Bath Maine Cropped

ULTIMATE Guide to 24 Things to Do in Bath Maine

Situated along the Kennebec River in the MidCoast region, Bath Maine is a city with a population of nearly 9,000 residents. Historically significant as a prominent shipbuilding hub, it has preserved its quaint historical allure and stunning architecture.

The downtown area of Bath exudes a charming small-town atmosphere with family-owned stores and local dining establishments. Bath offers a plethora of attractions within its confines, ensuring that visitors and locals can enjoy exceptional cuisine, engaging pastimes, and a deep sense of history without needing to venture outside the city.

Bath | photo via me_and_a_map

About Bath Maine

Numerous travel guides and websites have recognized Bath as one of the “Best Small Towns to Visit” in the United States. A trip to this city is akin to stepping into a picturesque postcard, complete with its stunning architecture, welcoming community, and scenic views of the waterfront.

City History

The history of Bath pre-dates colonization. The land which became known as Bath was originally part of the Abenaki and Algonquin Tribes. In 1640, Europeans started to arrive, but the Native American tribes drove them away.

Name Changes

Before ultimately being named Bath, the area in Maine underwent a few name changes. Initially documented as Long Reach, this settlement was once a segment of Georgetown. In 1781, it adopted the name Bath, inspired by the burgeoning town of Bath in England.

Shipbuilding Success

Since Bath is located near the Maine coast, it quickly became central to the shipbuilding industry in the 18th century. Shipbuilding became the backbone of Bath’s industry for many years. Today, the city is home to Bath Iron Works, which is a major-producing shipyard.

Bath | photo via the_adrift_cyclist

Outdoor Things to Do in Bath Maine

Bath offers a wide array of outdoor activities suited for every type of visitor — from those seeking a relaxed, leisurely experience to thrill-seekers in search of adventure. With a variety of water-based activities, museums, parks, and tours available, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy a day outdoors in Bath Maine.

South End Park

The South End Park is perfect for visitors who have their dogs in tow. Located on the Kennebec River, the park has a fenced-in dog park where your pup can socialize with other dogs and burn off some energy.

The park is not just for dogs and their owners, though. It also has bocce courts and a short walking trail to enjoy. Benches are located in the park so that you can sit while taking in the beautiful views of the river and see naval ships at Bath Iron Works.

Maine’s First Ship

The Maine’s First Ship project features a striking reconstruction of the 1607 pinnace Virginia, notable for being the first ship constructed in Maine that sailed to England. This replica can be found adjacent to the Bath Freight Shed along the Kennebec River.

At the same location, the Jane Stevens Visitor Center within the Bath Freight Shed is staffed by enthusiastic volunteers eager to recount the storied past of Maine’s First Ship. The center also hosts unique events, including model boat construction workshops and sailing classes for young people.

Bath Farmers’ Market

The Bath Farmers’ Market runs year-round and has the freshest vegetables, eggs, local seafood, baked goods, cheese, meats, and unique items.

The market opens on the waterfront every Saturday from May to October. During the cooler months from November to April, the market moves indoors to the Bath Freight Shed.

Linwood E. Temple Waterfront Park-Bath
Linwood E. Temple Waterfront Park | photo via bojmaietta

Linwood E. Temple Waterfront Park

Spanning 3 acres, the Linwood E. Temple Waterfront Park offers picturesque views and is equipped with a dock for launching boats. The park features brief walking paths, benches for leisurely sits, and picnic tables, as well as Adirondack chairs for added comfort.

Its paved trails are ideal for cycling with little ones or for stroller walks. Also, the park includes a sheltered space, allowing visitors to relish a picnic outdoors regardless of the heat or occasional rain.

River Run Tours

Instead of staying on land and taking in the beautiful water views, try venturing onto the water with River Run Tours. These boat cruises operate across Maine’s MidCoast.

There are a number of tour options to choose from, including a Kennebec Maritime History tour, a Sunset or Evening cruise, and tours to Five Islands, Richmond and Swan Island, Arrowsic, Boothbay, and more.

Cruises vary in length depending on which you choose. Most cruises, though, last approximately two hours on tri-hull pontoon boats.

For the full experience, book The Grand Tour, which includes all of the above stops and is seven hours long. There’s no better way to take in the Kennebec River or MidCoast Maine than on the water.

