Rejoice for spring! The piles of snow are beginning to recede, it’s still light out when we leave the office, and it’s warm-ish enough to be outside comfortably without mittens (most of the time, anyway). These things make us want to be outside (or at least out of the house) a lot more.
Between the mud runs and the bike rides, the nature walks and the glow-in-the-dark yoga, there are plenty of things to keep you busy until summer arrives.
Active things to do this spring in Maine
April 14. Sunday River. Free
Sunday River is putting that melting snow to good us with the annual Pond-A-Palooza pond-skimming event. It’s spring skiing tradition – and it’s free to compete. Registration is open 9-10:30 a.m. the day of the event, and the competition begins at 11 a.m. Costumes are encouraged, winners get prizes, and spectating is also welcome.
More pond skimming at Sugarloaf April 21.
April 15. Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson. $25 adults, $30 families, $5 youth and students
It’s a combination of trail running and air rifle target shooting (don’t worry, you’ll get safety training on the rifles before the race). The trail loop is approximately three-quarters of a mile; racers will alternate shooting and running. Be prepared for muddy, sloppy trails—but that’s part of the fun! Teams are an option and creative costumes are encouraged – the best ones will receive awards at the post-race ceremony. After the race, there will be vegetarian chili, hot chocolate and cider. Midcoast Conservancy will have its fat tire bike fleet at the Nature Center as well, for anyone who would like to take one for a spin on the trails.
Thomas College Dirty Dog Mud Run
April 15. Thomas College, Waterville. $45, $5 “Mud Puppy Run”
This 5K features 12-15 obstacles (like mud, cargo nets, mud, tire pulls) and multiple mud pits. Also: wall climbs, bucket carries, and hills. Costumes encouraged. It’s a family friendly day, and there will be a mini obstacle course open to children up to age 10. New this year: the open to compete in the lap race, which runs from 8:45 a.m. to noon. How many laps can you squeeze in?
Fleet Feet Run Club
Starting on April 2 (Brunswick) and April 3 (Portland). Fleet Feet Sports Maine Running in Brunswick and Portland. Free
Some runners run outside all year long. But we fair weather runners (ahem, jog-walkers) wait until most of the snow is gone. Sometimes longer. But alas, it’s spring! Time to get back to it with a little help from Fleet Feet’s Run Club. You’ll get coached, guided and you’ll make friends with fellow runners who’ll totally know if you skip a week. The Portland group meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. The Brunswick group meets Mondays and Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m.
Bud Light Reggae Festival
April 12-15. Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley
There will be spring skiing, of course. But it’s really about the four days of music and non-stop parties at the base of the mountain. Catch headliners indoors and out, with festivities on the beach and reggae music everywhere.
Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race
April 21. Kenduskeag Stream, Kenduskeag. $35 in advance. $50 day of
This 16.5 mile race begins in the Town of Kenduskeag and ends near the confluence of the Penobscot River in downtown Bangor. Bring your canoe, your best costume, and a sense of adventure.
Free park entrance day at Acadia National Park
April 21. Acadia National Park. Free
It’s National Park Week, which means free admission into Acadia National Park, at least the first day. You might recall that the National Park Service cut the number of free entrance days for this year for many of the country’s national parks, including Acadia. But at least there are still a few opportunities to hike, walk, and bike – no charge!
Urban Runoff 5K
April 21. Deering High School, Portland. $25, $3o on race day
You can run off all those tacos you ate this winter and help support clean water education programs during the annual Runoff 5K. A perfect race for Earth Day. The course weaves through quiet suburban neighborhoods and follows the Forest City Trail, part of the Portland Trails system, for about a mile. Afterward, hit the Green Neighbor Family Fest for hands-on activities about water and learn steps to becoming a green neighbor.
May 5. University of Southern Maine, Gorham. $30.
Technically, you’ll be engaging in physical fitness. But the the glow-in-the-dark paint, the black lights, the loud music, and the room full of fellow yogis, it’ll feel more like a yoga party. This is the second year for this event, and this year includes two different styles of yoga: flow/buti yoga and restorative yoga. Before the yoga, hit a paint station to paint yourself up. No yoga experience is necessary.
Hobbs Pond Kayaking Adventure
May 5. Hobbs Pond, Norway. Free
Join Stephens Memorial Hospital and Western Foothills Land Trust for a two-hour excursion on Hobbs Pond, also knows as Little Pennessewassee. Experience the natural beauty, the tranquility and peacefulness of gliding on the water while kayaking and looking for Painted Turtles along the way. Make sure to bring water, a snack, sun block, a hat and proper footwear.
Guided Bog Walk
May 11. Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson. $5 donation
Take a walk along the margins of the bog and on the 220-foot boardwalk extending into the heart of the wetlands, which have been forming for over millions of years. There might be a rare yellow-bellied flycatcher spotting, too. (That’s either a bird or my uncle is back in town.) It’s an easy walk – 10 minutes each way – and you’ll be guided by Hildy Ellis, coordinator at Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District.
Stars and Planet Hike up Streaked Mountain
May 18. Streaked Mountain, Buckfield (meet at Ripley Medical Building Parking Lot to carpool). Free
Join this group hike up Streaked Mountain to watch the sun set. Bring your flashlight, headlamps, and sense of adventure. Then stay for a night of star and planet gazing with local experts Tom Hoffelder and Josh Davis who will have their telescopes ready and waiting. Roasted marshmallows and star-charts included.
