Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Fort Kent, ME

  • Published 2023/04/14

Nestled in the northernmost part of Aroostook County is Fort Kent, Maine.

It lies at the junction of St. John and Fish rivers with major industries including agriculture (mainly potatoes and forestry) and textiles.

Erected in 1839, the town served as an American border post throughout the Aroostook War and got its name from the then-governor of Maine, Edward Kent.

The fort itself was one of the strongholds constructed by the state along the John River’s southern banks and is the last one standing today.

This beautiful town is the northernmost point of Maine’s famous U.S. Route 1 and part of The St. John Valley.

It is rich with French Acadian history and culture, considering its location near the Canadian border.

Fort Kent is ideal for a different adventure, whether alone, with your loved ones, or with friends.

Discover the best things to do in Fort Kent, Maine.

Visit America’s First Mile

View of the beautiful signage of the America's First Mile

John Blottman / Shutterstock.com

Located on West Main Street is a monument that indicates the beginning of America’s longest north-south road.

U.S. Route 1 was developed in 1926 by integrating a matrix of regional highways into one solid national freeway.

It runs about 2,369 miles from Fort Kent as far south as Key West, Florida.

While it runs through most principal cities on the Eastern Seaboard, its longest and easternmost north-south highway consists of just one starting point.

Its marker is a granite monument to America’s First Mile.

You’ll find America’s First Mile in a symbolic plaza at the northern boundary of US Highway 1.

U.S. Route 1 is the easternmost course of the central north-south United States Highway System.

Look into the Past at Fort Kent State Historic Site

The Fort Kent State Historic Site features the Fort Kent Blockhouse, a must-see historic site in the city where admission is also free.

It’s a state-owned structure and the only specific barricade relating to the “Bloodless” Aroostook War of 1838-1839 and the border dispute between the US and the UK.

The blockhouse is a two-story structure with walls constructed of square-hewn cedar logs measuring more than 19 inches wide.

You’ll notice two cannon ports on the first floor and southern sides.

Eleven rifle ports are positioned on the eastern and western sides, and 15 are on the northern and southern sides.

The blockhouse’s interior at Fort Kent State Historic Site underwent slight renovations to install heating and plumbing and provide room for the museum displays.

Take a Hike along Fish River Falls Trail

If you’re looking for a brief but exciting hike, try Fish River Falls Trail in Fort Kent.

It’s a short trail heading from the grass airstrip at Airport Road’s end down to the River Falls on the Fish River.

Once you reach the falls, you’ll see a small network of trails that link the portage routes surrounding the falls with the access trail.

There’s a vast campsite and a picnic table adjacent to the falls, so you can have a great view of the Fish River Falls while having a great lunch or snack.

Fish River Trails is 0.8 miles long with a forest floor of dirt and grass and allows pets.

Drop in at First Mile Brewing Company

As the name implies, First Mile Brewing Company is on the first mile of US Route 1, nestled inside a transformed grain warehouse.

Located on Market St Suite 103, this brewing company started as a handful of home-brewing club members.

Its taproom features eight rotating taps, offering signature beer options corresponding to different palates and preferences.

It uses a four-barrel brewing system to create craft beer styles for everyone to enjoy.

If you love beer, don’t forget to drop by First Mile Brewing and taste their alcoholic beverage.

Take a Hike at St. John Valley Heritage Trail

St. John Valley Heritage Trail is an easy-to-moderate trail between St. Francis and Fort Kent and a rail-to-rail system in the former Fish River Railroad corridor.

The place was later appropriated by the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad, a rail line that conveyed passengers and goods throughout northern Maine long ago.

Adjoining the St. John River, this well-kept universal trail offers panoramic views of farmlands, forests, and marshes.

Pedestrians and recreational motorists (snowmobiles and ATVs) share this 17-mile excellent trail with speed limitations.

You can ski, snowshoe, mountain bike, walk, ride a horse, or hike on St. John Valley Heritage Trail with your friends, loved ones, and pets.

Watch the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race

Are you tired of watching the same old car or horse races?

At West Main Street, you can watch sled dogs rush to the finish line at the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race.

Witness the most arduous sled dog race in eastern America without a fee and cheer for your favorite team.

The three Can-Am Crown races (30, 100, and 250 miles) kick off at Main Street and finish at the Lonesome Pine ski lodge.

The Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race is the longest and highest-quality race in the eastern part of the US.

Have Fun at Lonesome Pine Trails

If you don’t have the gear or the experience, don’t worry because the rental shop at Lonesome Pine Trails has your back.

Aside from their reasonable rental rates, they likewise offer wax and sharpening services to visitors.

It offers snowmaking, a junior ski, and a dynamic ski program.

There’s also a lodge with a snack bar and a bar with a full range of services for adult use.

Lonesome Pine Trails has a rentable lodge for banquets to accommodate up to 200 guests.

