Midcoast Maine has so much to offer your family when it comes to Vacation Fun. Not only is the local economy affordably priced, but a great many activities and popular destinations are within an easy 30 mile drive. We'd like to suggest some options to explore:
1. Hit the water! If you don't have your own swimming waterfront we have beaches and swimming holes all around the area: Damariscotta Lake State Park, Pemaquid Beach, Little Beach, The Salt Pond Preserve, The Doyle Preserve, Biscay Pond Beach, Bristol Mills Swimming Hole, and more.
3. Visit an island! Vinalhaven is reached by ferry from Rockland Harbor and offers nature trails, beaches & quarries for exploration – and it's great for biking! Monhegan Island is a hiking island (no bikes allowed) – combining a boat trip from New Harbor with a full day of walking, picnicking and seal watching. And while on Monhegan...
4. Hunt for Fairy Houses. Monhegan is famous for its whimsical Fairy Houses - dotted through Cathedral Woods. And if you want to see more, be sure to visit the growing Fairy Village at
5. The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Aside from the Fairy Village, visitors will enjoy the various displays and gardens. There's also a new children's activity garden under development. They sponsor many special events and workshops and have a wonderful Café on site. Definitely worth a visit!
6. Paddle the Waterways. If your property doesn't provide a boat consider renting a canoe or signing onto a kayak excursion – suitable for all levels of experience. (Sorry, no power boat rentals). You can also join in with the Pemaquid Paddlers as they explore a different body of water – twice each week!
7. Go Fishing. Our lakes and rivers are great for fishing. Inexpensive equipment is available locally, and licenses can be obtained on-line or at local Town Halls. Maine Guide Services offer all-inclusive packages with boat service to those harder-to-reach fishing holes! Deep sea fishing boats go out daily from Boothbay Harbor. Many town landings also have docks for saltwater fishing.
8. Climb the Rocky Shoreline. Great exercise with stunning views! Enjoy Pemaquid Point, Kresge Point, the coast at the LaVerna Preserve, or the ½ mile walk out on the rock Causeway into Rockland Harbor.
9. Visit our Lighthouses. Our coastline is dotted with many lighthouses, not least of which is our own Pemaquid Point Light, featured on the Maine State Quarter.
10. Let History Come Alive at the Colonial Pemaquid Park, Fort Edgecomb. The Pemaquid Park has re-enactments, evening lectures, daytime family activities and other special events. One popular event is the evening guided tour of the Pemaquid Cemetery, but you can certainly create your own daytime tour, or if you are up for a little Haunted History you can join the "Lady in the Red Cloak" on her tours.
11. Visit local Cemeteries. Area cemeteries offer fascinating old headstones with the names of early settlers repeated over and over. Pay special attention to the Old Walpole Meeting House Cemetery, The Harrington Meeting House Cemetery, and the cemetery at the German Church in Waldoboro – but there are many more.
12. Go Antiquing or crawl the local Flea Markets. Local dealers offer high end period pieces and collectibles; Bargain Hunters find the kitschy and collectible at the Flea Markets in Woolwich. Wednesday (early am) is antiques only. Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the full spectrum of attic, barn and garage treasures. Local Antique Auctions are popular throughout the season.
13. Meet the Local Talent. We have an amazing number of talented writers, poets, artists, craftsmen and women producing original art, sculpture, jewelry, clothing, quilts, wrought iron, hand weaving, woodwork, pottery and more. Local gallery shops are often staffed with the artists themselves. Other small galleries can certainly connect you with an artist whose work is of interest. Writers often have signings at the Maine Coast Book Store on Main Street.
14. Experience Life on the Farm. The Morris Farm in Wiscasset is a working demonstration farm complete with animals- open daily with frequent family events. We also have a large number of small farms in the area, many with farm stands on site. A number of these farms are certified as organic growers. The Farmer's Market on Mondays and Fridays is a great place to meet these hard working families, who often bring animals with them. Talk with them about their produce, cheeses, and animals, and sample some of their prepared foods and breads. Local Agricultural Fairs begin in August with the Blueberry Festival, and continue through October.
15. Visit the City of Ships in Bath. Not only is there a fun Main Street for shopping, there is the extensive Maine Maritime Museum, and of course Bath Iron Works. Bath also offers periodic walking tours of historic buildings and often has weekend evening Band Concerts in the park.
16. Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Be sure to save time to visit the Owl's Head Transportation Museum; a privately owned collection of working planes, cars and motorcycles. Special events and auctions are scheduled regularly. A wonderful family favorite! The Railway Village in Boothbay also offers family events, rides on a narrow gauge train and working steam engines. How about a trip on the historic Eastern Maine Railway with service between Brunswick and Rockland, with stops in Wiscasset and Bath! Or are you looking for a little speed and excitement, join the new owners at Wiscasset Speedway, Maine's Biggest & Fastest stock car facility.
