by | Jul 4, 2024 | Golf, Travel

Watching PGA pros struggling with the thick wired grass and freeway fast greens (rolling above 13 on the stimpmeter) in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst a few weeks back makes you wonder whether golf is really worth the torture. But we know it is. If you’re going to spend time outdoors during the summer time there may as well be some purpose to it. And golf is as much of a test against oneself than it is against the elements.

Golf travel is on our brain as we head into summer. And Maine is a great option if your search is for well-priced courses and variety.

Maine Travel 15

Maine coast

Maine travel: Public versus private courses

Maine juts right up into Canada and is parallel on the map to the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The state is rich not only in natural beauty, with its numerous lakes and rivers, lush forests, vibrant fall colours, but also its wildlife. We’ve talked about it before.

DownEast Acadia is the quintessential Maine experience, the eastern coastal region of the state, located northeast of Acadian National Park and Bar Harbor. That maritime history is baked right into the name: “DownEast” referred to the direction sailing ships would take from Boston, travelling downwind and eastward towards Maine. But what you probably didn’t know is it has a wealth of golf courses to go along with the natural beauty.


Barren View Golf Course

Public golf courses have several appealing aspects that make them attractive compared to private golf courses. The big advantage is the variety and availability, and when you have a destination as naturally beautiful as Maine, that lends itself to a bigger variety of landscapes and challenges.

With road trips more and more popular this summer, for the golf enthusiast, taking a drive to a location like Maine gives you opportunity to pack in more unique golf experiences. Plus public courses are more casual and relaxed, with less of the formality of their private brethren. And aren’t we all about the relaxation this summer, factoring in the nutty times we live in?


Castine Golf Club

Downeast Acadia’s Top 6 public golf courses

So you make the drive down to Maine, maybe down Coastal Highway U.S. 1, if you have the time, and you’re driving a luxury car ideally suited to long, summer drives. Those soulful experiences travellers are seeking are found in the fishing villages, the coastlines, the islands and forests, the charming small towns, the local farm-to-table cuisine, the overall natural beauty and tranquility.

Maine is known for its laid-back and unhurried lifestyle. The locals here embrace a relaxed pace of life. They prioritize quality time, nature, and simple pleasures. That slower rhythm can be infectious, encouraging visitors to slow down, let go of stress. Golf is a big part of that.

Here’s our fast six, the top public courses in Downeast Acadia to work into your summer road trip:

Situated in Jonesboro, on the coast of Maine, Barren View Golf Course is a true links course, nine holes that plays to 5,622 yards. Great for a casual stop for a quick round as part of the trip. No tee times needed. $15 for nine holes.



Kebo Valley Country Club

Another public course jewel on the rugged Maine coast line. An open links-style, nine-hole course, with stunning views of Flanders Bay, north of Sorrento, with a green fee Monday to Friday of just $25, $30 on the weekend. 2,675 yards from the blues, with two par fives in there.

St. Croix is another nine-hole offering to sample, in Calais, relaxed and friendly, with great views of the St. Croix River, and Divots Bar & Grill, the popular 19th hole food and beverage stop post round.


Bucksport is advertised as Maine’s longest nine hole golf course, 6,710 yards off the blues if you play the nine holes twice, with three par 5s, including a dead straight 587-yard 18th hole. So if you’ve shopped the new TaylorMade driver, or what’s new from Callaway, there’s plenty of opportunities to muscle a few drives out there. Get your golf fix and then go eat fresh east coast lobster for dinner!


Kebo Valley Country Club

Castine Golf Club is a nine-hole public course perched at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, a challenging, wonderfully maintained par 35 with stunning views of Castine Harbor and Blue Hill. $40 for nine holes, $60 for 18.

  • Kebo Valley Country Club (18 Hole) – 8th oldest golf club in the country and oldest in the state.
  • Website:
  • Town: Bar Harbor
  • Address: Eagle Lake Rd, Bar Harbor, ME, 04609
  • Phone Number: 207-288-3000

Kebo Valley Country Club (18 holes) is the oldest golf club in the state, eighth oldest in the country. Presidents and PGA champions have played here, and one of the greatest players of all time, Walter Hagen, called the signature 8th hole of the toughest par 4s he had ever played. $74 to play 18, $99 with a cart. As someone once said, Kebo is a haven amidst the hectic summer pace of Bar Harbour close by.

Hit it straight!

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