Nature plays the captivating diva in this unspoiled region of Maine , where lake after beautiful lake, mountain after mountain, and wood after clean-smelling wood are the manifestations of just what a showoff she can be. And man follows her cue: Thousands swarm every summer to the shores of Sebago Lake , to the slopes of Sunday River, and to the trails of the area’s many parks and nature preserves. And in every setting, there’s wildlife to be spotted—from moose and loons to trout and eagles.
None of which is to say the area is untouched by man. From the renowned music performances put on by Bates College and the festivals of Bethel  to the mill-turned-artist studios of Lewiston , activity continues in the area year-round.
Public transportation isn’t a huge priority in these woodsy areas, as most residents have cars. You are best off bringing one as well. To get to the Sebago Lake area from Portland , take U.S. Route 302 north to Bridgton (40 mi., 1 hr.), or Routes 25 and 114 north to Sebago (30 mi., 1 hr.). For Lewiston-Auburn , take I-95 north from Portland to exit 75, then drive north on Route 100 to the twin-city area (40 mi., 40 min.). For Bethel , head north up I-95 from Portland to exit 63, then north on Route 26 through the mountains (75 mi., 2 hrs.).
If you don’t have wheels of your own, call at least a day ahead to Bethel Express (Bethel, 207/824-4646). Their vans will arrange to pick you up or drop you off between Bethel’s Sunday River Ski Resort , its downtown, and Portland.