Looking for the best coastal towns in Maine? Choose one of these for your next getaway!
Maine has over 3,500 miles of coastline stretching from the Canadian border in the north down to New Hampshire in the south. Along this coast are numerous quaint, charming villages and towns to explore.
Each coastal community has its own charm, attractions, and unique features. Whether you’re planning a road trip along the Maine coast or you’re looking for a place to vacation on the oceanfront, check out this list of the best coastal towns in Maine — listed from north to south.
If you’re up north — way north — you have to check out Lubec. It is the easternmost town in the United States, so close to Canada that you can see it in the distance from the shore.
Lubec Maine is the perfect town to visit if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With a gorgeous coastline, natural beauty, and a peaceful rural landscape, it is a wonderful town to explore and unplug from technology.
Cutler is a sleepy coastal town with amazing ocean views and a tranquil setting. With nearly 5 miles of cliffs along the shoreline, the town offers impressive landscapes.
The cliffs and shoreline aren’t the only natural attractions in Cutler. There are blueberry barrens, forests to hike in, and wildlife to spot in numerous meadows. Bring a pair of binoculars and hiking gear to explore this lovely town.
Another small town along the Downeast coast, Machiasport prides itself on its fishing industry history. You’ll see fishing boats docked in the water because the industry is still alive and well.
Machiasport is a great stop for history lovers, featuring Fort O’Brien Historical Park, the Machiasport Historical Society, and Liberty Hall. Plus, stop by Jasper Beach, a stone and gravel beach that is a wonderful place to scour for unique rocks and listen to the pebbles tumble around in the gentle surf.
Jonesport Maine has been a thriving fishing and lobstering community since the early 19th century. This coastal town offers stunning water views, friendly locally-owned shops, delectable restaurants, and a welcoming atmosphere.
The town is a wonderful stop to unwind and appreciate the natural beauty of a true fishing village.
Don’t let the winter part of this town’s name scare you off. Winter Harbor has a plethora of outdoor activities for visitors.
From lobster festivals to music and arts festivals, there’s always something fun happening in this quaint town. Activities like kayaking, bicycling, and hiking are all favorites for locals and tourists alike.
Sorrento is a town of fewer than 300 residents, but there’s no shortage of fun activities in this coastal gem.
There’s a nine-hole golf course that’s been active for over 100 years and plenty of water activities, like kayaking, canoeing, boating, fishing, and swimming. On land, you can enjoy hiking trails, bird-watching, and shoreline walks.
Bar Harbor is one of Maine’s most well-known coastal towns because it has lots of activities and is home to colleges and the famous Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor has numerous restaurants with something for every palate — from delightful breakfast diners to seafood to Italian.
The picturesque Bar Harbor downtown has family-run shops and ice cream stands. And, the town has long been a favorite of tourists because it’s the closest lodging option to Acadia National Park, featuring some enchanting bed and breakfasts and inns.
This coastal town is a bit more active and bustling than some of the other coastal towns, but it has the same quintessential Maine atmosphere.
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit quieter than Bar Harbor to set up your base camp for a visit to Acadia National Park, check out Tremont Maine.
Another active fishing and lobstering community, the town has a variety of activities — including hiking, kayaking, exploring nearby Mount Desert Island, and checking out small art galleries.
Trenton Maine is another great location for access to Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. This coastal town has a few well-maintained campgrounds to set up camp, including Wild Acadia Camping Resort, Narrows Too Campground, and Timberland Acres RV Park.
With stunning ocean and island views and a peaceful community feel, Trenton makes for the perfect getaway to explore Maine’s natural beauty.
Filled with historical buildings, sites, and monuments, history lovers will enjoy visiting Castine Maine. It’s said to be one of the oldest towns in the New England region, so there’s plenty of historical charm all around town.
Castine has incredible bay and ocean views with ships and boats swaying peacefully offshore. Seafood shanties, a lighthouse, charming shops, and markets give visitors the quintessential Downeast experience.
A visit to the coastal community of Belfast in Mid Coast Maine will take you back in time as you envision the vibrant old-time fishing community while you walk and take in the gorgeous brownstones by the harbor.
While it’s a small fishing village, Belfast has preserved its historical charm. There’s a vintage theater, quaint inns, antique shops, farmer’s markets, and diners and restaurants to check out. Belfast City Park is a nice spot to stop and relax while enjoying the small beach.
For those looking to enjoy coastal views but also do some shopping, Freeport Maine is the perfect destination for you. It is home to the L.L. Bean flagship store, and visitors come from far and wide to take pictures of the giant, iconic L.L. Bean boot.
Old Orchard Beach
Looking for the ultimate family destination on the Maine coast? Old Orchard Beach is the place to be! It has a wonderful boardwalk bustling with activity from late April through early October. There’s even an arcade and rides for children at Palace Playland.
Stroll around town to discover cute souvenir shops, toy shops, and ice cream stands. Delicious beachside restaurants and takeout are perfect for families on the go. Finally, of course, you have to enjoy the miles of clean, soft sandy beach.
Kennebunkport is one of the best coastal towns in Maine. Perfect for all ages, there’s something for everyone in your group to enjoy.
For children, check out the Seaside Trolley Museum or spend the day at one of the beautiful beaches. Adults will love visiting the local breweries and delicious diners and restaurants for lobster, chowder, or a slice of Maine blueberry pie.
Kennebunkport is so popular that it often hosts celebrities — it was a vacation destination for President George H.W. Bush’s family.
The town of Wells has dubbed itself The Friendliest Town in Maine, so it’s no wonder that tourists flock to this seaside destination. With numerous antique shops, mini-golf, a movie theater, and many top-notch dining options, there’s so much to do.
The beaches don’t disappoint — there are four to choose from, the largest being Wells Beach. Aside from sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying water views, you can check out the Wells Reserve at Laudholm for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Ogunquit Maine is home to Ogunquit Beach, which Tripadvisor rated as one of the top 25 beaches in the United States. If you’re not looking to sunbathe or swim, Ogunquit Beach can be viewed from Marginal Way — a scenic waterfront walking trail.
Likely one of the most photographed coastal towns in Maine, York is home to Nubble Light (also known as Cape Neddick Light). This picturesque lighthouse has been attracting tourists looking to capture the perfect photograph on the cliffs for years.
Explore the seaside town with its shops, candy stores, arcade, bowling, and even a small zoo at York’s Wild Kingdom.
Both Long Sands and Short Sands Beaches are popular in the summertime for exploring tidal pools, swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. Long Sands Beach offers stronger surf and larger waves, while Short Sands Beach has calmer waters.
Explore More Coastal Towns in Maine This Year
It’s hard to choose just one coastal town to explore because each one has its own uniqueness. Some feature fabulous beaches, while others have rocky cliff walks with little beachfront.
Yet, some towns have wonderful shops and restaurants to try, while others focus on the natural beauty of the shoreline and nature trails.
Whether you’re looking for thrills, relaxation, or nature, there are coastal towns in Maine that will suit your road trip and vacation preferences. And, our list is only the tip of the iceberg. You can discover even more fantastic towns on a tour of the Maine Coast!