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Maine might not have the best hang gliding spots in the country, but you can still take to the skies. These are the top gliding locations in the state.
A trip to the New England area may not typically be at the top of your list if you’re planning to go hang gliding, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good locations for you. That said, Maine is one of those states that really doesn’t have too many hang gliding companies or popular launch sites, but we’ve still come up with a list of the best. So where should you go hang gliding in Maine?
The best places to go hang gliding in Maine include Downeast Airsports, Spirit Soaring (Glider Soaring), Lookout Mountain, Mount Waldo, and Hawk Mountain. The closest flight training school with the best launch sites is Morningside Flight Park, located in New Hampshire.
If you're looking for a new and exciting way to see Maine, look no further than hang gliding. There are some amazing locations around the state that offer breathtaking views and an adrenaline rush like no other. In this article, we'll discuss the best hang gliding spots in Maine. We'll talk about the views from each spot, the average weather conditions in different seasons, and some of the other activities that are available nearby.
The only way to come up with a comprehensive list of where you should go hang gliding in a state like Maine is to take input from experts and enthusiasts who frequent the area. So through a combination of research, reading what others have said on forums, and looking into launch areas in the state, we’ve come up with this list of the best locations.
Can You Go Hang Gliding In Maine?
When you're searching for a good place to go hang gliding, there are a couple of things that are more important than others. Sure, you want there to be some other things to do nearby when you're not gliding and, of course, going somewhere that has instructors and/or tandem flights might be best for those with less experience. And we'll touch on all of that a bit later. But the two most important things for an awesome hang gliding experience are weather and views.
When it comes to weather, Maine is great for hang gliding for about 6-9 months out of the year. Late March through mid-October is typically the best time to go gliding in Maine as the temperatures are warmer and there is generally less chance of bad weather. But if you don't mind a little bit cooler temperatures, fall can be a great time to glide as well.
Just be aware that winter can get pretty cold in Maine and that there will likely be more snow and ice, which can make for some treacherous conditions.
As far as views go, Maine has no shortage of amazing places to see while you're gliding. The state has diverse landscapes, from mountains and forests to lakes and coastline. There are also seemingly endless fields with rolling hills, amazing colors, and beautiful sunsets. And let's not forget about the incredible views of some of the popular cities in Maine.
No matter where you go hang gliding in Maine, you're sure to have great views. But let's focus on the best!
Best Hang Gliding Companies And Launch Sites In Maine
Good weather? Maine isn't too bad most of the year. Good views? That's where Maine really shines. As far as places to launch and fly on your own, you'll have no trouble finding those in Maine. But when it comes to places you can go to take lessons, fly with instructors, and learn the basics of hang gliding, Maine might not be the best destination.
But let's get into it. We'll start by looking at a couple of companies in Maine that can get you up in the air and then we'll focus on where you should go to take to the skies on your own.
I have to say, Downeast Airsports came up multiple times in my research for the best hang gliding companies in Maine, but I can't actually find out anything about it that has to do with hang gliding. From what I have come up with, there's a Downeast Air in Maine that's actually a small airport that offers private charter services, rental cars, and more. But nothing about hang gliding jumps out at me.
Since it's a small airport and it keeps coming up on other hang gliding sites as being a top business in the state, my only guess is that it's an aerotowing site. This is one of the best ways to launch a hang glider, where you're attached to an airplane and towed up into the sky before being released. This helps you get to the perfect altitude for take-off without having to climb a mountain or find a very tall hill.
So, if you're looking for an aerotowing site in Maine, you might want to check out Downeast Air. I usually wouldn't include something like this in my list, but since it is listed multiple times on other reputable hang gliding sites, I didn't want to exclude it just in case I was missing something!
Spirit Soaring (Glider Soaring)
This is another bit of an odd one compared to what you'll find in most of the guides we've written for all of the other states, but that's largely due to the limited companies in Maine that are specific to hang gliding. Since Flight Notch is all about all types of gliding, however, I wanted to point out Spirit Soaring since it's one of the few glider plane companies I've come across in my days.
Glider planes, also known as sailplanes, are just another awesome way to get up into the air and see the earth from a different perspective. Although the experience is vastly different from hang gliding, it's still an amazing way to take to the skies and see some incredible views.
Spirit Soaring is a Maine-based company that offers glider plane rides one passenger at a time. This gives the pilot the ability to give you exactly the type of experience you're looking for, no matter if that's just a gentle gliding experience or something much more adrenaline-inducing.
If you just Google Spirit Soaring, you'll see that it says it's closed, but fear not! The company is not actually closed, and they're getting ready to head back out for the summer season here shortly!
Now that we talked about some of the companies in Maine (or lack thereof), let's shift gears and get into what you're probably really here: spots in Maine where you can go hang gliding on your own. Although the state isn't exactly abundant with companies and flight schools, there are actually a handful of great places to take off from and fly around. Up first is Lookout Mountain.