Fly Rod Crosby Days
May 18-20. Fox Carlton Pond Sporting Camps, Phillips.
Celebrate one of Maine’s most badass outdoors people: Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby. She was the first registered Maine guide, an avid outdoorswoman, and outdoors writer. The weekend of events includes fly tying, fly fishing, guided hikes, map & compass courses, and more.
Bike to the Breweries
May 19. Starts at Encyclepedia, Portland. Free to ride with your own bike (buy your own beer)
It’s a leisurely bike ride around Portland, going from brewery to brewery to enjoy a beer, socialize, and celebrate spring. Depending on the mood of the group, the ride may also head over the bridge to South Portland.
Goat Yoga Adventure
May 20. Lone Spruce Farm, Dedham. $40
We’ll meet up at the farm for a wonderful tour of the grounds, and adventurers will get to the know the goats during a yoga practice in the grass. (Springtime means there will be baby goats!) It’s likely you’ll be distracted by a goat or two, but that’s part of the fun. Afterward, enjoy a delicious vegetarian meal of salad, bread, cheese, and chocolate before heading out onto the trails to explore the farm and relax beside a creek.
Mutt Strut 5K
May 26. Kennebec River Rail Trail, Augusta. $25 run/walk, $30 run/walk with dog! ($30, $35 with dog day of)
You know who loves to run and walk? Your dog! Bring your four-legged-BFF to the Mutt Strut 5K. All funds raised go directly to support more than 2,000 animals that find their way to the Kennebec Valley Humane Society annually, and all dog registrations will include a Mutt Strut collar bandana for your dog. All dogs are welcome. The race will also include a pre-race warm-up and a variety of services by local vendors before and after the race.
Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival
May 26-27. Pineland Farms, New Gloucester.
There will be trail running galore all weekend (1km Kids’ race, 5km Canicross (dog+runner), 5k Trail Race, and 10km on Saturday and 25km, 50km, and 50-mile races on Sunday). But it’s also very much about the trail running camaraderie and celebration. The festival includes plenty of beer drinking, BBQ (veggie friendly), pot-luck dishes, desserts, eclectic music performances, and fun family activities.
Sunset Kayak Tour
May 26 (and so many other days this spring & summer). Portland Paddle, East End, Portland.$40
Spring is grand because we can loiter outside for hours and not worry about frostbite or the sun setting at 2 p.m. And spring is grand because SUNSET PADDLES. Portland Paddle opens for the season mid-May, so get your paddle arms ready and book a sunset tour in Casco Bay. Why? Because you can. And be sure to check out all the lessons, tours, and overnights throughout the season, too!
Dynamic Dirt Challenge & Family Fest
June 2. Pineland Farms, New Gloucester. $60-$70 (Dynamic Dirt Challenge), $25-$50 (Family Fest)
This 4+ mile obstacle course will certainly challenge you. It’s split into three categories – one for competitive racers, one for casual participants who are equally focused on coming up with cool team theme costumes and the finish line (but really it’s mostly about the costumes), and a family category, which competes on a shorter course. After the obstacle course, you will be rewarded at the finish line with food trucks, beer and great music.
Maine Women’s Ride
June 10. Starts from L.L. Bean, Freeport. $35-$60
Ladies! All the ladies. Choose between the 10, 25, 50 or 62-mile option for this women-only ride through purty Freeport. Cyclists of all abilities take part in this welcoming ride. There are plenty of pit stops along the way to take a breather, refill your water bottle, and snag a few Fig Newtons. And afterward, hang out in LL Bean’s Discovery Park any enjoy food, yoga, live music, massages, and more.
Trek Across Maine
June 15-17. ACROSS MAINE. $65 registration fee, plus $550 fundraising minimum
Some call it the Snack Across Maine (because the food, it is aplenty!), and while that’s definitely a perk, this 3-day 180-mile ride from Sunday River to the sea is worth it for the incredible scenery, camaraderie, and the big dough it raises for the American Lung Association. It’s one of the most well-organized events, and the experience keeps some riders returning year after year. That says something. If you can’t swing the 3-day ride, there’s a 2-day option, too.
Sailors and Sirens 5K
June 16. Start and End at Pilot House and Boatyard in Kennebunk. $25
Dress up like a sailor, pirate or mermaid (hopefully with a tail designed for mobility) for this inaugural 5K in Kennebunk. The race starts and ends on the grounds of the Pilot House and Boatyard in Kennebunk. Wind though the back of the Franciscan Monastery and down Beach Avenue to the waterfront and run in the sand toward character photo stops. (Don’t you love it when races build-in photo opp stops? I do.) There will also be a 1K kids run loop on the grounds of the Pilot House Boatyard.
Summer Solstice Donation Yoga at Bug Light
June 21. Bug Light Park, South Portland. $5-$15 suggested donation
What better way to say hello to summer than with an evening in the park doing sun salutations. Kelly Rich will lead this donation yoga practice at Bug Light Park, which will include meditation, a warm up, 30-40 minutes of sun salutations, and an extended savasana and guided meditation.