Great Gadzooks Tidewater Fishing

The Kennebec River stands out as one of the select locations in New England where you can find native striped bass. For those looking to embark on a fishing adventure, Great Gadzooks Tidewater Fishing is the perfect choice.

Board a boat powered by a quiet four-stroke engine for a fishing trip that’s suitable for the whole family. You won’t need to worry about equipment since Great Gadzooks supplies all the necessary rods and tackle.

During your excursion, you might reel in species like striped bass, bluefish, and mackerel. Plus, keep an eye on the surroundings — you may encounter local wildlife such as seals, ospreys, eagles, and ducks.

Thorne Head Preserve

Bath Maine is home to two fantastic nature preserves that allow visitors to connect with nature. The Thorne Head Preserve features a forest and waterfront to explore with over 100 species of plants. There are four trails of varying difficulty to hike, walk your dog, or mountain bike.

There’s no shortage of wildlife to observe at the preserve too. Don’t be surprised if you spot a deer, a mink, many types of birds, a raccoon, or a fox. Native birds that call the preserve home include warblers, waterfowl, owls, bald eagles, and migrating birds.

Also, the Thorne Head Preserve has a freshwater marsh, mixed woods, vernal pools, tidal wetlands, riparian areas, an estuary, and even a cave. The vernal pool has peepers, wood frogs, and spotted salamanders.

Embark Maine Tours

Often, the most engaging method to discover the essence of a city is through a guided walking tour. Consider joining Embark Maine Tours for a captivating and interactive exploration of Bath, Maine’s storied past. The company presents two distinct themed tours:

  • The Historic Bath Tour is the flagship experience, offering a comprehensive overview of Bath’s 400-year history as you stroll through the downtown area. This tour lasts around 90 minutes.
  • The Historic Neighborhood Tour delves into the architectural beauty of Washington Street and shares anecdotes about the families who once called it home. This tour is around 75 minutes.

Bath Golf Club

If you’re looking to try your golf game on a Wayne Stiles-designed course, visit the Bath Golf Club. It has been in business since 1932 and offers an 18-hole course with farmland views.

The greens are well-maintained with challenges on the course that will keep the game engaging. The course has a clubhouse that was built in the 1850s, a pro shop, and a wrap-around porch where you can relax after a game.

Mockingbird Bookshop-Bath
Mockingbird Bookshop | photo via vanessalillie

Indoor Things to Do in Bath Maine

Since the weather can change unexpectedly in Bath, having a few indoor activities on your itinerary is wise. The city boasts a variety of indoor attractions, including museums, art galleries, stunning architectural sites, charming boutiques, and plenty of other indoor spaces worth exploring.

Maine Maritime Museum

The Maine Maritime Museum is open year-round and details a rich maritime history for the whole family to discover. Start indoors at the galleries that display over 20,000 artifacts and documents about maritime history in Maine.

Changing exhibits are held throughout the year, so visit the exhibition hall to see what’s new. The historic boat collection has over 140 Maine-built boats, and there’s an 1851 American clipper ship on display.

Head outside to find the Kenneth D. Kramer Blacksmith shop and the lobstering building to learn about blacksmithing and the lobster industry.

There’s plenty for children to explore in the immersive exhibits and play spaces too, such as the Tic-Tac-Treenail game, a Pirate Playship, a lighthouse lantern room, a tug boat replica, ship models, and steam engines to power up.

Chocolate Church Arts Center

Constructed in 1847 and initially known as the Central Church, the Chocolate Church is a beautifully maintained example of Gothic Revival architecture. Today, it serves as a vibrant arts center, hosting a variety of events throughout the year.

At the Chocolate Church Arts Center, you can attend a diverse array of events — concerts, theatrical productions, dance recitals, comedy nights, tribute performances, lectures, and visual arts exhibitions. You can review the upcoming performance schedule to find out what’s happening during your visit.

Mockingbird Bookshop

The Mockingbird Bookshop is a lovely place to relax and unwind in peace. It has comfortable seating and an excellent selection of books from best sellers to classics to children’s books.

Open seven days a week, the bookshop also features author talks throughout the year, so check the events schedule before you go. The children’s area has a nook and a nice selection of children’s favorites. Plus, visitors rave about the staff picks section and even the banned books options.

Unique Gift Shops

If you’re on the hunt for a distinctive item for yourself or a special gift for someone back home, Bath Maine has a couple of fantastic shops that can accommodate.

