Although smaller than sister town Camden, the town of Rockport has become one of the hidden gems of the mid-coast Maine region. It was even named one of America's Prettiest Towns by Forbes Magazine. The laid-back town atmosphere makes it perfect for visitors looking to enjoy a relaxing and peaceful weekend in a beautifully scenic setting. Rockport's location is also ideal, as it marks the halfway spot between Kennebunkport and Bar Harbor.
Rockport is named for its rocky terrain and its prominent lime stone industry. Rockport supplied most of the stone used in the US Capitol Building in Washington DC after it was damaged during the War of 1812. Fun Fact: Rockport is also the home of Andre the Seal, the childhood book turned blockbuster movie. Andre is a true story, written by local Harry Goodridge, whose family adopted the seal in the 1970s. Andre the seal was known for entertaining guests in the Rockport harbor until he passed away in 1986. A statue of Andre stands in the Rockport Marine Park. Rockport was also the filming location for The Man Without a Face, starring Mel Gibson and the kid's film Casper.
Things to do in Rockport
Rockport, Maine has fun for the whole family, whether you choose to venture out on the water for a scenic sailing cruise or relax in the park. You can also take a daytrip to many surrounding areas including charming Camden or Rockland where the famous Wyeth artist family has their gallery in the Farnsworth Museum.
The small, but stunning harbor in Rockport is home to sailing and boat tours. Although it used to be a working harbor, today it is filled with pleasure and tour boats. Famous windjammers, yachts, and other beautiful boats can all be found in this quiet cove. Visitors can enjoy daily scenic excursions aboard schooners and other vessels or sunset dinner cruises with views of Penobscot Bay. For those looking to be more adventurous, try your hand at kayaking on the gentle waters around Rockport. Visitors may bring their own kayak to launch or rent one near the harbor. Sailors around the harbor can also view Indian Island Lighthouse, a privately owned lighthouse built in 1875. Although the grounds are not open to the public, the Lighthouse can be viewed by boat or from Rockport Marine Park.
Rockport's Twin Lights on Thatcher Island is a great boat trip when the launch boat is running, you can visit the island and its sister lights with a donation to their Historic Lighthouse preservation cause. Halibut Point State Park is another Rockport attraction with granite rocks and scenic picnic spots to enjoy after you explore the walking trails and old quarry.
Rockport Marine Park
Rockport Marine Park is a great place to visit for the whole family for a relaxing day in the park. There is a boat launch for kayakers, canoers or rafters looking to explore the harbor. There are also several picnic tables, ideal for ordering take-out from a nearby restaurant and having a peaceful meal in the park. Fishermen can cast off on the Rockport Harbor Master's dock. Visitors will also catch a glimpse of some old lime kilns on the waterfront, a reminder of Rockport's history. The park also has several walking paths for visitors to enjoy.
Some of Rockport's most famous four legged residents can be seen at Aldermere Farm. The Belted Galloway, more commonly known as Oreo cookie cows due to their black and white stripe coloring, are a surprisingly popular attraction. The 136-acre scenic farm is owned and operated by the Maine Coast Heritage trust, and works towards educating visitors on the importance of land conservation and sustainable agriculture. The farm property is home to large green pastures, undeveloped shoreline, woods and wetlands. Aldermere Farm runs several programs for those of all ages, including a 4-H club, art shows, youth programs, farm tours, summer programs and more!
The town of Rockport is also a thriving artists community, full of many local galleries, museums and art exhibitions. Bay Chamber Concerts runs several concerts and events, music schools and festivals throughout the year. The relaxing town has boutique shopping and delicious waterfront dining. The Children's Chapel is an exquisite outdoor chapel with beautiful blooming gardens. The Chapel is a unique and popular venue for special events - including weddings! Spacious lawns are also perfect for an outdoor picnic.
Even though Rockport is a small town, there are many spectacular lodging options to choose from. There are several magnificent oceanfront resorts, full of top-notch amenities and gorgeous settings. The Samoset Resort Golf Club is home to an exquisite 18-hole Oceanside championship golf course, considered the best in Maine by Golf Digest. For a more quiet and intimate getaway, try a charming Bed and Breakfast or Inn. Motels and motor inns are great for families looking for an affordable vacation.
Rockport Harbor is highly scenic, whether you choose to sail or boat from the harbor or just sit at a waterfront restaurant enjoying a fresh steamed Lobster.