ULTIMATE Guide to Searsport Maine Activities & Attractions
When planning your next trip to Maine, check out the picturesque small coastal town of Searsport Maine. Searsport showcases the best of Maine’s natural beauty with scenic nature preserves, well-maintained state parks, and the pristine shores of Penobscot Bay.
Whether you’re planning a solo trip or a family adventure, Searsport has wonderful outdoor spaces to enjoy and unique indoor activities for all ages. The town also boasts its own uninhabited island — Sears Island, which visitors are welcome to explore and can access via car.
About Searsport Maine
Searsport is located in Waldo County Maine on the shores of Penobscot Bay. The town has a population of less than 2,700 year-round residents but hosts hundreds of tourists annually. Tourists flock here for its historical architecture, antique shops, and access to Mid Coast Maine’s coastal waters.
Those seeking an escape from hectic everyday life find a reprieve on Sears Island. The island is uninhabited but visitors are welcome to explore the island’s coastline and wooded areas and disconnect from life’s stresses.
History of Searsport
Searsport Maine was incorporated as a town in 1845 and named for David Sears, a Boston merchant and partial owner of the land where Searsport and Sears Island were established. It was an industrious town in its early days and housed mills, factories, and iron foundries.
In the early to mid-1800s, Searsport was home to many shipyards and became a hub for shipbuilding and the China trade industry.
Many shipmasters of the 1800s originated in Searsport, which gave the town a reputation as a leader in the maritime industries. Today, the town maintains its connection to the sea and ships and serves as a deep-water harbor.
Outdoor Things to Do in Searsport Maine
Searsport has many outdoor options for visitors to enjoy. Nature preserves, state parks, and wooded areas feature beautiful hiking trails for all abilities.
Since the town is located right on Penobscot Bay, numerous water activities can be enjoyed by all. Check out these popular outdoor spots during your next Searsport Maine visit.
Moose Point State Park
Enjoy one of Maine’s many beautiful state parks with a visit to Moose Point State Park. Situated on Penobscot Bay, the park offers stunning views, tidal pools, and trails.
The hiking trails are not too challenging, making them great for all abilities — from young children to senior citizens. Children will love scrambling along the rocks and looking for sea treasure in the tidal pools. And, bring a picnic and a blanket or chairs to enjoy a meal with a view.
The park is primarily open from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September. After the peak season, you can still visit the grounds but must park outside the gate and pay the small admission fee through the self-service box.
Sears Island is accessible by car and directly connected, via a causeway, to Searsport. The island is the largest undeveloped island on the Eastern seaside connected by a causeway.
Since it is uninhabited, visitors should bring their own refreshments and beverages for nourishment throughout the day.
Outdoor activities abound on Sears Island. You can hike, bird-watch, swim, bicycle, kayak, cross-country ski, snowshoe, or just relax. During the summer, the Friends of Sears Island offers guided nature walks and points out historic sites and geological areas of interest. The island is dog and horse-friendly too.
Searsport Shores Kayak Rentals
Penobscot Bay is ideal for venturing out on a kayaking trip. The waters are typically calm, and there’s so much to see — from herons to eagles to seals and possibly dolphins! Searsport Shores Kayak Rentals has both single and double recreational kayaks for rent.
Take a kayaking trip out to Sears Island, paddle to an oceanside restaurant, or simply relax on a peaceful self-guided trip along the bay. Kayaking is easy to learn and a fun activity for older children and adults.
Long Cove Headwaters Preserve
Set out on a hike at Long Cove Headwaters Preserve. There are two easy trails here — the Blue Loop is only 1.2 miles round-trip, while the Orange Loop is 2.3 miles round-trip. Along the trails, you will find vernal pools, many species of birds, and well-trodden paths to follow.
The preserve is dog-friendly, so bring your four-legged friend along on a leash. The preserve is open year-round, which makes this spot great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Indoor Things to Do in Searsport Maine
Searsport residents have preserved the small-town, community feeling here by keeping indoor entertainment options simple and relevant to the history of the town. Check out these indoor activities during your next visit.
Penobscot Marine Museum
If you love history and marine life, you’d love a trip to the Penobscot Marine Museum. It offers a collection of over 300,000 photographs, maritime artifacts, and interesting displays about Penobscot Bay and those who have traveled through it.
