Camden Hills State Park-Maine

Camden Maine Vacation Guide | Best Things to Do in Camden This Year

The town of Camden is the self-described Jewel of the Maine coast. Located mid-coast Maine, Camden is a haven for ocean lovers, foodies, shoppers and outdoor adventurers. In the summer months, the population more than triples due to visitors and seasonal residents, many of whom reside in gorgeous ocean view estates around the Harbor.

Things to Do in Camden Maine

There is something for every  traveler, whether you are looking to actively hike and explore Camden Hills State Park or relax on a sailboat as it glides over the cool ocean waves in Penobscot Bay, Camden has it all.

Boat Tours

Located right on Penobscot Bay, Camden is a sailor’s dream. Camden Harbor is home to numerous schooners and tall ships that offer daily sailing tours and excursions. Visitors may choose to charter their own ships, or sail for several days on a majestic ocean vessel, learning to hoist the sails or relaxing on deck in the cool ocean breezes.

Penobscot Bay itself has been said to be one of the best and most scenic sailing areas in the state of Maine. Camden remains a working harbor, with lobstering and fishing boats travelling in and out of the Bay each day to catch fresh seafood and lobster. A ride around the harbor will pass island ferries, mega-yachts, powerboats, fishing boats, Maine windjammers and more!

Downtown

Downtown Camden is delight of upscale shops, antique shops, general stores, seafood eateries and cafes, plus the most beautiful waterfront Camden Public Library which is surrounded by a lovely park for picnicking.

Camden Hills State Park

Looking for things to do in Camden, Maine? A trip to Camden Hills State Park will give visitors the opportunity to view a gorgeous sunrise or sunset over Penobscot Bay from the top of Mt. Battie. Camden Hill State Park encompasses 5,700 acres, including over 30 miles of hiking and walking trails. You may choose to tour the park on your own or with a local Maine Guide.

Camden Hills State Park is great for families with children because the hiking trails are not very strenuous or long and usually have very moderate inclines. However, if you don’t feel like hiking, drive the Auto Road up Mt. Battie for panoramic views of the Bay and nearby islands. The Park is also home to over a hundred campsites and a large picnic area for those visitors who wish to stay a little longer. Maiden’s Cliff is one of the more popular hiking trails, an 800-foot rock cliff that provides spectacular views of Lake Megunticook and the Maine countryside.

Beaches

Beach goers will love Barret’s Cove, a fresh water beach on Megunticook Lake. This beach is a quiet and relaxing escape from notoriously busy Camden in the summer months. It is often not crowded and the lake water remains relatively warm during prime season. The beach is open to the public with designated swimming areas, public restrooms and showers. There is also a grassy picnic area with tables and outdoor grills and a playground for the kids to enjoy.

Laite Beach is small but scenic, overlooking beautiful views of Camden Harbor just a short distance from downtown. Laite Beach is part of a grassy park that slopes down to a pebble beach along the water, perfect for searching for shells, sea glass and other ocean treasures. The park itself has swings, picnic tables, grills and restroom facilities. There is a swimming platform off shore for those brave enough to swim in the chilly harbor waters.

Camden Maine, Mt Battie

Lighthouses

It is worth a day trip to visit one of Camden’s outlying islands, Isleboro, Vinalhaven, North Haven, Isle Au Haut or the many other smaller islands in the area, accessible by boat or ferry out of Camden Harbor. Many of these islands are home to great hiking and biking trails, quaint seaside villages and picturesque Maine lighthouses.

In fact, there are 18 lighthouses within a 40-mile radius of Camden. Curtis Island Light is located at the entrance to Camden Harbor and is still actively used by the US Coast Guard. Vinalhaven is home to Brown’s Head Light and Heron Neck Light. Vinalhaven is also famous for its resident swordfish captain and author Linda Greenlaw who wrote The Lobster Chronicles, A Hungry Ocean, Slipknot, All Fishermen are Liars and her own Maine Cookbook, Recipes from a very small island.

Goose Rocks Light is located between the islands of Vinalhaven and North Haven, marking the dangerous rock ledge beneath it. Isle au Haut is home to Isle au Haut Light; visitors to this light may also choose to stay at the original Innkeeper’s house, which has been turned in to a quaint bed and breakfast with no electricity!

Events

Although the summer months bring thousands of visitors to Camden, it truly is a year-round community with something fun to do in every season! In the summer, Camden is home to the annual Parade of the Tallships and Maine Windjammer Days, festivals celebrating the rich sailing history of Camden and a chance to show of some beautiful ships. The Harbor Arts and Camden Jazz Festival draw a large community to appreciate the local artists and musicians.

