Everyone knows that Maine has a stunning coastline and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean from pristine beaches to rugged cliff walks. But, have you ever considered seeing Maine from the water? Set sail on an exciting adventure on one of the best Maine sailing tours onboard a windjammer, sailboat, or schooner.
We think it’s the best way to view the Maine coast, and what could be more exhilarating than setting sail out of a Maine harbor aboard a tall-masted schooner? Down the coastline from the Downeast & Acadia region to the Southern Maine Coast, there are so many sailing excursions to choose from.
The best part? You can sit back and relax while someone else does the sailing and navigating. Or, you may lend a hand and hoist a sail if you prefer. There’s no better way to experience the beauty of Maine than on a historic sailing trip, so check out these options for your next visit to Maine.
Downeast & Acadia Sailing Tours
If you’re looking for a variety of options for sailing, Downeast Windjammer Cruise Lines in Bar Harbor has you covered. Offering a Sunset Sail, a Morning Sail, and an Afternoon Sail, there’s a wonderful experience no matter the time of day. Each sail has its own vibe.
The Sunset Sail is the most popular cruise that Downeast offers. It includes live folk music, beer, and wine for sale. Or, enjoy sailing in Frenchman Bay during the Morning Sail, which is more relaxed but still offers breathtaking views of Acadia National Park.
The Afternoon Sail is perfect for those looking for a narration during the sail. The captain will point out points of interest, regale you with the local history, and discuss wildlife.
No matter the sail, you can bring a picnic of snacks along, and most sails are pet-friendly.
Step aboard the Real Maine for an unforgettable experience sailing around the Cranberry Islands, Acadia, and Somes Sound. This tour will take you by lighthouses, past gorgeous homes on the shore, and by working fishing boats.
Book a private charter or a group day sailing adventure for up to six passengers. Downeast Sailing Adventures has daily sails on its 33-foot boat Surprise and its 38-foot boat Swan.
Northeast Harbor & Southwest Harbor
Sail Acadia offers trips out of two harbors, Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor. Sailing trips can be either shared or privately chartered. Private charters can be catered to your preferences with sailing instructions or a stop at an island for a picnic included.
Book a morning sail for calm waters with gentle sea breezes and good opportunities to view local wildlife. The morning sail is suggested for first-timers and children.
Or, book an afternoon sail for stronger winds that will make the sailboat cruise faster. This sail typically sees seals along the route, and the captain will often give a narration of the wildlife and history of the area.
Another option is a sunset sail for a romantic experience. This sail will have you seeing gorgeous sunset views on calm waters.
Schooner Tours in MidCoast Maine
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive overnight experience, book a sail aboard the 150-year-old Stephen Taber. Each sail includes accommodations in one of 12 cabins, meals, wine (on evening sails), a lobster bake and barbecue on the beach, and evening entertainment.
Guests can choose from a themed trip or a private charter from Rockland Maine. Themed trips are a lot of fun and span from three to six nights, depending on your preference.
Enjoy trips such as Culinary Explorations; ‘Wine, Dine, and Chocolate;’ Yacht Racing Regatta; Penobscot Bay’s Hidden Gems; and more. These trips are sure to be memorable experiences, and by the end of the trips, you’ll feel like family with the other guests on board.
Here are more MidCoast Maine boat tours that are part of the Maine Windjammer Association like the Schooner Stephen Taber:
- Schooner American Eagle | Captain Tyler King | Rockland, ME
- Windjammer Angelique | Captain Dennis Gallant & Candace Kuchinski | Camden ME
- Schooner Grace Bailey | Captain Sam Sikkema | Rockland, ME
- Schooner Heritage | Captains Sean Grims & Ben Welzenbach | Rockland, ME
- Schooner Ladona | Captain J.R. Braugh | Rockland, ME
- Schooner Lewis R. French | Captain Becky Wright and Nathan Sigouin | Camden, ME
- Schooner Mary Day | Captain Barry King and Jen Martin | Camden, ME
If you’re strapped for time and want a shorter sail, A Morning in Maine’s sailing trips are a wonderful experience. The two-hour sailing adventures take place aboard a 55-foot ketch that passes lighthouses and other schooners.
The morning trip is perfect for those looking for calm sailing. The mid-afternoon sail has windier conditions for a faster sail. Evening and sunset sails feature beautiful sunset views and a relaxing ride. Guests are often given the chance to try to steer the boat as well.