Join the Annual Fort Kent International Muskie Fishing Derby

The Fort Kent International Muskie Derby Committee makes the Annual Fort Kent International Muskie Fishing Derby possible in collaboration with the Town of Fort Kent.

One of Northern America’s predominant freshwater sports fish challenges is muskie fishing, usually held at St. John River.

The river offers 225 miles of excellent habitat for muskies.

Enjoy fishing for muskies with your friends or loved ones and experience the thrill and joy of catching one or more.

Reel in a big catch and bring home your caught fish!

Aside from muskies, you can also catch large basses at the Annual Fort Kent International Muskie Fishing Derby, which has corresponding prizes.

Have a Tasty Treat at Ploye Festival

Is ploye something that you never heard of before?

If so, you could miss something good.

It’s a thin pancake made of buckwheat, usually served during the Ploye Festival held yearly at Dufour Street.

The festivity is generally celebrated together with the Muskie Fishing Derby.

It features eating contests, kid’s day, street dance, culture foods, and street bazaars.

Bring your family and appetite to the Ploye Festival and have a tasty treat you’ll never forget.

Visit Allagash View Farms

Once you see the trees and wreaths on this beautiful farm, you’ll wish that Christmas would come sooner.

If you want a gorgeous tree on Christmas, you should come and visit Allagash View Farms on Strip Road.

It’s a family-owned business run by the Voisine family, who ensures every customer will have Balsam fir trees, a Fraser Fir, and lovely wreaths a cut above the rest.

Today’s market offers Haskap, the newest superberry, a blue honeysuckle known as the “longevity and vision fruit” in Japan.

Allagash View Farms provides an exceptional product you’ll surely cherish, whether it’s Christmas or not.

Trek the Fort Kent Levee Trail

If you’re looking for an easy route, Fort Kent Levee Trail could be the best trail to try along with your dog.

This 3.4-km out-and-back trail takes an average of 41 minutes to finish and is excellent for walking and hiking with your dog.

The trail heads to Fish River Island bordering the banks of Saint John River, formerly known as Wolastoq, meaning “beautiful river.”

You’ll find accessible facilities on your way, including toilets, picnic tables and benches, and several parking lots.

Fort Kent Levee Trail also boasts beautiful and vibrant flowers and diverse wildlife, so bring your camera to take home some great pictures.

Explore the Fort Kent Riverside Trail System

Situated along Fish River, Fort Kent Riverside Trail System spirals through striking natural views and fascinating historical sites.

This more than three-mile-long recreation trail network is an easy to moderate hike; likewise, it is wheelchair accessible.

Wandering forests and moving past historical sites will leave you amazed.

You can go mountain biking and walk on this network of five trails with its character.

Fort Kent River Trail System consists of dirt, gravel, pavement, woodchips, grass, and snow-groomed route.

Show Off Your Skating Skills at Jalbert Park Skating Rink

Show your excellent skating skills not to brag but to inspire and motivate people of all ages.

You’ll find Jalbert Park Skating Rink located on Pleasant Street, a facility with a meeting area, snack bar, and a multi-purpose building with restrooms.

An outdoor ice skating rink has lights, a lighted multi-use athletic field, and two tennis courts.

Don’t worry if you don’t have ice skates or snow shoes because there are available for public use.

Jalbert Park Skating Rink provides an inexpensive, fun, and entertaining activity for the entire family.

Enjoy Water Activities at Fish River Scenic Byway Katahdin

If you want to experience different water activities, head straight to Fish River Scenic Byway on Route 11.

This 37-mile panoramic byway provides diverse opportunities for each local or visitor to enjoy.

Cherish the moment with friends or loved ones with snowmobiling, canoeing, fishing, and swimming, among others.

You’ll be fascinated by the sweeping views of Eagle Lake, Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest peak.

You will also see a kaleidoscope of wildflower meadows.

Most of the path is forested, where wildlife flourishes, including moose, brook trout, beaver, eagles, and landlocked salmon.

You can camp, fish, hike, hunt, snowmobile, and more at Fish River Scenic Byway.

The northern gateway is positioned at Fort Kent, where the blockhouse stood to protect its claim on the northern woods.

Discover the Northern Forest Canoe Trail

If you’re up for a thrilling adventure, you shouldn’t miss the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

This 700-mile water trail flows from Old Forge, New York, to Fort Kent, Maine, and spills across public and private lands.

It follows traditional travel directions used by guides, settlers, and Native Americans and is the longest inland water trail in the region.

This gorgeous trail has 23 rivers and streams, 59 lakes and ponds, 45 communities, and 65 portages.

Northern Forest Canoe Trail offers camping in an Adirondack Lean-to, paddling across the High Peaks Wilderness, and watching moose from the woods.

Final Thoughts

Do you want to go somewhere full of fun, adventure, and excitement?

Then, visit Fort Kent and discover everything in store for you and your family.

Never miss out on the best things to do at Fort Kent, Maine, that will keep you coming back for more.

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