Camden, ME- Where the mountains meet the sea
Every time friends mention they are going to Maine, I feel secondhand excitement just thinking of all the fun they are going to have.
Camden, ME is one of my favorite, if not my favorite place in the US. I’ve been visiting Camden every few years since I was pretty little, and every time I leave, I can’t wait to go back. Once, I told someone that Maine is better than 95 percent of the the places you can visit in the world, and my sister quickly told me that was a low estimate.
Places to stay on a trip to Maine:
I would highly recommend staying in Camden as your home base and balancing your trip with both exploring this little town and taking day trips along the cost. There are also several very cute, very small towns in which to stay. For example, tiny Rockport is very quaint and quiet but still close to everything.
There are obviously no bad neighborhoods to avoid. In town, the Gaylord Camden is very nice, but the place my family and I have loved the most is the 200 year old home in Rockport that we found on Airbnb.
You will definitely need to rent car even if you will be staying primarily in one town. When my family visits Maine, we really spend a lot of time sightseeing and enjoying nature. We frequently take drives or hikes just to see the scenery and find a new lighthouse or adorable roadside store along the way. Maine is very rural and historic, which is a lot of its charm.
Perfect things to do in Camden-
- Eat breakfast in one of the little restaurants downtown
- Mariners has a patio right over the little waterfall that pours into the harbor and has both beautiful views and pancakes with Maine blueberry jelly, yum!
- My sister’s boyfriend claims that blueberry muffins at the Bagel Cafe behind the Lord Camden are the best food he’s ever eaten…to the point that he ate two there and one on the way home… but I love the bagels.
- Stroll around the lawn in front of the Public Library. There just isn’t a more peaceful place.
- Take a Windjammer Cruise.
- I highly recommend the Schooner Appledore.
- The tours are always beautiful, of course.The guys who sail the ships are characters who make the trip fun. You’ll see seals, Camden harbor, and lighthouses!
- There are a several tours available. My family really enjoys the short cruises of an hour or two during the day or even at sunset.
- Hike or drive to the top of Mount Battie for a panoramic view of Camden’s place along Maine’s jagged coastline and rocky islands.
- On fall afternoons, pick apples at a nearby farm.
- There are quite a few places to pick apples and many varieties of apples, so just run a google search to see what’s near you.
- This activity is best done at the beginning of the trip because you’ll want to want to bring a few apples with you when setting out for each day’s adventures. You may also have a chance to make and enjoy an apple pie if your place has a kitchen.
- Tour the little shops in the little downtown. You’ll find everything from quality clothing to souvenirs and nicknacks. The Smiling Cow is a classic.
- After dinner (or really anytime), grab an ice-cream at Camden Cone.
Fun in surrounding towns:
- Owl’s Head Lighthouse is my very favorite lighthouse.
- This is in a very forested promontory with a little museum and gift store in the old keeper’s quarters, and you can hike down to a little rocky beach to one side.
- In Rockland, ME
- Walk out to the Breakwater Lighthouse.
- This is kind of a trek. It’s located a little over a quarter mile walk out in a bay over a breakwater of large rocks.
- In Rockland, ME
- While there, also check out the Samoset Hotel.
- My family loves to visit Art Galleries.Farnsworth Museum–
- The main museum in Rockland houses a collection of contemporary and historic American artists with a specific wing dedicated to the works of the Wyeth family.
- The Farnsworth also owns the bleak and weathered Olson House in Cushing, ME. This home inspired and is featured in many of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings, including Christina’s World.
- Many painters have been inspired by Maine, so even small galleries are filled with great art. My favorite of these is the Wiscasset Bay Gallery, which just happens to be just steps away from a wonderful antique store and what is said to be Maine’s best lobster rolls, Red’s Eats.
- A trip to Maine is essentially a challenge to eat as many lobster rolls as humanly possible. There are many awesome places to eat this delicacy. Camden’s best restaurant, Cappy’s, is out of business, so my family is still on a quest to find a replacement. The best lobster rolls are served in roadside stands by local fishermen, not in restaurants. Don’t be shocked, though, if they charge restaurant prices…lobster is lobster, but it is so worth the price. Lobster rolls here are the best you will find anywhere in the world.
- Recently, the best lobster rolls I have had were at Libby’s Market in Brunswick, ME. Don’t be surprised that the little dining area is in what looks like a regular gas station. The rolls are very good and fresh. The owner and his wife catch the lobster themselves.
A Little Farther Away from Camden:
- Go to Acadia National Park!
- The place comes alive for leaf peepers in fall. Bar Harbor is a nice place to visit near the park entrance.
- Visit the L.L.Bean Flagship Store with the giant Bean Boot out front. L.L.Bean was founded in Maine, promotes an outdoor lifestyle, and supports the National Park Foundation…could there be a better company?
- Visit the other awesome outlet stores. The Patagonia outlet in Freeport, just across the street from L.L.Bean and the Barbour outlet in Kittery can’t be beat.