The collection includes displays of watercraft that have been used in Maine’s Atlantic waters and a wonderful exhibit about fishing and lobstering in Maine.
Whether you enjoy artwork, photography, history, or exploring neat artifacts, there’s something to fascinate you in the collection at the Penobscot Marine Museum. For families, there are special children-focused exhibits and play spaces for kids to burn off some energy.
Treasures and Trash Barn
If you love antiquing and looking for unique items, the Treasures and Trash Barn is a must-see when you’re in Searsport Maine. The barn is filled to the brim with everything from vintage tools, lighting, buoys, knick-knacks, cookware, furniture, and memorabilia.
Plan to spend a lot of time digging through all of the stuff to find hidden gems. Collectors flock to the barn on a regular basis to see what new items they can discover.
Artists in Residence at Searsport Shores Ocean Campground
Each summer, the Searsport Shores Ocean Campground hosts Artists in Residence. These select groups of artists run fun classes and workshops that are free or low-cost. All classes are drop-in and are for anyone — not just guests of the campground.
Classes range from knitting, botanical printing, collage making, sewing, and embroidery to watercolors and more. There are cooking classes, storytelling shows, and musical performances as well.
Carver Memorial Library
The Carver Memorial Library is a beautiful stone public library that has been serving the Searsport community since 1910. The outside of the building and grounds are great for photo opportunities.
You don’t need to be a resident to enjoy the full collection. Visitors without a library card are welcome to peruse the collection and use materials within the library. This is the perfect place to relax on a rainy day or to stop for a chat with the librarians about the town and its history.
BlueJacket Shipcrafters has been in business since 1905. The unique gift shop sells nearly 100 different boat model kits — from beginner to expert level.
Choose from sailboats, half hulls, power vessels, radio-controlled kits, and limited edition models. There are even model boat-building tools and supplies for purchase if you don’t need a full kit.
A gallery on-site features the intricate models that the owner, Nic Damuck, has created. Rigging classes are also available for visitors to learn all about model building. This shop is a fun experience for all ages.
Popular Searsport Maine Restaurants
Searsport has something for everyone, no matter their food preferences. From upscale dining options to family-friendly spots to brunch and seafood, Searsport Maine restaurants wow visitors with delicious menu options made with the freshest ingredients.
It’s not a trip to Maine without indulging in Maine-caught seafood. Anglers Restaurant prides itself on serving the highest quality, freshest seafood in the area. The restaurant receives multiple deliveries each day, bringing in the catch of the day.
This family-friendly establishment has Maine favorites like haddock or clam chowder, lobster rolls, salmon, sea scallops, clams, shrimps, and calamari. For a hearty meal, order the Anglers Platter, which comes with clams, scallops, baby shrimp, and haddock with a choice of two sides.
Non-seafood eaters have a number of options at Anglers too. Chicken dishes — tenders, chicken parmesan, and citrus chicken — are all on the menu. A BLT, hamburger, hot dog, and salad are also options.
The children’s menu features kid favorites — chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, fish sticks, and grilled cheese.
Rio’s is the perfect spot for a fancy date night or a special evening out. The menu changes seasonally and uses only the freshest ingredients. Every Thursday night is Burgers & Brews Night — a special burger is featured with a discounted beer.
The menu is subject to change based on the chef’s inspiration and season but features dishes like herb-roasted monkfish, crispy smashed sunchokes, grilled octopus, New York strip steak, and housemade salads.
There are typically a few seafood options, meat options, and vegetable or pasta dishes to choose from. And, the restaurant has a full cocktail menu with beer, wine, and hard ciders to accompany the delectable entrees.
Check out the weekend brunch at Hey Sailor. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays and features an extensive drink menu with mimosas, bloody cocktails, housemade cocktails, juice, coffee, and tea.
The brunch menu is known for its famous corned beef hash and eggs, baked French toast, quiche, breakfast burritos, and snacks — like shrimp and grits. Brunch wouldn’t be complete without something sweet — such as tres leches cake, key lime pie, or Charlie’s coconut cream pie.
When it’s not brunch time, Hey Sailor serves Mexican-inspired dishes — like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and tortas. Or, you can indulge in bar snacks — like Sailor fries, mussels, empanadas, or Korean fried wings. No matter when you go, this eclectic spot has a fun vibe with a unique and inspiring menu.
