NEOC: Your Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Adventures in Maine

Written by Lauren Whittier –

Updated March 12, 2024

Nestled in the heart of Maine, the New England Outdoor Center (NEOC) beckons adventure seekers to the recreation capital of the state. Whether you crave excitement or a quiet connection with nature, NEOC offers memorable activities during all four seasons of the year.

Maine’s Best® Highlights:

  • Snowy Adventures for All: Winter at NEOC

  • Rafting, Wildlife, Hiking, Fishing & More: Summer at NEOC

  • Dining & Drink Delights: Fuel Up for Adventure

  • Range of Lodging Options: Comfortable Choices

Snowy Adventures for All

When winter blankets NEOC in snow, the resort transforms into a haven for snow enthusiasts, offering an array of snowy adventures.

Snowmobiling: Trails of Thrills

Embark on a snowmobiling journey directly from your cabin door, exploring some of Maine’s best maintained trails. NEOC boasts the largest rental fleet in the state, featuring a variety of Ski-Doo snowmobiles to suit all preferences. Guided tours, led by experienced Registered Maine Guides, not only ensure safety but also promise an exhilarating ride through the snow-covered landscapes.

XC Skiing, Fat Tire Biking & Snowshoeing

Enjoy 16 miles of cross-country skiing trails, meticulously designed by Olympian John Morton. Whether you’re into the rhythmic glide of skiing, the rugged excitement of fat tire biking, or the serene exploration of snowshoeing, NEOC caters to all adventure levels. Each activity promises hours of outdoor bliss, immersing you in the breathtaking views of the Katahdin Region.

Ice Fishing the Frozen Lakes

Experience the popular winter pastime of ice fishing. Join a guided ice fishing excursion where all equipment, including augers, ice traps, bait, and more, is provided. If you prefer a more independent venture, bring your personal supplies and tools to enjoy the winter bounty of the lakes and ponds on your own.

Rafting, Wildlife, Hiking, Fishing & More

Explore the thrills of summer at NEOC with Penobscot River rafting, wildlife encounters on moose tours, guided hikes, and fishing adventures. Your season of excitement, exploration, and unforgettable moments begins here.

Rafting Rapids on the Penobscot

Brace yourself for an exhilarating adventure as you navigate over 11 named rapids ranging from Class I to V. The Penobscot River rafting experience is unlike any other, offering a unique blend of excitement and stunning scenery. Raft through the picturesque Ripogenus Gorge, catch awe-inspiring views of Mount Katahdin, and keep your eyes peeled for native Maine wildlife, including eagles.

Guided Wildlife Encounter Tours

Step into the natural habitat of Maine’s wildlife with NEOC’s scheduled moose and wildlife tours, departing twice daily. These three-hour tours provide a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of nature from a luxury pontoon boat or a comfortable air-conditioned van. These guided tours offer a memorable and educational wildlife experience that adds an extra layer of excitement to your summer retreat.

Guided Hikes in Nature’s Classroom

Embark on a guided half-day hike to Blueberry Ledges in Baxter State Park. This accessible four-mile round trip unveils the history of Baxter State Park, featuring beautiful landscapes and unique water features. NEOC’s passionate guides tailor each trip to your desires, creating an informative and enjoyable experience in the heart of nature’s classroom.

Fishing the Watershed Wonders

NEOC’s proximity to Northern Maine’s watersheds and the Penobscot River sets the stage for exceptional fishing adventures. Cast your line into some of the best Northeastern lakes, ponds, and rivers, targeting smallmouth bass, brook trout, and landlocked salmon. Whether you seek action-packed bass fishing or the tranquility of fly fishing, NEOC ensures a diverse range of fishing experiences catering to all preferences.

Dining & Drink Delights

Indulge in a culinary journey at NEOC, where delicious food and drinks are served against the backdrop of Mount Katahdin.

Diverse Dining at River Drivers Restaurant

The restaurant’s diverse menu is crafted with locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a culinary experience that complements the natural beauty that surrounds NEOC. Whether you’re a guest seeking a delightful meal or planning an event, the River Drivers Restaurant is a testament to NEOC’s commitment to hospitality, providing a perfect blend of exceptional cuisine and stunning vistas.

Craft Brews and Pizza at Knife Edge Brewing

This establishment offers a relaxed setting to enjoy Maine microbrews, craft beers, and mouthwatering wood-fired pizzas. At Knife Edge Brewing, the combination of high-quality brews and flavorsome pizzas creates a unique dining experience that perfectly complements the outdoor charm of the Katahdin Region.

Range of Lodging Options

When it comes to accommodations at NEOC, diversity is the key to meeting every guest’s needs. Whether you’re seeking a cozy lakeside cabin, a sustainable luxury lodge, or a spacious camp, NEOC offers an array of choices.

Cozy Lakeside Cabins

The rustic charm of lakeside cabins, nestled among the pines on Millinocket Lake, provides an intimate connection with nature. Wake up to the serene views of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest mountain, and relish the tranquility that defines the region.

Eco-Friendly Lodges

For those with a taste for eco-friendly luxury, NEOC’s lodges stand as a testament to environmentally thoughtful lodging. Immerse yourself in the comfort of these well-appointed accommodations, equipped with modern amenities, including wireless internet, a full kitchen, linens, towels, and coffee.

Campground Near the Park

Additionally, NEOC operates The Penobscot Outdoor Center, offering a campground situated on Pockwockamus Pond. The proximity to Baxter State Park, located just two miles away, positions NEOC as the closest campground to this natural wonder.

Maine’s Best® Official Qualification

NEOC proudly earns the designation of Maine’s Best for its exceptional year-round offerings. The center’s commitment to providing thrilling adventures and serene connections with nature in both winter and summer sets it apart.

From the excitement of snowmobiling trails and ice fishing excursions in winter to the enjoyment of rafting, wildlife encounters, and hiking in summer, NEOC promises an unforgettable Maine experience. The range of lodging options, from lakeside cabins to eco-friendly lodges, ensures that every guest finds the perfect retreat.

NEOC’s dedication to excellence in outdoor adventures and hospitality makes it truly Maine’s Best, providing guests with the ultimate guide to year-round outdoor exploration.