I always thought of puffins as being exotic birds, but come to find out they can be spotted off the coast of Maine each summer. In fact, more than 4,000 Atlantic puffins call the islands home in warmer weather before packing up their belongings (okay, they travel pretty light) and heading back out to sea.

Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Puffins have been visiting the islands for centuries, but they were nearly wiped out in the early 1900s. In response, The National Audubon Society started Project Puffin in 1973 in an attempt to restore the dwindling population. Thanks to their efforts, the puffins population has rebounded steadily.

According to TrailsUnblazed.com, you can go on puffin tours in the following locations. Each tour involves a boat ride, as the puffins only nest on islands off the coast.

The birds come ashore to breed towards the end of April and return to sea in late August, so the best months to go on a puffin cruise are June and July. Tours generally begin operating in late May and the season comes to an end in the middle of August. If you book a puffin tour in the height of their nesting season, you'll likely grab a glimpse of the goofy little guys, like these two chillin' on a rock on Petit Manan Island.

Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Rescue