In the history of the U.S. highway system, one East Coast route stands out—especially for motorcycle riders. U.S. Highway 1 began as an “auto trail” in 1911, connecting Quebec with Miami. In 1926, the stretch of road from Calais, Maine, southward along the Atlantic was given the designation we know today—U.S. Highway 1 (US1). It’s the same US1 that’s familiar to any motorcycle rider who travels to Daytona Bike Week.
When the summer begins to swelter in the big cities of New England, the cool coast of Maine is a favorite escape from urban heat. Starting in Bath and heading north to Calais, US1 is the primary two-lane highway that provides access to Maine’s coast. From the Bath side of the Sagadahoc Bridge over the Kennebec River to Calais—which is along the Canada/U.S. border—it’s about a 230-mile ride. While it’s possible to make the long ride in a day with ample time to stop in a number of picturesque towns for shopping, meals, and gas, you could easily spend a week exploring the beauty and history of coastal Maine.
The Maine coastline is 3,478 miles long—that’s longer than the coast of California! It’s made up of rugged peninsulas accessible from roads that connect to US1 and is dotted with seaside villages and lighthouses. Towns like Boothbay Harbor, Bristol, Rockport, Camden, and Belfast are there to explore. Along the way, you can enjoy fresh lobster and seafood, or whale watch and enjoy coastal boating adventures.
Heading further north, you’re going “down east” as the locals call it. Here you’ll discover Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Take the scenic drive through the park and ride to the top of Cadillac Mountain. You can also visit Somes Sound, which is considered the only fjord on the East Coast. Heading further north, you leave most tourists behind and enter the beauty of rural coastal Maine.
New England Today Travel came up with a list of some of the best choices of what to see and do while you travel US1. They include:
Enjoy your exploration of America’s most northeast state. One visit and you’ll want to come back again.
Till next time, ride safe!
If you’re looking for more events and ride suggestions, check out our Events section.
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