Mainahs, natives, love to poke fun at “folks from away” that choose to vacation in Maine - land of “lobstah in summah.” Perhaps it makes wintahs in Maine more bearable knowing soon the weathah will get bettah (see our guide to Maine accents)– but then we have to share our beautiful state with othahs from down south… south being anywhere below Kittery and the big bridge over the Piscataqua (say that three times).
Here are our 7 summer tips on how to spot a Maine tourist versus a local… like you actually needed a clue – ayuh!
- The outfits: Tourists typically wear flashy, not so matchy clothes - as if they packed in a rush, eager to hit the road and start their trip to Maine. bright beachy colored T-shirts with anything Maine placarded on themselves are a super sleuth clue. Socks with sandals, cruise ship sea pass lanyards around their necks, and swimsuits in town and restaurants are also notable get-noticed tourist getups.
- The walking red – sunburns are a “shore” sign of those from away. The cooked lobster look is like nature’s tattoo of a happy summer day at the beach or our on a boat, without proper SPF precautions. Nothing like a bright red sunburn to bring back to the office on Monday to show you were at the beach… but didn’t apply sunscreen cause you thought Maine was too far north for UVA UVB rays. Rookie move - but way to rock your Maine beach day without a care in the world.
- In Maine restaurants, anyone wearing a white plastic bib is likely a tourist about to crush into a crustacean. Locals don’t do the goofy lobster bibs, and don’t wear anything so fancy that it’s not going to survive a dribble of butter. See our guide - how to eat a Maine lobster.
- Cameras and Ipad photo taking is another certain tourist telltale. Mainers use their cell phones nowadays, yes technology has arrived at the north eastern most state even if it seems off the grid. We even have Wi-Fi and the world wide web, how bout them apples…
- Waiting in line for clams, lobster rolls, or ice cream…. that’s a tourist move. Mainers wait for no one and just don’t do the queue … after all you can walk right into those same businesses in spring, winter or fall without delay. And ice cream is still refreshing on below zero days. So if you see a line, that’s a sign that it’s a popular tourist spot – Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, great food, just gonna take a bit.
- The slow driver gawker stalkers…. If you drive out to The Nubble Light in York, Route 1, or Ocean Ave past Walkers Point in Kennebunkport – home to President George H W Bush in summer – you will likely encounter erratic slow swerving (ok- bad) driving. That’s a tourist taking pics, deciding whether it’s worth pulling over or debating his destination with the family like a scene from National Lampoon Vacation. Conversely, if you see an old pickup truck going wicked slow, that’s a local with no particular place to go or no rush in doing so.
- One exception to tourist spotting versus locals is shopping at the Beaner or the Trading Post - here you will see an equal blend of locals and vacationers. Yes, Mainers really do shop at LL Bean (its wicked good quality - guaranteed don’t you know), Kittery Trading Post (nice huntin’ stuff), also discount Maine outlets like Mardens and Reny’s… for wicked bahgains on everything from tarps to canned tomatoes, tools to tiki torches for summah pool pahties. You should definitely stop and shop these funny affordable entertaining unexpected stores. Don’t get caught sayin’ “ I should bought it when I say it at Mahden’s.”
Enjoy your vacation in Maine, see our favorite tour of the Maine coast, and our guide to Maine slang if you want to try and fit in with the local folks.
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