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44.0515°N, 69.1277°W
South Thomaston, ME, USA

Maine is what we like to refer to as an intentional state. The eastern extremity of the United States, Maine isn't on the way to anywhere but Canada's Atlantic provinces. One does not simply pass through Maine on the way elsewhere – it's no Ohio or Tennessee or Oklahoma. But those who choose to go to Maine are rewarded for their decision. Whether you're hiking its remote forest trails, setting up camp on the shore of one of its seemingly infinite number of deep, clear "ponds," or exploring its rugged rocky Atlantic coastline, Maine is a natural wonderland not to be missed. Hopping from one small fishing village to another, we made our way up the coast from South Thomaston to Ellsworth on our way to Acadia National Park. Follow along as we eat too much lobster, avoid the crowds, and hit the backroads on a Round Trip to Maine.

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Stop One: South Thomaston, Maine

The population of this small fishing village is under 2,000 people, but it boasts some of the best lobstah spots you'll find in a state full of seafood options. Some spots are brimming with picturesque charm, others would more accurately be described as "shacks." But don't judge a lobster shack by its salt-crusted decor and structural stability. You're there for one reason and one reason alone: To sample the day's haul of decapod delicacies.

McLoons Lobster Shack

The most picturesque lobster shack in Maine, McLoons is perched on the coast overlooking the Gulf of Maine, punctuated by buoys and boats bobbing in the waves. Below the surface, the waters here are teeming with lobsters, which the local fishermen bring to market in daily. Order your fresh lobster or lobster roll from the small red shack, grab a picnic table, and wait patiently as they boil and prepare to order. Pro tip: McLoons is BYOB too, so be sure to pack a couple crisp beers or a nice rose for perfect pairing.

'Keag Store

It may not look like much, but this corner general store in South Thomaston is dishing out some of the best lobster rolls in the area. Their large portion is huge, with two giant hamburger buns, toasted and buttered, cradling mounds of lobster drenched in light mayo and butter. If you’re lobster-ed out, don’t miss the haddock chowder, a thin broth stew with more than enough fish and some potatoes!

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Waterman's Beach Lobster

This lobster deck is home to craft beer and fresh lobster. It's a bit off the beaten path, but that just means you're more likely to get a good seat as you watch the sunset colors spread over the water as the lobster boats return with their bounty.

Where to Stay in South Thomaston: Lobster Buoy Campground

Might be the best (if not the only) campground right along the water's edge in Maine. This family owned campground isn’t huge and we prefer it that way. Some of the spots have direct access to the water, but be advised: They don’t accept credit cards and hookups are only water and power.

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Things to do in South Thomaston (other than eating lobster)

This is one of the best places in America to stand up paddleboard and kayak. You can easily paddle out to multiple islands for a lunch picnic (and drum up a good appetite for dinner). Nearby Rockland is a larger town with restaurants and shopping. If live music's your thing, be sure to time your visit during the annual Blues Festival. And if you're traveling with pets, the Thomaston Dog Park is easy to find and just a 13-minute walk from the Lobster Buoy Campground.

Stop Two: Belfast, Maine

On your way up the coast to Ellsworth and Acadia is the village of Belfast, where you can get your fill of (yes, more) lobster at Young's Lobster Pound. If you've had your fill of lobster, no fear: Young's serves just about everything you can pull from the sea, from scallops to clams to crab and shrimp. Situated on a jetty overlooking the Penobscot Bay, a visit to Young's is as much about the experience as it is about the food. Bring your own beer or wine, pick your own lobster from their 30,000-gallon aquarium, and grab a table overlooking the water.

Stop Three: Ellsworth, Maine

The self-proclaimed "Gateway to Acadia," Ellsworth is a stone's throw from one of our most picturesque and remote National Parks. With a bounty of incredible eateries and brewpubs, Ellsworth has a growing reputation as the ideal Maine town. Breezy ocean views, lobster shacks, and wineries galore make this vacation town a destination that you may not want to leave.

Eat At Joe's/Fogtown Brewery

If you're lobstered out, you're in luck. Ellsworth is chock full of great spots to grab a bite. Eat At Joe's is a stationary food truck situated outside Fogtown Brewery. They serve up a varied menu of pub grub, and have vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. Order outside and they'll deliver your meal to the bar, where you can sip one of Fogtown's beers, brewed with Maine ingredients.

Flexit Cafe

Seems like all of Ellsworth grabs their morning joe and grub from Flexit. This hip coffee spot towards the top of town has a vibrant community feel. They offer fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, baked goods, a full breakfast menu and of course, coffee. The staff is so friendly that they're sure to make something custom if you ask. If your taste eschews coffee, ask if they'll make you one of their incredible, off-the-menu matcha lattes.

Provender Cocktail Bar

This cocktail bar almost feels out of place for a quaint, Yankee town. Dreamcatchers and bohemian style decor drape the windows, while the interior is filled with eclectic tchotchkes.

Riverside Cafe

No small town is complete without a traditional breakfast spot. At Riverside, you'll find a diner atmosphere with a modern twist, serving up all your early AM favorites.

Where to Stay in Ellsworth: Forest Ridge Campground

Located an easy 1.5 miles from downtown, this campground is set back off the road enough that you actually feel like you are camping in the forest. The spots are big, clean and pull-thru. Full hookups are available.

Onward to Acadia

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The unofficial Gateway to Acadia, Ellsworth is the last large town you'll pass on your way to the crown jewel of the Atlantic Coast. Just 25 minutes from Ellsworth, Acadia is close enough for a day trip if you're camping in Ellsworth. There is camping in Acadia, but coronavirus closures have upended many parks. Check their website for up-to-date information).

Acadia protects 125 miles of hiking trails, many miles of rocky shoreline, hundreds of bird and mammal species, and offers two beaches where you can swim. It's one of the most dog-friendly National Parks, but keep in mind pups must remain on leash. Acadia is also one of the most tick-prevalent areas in the country, so be sure to wear light clothing and hike in the middle of the trail if possible. Always check for ticks after outdoor activities.

It's also recommended that you print your passes before entering the park so it's easy to display them in your vehicle wherever you go.

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As Airstream travels the country in search of unique Round Trip destinations, we keep our eye out for dedicated craftspeople who are passionate about manufacturing quality products. Like like the hundreds of production associates who hand-make Airstream travel trailers and touring coaches in our Jackson Center, Ohio manufacturing facility, they are committed to their craft – and to living their dreams. These are their stories.

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