What to See and Do in Midcoast Maine
No matter what the season, the sea plays an integral part in the region's activities and attractions.
Maine's windjammer fleet offers families the opportunity to embark on multiday sailing adventures. If you can't take the time for a full-blown windjammer cruise, there are several other boat excursions that will allow you to see Midcoast Maine from the water.
Balmy Day Cruises
Pier 8, Commercial Street, Boothbay Harbor
Board one of this cruise company's boats for a scenic harbor tour, a mackerel fishing trip, a sailing jaunt, or a journey to Monhegan Island, where you can spend a day hiking, picnicking, and visiting art galleries and a lighthouse.
Bugeye Schooner Jenny Norman
Harbor Park, Rockland
Join Captains Mike and Julie Rogers for a relaxing, two-hour scenic sail aboard the two-masted bugeye schooner
Captain Jack Lobster Boat Adventure
Middle Pier, Rockland
Captain Steve Hale named his lobster boat after his grandson, who frequently accompanies groups on these 1¼-hour adventures that are fun even for preschoolers. Just be sure to visit a restroom before departing, as there are no facilities on board. For a real treat, purchase the lobsters you see hauled up in Captain Steve's traps; they don't get any fresher! Or make arrangements in advance to enjoy a complete lobster lunch or dinner on the boat as you tour Rockland Harbor.
RAINY DAY FUN
At the Project Puffin Visitor Center (311 Main Street, Rockland, 207-596-5566 or 877-4-PUFFIN,
Lively Lady Too
Bay View Landing Wharf, Camden
Maine Windjammer Cruises
Ever dreamed of being part of the crew aboard a tall ship? The twelve schooners that are members of the Maine Windjammer Association make that dream a reality for hundreds of folks during the sailing season each year. Actually, you can do as much or as little as you like. These tall ships depart from Camden and Rockland in Midcoast Maine from late May to mid-October for three-to six-day excursions that include all meals. Because the ships sail in protected inlets for the most part, you're not likely to get seasick. Be forewarned, though, that there are no electrical outlets and only a few hot showers on board. Each ship has specific policies regarding children on board; some welcome children as young as five or six, while others only allow older children to sail.
Camden Public Landing, Camden
For a sampling of windjamming, this 1918 tall ship offers two-hour sightseeing sails. Passengers must be at least twelve years old.
Museums, Lights, and Historic Sites
The history of Midcoast Maine is kept alive, not only inside museum walls but through the preservation of picturesque coastal structures. Visit one or more of these historic attractions for insight into life along the seacoast and a chance to “meet” some remarkable Mainers.
Boothbay Railway Village
586 Wiscasset Road / Route 27, Boothbay
Chug on over to Boothbay Railway Village, and ride a vintage train through a re-created, turn-of-the-century New England village featuring twenty-eight historic buildings. This attraction is open from Memorial Day weekend through late October.
Farnsworth Art Museum
16 Museum Street, Rockland
The Farnsworth Art Museum is one of Maine's premier art habitats. Home to six galleries, plus the Jamien Morehouse Wing, the Farnsworth Homestead, a great museum shop, and the Wyeth Center featuring the works of Maine's painting dynasty — N. C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth — you could easily spend a day here. The museum is open daily Memorial Day through Columbus Day and Tuesday through Sunday the remainder of the year. Admission to the Homestead, the Victorian-era residence of the Farnsworth family, is included between Memorial Day and Columbus Day.
Maine Lighthouse Museum
One Park Drive, Rockland
Open year-round — daily in season and Thursdays through Saturdays in the winter and early spring — this repository for lighthouse and Coast Guard artifacts is an interesting place to learn about the mechanics of lighthouse lenses, as well as to discover the history of some of the state's most notable lights.
Maine Maritime Museum
243 Washington Street, Bath
Located on the site of a nineteenth-century shipyard, this museum is a good place to become acquainted with the state's seafaring history. It features paintings, models, artifacts, and exhibits related to maritime technology and life at sea. The museum is open daily year-round.
Pemaquid Point Light
Pemaquid Point Road, Bristol
Plan a scenic drive to the end of Route 130, where you'll find Pemaquid Point Light, originally constructed in 1827 and rebuilt in 1835. This photogenic beacon remains an active aid to navigation.
Penobscot Marine Museum
Route 1 and Church Street, Searsport
Explore eight historic fishing village buildings, which house collections of watercraft, marine art, and artifacts. The museum is open daily May through October. During the summer, the Peapod, a children's room in the museum's Education Center, features hands-on activities for young visitors.
Rockland Breakwater Light
Samoset Road, Rockland
You'll need to watch your step, but you won't be able to beat the views as you stroll along the breakwater that leads to this lovely lighthouse. Completed in 1901, the breakwater required more than 750,000 tons of stone and cost more than $850,000 to build. Open houses are held at the lighthouse on weekends from late May through mid-October.
Whether you're looking for a place to swim at the peak of Maine's heat or a stretch of sand that's quiet and serene in the off-season, here are some places for outdoor recreation.
Popham Beach State Park
10 Perkins Farm Lane, Phippsburg
Popham Beach is a good “day at the beach” destination, the surf is rather vigorous for young children. The park is open mid-April through October, and lifeguards are on duty during the summer months. Day-use fees are charged.
Little animal lovers will enjoy a visit to Winters Gone Farm (245 Alna Road, Wiscasset, 207-882-9191 or 800-645-0188,
Reid State Park
Seguinland Road, Georgetown
Reid State Park has the distinction of being Maine's first state-owned saltwater beach, thanks to the generosity of land donor Walter E. Reid. You'll find three lovely beaches at this ocean-side destination, a favorite spot for birding, hiking, swimming, biking, saltwater fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. There is an admission charge.
Wiscasset and Boothbay Harbor are picturesque shopping villages where you can explore streets clustered with antique purveyors, galleries, and curiosity shops. If you'd like to support the work of Maine artisans and food producers, you'll also find many galleries and shops.
Art of the Sea Gallery
Route 73, South Thomaston
Housed within a former post office, this gallery displays diverse works of marine art including paintings, photographs, scrimshaw, nautical instruments, and ship models.
Cellardoor Winery & Vineyards
367 Youngtown Road, Lincolnville
Maine's oldest vineyard offers tastings and wine sales from mid May through mid-October.
Route 127, Georgetown
207-371-2190 or 866-936-7687
This pottery maker's studio and showroom on the island of Georgetown showcases its distinctive line of functional and decorative pieces handcrafted and hand-painted in Maine.
Route 1, Rockport
Take home maple syrup and other maple products and specialty foods made in Maine from this company, which has been sugaring since 1976. They also have a retail outlet on Bayview Street in Camden.
33 and 48–54 Main Street, Damariscotta
This chain of Maine discounters was founded in 1949. Visit the original bargain store, with outlets on both sides of Main Street — one for clothing and one for everything else.
Sheepscot River Pottery
34 Route 1, Edgecomb
Visit the studio and headquarters of this creator of original, hand-painted pottery pieces featuring uniquely Maine designs. The retail store is open daily year-round.