Mainers know the best way to see the Maine coast is by boat. The dramatic shoreline and glittery granite shoals meet the brilliant blue sea where waves caress the coast. Watching lobster boats glide along picking up their traps and seeing grand lighthouses shine their beacon of light is best viewed from the water via boat, power or sail, paddle or put-put.
Here are some of the best Marinas, Harbors and Anchorages in Maine to take your boat for the day, an overnight or a week’s sailing voyage, with protection from the open Atlantic Ocean, beautiful views, friendly folks and perhaps even a lobster dinner for your crew.
The Southern Maine Coast has the best beaches, but not necessarily the best harbors for boaters due to its open exposed shores.
Kittery’s Pepperrell Cove has a few moorings just outside the busy Portsmouth Harbor and the powerful Piscataqua River, but doesn’t offer the best protection given the swift current and open southerly aspect. York Harbor and The York River, Ogunquit’s Perkin’s Cove and Wells Harbor all have extremely limited space if any. The Kennebunk River is a bustling tidal river as well, there are 3 Kennebunkport marinas with limited transient dock space, at $4+ a foot for an overnight, Chicks, Kennebunkport Marina and Yachtsman.
Portland is the port city of Maine, with the biggest population and a very busy harbor of commercial and pleasure yachts. Because Portland is such a happening place, it’s fun to visit by boat, cruising past Two Lights, The Portland Headlight, Bug Light and into the Fore River. DiMillos is in downtown Portland with many docks slips, and a lively boating community. You are steps to J’s Oyster House, RiRas, American Flatbread, all the Old Port shops plus loads of great Portland restaurants, bars, cafes and art galleries.
Fore Points Marina Is located in downtown Portland, Fore Points Marina accommodates vessels of all sizes with first class hospitality and full-service amenities. Nestled in a protected safe harbor, you will be surrounded by scenic Casco Bay and just steps away from the Old Port’s exciting culinary scene, boutique shops, and activities. The gated marina is professionally staffed at all times providing you and your crew with any essential or luxury desired to make your short or extended stay delightful! Fuel dock, in-slip fueling, power up to 480v, 150 slips. Maximum length: 630 feet; maximum depth: 25 feet. N 43° 38.9 W 70° 14.25. 1 Marina Way, Portland, ME 207-517-4860
Diamond Cove is a protected little harbor on the northeastern side of Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay, where you can moor or rent a dockslip. The beautiful Diamond Island was once an artist colony, then a military base from 1891-1945. You will see the brick buildings on the hillside if you walk from the marina up the hill to explore the 77-acre island, though much of it is private. Diamond Cove Restaurant has a pretty setting, there is also a small General Store, visit these between ferry passenger flocks, or just enjoy drinks on your boat in what locals call Cocktail Cove while you watch ferry passengers come and go.
Dolphin Marina & Restaurant in Upper Casco Bay, in scenic Potts Harbor, is a great destination or stop over as you head toward Maine’s midcoast. Dolphin Marina has a commanding view of Casco islands from its southern point on Harpswell Neck. Some of the best dockhands in Maine will welcome you to Dolphin Marina and recommend you put your name in for dinner at the panoramic (and popular) Dolphin Restaurant that serves delicious seafood. It’s a friendly full service family-run marina with free WiFi, fuel, power, pump out, water and ice, marina showers and restrooms, even kayaks and bikes for boat guests for transient yachters. Dolphin Marina can accommodate yachts of up to 250′.
Sebasco Harbor Resort is an impressive property in midcoast Maine, covering 550-acres with a resort, spa and lodging. Moorings are available here and you can utilize the saltwater pool and enjoy dining in the upscale Pilot House or the more casual Ledges Pub as a boat guest.
Derecktor Robinhood off the Sheepscott and Kennebec River is a perfectly protected harbor with a wonderful marina and restaurant, The Opsrey. Robinhood Marine has plenty of dock space plus moorings, and friendly dock hands, WiFi, showers, a quaint Library building and Sail Loft for boaters to relax in, plus gazebo, grills and picnic area. Robinhood Cove is incredibly picturesque right down the grand osprey nest, and quiet for sleeping on your boat. If you don’t have a boat Robinhood also rents house boats for weekends and the week, these spacious floating homes (your own private floating island) are not navigable – so it’s a stress-free fun way to be in a boat, no destination or driving with Riggs Cove Rentals.