There are plenty of things to do in Camden during the winter as the town becomes a hot spot for winter sports. The Camden Snow Bowl is a community owned ski area on Ragged Mountain and the only Eastern ski area with a view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Skiers and snowboarders alike will enjoy this picturesque ski mountain in Camden. In February, Camden Snow Bowl is  home to the North American Toboggan Championships. Ice-skating and cross-country are also popular winter activities that many Camden visitors enjoy.

Camden is full of rich history, which can be seen throughout the town’s many museums and architecturally stunning buildings like the library and the Camden Opera House. The town itself is great for shopping and browsing, with many art galleries and boutiques filled with hand-made crafts from local artists.

Camden Opera House
Credit: Greg & Heather Burke

Dining

Camden is also known for its unique restaurants and top Maine chefs. There are many delicious restaurants lining the downtown and waterfront areas, where guests may enjoy freshly caught seafood and other scrumptious meals or take an order to go and head to one of the many public parks in the area for a scenic picnic.

Lodging

Lodging in Camden can be very unique, as there are many Historic Inns and charming Bed and Breakfasts to stay at. For larger groups or families, motels, hotels and waterfront resorts are able to accommodate and please all guests at affordable prices. Camden weddings have become very popular, as the town is such a picture perfect spot for your rehearsal and wedding reception, and the ideal starting place for your honeymoon touring the Maine coast.

Lincolnville is Camden’s neighboring town to the north Coast with several great lodging establishments and a Maine winery. Many love visiting the quiant villages of Rockport and Rockland and Owls Head just south of Camden. There are so many things to do in Camden that we recommend staying at least a few days.

A trip to Camden is one the whole family will enjoy and remember for a lifetime!

Here are our favorite things to “sea” and do and eat in Camden

Visit Camden State Park and Mt Battie, you can drive the auto road to the top for fabulous views of the Camden Harbor and often see as far as Cadillac Mt on Mt Desert Island. This Maine State Park of Camden is over 5,000 acres, with 30 miles of trails. There’s a 1.5 mile loop hike. Or simply pack a picnic, get your selfie at the summit by the fortified tower, and enjoy splendid Atlantic scenes.

casco bay schooner1

A Camden harbor cruise is a fun way to see the beautiful boats and schooners that port here, and venture out to a few lighthouse and beautiful Penobscot Bay – one of our favorite places to sail in all of Maine! Lively Lady offers harbor cruises from Camden’s docks daily.

Enjoy a Schooner tour in Camden aboard Schooner Surprise – we suggest a sunset cruise. As sails are raised, the wind is in your hair, and you see wildlife, and the coastline, with only the power of the wind on this authentic 1918 race ship.

Cape Porpoise bouys used for nautical decor

Camden Harbor Park by the beautiful Camden Public Library is a lovely setting for a stroll or a picnic with a picturesque view of all the sailboat masts in the harbor. There’s an Amphitheater here for Camden’s frequent outdoor concerts .

Downton Camden’s best shops, pop in to Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe, The Smiling Cow, French & Brawn Market Place for the perfect picnic provisions and Maine made yummies, explore Owl and Turtle Bookshop, Ducktrap Bay Trading Co and the Cashmere Goat. Reny’s is a Maine shopping adventure in Camden… you won’t know you need it till you find it here!

Allagash Brewery freezer

Wine tasting at Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville – Bettina the propreitor departed Wall Street to pursue a passion in wine and elegant entertaining, she’s spent beaucoup bucks on harvesting Maine wines, which are perhaps not legendary – but fun & fruity, with a great tale & tour.

Visit  Rockland’s Breakwater made of gleaming granite harvested locally, and then browse the Farnsworth Museum – home to Andrew Wyeth and his family’s artwork. All of Rockland has an artsy cool vibe and several exceptional galleries – like the newer Center for Maine Contemporary Art across the street!

Fun fact, Camden is home to the only ocean-view ski arae on the Eastern Seaboard – Camden Snow Bowl! Here the annual National Toboggan Championships are held every February!

Top Places to Dine in Camden
Natalies at Camden Harbor Inn
Waterfront
Fresh & Co
Peter Ott’s on the Water
Long Grain
Primo in Rockland

Best Spots for a Cocktail and a view
Rhumb Line
16 Bayview Rooftop Bar
40 Paper

Camden Harbor View

For the Best in Coffee in Camden
Franny’s
Owl & Turtle
Zoot’s

More on our Top Towns to Visit in Maine as you Tour the Coast.

Enjoy your stay in Camden and tell ‘em VisitMaine.net steered you here.

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