Markings Gallery

Markings Gallery features an array of contemporary art crafted by local Maine artisans. Beyond paintings, the gallery showcases creations made from wood, metal, fiber, paper, glass, and various other materials. You can discover a range of unique gifts — pottery, bags, scarves, jewelry, sculptures, canvases, and much more.

Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine

Considered a treasure trove, Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine is full of products that are handcrafted by Maine artists. The store’s selection spans from holiday decorations and hand-knitted apparel to jewelry and household goods — each piece unique and not found elsewhere.

In addition to non-perishable items, Lisa-Marie’s offers a selection of edible goods and confections made with ingredients sourced from Maine. The offerings include pickles, chocolates, teas, pancake mixes, jellies, maple syrup, spices, curated gift boxes, and more. The availability of these items may change seasonally and depends on the collaborating local vendors.

Winnegance Restaurant & Bakery-Bath
Winnegance Restaurant & Bakery | photo via thehungrysisterz

Popular Restaurants in Bath Maine

Bath is brimming with a delightful variety of dining options, including cozy bars, charming bakeries, and welcoming diners. Whether you’re looking for a hearty breakfast, a satisfying lunch, or an elegant dinner, the local culinary scene has something to offer.

Byrnes’ Irish Pub

Byrnes’ Irish Pub is located in the heart of downtown Bath. This local favorite has live Irish music, trivia nights, and an open mic night every week. Beers on tap include Irish favorites like Guinness, Smithwick’s, Magner’s, and Murphy’s.

Brunch is served every Sunday, and you can try the Irish coffee for a brunch treat. The regular bar menu includes hearty fare, such as burgers, sandwiches, shepherd’s pie, Irish bangers and mash, and an Irish quesadilla.

Winnegance Restaurant & Bakery

Winnegance Restaurant & Bakery offers a charming setting for a laid-back breakfast or lunch. With its cozy seating area, it’s not ideally suited for large gatherings, but it’s an excellent choice for couples or small families looking to enjoy a meal together.

The menu is dynamic, featuring daily specials that are both inventive and flavorful. Classic favorites — pancakes, eggs, French toast, and sandwiches — are consistently available. Plus, all the dishes are freshly made from scratch each day, ensuring a delightful homemade taste.

J.R. Maxwell & Co.

Are you looking for a family-friendly sit-down restaurant with an upscale feel? Check out J.R. Maxwell & Co. It’s the perfect spot for families, a date night, or to meet up with colleagues or hold an event.

J.R. Maxwell’s serves lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch. Known for its juicy steaks and locally caught seafood, it has an extensive menu that’ll make it hard to choose just one entree.

Favorites include steamed mussels, lobster stew, fish-n-chips, Black Angus NY sirloin, steak au poivre, filet mignon, baked stuffed lobster, Maine scallops, and more.

The Galley Restaurant

The Galley Restaurant may have a modest exterior, but you’ll be greeted inside with a menu of Maine staples that are perfect for breakfast and lunch.

For a hearty breakfast, consider the Galley Big Breakfast, which includes eggs, sausage, bacon, home fries, toast, and your choice of two pancakes or French toast. The breakfast menu also features omelets, corned beef hash, and eggs prepared to your liking.

Come lunchtime, you can indulge in burgers, salads, chicken salad, hot dogs, patty melts, and chicken tenders. For those with lighter appetites or children, there’s a kids’ menu offering smaller servings of popular items. While The Galley doesn’t serve alcohol, you’ll find a decent selection of coffee, tea, sodas, milk, and juice.

Burano’s Wood-Fired Pizzeria

Burano’s Wood-Fired Pizzeria serves mouthwatering pizzas, wings, and salads in a fun and casual environment. It has a full bar with seating for those who want to catch a game on one of the bar’s TVs.

When there is nice weather, the outdoor patio is open and dog-friendly. The patio has water views and dazzling overhead lights.

The Cabin

Situated in a building steeped in history, The Cabin sits opposite Bath Iron Works and has been serving patrons since its establishment in 1973, rapidly gaining favor with both the local community and visitors.

The interior features wooden booths adorned with maritime decor. During the warmer months, diners have the option to enjoy their meals al fresco at one of the outdoor picnic tables.

On the menu, you’ll find Italian classics such as a variety of cold and hot subs, pizza, and salads. In a nod to healthier eating, all appetizers are baked instead of fried, offering a tasty yet wholesome alternative.

