maine coast vs oregon coast

Maine Coast vs The Oregon Coast: Which is More Scenic?

I have been fortunate enough to have traveled through both the coastlines of Maine and Oregon and if you were to ask me which state is more beautiful, I’d probably tell you it’s Oregon and I would say that without even thinking much about it.

maine coast vs oregon coast

Despite being an east coast resident, you’d think I was a bit biased towards the coastal states near me, but the truth is when I got the chance to visit the west coast and travel across the Pacific Coastal Highway (twice), I literally went through all of the Oregon coast (my second time) and I had never seen anything like what I saw there.

Now this doesn’t mean that Maine’s coast is a joke. Not at all, in fact, it is quite stunning and I’ll share exactly which spots I checked out here.

Here are some comparison photos of Maine and Oregon’s coastlines:

maine coast vs oregon coast 2

And don’t worry, I have a lot more of them to share with you in this article!

My history of road trips through Maine and Oregon:

maine coast vs oregon coast 3

I have done 2 road trips around the Maine Coast so far:

As for Oregon, I have so far done 5 trips there so far:

  • The first was during my Pacific Northwest road trip.
  • Following that road trip, I began revisiting the Oregon Coast nearly every single year since, checking out new places and re exploring old spots I really liked.

Anyone who has visited both states will probably tell you this:

And that is that you should probably visit both states and decide for yourself which coastline is more suited to you, but I can tell you that both have a lot to offer for nature lovers like myself and you will not be disappointed by what both states have to offer in that regard!

If you agree or possibly disagree, let me know below! But let’s move on to comparing these beautiful states:

The similarities between Maine and Oregon’s coasts explained:

  • Much of the coastlines in both states have rocky nature, cliffs and sometimes mountains right in the ocean.
  • Both states are located in the northern ends of their respective coastlines. Oregon is northwest U.S. Maine is northeast U.S.
  • As you head more and more north in each coast, you’ll gradually see more rocky, mountainous nature, including on the coast.
  • There are numerous trails, hikes and scenic areas to see in both states.
  • Tourism wise, you have a ton of stuff and do in both states (boating, lighthouses, nature adventures, ect…).
  • Both places have a city called Portland and they are pretty close to their respective coasts.
  • Both states have amazing lighthouses on the coast to see (see the best lighthouses on the Oregon Coast, and I also have a list of the best lighthouses on the Maine Coast here as well).

maine coast vs oregon coast comparison 3

The “main” differences between Maine and Oregon’s coastlines explained:

  • Oregon has an official road which will take you right by the coast (Route 101). Maine doesn’t have this kind of road.
  • You will likely get more value from a road trip through Oregon than you will through Maine because of the 101 road.
  • Oregon has more exotic nature in that the nature is more diverse and the mountains are bigger on the coast.
  • I argue the nature in Oregon is more scenic and beautiful than in Maine (even though Maine is awesome).
  • Some would argue that Maine’s sunsets are more beautiful than in Oregon. I think it’s similar.
  • Seasonally, you’d probably get more out of Oregon’s coast. It’s less cold there during the winter and less warm there during the summer than in Maine.

The most scenic spots in Maine’s coast worth seeing:

  • Acadia National Park is a must. It’ll probably have you see the most beautiful of Maine’s coast there.
  • East of Portland is also worth seeing.
  • If you wish to travel further northeast and hit up Canada, then you can check out Bay of Fundy and see even more beautiful nature there.

The most scenic spots on the Oregon Coast worth seeing:

comparing the maine and oregon coastline 07

My thoughts on which state’s coast is better:

As I said before, I’m going with Oregon personally and if you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear from you below.

But of course if you live in places like New York City or are visiting the east coast states (the northern ones) and want to see nice coastal places, of course Maine is well worth visiting.

Maine and Oregon also have a lot of hiking trails to explore too:

In Maine, Acadia National Park will present a ton of opportunities and as for Oregon, well that’s just 100’s of miles worth of opportunities of explorations and potentially amazing adventures (see my Oregon Coast post above). And in general, you’ll be able to find tons of hikes using this guide to how I find easy hikes near me.

What about California’s coast? How does it compare?

I actually compared California’s Coast to Oregon’s Coast awhile back and I slightly give the edge to Oregon still, but if you were to ask me how Cali’s coast compares to Maine, I’d give a slight edge to California (here are 10 spots to explore on California’s Coast), simply because there is so much more of it.

California’s coast stretches for over 800 miles and there is so much diverse nature across that region, from flat beaches, to mountains on the coast, and then we have places like the Redwood National Park area. All of that really makes for a lot of exploring there if you’re interested in something like that.

Other coastal spots (Washington, Minnesota) and how they compare:

With Maine, you have more specific regions which have the more beautiful spots to see. And I would say the same thing if you asked me about the Washington Coast as well as the Minnesota North Shore too. But of course, the best thing to do is see all of these states and decide that for yourself.

The United States has so many beautiful places to explore, not just on the coast and it really doesn’t take a lot of research to make a list of places to visit in this beautiful country.

That’s just my opinion and once again, I’d love to hear yours regarding this stuff!

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  1. We have never been to Maine, but I heard it’s beautiful. We’re very proud of our Oregon Coast, all 400 miles, especially the central coast, Lincoln City and the Town of Newport.

    1. South Portland is East of Portland. Not sure why the New England coastline wasn’t just put together north of Boston. North Shore, NH, Southern Maine and Down East all have a lot in common while being distinct.

      There’s a big difference between Rockport, Plum Island, Rye, Portland, and Belfast. Maybe it is my New England bias showing here, but there is so much to the New England coastline, not to mention the proximity of the coast to the White mountains in NH.

      1. Hi Jeremy thanks for mentioning these key details. I’ll be honest, my experience exploring the New England coast isn’t as vast as the west coast, despite being a NYC resident. I have explore Boston and some parts of the New Hampshire coast as a little bit of Bar Harbor in Acadia and I’ve also been to the White Mountains too but not enough to write enough of a detailed post on what to see in these places, so I kept the comparisons here to what I know is out there, but your suggestions absolutely make me want to explore more of this, and more importantly distinguish the differences in each post. Maybe I’ll do an entire things to see on the New England coast post, but I like to keep it specific to a specific region.

        If you have any specific hikes or specific coastline spots you would recommend I or others reading should check out, I’m all ears!

  2. I just moved back to NY from Oregon, and I agree.

    The Oregon Coast has an edge or two up on California. I have driven the 101 from Mexico to Cape Flattery in Washington (CA was done in several years).

    I keep looking for photos of Maine to compare to Oregon, and some are very similar.

    As soon as I stop visiting CA, I’m going to Maine, and of course Acadia.

    The thing I noticed about Maine Coast is that it’s more crowded than OR, but Acadia is supposed to do that.

    Super glad I found your blog.


    1. Hi Melissa, thank you for sharing that. I’ll certainly be adding my own photos of the Maine coast the next time I visit there. Acadia is definitely a must visit for sure there but I’m probably going to wait until the crowded season lessens first. As for California, there’s lots to explore too and it’s the longest state coast for that. But the Washington Coast too is worth seeing and I know you mentioned Cape Flattery (it’s beautiful), but there’s also a lot of other things to see there too.

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