17. Take to the Sea! Whether it's a Friendship Sloop charter or a guided tour of Muscongus Sound with a local lobsterman our coastal waters are stunning. Rockland Harbor offers other boat excursions, including day trips on masted schooners. The Hardy Boat in New Harbor offers Puffin Watches, Lighthouse Cruises and more. Whale watch trips generally go out from Boothbay Harbor.
18. Visit a Museum. The Farnsworth in Rockland is famous for its art collections and the Wyeth Center. Local Historic Societies in Waldoboro and Bristol have wonderful exhibits. There's also a Lighthouse Museum in Rockland; a Fisherman's Museum at Pemaquid Point, a Toy Museum in Waldoboro, an Ice Harvesting museum in South Bristol and a Farm Museum on the Union Fairgrounds.
20. Go Birding. The Maine Audubon Society has nature trails, information about local birds, and periodic events that allow access to their Hog Island Camp. Watch for Bald Eagles, Osprey, Cormorants, Herons, Loons, Eider Ducks and many more fascinating and seldom seen birds. The Warbler migrations in the spring and fall are amazing. All you really need is a good guide book!
21. Be a Marine Biologist for the Day. Wade in tide pools, such as the Salt Pond Preserve, or on the edges of our local beaches. Visit the Beachcombers' Rest Nature Center at the Beach for help in identifying what you find. Watch for sea snails, sand dollars, sea urchins, mussels, many varieties of kelp and seaweed and other marine species. Some area lobster pounds sponsor Touch Tanks. Visit the Marine Aquarium in Boothbay.
22. Express Your Creative Self! Try your hand at drawing or painting. Local art shops have everything you or the kids need, including information on local artists who take on students or have studio activities.
23. Get some exercise. The YMCA has a fitness center, tennis courts, and indoor track. The Boothbay YMCA has an indoor pool. Little ones will love our area Playgrounds – local elementary schools and the Park in Wiscasset.
24. Treat yourself to Dinner as the reward for all of this exercise! We certainly have a great selection of casual and creative restaurants all over the area, from white tablecloth service, to Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, or Rockland’s famous Wasses Hot Dogs (over 2 million served!). And what Maine Vacation would be complete without
25. Lobster Dinners on the Dock. Our local lobsterman will prepare your selected lobster, boiled perfectly by their personal recipe, with a bag of steamer clams and corn on the cob. You provide your own drinks (soft or hard) and any other menu items you want to create the perfect dining experience with an unbeatable view. Try the popular local taste test – eating your way through the competition to find the best of the best! If you don't know how to eat a lobster, this link has great instructions and information.
26. Save Room for Dessert! Sample our local Ice Cream stands –and many are scooping up Maine-Made Ice Creams from local dairies such as Round Top, Hood, Gifford's, or Shaine's of Maine. Dorman's Dairy Stand in Rockland (across from the movie theaters) is a summer landmark. And speaking of Movies:
27. Movies, Movies, Movies. Our Main Street Movie Theater offers current movies with one showing daily, The Strand in Rockland leans toward the Independent Film Market. Skidompha Library sponsors "Old Movie" events each week, and occasionally has special family movies. The Multi-plex movies in Rockland and at Cook’s Corner in Brunswick feature the Hollywood blockbusters. But if there’s nothing playing, and it’s too far to drive, you can rent movies from the Red Box at Hannaford’s Grocery, Reilly’s Market in New Harbor or The Movie Pizza Shoppe in Waldoboro.
28. Listen to the Music at live performances and concerts. Schooner Landing restaurant in Damariscotta often has live music on the dock. The Brown Church in Round Pond has many summer concerts by local Celtic musicians. The DaPonte String Quartet and the Saltbay ChamberFest perform each summer. Other concerts or musical events occur frequently. Jazz Festivals in Rockland are multi-day events with performers from all over the country. Also watch for performances at the Waldo Theatre in Waldoboro and the Chocolate Church in Bath.
29. Pack a Picnic and find the perfect spot to watch the clouds. All local markets have picnic fare available, and many restaurants and specialty shops (such as Weatherbird) will prepare a special picnic for your enjoyment.
30. SHOP! We have a great Main Street Shopping District with a wide selection of unique stores and galleries. Rockland, Bath and Boothbay Harbor each have distinctive shopping districts with something for everyone.
Of course, sometimes the very best thing to do – is nothing!
You're on vacation; take the time to kick back and relax and save the running around for another time.
Have a Great Vacation!