I’ve been visiting Maine in the summer since I was a little girl. As a full time resident of the Canadian Maritimes, I’m no stranger to a lobster boat, I’m not too shy to bait a hook, I’ve fallen asleep to the sound of a fog horn, and I’ve swam in ocean temperatures so cold your body goes numb. It goes without saying that Maine naturally feels like home to me. But there is something extra special about Coastal Maine, and in particular the following three towns, that keeps me vacationing here when I could search for something more unfamiliar.
Bar Harbor, Camden, and Rockland are my favorite towns along Maine’s coast. Three towns with so much character and so much to see and do. I’d like to make some recommendations for the perfect long weekend (or heck, stay a week!) visiting them.
Bar Harbor is my favorite town in Coastal Maine by far! Bar Harbor is a sweet, bayside fishing community with a big advantage in the tourism industry. Plus, Acadia National Park is just outside of its downtown. Within the town itself, I would recommend the following.
Take a whale watch cruise with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. These guys will find the whales for you! I highly recommend their “Puffins and Whales” tour, as it takes you to a local puffin reserve. You can speak with researchers and see the efforts being made in seabird conservation.
Shop and eat along Main Street. You will find iconic Maine shops like Cool as a Moose and Geddy’s, and tasty foods at Paddy’s Irish Pub and the Bar Harbor Beerworks.
Watch the sunset over Frenchman’s Bay at Agamont Park. Grabbing a homemade ice cream (lobster ice cream being an option here) at Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium and securing a spot on the grassy hill overlooking the wharf is my favorite way to end a busy day.
Acadia National Park
One of America’s most charming national parks is just down the road from Bar Harbor. The options for activities are truly endless.
Watch the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain. Said to be the first glimpse of sunrise in the US from May through October, it is an amazing experience.
Go hiking along Acadia’s many Coastal trails, or perhaps try the more challenging favorites. “The Beehive” or “Precipice” which lead you up the side of the granite mountains, often using via ferrata style handrails.
Soak up the sun on Sand Beach. It couldn’t be more simply named, but Sand Beach is a truly gorgeous gem inside of Acadia. The iconic granite cliffs line the sides, and boats swing in close and wave a friendly hello.
Visit the Thunder Hole, an interesting phenomenon which takes you out onto Maine’s cliffs themselves.
Watch the sunset at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, but be sure to arrive early to beat the crowds!
A charming, little town with an iconic harbour that is a gorgeous place to take photos.
Go for a sail with a skilled professional on one of the many sailboat tours. BYOB.
Watch sailboat races in the summertime by attending the Camden Classics.
Shop and eat at restaurants such as Long Grain (well known in the area for its fantastic Thai food that has many craving it after they leave), or Rhumb Line (a fantastic seaside bar with great lobster rolls and fish tacos.
A busier town with a bit more of an artistic vibe, Rockland is a very short drive from Camden.
Watch the sunrise over the harbor. Rockland’s harbor is wide and vast. It is a beautiful place to take early morning photos.
Hike to Rockland Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse. A truly unique experience, the hike is straight into the bay, along a stone breakwater that is 3/4 of a mile long. Be cautious of your footing!
Attend the Maine Lobster Festival. A summer event that is truly Maine.
You must promise me, while you are visiting Coastal Maine that you will try a lobster roll and a blueberry beer. I won’t judge you if you forgo the lobster ice cream ;).
Have a wicked good time!
About Hillary: Hillary is an East Coast Maritimer with a love for all things nature and wildlife. With a degree in biology and a passion for photography, you can find her hiding out in a field somewhere chasing foxes and deer or sleeping in anything from a camper van to a fancy hotel. Follow her on Instagram for more adventures.