Lookout Mountain is located in the town of Orono and it's a pretty popular spot for all types of outdoor activities, not just hang gliding. In fact, if you Google Lookout Mountain Maine, one of the first things that come up is the University of Maine's Outdoor Adventure Center. But when it comes to hang gliding specifically, you'll be treated to some incredible views.
The views from Lookout Mountain are, in a word, breathtaking. You'll be able to see all of Orono down below as well as parts of the Penobscot River. You might even be able to see all the way to Acadia National Park if you go gliding when there aren't many clouds in the sky.
As for the weather, it's actually pretty good for most of the year. In the warmer months of the year, you'll have mild temperatures and low humidity, which is perfect for flying. And in the fall and winter, you'll still be able to fly a few days here and there as long as there isn't too much snow or ice on the ground. You don't want to get caught hang gliding in the middle of a snowstorm!
There are also some other fun things you can do in the area when you get finished hang gliding for the day. In the area, you can go hiking, camping, fishing, and more. And if you head into the city of Orono, you'll find even more things to do like visiting the University of Maine campus or checking out some of the local shops and restaurants.
Mountainous areas are going to be a theme here in Maine since, well, that's the kind of terrain you have to fly around in Maine! Next up on the list is Mount Waldo, located in Frankfurt in Waldo County. Mount Waldo is actually the highest point on the Penobscot Bay, which means you guessed it: you'll have some pretty incredible views while flying around.
You'll be able to see all of Frankfurt down below as well as some of the other small towns in Waldo County. And if you get up high enough, you might even be able to see all the way to Camden and Rockland. You'll have the mountains on one side and the bay and its waters on the other as you're flying high, so the views are pretty spectacular no matter where you look.
As for the weather, it's pretty similar to what you'll find at Lookout Mountain. In the warmer months, you'll have mild temperatures and light breezes. And in the colder months, you'll have crisp air and great visibility. So really, any time of year is a great time to fly around Mount Waldo as long as you're aware of the temperatures and you check the forecast before heading out.
If you're looking for other things to do in the area, you can always check out some of the hiking trails or head into town and explore Frankfurt. There's also a small airport nearby if you want to take a scenic flight or two in a small plane. And of course, there are always the beaches if you want to relax or do some swimming.
You guessed it, another Mountain. This time, we're talking about hang gliding around Hawk Mountain. Located in Waterford, Hawk Mountain is a great place to fly because it's relatively isolated. You won't have to worry about other people or obstacles getting in your way as you're flying around. The only other people you'll likely see are hikers checking out the rampant wild flowers, and maybe even other gliding enthusiasts.
And since it's located in Waterford, you can always head into town for a bite to eat or to explore some of the other attractions. But we'll get to that later.
First, let's talk about the views. Hawk Mountain is a great place to fly because it offers incredible views of the White Mountains. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mount Washington. And even on a cloudy day, the views are still stunning. You'll be surrounded by trees and wildlife as you glide around Hawk Mountain.
Now let's talk about the weather. The months from April through October are generally the best time to fly around Hawk Mountain. The temperatures are warm but not too hot, and the humidity is relatively low. Plus, you can usually find some good thermals while you're flying that will extend your flight and keep you up in the air for hours.
As mentioned above, there are also some other great things to do nearby when you get finished gliding for the day. If you're hankering for some adventure, you can always head into town and check out some of the shops or restaurants. Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, you can head out into the White Mountains and go hiking or camping.
Morningside Flight Park (in New Hampshire)
We're going to finish up this guide by actually stepping away from the state of Maine to talk about the nearest (and best) hang gliding school and flight park in the area: Morningside Flight Park. Even though this flight park is located in New Hampshire, we can't publish an article about hang gliding in the northeastern United States without talking about Morningside. In fact, you'll see this location come up in a few of our other articles, so you know it's worth checking out.
Morningside offers introductory lessons for both hang gliding and paragliding, with both types starting at $250 per person. On top of teaching you how to hang glide, this company also offers tandem gliding for just $199, so you can get a taste of what hang gliding is like before you decide to buy a glider of your own and take to the skies.
This company is not only good compared to others in the New England area, but it's also renowned as one of the best flight parks in the entire country. People come from all over to take lessons here and to test out their skills on the many different types of terrain that Morningside has to offer.
Morningside is located in Charlestown, New Hampshire, which is about an hour and a half away from Boston, MA and Portland, ME. If you're looking for a change of scenery from the hustle and bustle of city life, then this is the perfect place for you. There are plenty of hotels and Airbnbs in the area so you can stay for a weekend or even an entire week and never get bored.
In terms of what to do when you're not hang gliding, there are plenty of options. Morningside itself offers camping on site, which is my favorite thing to do here other than gliding. Nearby, you can also find hiking trails, waterfalls, and even some great spots for rock climbing.
So, there you have it! These are the best places to go hang gliding in Maine (and the surrounding area). While the list of companies in the state might not be as long as other states in the country, the incredible mountain views you can get from the launch sites we talked about above still make Maine a great place to go hang gliding. See you in the skies!