The Perfect Maine Summer | Towns to Visit
Whether it’s a tourist hotspot or frequently mostly by locals, these quintessential summer towns are a starting point for a weekend getaway.
Nestled on the shores of Penobscot Bay, the seaside town of Camden has many restaurants, hiking spots, museums, and much more for curious travelers to see. Filling up a day with exploring and sightseeing is simple: grab an ice-cream cone and walk across the historical Tannery Lane Footbridge, or stop into one of the numerous local specialty shops. Take sightseeing to a whole new level with coastal helicopter and plane tours, or get up close and personal with the ocean on a chartered sailing tour. Bursting with vacationers and natives come summer time, Camden’s bustling harbor is home to ships, yachts and windjammers, and Penobscot Bay is known around the world as a top boating destination. On the outskirts of town, get in touch with nature by exploring Camden Hills State Park. The park has a variety of hiking trails and summits that offer sweeping views of the bay. —Emma Simard
Located in Maine’s downeast region on Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is a popular summer destination for tourists and Mainers alike. The cozy town is rich with New England charm that appeals to history buffs, families, and outdoorsy types. One of Bar Harbor’s most popular attractions is Acadia National Park, which had 3.5 million visitors last year. You can wake up early to catch the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain, and after a day of hiking and kayaking, head into town for drinks and dinner overlooking the water. There are plenty of options for overnight accommodations in downtown Bar Harbor, as well as a number of campgrounds in and around Acadia. The seaside town is also known for its cute boutique shops and beautiful Shore Path. The walking trail snakes past the downtown and offers great ocean views. If the tide is low, walk the natural land bridge that leads to Bar Island. —Kate Gardner
The linked series of lakes and ponds that spill into each other through various dams, inlets, and outlets make up this treasure of the Kennebec Valley region. Famous for its legendary fishing opportunities and summer camps, Belgrade comes to life with visitors each summer. Activities are often centered around the bodies of water that make up this region: Great Pond, Long Pond, Messalonskee Lake, East Pond, North Pond, McGrath Pond, and Salmon Pond. This region is best explored by boat—whether you are fishing for trout, pike, and bass, or pulling up to the dock of one of the town’s great restaurants. The bustling hub at the heart of Belgrade is Day’s Store, where visitors can get everything they need, from fishing tackle to sandwiches. —Joel Kuschke
With three miles of sandy beaches, numerous oceanfront dining and lodging options, and no shortage of gift shops, Ogunquit is the quintessential Maine beachside resort town. A mile-long footpath, Marginal Way, starts near the center of town and follows the coastline south to Perkins Cove, offering dramatic views of the waves crashing against rocks. The town also has a strong arts scene, anchored by two cultural institutions: the Ogunquit Playhouse and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year. The towns stays lively into the night at the Front Porch, a restaurant and lounge with an iconic piano bar, and Mainstreet, a gay nightclub with two dance floors and two outdoor decks. —Paul Koenig
Situated between the Androscoggin River and Casco Bay, Brunswick has an eclectic mixture of hotels, restaurants, and local and national businesses. Its year-round community, entrepreneurs, and college students have helped to shape the town into what it is today. During the summer, the village green hosts farmers’ markets, live music, and a handful of food trucks and trailers that have become a staple. Brunswick is the one-stop destination for travelers who are seeking a food-based experience, without compromising on a quiet, coastal escape. Maine Street is lined with historic buildings that are filled with local boutiques and restaurants serving food from all around the world. From high-end restaurants to a diner on the side of a busy road, the hardest decision is just choosing where to eat. There are several museums within the town limits, as well as a handful of art galleries that showcase a variety of local artists. Of the many hiking trails around Brunswick, the Androscoggin River Bicycle Path is right in town and extends for 2.6 miles, abutting the Androscoggin River for a majority of the trail. Visitors seeking more time in nature can explore one of Brunswick’s many wooded parks. —Emma Simard