Boaters from around the globe call Maine the ultimate cruising ground. With over 3,478 miles of coastline, and about 6,000 lakes and ponds – a playground for boaters. For some, water sports is boating on a beautiful fresh water lake, or White Water Rafting down a high powered river. For others, it is kayaking the quiet inlets and coves and exploring islands off the coast of Maine.
Others are looking for Lobster boat ride and Scenic Lighthouse Tour for a few hours, or maybe a weeklong scenic tour of the coast on a windjammer or schooner cruise. And then there are boaters that love to cruise the coast of Maine exploring the many harbors and marinas on a yacht, power boat or sailboat. You can even rent a Maine house boat.
True Mainers say the best way to see Maine is from the water. Cruising the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine offers the best views of shore. Touring Maine’s vast coast by boat, you can see everything from sandy beaches and towering lighthouses on rocky cliffs to remote islands and sandy secluded beaches. You can visit bustling harbors with full service marinas or quiet inlets where seals sun themselves on the rocks. A great Maine vacation would include touring the coast of Maine, spending the night at a hotel marina in a pretty harbor.
Maine is a boaters’ paradise. You can spend the day at sea on a chartered sailboat or schooner. Hop aboard a Lobster Boat Tour and learn to haul lobster traps from a Maine fisherman. Scenic lighthouse boat tours are the best way to see these landmark beacons as sailors did a century ago.
An evening cocktail cruise aboard a schooner or windjammer, watching the sun set under sail, is the perfect end to a day. If you wish to spend a week on a yacht or a tall ship, there are sailing tours and trips out of Portland’s Casco Bay, Boothbay, Penobscot Bay via Rockport and Camden, and Bar Harbor.
Sports fishermen will find fishing charters and tours at most working harbors. Spend the day aboard a whale watch boat, many Maine whale watching excursions guarantee sightings.
Maine is renowned for its whitewater rafting. The Forks of Maine is the epicenter for rafting companies, whether you want to raft Class 5 rapids or learn to raft as a first timer. Maine’s rivers like the Kennebec are famous for their scenery, canoeing, kayaking and rafting. Tour companies rent canoes and kayaks and offer overnight river trips. Maine guides are often available to provide recommendations or to accompany you on your excursion.
Maine’s freshwater lakes, Moosehead and Sebago being the largest, are crystal clean and clear. Pleasure boaters will find countless lakes and ponds to explore, ideal for water sports like water skiing, wakeboarding and tubing in summertime. Swimming in Maine’s lakes is a refreshing treat in summer.
These same lakes are frozen over in winter and host some of the best ice fishing in the country and big ice fishing derbies in January and February. Of course Maine is a fishermans haven, saltwater fishing or fly fishing for salmon and trout – it’s all here waiting for you (and your waders).
Cruise ships visit Maine’s large ports too. Portland and Bar Harbor are both popular ports for major cruise ships including Royal Caribbean, Princess, Nova Star and Carnival.
Boat Rentals and Tours
Maine’s coastline is not only one of the longest in the country, but arguably the most dramatic. The best way to see Maine’s coast is by sea. Better still is to charter a boat or rent a yacht to chart your own course along Maine’s scenic coast and explore the islands, inlets and peninsulas.
Many of Maine’s harbor towns like the city of Portland, Camden, Rockport, Bucks Harbor, and Bar Harbor offer boat charters and boat rentals. You can rent a sailboat for a week of cruising, or rent a power boat for a weekend depending upon whether you want to explore Penobscot Bay or visit the dramatic fjords of Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island.
Some Sailing Charter companies and yacht services provide sailing lessons so that you can learn to sail before you charter your own boat. Or you can hop aboard a chartered schooner and let the crew do the hoisting.
If you are already an experienced sailor, then you can charter a barefoot sailboat and head Down East for the best cruising and scenery Maine has to offer. If you want a sailing charter with captain and crew, a fully provisioned and crewed yacht can be arranged too.
Sport fishing charters are a great way to experience Atlantic fishing in Maine. Your captain and crew provide all the tackle and know the best fishing spots in Maine so you and your fishing buddies just show up and drop a line. A fishing charter makes a great bachelor party or a unique corporate getaway for special clients. Bring a cooler of beers and hope to repalce the space with fresh caught fish.