Camden is the perfect seaside town. The 'Jewel of the Maine coast' combines sparkling ocean views, marvelous mountains, and many foodie treasures. A century ago, the town was popular with seasonal residents who owned the estates and mansions in the area. These prestigious buildings are beautiful bed and breakfasts for tourists to enjoy. So whether you're looking to sit back on the beach for a few days, take a trip through history, or want an active weekend of hiking or freshwater swimming, Camden is the ideal place for a little escape.
Nestled into Penobscot Bay, Camden Harbor is the perfect place for sailors to spend a few hours. With tours, excursions, schooners, and private charters using the harbor daily, there are plenty of ships to look out for. Even if you're visiting on a budget, finish the day with fresh seafood brought into the harbor by one of the working sailboats or lobster ships.
Mount Battie is a great adventure for those visiting the Camden Hills State Park, with trails accessible for people at all levels. The typical route is a 1.5-mile loop, so you can take a picnic and return to the car later. It's the best way to enjoy the amazing views around Camden. All while immersing yourself in the town's wildlife. And, if you don't fancy the hike, you can always drive up to the summit.
This picturesque park is the perfect place for a light stroll or picnic. Designed by the same brothers responsible for New York's Central Park, the park has two acres of trails to explore. There's a great view of all the masts in the harbor, and you can also visit the town's amphitheater. The amphitheater hosts various events, such as the Maine Outdoor Cinema Festival.
As well as Mount Battie, Camden Hills State Park is home to over 30 miles of trails for walking, jogging, and cycling. Local tour guides will help you find the best views and maximize your time, or you can explore on your own. It's a great place to take kids and enjoy sunset views of the ocean and surrounding islands. For those who love the outdoors, there's also a variety of campsites available in the park itself.
Listed in the National Historic Registry in 1989, Camden's High Street Historic District is a must-see for those who love to ogle at architecture. The buildings all comply with 18th and 19th-century standards, giving you a feel for how things looked centuries ago. The district is filled with small shops selling local treasures, cafes, and the occasional property that's still a family home.
In Barrett's Cove, beachgoers and freshwater swimmers can enjoy a day at Megunticook Lake. The beach feels like a hidden gem, even in a notoriously busy summer. It's quiet and a great relaxing way after a busy working week. With designated swimming areas, picnic tables with outdoor grills, and a playground, the lake is the ideal place for young families.
Penobscot Bay is one of the world's best bays for sailing. It has a shoreline that's scattered with tiny islands home to little lighthouses and flurries of fir trees. At Camden Harbor, sailing tours are available throughout the day, each offering a two-hour trip to explore the islands and see the Curtis Island Light. Be sure to keep a lookout for porpoises and seals in the water and eagles flying above.
Built in 1836, the Curtis Island Lighthouse is a beautiful lighthouse standing in Camden Harbor—giving you the opportunity to get up close and personal to take the perfect photograph. While the lighthouse isn't open to the public, there are plenty of boat tours that stop nearby to allow visitors to take a good look.
Alongside the harbor is Bay View Street. The street is home to a whole array of small shops and galleries displaying crafts and artwork by local people. Page Gallery hosts several contemporary art exhibits, while the Carver Hill Gallery is home to more traditional paintings. If you're looking for a little keepsake from your visit to Camden, the Topo Gallery offers a wide selection of stationery, prints, and notebooks from local independent artists.
If you're a dab hand with a paddle, exploring the harbor in a Kayak allows you to get up close and personal with everything there is to see. Kayakers can paddle around Curtis Island to get the best views of the lighthouse or head to the remote Muscle Ridge Archipelago further afield. There are even two to seven-hour kayaking tours that will guide you through the bay's ecology, tidal lagoons, and local wildlife.
From sunrise to sunset, the Merryspring Nature Center is a utopia for wildlife spanning 66 acres. Free to visit, the center has specialty gardens featuring perennials, daylilies, and much more. There are ten nature trails through the park to explore, and the educational center offers regular talks, gardening tips, and bug safaris for big and little kids alike.
If you're not looking to take on a strenuous hike while in the area, you can still bask in the natural beauty of one of the best waterfalls in Maine. Megunticook Falls is in the center of Camden, and there's even a Marriner's Restaurant where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch over the Falls. For the best experience and views of the waterfall in action, it's recommended that you visit the falls during the Winter or Spring.
Camden Snow Bowl is the only ocean-view ski area on the Eastern Seaboard. Making it a must-see stop while in the area. The community-owned ski area on Ragged Mountain boasts beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean. Whether you're into skiing, snowboarding, or even tobogganing, there's something for everyone to try. The annual National Toboggan Championships take place at the Camden Snow Bowl every February, too.
This unique footbridge spans a large part of the Megunticook River and has flowers from Spring to Fall. The stunning floral displays cover the overhead arches and railings, and it's the perfect spot for some Insta-worthy selfies. The footbridge is also home to fruit and vegetables growing between the vines, while under the bridge, you can sit by the river with a coffee or an ice cream.
Combining music, history, and culture into one activity, the Camden Opera House has entertained guests for over a century. Even if you're not so much a fan of the opera itself, there are plenty of more modern performances to enjoy. For those who don't necessarily have time to stop for a show, tours through the building give you a glimpse at the beauty of this Victorian-era building with its chandeliers and antique moldings.