Bath Maine is a city of approximately 9,000 residents located along the Kennebec River in the MidCoast region. Once a major shipbuilding city, it has maintained its historical charm and gorgeous architecture.
Downtown Bath has a small-town feel with mom-and-pop shops and locally owned eateries. There are so many things to do in Bath Maine that you won’t need to leave the city to find amazing food, fun activities, and rich history.
About Bath Maine
Bath has been named by many travel guides and websites as one of the “Best Small Towns to Visit” in the United States. A visit will leave you feeling like you just stepped out of a postcard picture with its amazing architecture, friendly residents, and beautiful waterfront views.
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.
Bath Maine had several names before it officially became Bath. The first documented name was Long Reach, which was a settlement that was part of Georgetown. In 1781, the area was renamed Bath after the up-and-coming town in England.
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.
Outdoor Things to Do in Bath Maine
Bath has many exciting outdoor activities for visitors, whether you’re looking for something casual and low-key or something adventurous. Visitors will find exciting water activities, museums, parks, and excursions. Check out these outdoor ideas for a fun-filled day 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
Maine’s First Ship is an impressive replica of the pinnace Virginia from 1607. The Virginia was a ship built in Maine and was the first to sail to England. The reconstruction is located behind the Bath Freight Shed on the Kennebec River.
The Jane Stevens Visitor Center at the Bath Freight Shed has volunteers who love to share the history of Maine’s First Ship. It also holds special programs, such as model boat building and youth sailing classes.
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
The Linwood E. Temple Waterfront Park is a 3-acre, scenic park with a boat-launching dock. The park has short paths, benches for sitting and relaxing, and picnic tables. Adirondack chairs are also available to enjoy.
The paved paths are perfect for bike riding with young children and for pushing strollers. On hot days or days with drizzly weather, you can still enjoy a picnic in the park in the covered area on-site.
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 is one of the few places in New England that has native striper fish. The Kennebec River is the ideal location to go on a fishing excursion with Great Gadzooks Tidewater Fishing. Hop aboard a four-stroke, engine-powered boat for a family-friendly fishing experience.
There’s no need to bring your own gear because Great Gadzooks provides rods and tackle for every fisher. While on a fishing excursion, you may catch striper, bluefish, and mackerel. Keep your eyes on the water, and you could spot a seal, osprey, eagle, or duck too.
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
Sometimes, the best way to learn about a city is to take a guided walking tour. Check out Embark Maine Tours for an immersive and entertaining tour of historic Bath Maine. The company offers two themed tours — the Historic Bath tour and the Historic Neighborhood Tour.
- The Historic Bath Tour is the original tour that details 400 years of Bath history throughout downtown. It is approximately 90 minutes long.
- The Historic Neighborhood Tour focuses more on the architecture of Washington Street and the stories of the families who lived there. It is approximately 75 minutes long.
Indoor Things to Do in Bath Maine
It’s good to have some indoor activities in mind when visiting Bath because the weather can be unpredictable. The city is home to museums, galleries, beautiful architecture, quaint shops, and so much to explore indoors.
Check out these indoor options for days when it’s not the best weather or you need a break from outdoor activities.
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
The Chocolate Church was originally called the Central Church when it was built in 1847. It is wonderfully preserved so that visitors may enjoy Gothic Revival architecture. Nowadays, the Church is an arts center with performances held year-round.
The Chocolate Church Arts Center holds concerts, theater performances, dances, comedy shows, tributes, lectures, and other visual arts events. Check out the upcoming performance schedule to see what’s playing when you’re in town.
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
Markings Gallery sells contemporary artwork made by local Maine artists. The gallery has not only paintings but also art made with wood, metal, fiber, paper, glass, and other types of materials. You’ll find gifts of pottery, bags, scarves, jewelry, sculptures, canvases, and much more.
At Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine shop, all of the products are made by Maine artists. The shop has everything from Christmas decor to knitted clothing to jewelry to home products. Most importantly, everything is unique. You won’t find these products anywhere else because each is made by hand.
Lisa-Marie’s even has food and candy products that are made from Maine-sourced ingredients. Examples of what they have to offer include pickles, chocolates, tea, pancake mixes, jellies, maple syrup, spices, and gift boxes. Selections vary based on the time of year and the vendors that work with Lisa Marie.
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.
Popular Restaurants in Bath Maine
Bath is filled with delicious restaurants, bars, bakeries, and diners. From breakfast to lunch to dinner, these eateries have you covered. Check out some local favorites for delicious meals with wonderful ambiance.
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 is a delightful spot to enjoy a casual breakfast or lunch. The seating area is small, so this wouldn’t be a great place to meet with a group, but it would be the perfect place for a couple or small family to dine.
The menu and offerings are always changing, and it has unique and tasty specials each day. Staples such as pancakes, eggs, French toast, and sandwiches are always on the menu. Everything is made daily from scratch as well.
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 Family Restaurant
The Galley Family Restaurant looks unassuming from the outside, but once you’re inside, you’ll find a menu complete with Maine favorites for breakfast and lunch.
If you want to try it all for breakfast, order the Galley Big Breakfast, which has eggs, sausage, bacon, home fries, toast, and two pancakes or French toast. Other breakfast offerings include omelets, corned beef hash, and any style of eggs.
Lunch favorites include burgers, salads, chicken salad, hot dogs, patty melts, and chicken tenders. For smaller appetites, there is a kid’s menu with smaller portions of menu favorites. The Galley does not have a bar but does have 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 is located in a historic building across from Bath Iron Works. The restaurant opened in 1973 and quickly became a favorite among locals and travelers alike.
Inside, the restaurant has wooden booths and a nautical theme. When the weather is warm enough, guests have the option to sit outside at a picnic table.
The menu has Italian favorites, including cold and hot subs, pizza, and salads. All of the appetizers are baked rather than fried, making them very flavorful and healthier options.
Hotels in Bath Maine & Other Lodging
The majority of lodging options in Bath Maine are beautiful, relaxing bed and breakfasts offering a homey feel. Whether you’d like to stay in the historic downtown area or closer to the water, accommodations are available.
Here are some non-chain, highly-rated inns and bed and breakfasts to consider for your next Maine getaway to Bath Maine.
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
If you’re looking to stay within walking distance of the restaurants, waterfront, and shops in Bath Maine, the Middle Street Inn may be the place you’re looking for. It was built in 1843 and offers the charm of a historic home with the modern updates that you want.
There are four rooms to choose from, each with either a king or queen-sized bed. Amenities include Wi-Fi, climate-controlled rooms, free parking, a private courtyard or deck, and a full complimentary, hot breakfast.
The inn is ideal for couples and individual travelers. Note that only children 12 and older are allowed at the inn.
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.
The Kennebec Inn is a historic 1850s boutique hotel in an Italianate architectural style. There are four rooms to choose from, each with its own theme.
The America’s Cup room has a nautical theme and a queen bed. Captain Perkins’ room is decorated in elegant decor and has both a king and a twin bed. The Remington room has Remington-printed artwork and a queen bed. The Captain Reed room features low-set windows and a queen bed.
You are welcome to use the fire pit, enjoy the well-landscaped grounds, swim in the in-ground pool, and picnic at the on-site park. Breakfast is complimentary with your stay too.
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.
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 a lovely place to visit any time of the year. You are sure to be wowed by the gorgeous natural beauty near the Kennebec River, the amazing architecture of downtown, and the friendliness of the locals.
No matter the time of year, there’s something to keep everyone engaged and happy with so many things to do in Bath Maine. From museums for history lovers to fishing excursions for outdoorsmen to parks for relaxing afternoons, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time in this MidCoast Maine city.