Known for its stunning coastlines and small-town charm, Maine is a beautiful state of quaint villages and vibrant culture. With a long maritime history, Maine is the lobster capital of the world, with beautiful coastal nature trails and a thriving art scene. Whether you're looking for a haven of history or want to embrace nature, the best small towns to visit in Maine have it all.
Bar Harbor is a popular destination on Mount Desert Island. It's home to Acadia National Park, known for its natural beauty, and one of the best wineries in New England, Bar Harbor Cellars. In summer, the coastal town is filled to the brim with cultural events such as the Bar Harbor Music Festival and the Night Sky Festival. If you're interested in hitting the water, you'll enjoy Frenchman Bay for kayaking, sailing, and whale watching.
Portland, Maine, has a thriving food scene known around the world. This New England town is bursting with farmers' markets, restaurants, and food trucks, supplying an endless stream of tourists with artisanal cheese, beer, and Maine's famous lobster and seafood. Portland also offers a stunning waterfront. Old Port is a rejuvenated warehouse district filled with hotels, nightlife, and chic shopping areas. Then there are the islands of Casco Bay, which you can explore by ferry or chartered boat from the town's harbor.
Camden has it all: history, nature, and shopping. It's the "Jewel of the Maine Coast" and the gateway to Penobscot Bay. If you love history, this charming seaside town is filled with historical landmarks and institutions like the Opera House and Public Library. There's also a bustling downtown with vintage boutiques and art galleries, and you can enjoy the view from above with a hike up Mount Battie.
Celebrities, presidents, and ordinary folks alike swarm to Kennebunkport for a relaxed vacation away from the hustle and bustle. The seaside town's rich history and maritime heritage are reflected by the area's lighthouses and boat tours. When you're done enjoying the sandy beaches, visit the Kennebunkport Historical Society to learn more about the town's history.
Rockland is another town with a maritime past, and its fishing industry is alive and well today. In fact, Rockland is the "Lobster Capital of the World" and hosts an annual 4-day festival dedicated to lobster. It's also home to the beautiful Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. When you're not enjoying the festival or the great food, check out Rockland's lively arts scene. And be sure to visit the Farnsworth Art Museum or the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.
With sandy beaches and a rocky coastline, Ogunquit is a popular summer destination and one of the best towns to visit in Maine. The town's motto is "a beautiful place by the sea," and among its attractions is the Marginal Way, a winding rocky coastal path perfect for a stroll. Ogunquit has something to offer everyone: sandy beaches, antique shops, breathtaking nature trails, and a lively downtown area. There's also the Ogunquit Playhouse if you're looking for some evening entertainment.
Boothbay Harbor is perfect for sailing, fishing, and kayaking. With cruises and whale-watching tours, the town is one of the best to visit in Maine for exploring the coastline and surrounding islands. To celebrate the rich maritime history, the town hosts the Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days festival, which features live music, fireworks, and a parade of antique boats. Don't miss the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, home to beautiful plants, flowers, and sculptures.
Old Orchard Beach is renowned for its historic pier and long stretches of sandy beach. It's perfect for outdoor lovers, with plenty of opportunities to swim, surf, and jog. The pier is home to amusements and arcades, so it's also popular with young families. Head to Old Orchard to enjoy the town's summer festivals, such as the Annual Old Orchard Beach Pirate Festival or the Annual Lobster Dip.
Blue Hill is another one of Maine's best towns for arts. With the Blue Hill Art and Cultural Center and the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, the arts scene is around every corner. The town has stunning displays of its 18th-century roots and is a popular destination for nature lovers. You can hike up Blue Hill Mountain or enjoy a day at the Holbrook Island Sanctuary.
Wiscasset is the best town to visit in Maine for its history and architecture. The town's historic district is home to stunning 18th and 19th-century buildings, such as the well-preserved Castle Tucker and the Nickels-Sortwell House on Main Street. Wiscasset is also home to Union Church, the world's smallest church. When you're done sightseeing, a boat tour of the Sheepscoat River is the perfect end to a beautiful summer's day.
Bargain hunters and fashion fanatics love Freeport, known as the "home of outlet shopping" for good reason. With its wide range of shops, including the LL Bean flagship store, the town offers natural attractions only five minutes away. Inside Freeport's Maine Woods lies a unique expanse of sand dunes known as the Desert of Maine. There's also Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park, where you can catch stunning coastline views and watch for wildlife, including beautiful ospreys.
Along Kennebec River is Bath, a maritime town known for shipbuilding and often called the "city of ships." Take a walk along the riverfront to enjoy the town's galleries and studios, or head to the Chocolate Church or Maine Maritime Museum to understand more about Bath's rich history. Bath is also home to the tallest lighthouse in Maine, located on Seguin Island.
This charming town is filled with beautifully restored houses and inns. Brimming with history, Castine is one of Maine's oldest towns and has been occupied since the 1600s. It features the Wilson Museum and the Castine Historial Society, which are worth a visit if you're looking for a historical experience. Alternatively, there's the Dyce Headlight, Fort Madison, or Wadsworth Cove Beach, where tourists flock to watch the sunset.
A classic, quintessential Maine town, York is a popular vacation destination with much to offer locals and tourists. The Nubble Lighthouse, Long Sands Beach, and Short Sands Beach all offer a wide range of soft sand and plenty of seafood restaurants. York is also home to New England's only zoo and amusement park, complete with saltwater taffy and a classic carousel.
Damariscotta is a great spot for foodies, with restaurants serving up Pemaquid oysters and local mussels. One of the main draws of this shipbuilding town is the Damariscotta River Grill, where guests enjoy local farm-to-table cuisine. The town is known for its laid-back, lakeside lifestyle, where locals enjoy swimming in the lake, fishing, and boating. Check out the Chaman-Hall House, the Whaleback Shell Midden, and the Lincoln Country Cultural and Historical Association.