Boothbay Harbor is a bustling boaters’ harbors, with sailing charters, lighthouse and sunset cruises, and lobstermen all calling this pretty waterfront town their port. Pleasure boaters will love the scenery as you enter Boothbay. Tugboat Inn Marina is a great place to rent a dock slip for a night or two. You are steps from the shops, cafes, restaurants, nightlife and attractions of Boothbay Harbor, and the colorful waterfront is the view from your boat. Tugboat has WiFi, showers, laundry and its own restaurant, an actual Tugboat now grounded.
Penobscot Bay provides pleasure boaters fantastic cruising grounds with many great Maine ports and islands to visit. Tenants Harbor is a beautiful working harbor with several moorings for overnight boaters as you first round Port Clyde from the south west. The town of Rockland is a bustling waterfront community with dock slips just a short walk from this famous harbor village. In Rockport, Samoset Resort offers several transient moorings at their gracious resort grounds, with dining, golf and spa as amenities for the crew. Camden is a beautiful sailing and boating village, with town docks steps from downtown. Wayfarer Marine has slips and moorings on the other side of the harbor – a longer walk to Camden’s restaurants and shops. Pulpit Harbor across the bay from Camden on North Haven Island is a beautiful anchorage with serene scenery and sunsets across the bay, but boaters must provisions as there are no services here.
Castine is home to Maine Maritime Academy, so the nautical tradition is deep here in this remote seaside setting in East Penobscot Bay at the mouth of the Bagaduce River. Dennett’s Wharf, Eaton’s Boatyard, plus Castine’s town docks all offer places to dock or moor your boat for the night and explore this charming quiet town. Or stay in one of Castine’s beautiful bed and breakfast for the night for a real bed and shower.
Bucks Harbor Marine maintains and rents dozens of transient moorings for power boats and sailboats plus dock slips in this beautiful harbor with a boat building heritage. In fact, Bucks Harbor offers one of the largest mooring fields in the heart of Penobscot Bay. Offering protected deep water off the town of Brooksville. Bucks Harbor is a great stop over before (or after) your passage from Penobscot Bay through Eggemoggin Reach heading Down East. This harbor is incredibly historic, authors Robert McCloskey and EB White summered here and wrote about the magical Maine setting and outlying islands. Bucks Harbor Marine also has an extensive boat rental fleet of both sailboat and trawler yachts.
Stonington is home to the original Maine Lobsterboat races, a site to “sea” as lobstermen race around in their supped-up lobster boats. Stonington is a beautiful granite lined harbor, you can rent a mooring among the lobster boats and fishermen at Old Quarry Ocean Adventures.
Southwest Harbor is a beautiful yachter center and harbor on the west side of Mount Desert Island, between Northeast Harbor and Bass Harbor – the quiet side compared to busy Bar Harbor. So’West is home to Maine’s best boat builders – Hinckley, Ellis, Classic Boats, Wilbur, and Morris Yachts, and Dysarts Great Harbor Marina with lots of transient docks and services.
Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island is a magical setting for boaters, where the mountains meet the sea. This picturesque harbor near Acadia National Park is bustling with yachts but well worth navigating, there’s Northeast Harbor Marina, Clifton Docks, and a yacht club. You can go to shore and explore the cute town, walk up to the Asticou Terrace Gardens then dine at the beautiful Asticou Inn or the casual Docksider at Kimball Terrace Inn.
Bar Harbor is the hub of Mount Desert Island, where ferries, cruise ships, schooners and lighthouse tours depart daily, and vacationers fill the seaside streets and stops. Still it’s a cool place to visit by boat. For boat slips a little further away from the busy town docks, The Harborside Marina at Harborside Hotel and Spa and the Bar Harbor Marina at The Regency have beautiful views of Frenchman’s Bay. You can walk to downtown Bar Harbor to dine, visit the touristy shops and see the sights. Enjoy the resort facilities and outdoor pool, or hop on the Island Explorer shuttle to Acadia National Park where you can hike, bike and walk the Park’s carriage roads and trails.
The Maine coast is 250 miles with a straight string line from the Portsmouth New Hampshire bridge and border to Quoddy Head, the northeastern most point near Campobello Island and Canada. However the Maine coast juts out to sea and curves inland with hundreds of harbors, inlets and rivers making the actual coastline over 3,000 miles and over 5,000 miles of coast including islands – greater than California. This is why visiting and exploring Maine by boat is the way life should be. Vacationland could be BoatersLand.
This top Maine harbors and marinas page is intended as a suggestion only of great places to visit by boat. It is not for navigation purposes, you should do your research, plot your course with care, and contact marinas before you go to make proper safe boating plans and passages.