Just an hour northeast of America’s popular Acadia National Park is the charming city of Bangor. Whether you’re visiting Maine for fall leaves, braving the winter snow, or enjoying the mild summer, there are plenty of things to do in Bangor that won’t cost you anything.
Chamberlain Freedom Park
Located in Brewer, Maine, less than a mile outside of Bangor, visitors can find a lesser-known chapter of Civil War history. Brigadier General Joshua Chamberlain may not be a name that you have heard, but he was a hero of the war nonetheless.
Before joining the Union army, Chamberlain was a local college professor. In the military, he quickly rose through the ranks, and he was even awarded the Medal of Honor in the Battle of Gettysburg.
After the war, he became the state’s 32nd governor, and then as president of Bowdoin College, his former school. Chamberlain Freedom Park is home to his memorial statue, located across from his old house.
Also present at the park is North to Freedom, the state’s only statue commemorating the efforts of the Underground Railroad. Maine participated in the Underground Railroad; the park is the former home of the Holyoke House, the residence of abolitionist John Holyoke.
Paul Bunyan Statue
You know you’re larger than life when multiple cities claim to be your hometown. However, even if Bangor isn’t the original home of Paul Bunyan, it at least is home to the largest statue of everyone’s favorite folk hero.
When talking about tall tales, bigger is always better. The Paul Bunyan statue stands more than 31 feet tall and weighs 3,700 pounds. This possible life-sized statue can withstand winds up to 110 MPH, making it almost as stout as the real legend.
The statue can be seen in all of its glory at Bass Park, in front of the Bangor Civic Center. Although his big blue ox isn’t present, this folk hero shouldn’t be missed.
Mount Hope Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery is a beautiful, historic find. More than 300 acres of peaceful Maine vegetation and quiet monuments can be found seemingly everywhere.
Mount Hope is the final resting place of many prominent figures in Maine’s history. It is the oldest garden cemetery, being over 182 years old. It is also the nation’s second largest garden cemetery.
Mount Hope Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of the many who are buried here, prominent memorials can be found from many wars, including the Korean War, Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and more.
One thing to note is that this is a functioning cemetery with strict visitation rules. Going here should not be treated as a tourist attraction, especially if a ceremony is being performed.
Bangor City Forest, Orno Bog Walk
The boardwalk stretches 4,200 feet and takes visitors across 600 acres of partially protected bogland. The park is home to many different species, some of which only live in bogs. Depending on when you visit, you may catch a glimpse of a black bear, robin, red-winged blackbird, as well as amphibians and reptiles.
The entire boardwalk can take as long as two hours to complete, and there won’t be any facilities along the way. Unfortunately, animals and sporting equipment aren’t allowed as it’s only about four feet wide. The walkways are wheelchair accessible, and the operating hours change seasonally.
University of Maine Museum of Art
Is there anything better than art you can see for free? Only a lot of great, original pieces under one roof.
The University of Maine Museum of Art is home to more than 3,800 pieces, rotating exhibitions, and more. Here, the emphasis is on displaying original pieces, as well as historically relevant offerings.
You could spend an entire afternoon walking through this impressive display. Modern, contemporary, and historical pieces are shown. Most are by local and national artists.
Some of the past, and present, artists on display are well known, such as Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. Others are prominent artists from the state itself.
Admission is free, and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.