Coastal Cafe and Bakery
The Coastal Cafe and Bakery is the go-to spot in Searsport Maine for a delicious cup of coffee and baked goods. Serving locally sourced, organic espresso and homemade pastries, everything on the menu is flavorful and fresh.
The pastry offerings can vary by the day but typically include muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, danishes, croissants, and bagels. Also, there is a small menu featuring hot dishes — like eggs, bacon, hash browns, and deli sandwiches.
In a hurry? Pick up a loaf of homemade bread, and get your coffee to go.
The Homeport Tavern will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time into an old English pub. It has a lunch and dinner menu of upscale meals that you wouldn’t typically see at American pubs.
Favorites include gold corn Johnny cakes, house-smoked pork belly, crispy Brussels sprouts, wild halibut, chimichurri beef, and seared duck breast.
Of course, the tavern has some typical pub fare as well — like fish with chips and a burger with onion rings for those looking for a more basic meal.
Be sure to check out the live entertainment with Celtic music, acoustic duos, piano performances, and urban country singers rocking the tavern stage in the evenings. The Homeport Tavern is a fun night out for a couple or friends gathering.
Hotels in Searsport Maine & Other Lodging
Searsport lodging options range from quaint and romantic bed and breakfasts to budget-friendly motels to a scenic campground. When planning a trip to Searsport Maine, check out these options, which are sure to please with affordable, clean, and comfortable accommodations.
Captain Nickels Inn
Captain Nickels Inn is perfect for travelers looking for a cozy, romantic vibe at a bed and breakfast. The inn is on the National Register of Historic Places, so you are sure to be enamored with the gorgeous architecture and ornate decor.
This inn has full views of Penobscot Bay and is close to downtown. Each room has a different theme and decor. All of them feature private bathrooms, a smart TV, Wi-Fi, robes, and air conditioning. Some rooms have balconies, firepits, or electric fireplaces.
On-site, enjoy activities like horseshoes, croquet, board games, and bocce ball. Or, sit by the fire pit and enjoy the amazing views. A multi-course breakfast is served daily with house specialties like berry-baked pancakes, chicken and waffles, frittatas, and homemade granola.
NOTE: Captain Nickels Inn is for guests ages 10 years and older.
Homeport Inn & Tavern
Those looking for a quaint, luxurious stay should check out Homeport Inn & Tavern. This inn features nine gorgeous rooms in a historical 1860s Victorian-style home. Included with each stay is a European breakfast buffet with delicious offerings like quiche, croissants, eggs, fruit, and other breakfast favorites.
Each room has air conditioning, Wi-Fi, a patio, ocean views, and a coffee machine. There is a small library and a billiards table in the communal room for guests to enjoy. Be sure to check out the live entertainment at the on-site tavern for a fun evening out.
Searsport Shores Oceanfront Camping
There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty that Maine has to offer than at a campground. Searsport Shores Oceanfront Camping has sites for RVs and tents, or you can rent a cabin. The best part about this campground is the location right on Penobscot Bay.
The campground has a beach for swimming, tide pools to discover, and kayaking rentals. Each summer, there’s a full event calendar of fun activities to keep the family busy — concerts, trivia, art classes, and more.
There are trails at the campground for family-friendly hikes, and kids will love visiting the Angora goats that live in the campground. Showers, restrooms, and laundry services are also available for campground guests.
If you’re looking for budget-friendly accommodation, the Yardarm Motel is just what you need. It has a vintage vibe with basic rooms that are perfect for those looking for a simple place to spend the night.
The Yardarm has 18 family-friendly rooms that are clean and comfortable. Each stay is complete with a continental breakfast, including baked goods and coffee. On-site amenities include a fire pit, lawn games, short walking trails in the woods, and a meadow to play in.
Plan Your Visit to Searsport Maine
Though a small town, Searsport should not be overlooked by those looking for a coastal Maine experience. When visiting, you’ll feel as if you took a step back in time with the historical architecture, vintage shops, quaint restaurants, and untouched coastline.
Searsport Maine is the perfect solo, couple, or family vacation spot with its rich shipbuilding history, natural beauty, and friendly restaurants and accommodations throughout town. Be sure to add Searsport to your next Mid Coast Maine itinerary.