Pryor House-Bath
Pryor House | photo via richardstenerson

Hotels in Bath Maine & Other Lodging

In Bath Maine, you’ll find that most accommodations are charming and serene bed and breakfasts, providing a cozy, homelike atmosphere. Whether you prefer to be in the heart of the historic downtown or near the scenic waterfront, there are delightful options to choose from.

The Inn at Bath

The Inn at Bath is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a historic Greek Revival building. The house was built in the 1840s but offers modern amenities for guests. Ideal for a couple’s getaway, the inn has seven guest rooms, each with its own unique decor and theme.

The rooms have either king or queen beds, some have a fireplace, and all have private bathrooms. Amenities such as bath products, natural fiber linens, Wi-Fi, and free parking are included. Guests are treated to a complimentary home-cooked breakfast.

Middle Street Inn

For a stay that puts you within easy reach of Bath’s dining spots, waterfront, and boutiques, Middle Street Inn is an excellent choice. This historic inn — established in 1843 — blends the allure of an old-world residence with contemporary comforts.

Guests can select from four inviting rooms, each furnished with either a king or queen-sized bed. The inn’s amenities include Wi-Fi access, air-conditioned accommodations, complimentary parking, and a private courtyard or deck with some rooms. Guests are treated to a full, hot breakfast at no extra charge as well.

Middle Street Inn is particularly well-suited for couples and solo travelers. Families should take note that the inn welcomes children aged 12 and above.

Pryor House Bed & Breakfast

The Pryor House Bed & Breakfast is a beautiful 1820s Federal-style house located close to downtown and the Kennebec River. There are three rooms for guests, each uniquely themed with private bathrooms. All rooms have cable TV, Wi-Fi, and air conditioning.

The Captain’s Room features a king-sized bed with a view of the Kennebec River. The Elizabeth Room is a queen-sized room with a large bathroom. The Tall Chimney Room has a queen-sized bed with a two-person Jacuzzi tub and a balcony.

Kennebec Inn

A boutique hotel that dates back to the 1850s, Kennebec Inn showcases the grandeur of Italianate architectural design. Guests can choose from four individually themed rooms:

  • The America’s Cup room offers a maritime ambiance and is furnished with a queen bed.
  • Captain Perkins’ room features refined decor and is equipped with both a king and a twin bed.
  • The Remington room is adorned with artwork by Remington and has a queen bed.
  • The Captain Reed room is characterized by its low-set windows and comes with a queen bed.

Guests are invited to make use of the fire pit, relax in the beautifully landscaped grounds, take a dip in the in-ground pool, or have a picnic in the on-site park. Additionally, a complimentary breakfast is included with your stay.

Cottage & Apartment Rentals

For those who need more space than a bed and breakfast can offer, or need somewhere child or pet-friendly, check out the variety of Bath Maine vacation rental options on VRBO.

Depending on the number of guests and length of stay, there are numerous places — from waterfront cottages to downtown apartments.

Doubling Point Lighthouse-Bath
Doubling Point Lighthouse | photo via photography_diego

FAQs About Bath Maine

Why is Bath Maine known as the City of Ships?

Bath Maine was once a shipbuilding hub, and today, it is home to Bath Iron Works, a major U.S. shipyard.

What kind of architecture can I see in downtown Bath Maine?

The historical buildings in downtown Bath Maine feature several notable architectural styles, including Federal, Italianate, and Greek Revival.

I can’t decide where to start. What should I do in Bath Maine?

A great place to start your visit in Bath Maine is the Bath Regional Information Center on Commercial Street. It has guidebooks, maps, and staff to chat with to learn all about the Bath area.

Is Bath Maine family-friendly?

Yes! There are so many family-friendly activities — including parks, playgrounds, museums with immersive experiences, and restaurants with kid’s menus.

Plan Your Visit to Bath Maine

Bath is an enchanting destination to explore during any season. The stunning natural landscapes along the Kennebec River, the impressive architecture of the downtown area, and the warm hospitality of the residents are bound to leave a lasting impression.

Throughout the year, the city offers a diverse range of activities to captivate and delight visitors of all interests. Whether you’re a history enthusiast eager to visit museums, an outdoor adventurer looking forward to fishing trips, or someone who enjoys leisurely afternoons in the park, your experience in this charming MidCoast Maine city is guaranteed to be memorable.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *