There are few places in the world where tourists and locals can really let their hair down, relax, and take in the moments. Maine is one of those places. Regardless of where you end up along the coast, there is something about Maine that causes you to slow down and really enjoy each and every moment. Although every town in Maine is unique in its own perfect way, here are, in our opinion, five of the most beautiful towns along Maine’s coast. Happy reading & traveling!
Looking for more recommendations regarding US travel. Check out some of our other posts A Weekend in Lake Placid NY, A Winter Visit in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, Oregon’s Best Waterfalls, Not in The Columbia River Gorge, and Must Do’s in Seattle.
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Five Coastal Towns You Cannot Miss
1. Kennebunkport, Maine
Found in southern Maine is the quaint coastal town of Kennebunkport. Kennebunkport is commonly known as “the place to be all year,” after becoming a resort destination over 100 years ago.
This small town is known for its charming downtown, sandy beaches, and for being one of Maine’s shipbuilding meccas. In addition to having a bustling downtown, Kennebunkport is also known for its Ocean Avenue drive. Much like Newport’s Ocean Drive, Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport is a MUST DO! Not only are the views of the ocean and waves crashing on the rocky shoreline calming and serene but the homes built on this road are simply breathtaking. Here you will even stumble upon former President George W. Bush’s summer home…or compound! You won’t want to miss that!
2. Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor, Maine…where do we even start! Not only is Bar Harbor super charming it is surrounded by the stunning Acadia National Park, so this is not a town you’ll want to skip over! Bar Harbor is in my opinion ADORABLE. It is full of amazing local shops, delicious restaurants, and well-stocked bars. Don’t like any of those options? No problem, Bar Harbor is also built around a quaint park where tourists and residents can sit and enjoy the views as boats enter and exit the harbor. This is also a great place to people-watch and/or enjoy a picnic along the coast.
Some of our favorite things to do and places to go to in Bar Harbor include Galyn’s, Atlantic Brewing Company, Shore Path, and Sea Bags. Sea Bags is a local boutique that sells beautiful totes and accessories. However, these goods aren’t just your ordinary goods. What makes Sea Bags so special is that the creator of the shop actually transforms beautiful old sailboat sails into nautically inspired handbags, totes, and accessories. I mean how cool is that!
Of course, if you are visiting Bar Harbor don’t forget to explore and do some hiking around Acadia National Park. Acadia has some of the best views along the east coast!
3. Portland, Maine
Portland is easily one of Maine’s most visited cities and for good reason! It is jam-packed with great food and even better local craft beer!
The city of Portland is located on a small peninsula that extends into the Casco Bay. Much like the other coastal towns in Maine, Portland is built around the fishing industry. That being said there are numerous fishing wharves as well as fishing and lobster tours available to tourists and residents of the area. Needless to say, if you have time Kevin and I definitely recommend experiencing one of these tours, you won’t regret it!
Although Portland has grown a lot over the years the history of the city is still very present. Many upscale restaurants and bars found along the water are located inside historic converted warehouses only adding to the charm and ambiance. Additionally, the shops and boutiques are commonly found in older restored buildings.
As for what to do in Portland, check out The Holy Donut, Portland Lobster Company, Allagash Brewery & Bite Into Maine, Portland Head Light, Shipyard Brewing Company, and much more! Kevin and I also recommend taking a walk down Wharf Street if you are looking for a good local restaurant, you’ll be sure to find one there!
4. Stonington, Maine
If you are interested in what Maine was like prior to becoming a popular vacation getaway, I encourage you to visit Stonington. Stonington is a very small town located in Hancock County just south of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Here tourists will experience what we believe to be an authentic Maine town.
Not only is Stonington the largest lobster port in the state it is also, in my opinion, the “town where everyone knows your name.” While visiting Stonington Kevin and I witnessed handfuls of local fishermen working in the harbor and town residents visiting with local shop owners as if they were family. If I were to describe Stonington in one sentence it is, the place where you can run errands while leaving your keys in the ignition and wallet on the center console without a worry in the world! And for us it was very refreshing to visit a place like that!
Though the town of Stonington is small, I definitely recommend visiting 44 North Coffee, for some of the best pour-over coffee you’ll ever taste, Stonington Ice Cream Company, for one of the most delicious lobster rolls ever, and Dockside Books and Gifts, because the owner is one of the sweetest people we met while exploring Maine!
5. Camden, Maine
Picture the most beautiful coastal town you can think of. Now picture it with a harbor full of large New England sailboats, cafes/local eateries lining the rocky shore, local businesses full of authentic Maine goods, all surrounded by acres of trees of every color. That’s Camden, Maine, and that is why it might be my favorite town along Maine’s already beautiful coast.
Camden is a small town located in Knox County with a population of of 3,442 people. However, during the spring and summer months this number triples due to summer residents and tourists who come to enjoy the beautiful weather and picturesque town.
Though Camden is a small town there is something to do for everyone. If shopping is your thing there is no shortage of authentic Maine shops. If happy hour or dinner along the water is what you enjoy there are plenty of beautiful restaurants and bars overlooking the harbor. Want to hike? No problem, feel free to hike up Mount Battie for some breathtaking views of the town or head over to Camden Hills State Park. Camden also offers a number of boat tours for those looking to enjoy the views from the water. Finally, if you enjoy getting your hands a little dirty you can even go out lobstering with some locals.