The Schooner Surprise has been sailing for over 105 years, with 30 of those years setting sail out of Camden Maine. Guests can book a two-hour sail with views of the lighthouse, summer houses and views of Penobscot Bay.
These family-friendly sails let guests, including children, take the wheel while out at sea. Special sails include a Full Moon Sail that features live music during sunset and a trip lasting two hours into the night. Or, book a fireworks view sail or a Birding and Marine Life Tour with an ornithologist.
Portland & Casco Bay Sailing Tours
Portland Schooner Co. sets sail from Portland Maine and cruises through Casco Bay for a delightful trip along the coastline and past lighthouses and ocean life, like seals. On the two-hour sail, bring your own picnic and even alcoholic beverages for a relaxing, scenic time on the water.
These sails are perfect for all ages. Sails take place throughout the day on one of the five historic wooden schooners. The sails are relaxing and do not include narration, but the crew is available to answer any questions that guests may have.
Maine Sailing Adventures offers traditional two-hour and themed sails through Casco Bay. What sets it apart from other sailing companies is its unique themed sails. Try an acoustic sail that features live music. Or, try a wine sail that includes a wine tasting for adults.
Have you ever heard of a yoga sail? This ship can accommodate up to 12 guests for a yoga class that you won’t experience anywhere else. Enjoy amazing views of the water while working on your poses.
If you’re looking for an intimate sailing adventure, Sail Portland Maine has you covered. Guests can choose a private charter or a public trip. The public trips’ capacity is 12 people, so you know that your sail won’t be too crowded.
Day and sunset trips are two hours in length and pass by all of the famous Casco Bay features — like historic forts, lighthouses, and if you’re lucky to spot them, seals. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drinks, while bottled water is complimentary on board.
Schooner Tours on the Southern Maine Coast
There’s no better way to see the Kennebunk River than sailing on it. The Pineapple Ketch departs from Nonantum Resort for a dazzling trip along the river and the Kennebunkport coastline.
You’ll see gorgeous seasonal cottages, including the famous cottage of President George H.W. Bush. Enjoy views of the Goat Island Lighthouse, local harbors, seabirds, and seals.
Each sail includes complimentary bottled water and sodas, but guests are also welcome to bring their own food and beverages.
Silverlining Sailing offers one of the most intimate sails in Ogunquit Maine. Each boat has the capacity for up to six passengers, making for a small group sail. Sails typically last two hours, departing from the quaint Perkins Cove village.
There are five trips daily (weather permitting) from early morning through to a sunset sail in the evening. Enjoy stunning ocean views, gorgeous waterfront homes, views of local beaches, and harbors.
Since this is a smaller group sail, guests get the opportunity to try their hand at taking the wheel and steering the schooner.
Broad Reach Adventures has two-hour sails, half-day and full-day sails, and chartered sails from Saco Maine, so there’s a sail to accommodate your busy schedule.
Each one allows guests to see beautiful views of the Saco River, Saco Bay, Biddeford Pool, Old Orchard Beach, and lighthouses along the way. Longer sails provide guests with the opportunity to disembark and explore uninhabited islands.
A unique feature that Broad Reach Adventures offers is the opportunity to add a massage or professional photographer. These experiences are available on certain dates and times, so book ahead if you’re interested in these add-ons.
Sailing Lessons & Boat Rentals
If you want to learn to sail, sailing instruction is often available as part of your charter package. Private charters of sailboats on the Maine coast allow experienced sailors to explore the coastline on their own.
Private sailors will find hotel marinas for lodging in Maine’s best harbors. If you time your sailing cruise right, you might witness seals, porpoises, whales, or other tall ships.
Watching the sunrise from the deck of a schooner is one of life’s simplest, most satisfying pleasures. Of course, the spectacular Maine scenery is always included on your sail.
Set Sail on Sailboat & Schooner Tours From Maine This Season
Now that you know about all of the sailing trip options, it’s time to set sail into the open waters of Maine. From two-hour trips of the bays and harbors to overnight excursions, there’s an experience awaiting you on your next getaway.
Each Maine sailing company offers its own unique trips aboard safe, well-maintained schooners. Relax, unwind, and feel the ocean breeze in your hair as you cruise through the lapping waves of Maine’s Atlantic shoreline.