calls Bangor his home. King’s fictional town of “Derry” is inspired by locations around Bangor and you can recognize these streets and buildings in many King films.
The best way to view all these King inspirations is with SK Tours. Owned by friends of the King family, SK Tours will drive you around Bangor while regaling you with fascinating stories of film crew mishaps, location sites, and characters that still walk the streets of the city. The three-hour tour crisscrosses the city where you can view actual sites that are written about in King’s works.
The tour culminates with a drive-by viewing of King’s home and his soon to be opened Writers Retreat.
Maine Troop Greeters
Bangor International Airport is more than just a commercial landing pad. It is the gateway to the United States for our troops on their return trip home. Beginning in 1991, a local group formed at the airport to honor soldiers returning from Operation Desert Storm.
These Maine Troop Greeters continue to greet our returning troops as they deplane. The greeters offer a friendly smile, a warm handshake, free cell phone use, and snacks to welcome our dedicated men and women back to the U.S.
As a token of appreciation, many troops present the Maine Troop Greeters Museum with a commemorative Challenge Coin. A Military Challenge Coin or Medallion is designed by- and for- a special unit. Soldiers carry these coins and many make theirs a donation to the museum. The Maine Troop Greeters’ Challenge Coin Collection is now an amazing 6,000 coins. These highly decorative coins are on display along the arrival ramp at the airport.
Parking is nominal, making this a must-stop, even if you are not flying out of Bangor.
Concert On The Waterfront
Outdoor summer concerts at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion bring people together for a magical night of music under the stars. With headliners like Kiss, Luke Bryant, and Thomas Rhett, you will experience energetic entertainers who put on a show-stopping performance.
Best Restaurants In Bangor
From truck stop diners to fine dining establishments, Bangor’s foodie scene is culinarily varied and over-the-top delicious.
Mason’s Brewing Company
Sitting along the Brewer Riverwalk is Mason’s Brewing Company, home to hip craft beers and delicious, not-your-average pub grub. It’s worth a visit just to fawn over the otherworldly, grim reaper graphic beer can labels. Hipster Apocalypse, a fruity American IPA, and the Ghost Reaper, a double IPA infused with ghost peppers, are just a few of its inventive and palate-pleasing craft brews.
The food is just as intriguing. Dirty Fries made with bacon, cilantro, and garlic is served with an array of sauces including bacon blue cheese, ghost pepper mayo, black garlic ranch, and others. The burgers and pizzas are killer. Try the Sweeter Mess Burger with smoked gouda, maple syrup, bacon, and pickled apple — Oh my!
From the moment you walk into Novio’s Bistro, you instinctively know you are in for a delightful culinary adventure. Featuring a prix fixe menu with an optional wine pairing, you are swept away by the chef’s delightful creations.
The evening’s festivities begin with several options, including Baked Maine Oysters with a glass of something fun and bubbly. The main course includes artfully prepared dishes like Pan Seared Scallops with a sweet corn risotto and roasted peppers, served with a perfectly chilled white wine. Selecting a sweet ending is always a challenge, but you won’t go wrong with the Trio of Chocolate Ravioli with raspberry sauce or the S’Mores Cheesecake with housemade marshmallow.
Paddy Murphy’s sits squarely in the center of historic downtown Bangor. A well-loved local haunt where townies and visitors can enjoy a casual, Irish bar atmosphere and delicious dining.
Fried Pickles, Poutine Pub Fries, and Paddy’s Irish Nachos are perfect patio dining options at Paddy Murphy’s when paired with your favorite libation for a fun luncheon outing. When you are in the mood for heartier fare, try the Open Reuben, Pub Cheese Pretzel Burger, or the Stout Braised Irish Bangers for a taste of the old country.
Dysart’s On Broadway
Dysart’s On Broadway is not your average truck stop. Yes, you can fill your car’s tank, but you can also fuel your body and soul with classic, downhome cooking. The dining room is bright and airy with a well-stocked bar and strategically hung flat screens. There is even a patio to enjoy the cool Maine evenings.
Dave’s Favorite Hash served with eggs or the Trucker’s Special, three eggs and a quarter pound of ham, will keep your motor running all day long. When dinner time rolls around and you are ready for a burger, tuck into the 5th Wheel Burger, a black angus burger with all the fixins’. A local favorite is the Bacon Cheese Burger Mac N Cheese; a plate full of ooey-gooey goodness.
Best Hotels In Bangor
Bangor is home to well-known, name-brand accommodations where you can rest your head after a long day of exploring. Additionally, you will find cozy inns and nature-focused campgrounds where you can relax.
Marriott TownePlace Suites
Affordable, trusted hotel chains are a good option when staying in Bangor. They offer all the amenities you desire, like the Marriott TownePlace Suites, which includes breakfast with your stay. The Marriott is located just outside the downtown area and close to everywhere you want to be in Bangor.
The Tarratine Inn
The Tarratine Inn on French Street is a cozy, boutique Inn in downtown Bangor. This is the place for your weekend getaway when you want to park your car and explore the local area on foot. The charming, well-appointed rooms envelop you in a relaxing Maine style.
Maine is, after all, the great outdoor vacationland. What better way to experience all the goodies Mother Nature has given Maine, than to camp out. The Bangor area offers three exceptional campground experiences.
Pumpkin Patch RV Resort in Hermon offers large, big-rig, pull-through sites so you can park your RV with ease. Family-friendly Paul Bunyan Campground offers tent and camper sites along with fun, family-focused activities. Pleasant Hill Campground in Hermon has tree-lined sites for campers and tents for a woodsy stay.
Pro Tip: You can fly directly into Bangor, or make it part of a coastal road trip getaway. Explore other gorgeous coastal Maine cities in Fantastic Stops On a Road Trip From Boston, Massachusetts to Bangor, Maine.