Whether you’re a local or traveling to the area, you want to know the best things to do in Camden Maine. You want to know the best things to do for couples and families, for the outdoorsy and indoorsy, for seafarers and land lovers… and the good news is, there is something for everyone to love in the area.
Camden, Maine, is an idyllic, seaside town on the Maine coast. Located in mid-coast Maine, what makes Camden so unique is how the mountains meet the sea. You can enjoy the beautiful views of Mount Battie while simultaneously enjoying views of Penobscot Bay.
The best activities in Camden Maine come from embracing everything that makes Camden unique and beautiful.
The Best Outdoor Things to Do in Camden Maine
For great views, hiking trails, picnic areas, and of course, Mount Battie, you’ll want to visit Camden Hills State Park. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. And on an average day, you can enjoy sprawling views of the various bays and islands off of the mainland.
If you’d like to hike Mount Battie while you’re in Camden Hills State Park, many who have experienced the trail claim that is is decently accessible to all people, with a few steep areas that earn it a moderate rating. It is a 1.5-mile loop where you’ll see lots of wildlife, wildflowers, birds, and of course, the amazing views that encircle the mountain.
There’s also the Camden Snow Bowl. The Camden Snow Bowl is a community-owned ski resort. It is the only ski resort with ocean views making it a one-of-a-kind experience. In the winter, visitors can enjoy winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and even tobogganing championships. In the offseason, Camden Snow Bowl offers hiking trails, tennis, rides on the lifts, camps, and more. Explore all the amazing winter things to do in Camden to learn more about visiting during this underrated time of year.
These aren’t the only places where you can go hiking and explore the natural beauty of the town, however. The area is teeming with nature preserves and footpaths. Check out our guide for the best hiking trails Camden offers.
Parks With Beaches
Nothing says spending time on the coast like putting your toes in the sand on a beach. Laite Memorial Beach is a great beach for paddleboarding, kayaking, and swimming, as well as taking a stroll and searching for shells when the tide is out. This is a perfect beach for spending the day and enjoying being on the Atlantic coast.
Or maybe you’d prefer a freshwater beach? Then you should check out Barrett’s Cove at Megunticook Lake. This hometown treasure is well-known to locals and oft-missed by tourists. Besides a freshwater swim, you’ll enjoy excellent views of the west side of Camden Hills State Park.
Lobstering & Boat Tours
Take to the water by renting a boat and heading out into the harbor. If you prefer to enjoy a schooner ride with a picnic on one of the many islands in the bay, you’ll love a vessel made especially for smaller groups like the Schooner Simplicity. Or maybe you’d like to take in the excitement of a real, working lobster vessel. If so, you’ll want to hop on Captain Jack’s Lobster Boat Adventure. You’ll get an up-close and personal view of a working vessel.
You can also hop on the Lively Lady with Camden Harbor Cruises for one- to three-hour wildlife, lighthouse, and lobstering cruises. During all of its tours, you’ll see porpoises, harbor seals, and a lot of other wildlife. During the lobster cruise, you get a quick lesson in lobster fishing.
If you prefer sightseeing on a windjammer, you can take a two-hour day sail on the Schooner Olad or Cutter Owl.
However, these aren’t the only vessels and companies that offer tours of Penobscot Bay and beyond. Take a look at the many other boat tours and rentals available in and around Camden.
This video will show you a little of the experience of sailing on a windjammer.
Best Family & Kid Friendly Things to Do
It can be challenging to plan a family vacation no matter how old your children are. One child may be interested in doing outdoor activities, while another is more interested in relaxing indoors with a book. Fortunately, there is a range of things to do in Camden for families with children and teens.
Golfer’s Crossing Miniature Golf
To enjoy a little friendly competition, you’ll love Golfer’s Crossing. This family-friendly course has 18 holes with natural landscaping, including waterfalls. Open seasonally, mini-golf is a crowd favorite and is great for all ages. So grab your putter and head out to see if you can make par and get around the windmill.
Merryspring Nature Center
As a 66-acre nature sanctuary, Merryspring Nature Center offers gardens and walking trails. The gardens are home to daylilies, herbs, roses, and perennials. One of the trails is an Interpretive Trail. The park often hosts free family-friendly events, such as bug safaris and guided tree identification walks. There’s also a small gift shop to visit before you leave.
For a fun learning experience, take your kids to Aldermere Farm. Your family can explore the farm as well as visit with and learn about the Belted Galloway cows, which are famous for being compared to Oreo cookies. The cattle have received a high level of recognition over the last three decades. Also, there’s a kid-friendly walking path to explore.
Penobscot Bay YMCA
If you need a place that offers kid-friendly indoor activities, the Penobscot Bay YMCA is it. It has a 25-yard swimming pool, gymnasium, rock climbing center, and family play center. When the weather permits, a lot of visitors use the outdoor playground, too. On top of that, the YMCA has locker rooms that make it easy to keep track of your belongings.
Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe
Most children have a sweet tooth, and you can let them indulge in classic and modern candies at Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe. The store has a variety of gummies, novelties, fudge, gourmet chocolates, brittle, and licorice. The inventory changes regularly with seasonal flavors and treats. With such a range of options, you’re likely to find something to satisfy your sweet tooth, too.
Owl & Turtle Bookshop Café
For a quieter family-friendly activity, go to the Owl & Turtle Bookshop Café. It sells a unique collection of books and trinkets. There’s even a reading area for children, and you can time your visit during an author reading. In fact, the bookshop hosts many events throughout the year. While you’re there, step into the cafe area for savory and sweet treats from local bakers. The local Coffee on the Porch supplies the cafe’s coffee.
Free & Cheap Things to Do
If you’re like most families across the country, you want to stick to a budget whether you’re going on a weekend or weeklong vacation. As a result, you need some budget-friendly things to do in Camden. There are already many cheap things to do on this list, but here are a few more.
Camden Public Library
The Camden Public Library is a great place for young readers. Established in 1796 with just 200 books, this historical community anchor has significantly expanded its collection and has a great room of children’s books. Reviewers on TripAdvisor note that the children’s room has a boat for them to read in. In addition, there’s a wonderful reading room upstairs.
Harbor Park and Amphitheatre
Adjacent to the library, the Harbor Park and Amphitheatre are part of the library’s property. A lot of events are held there, including charities, craft fairs, and concerts. When no events are planned, they are great places for walking and relaxing by Camden Harbor. You can have a picnic on the lawn and grab an ice cream from a nearby shop.
Vesper Hill Children’s Chapel
Another free place to visit is the Children’s Chapel near Aldermere Farm. This outdoor chapel is often used for baptisms, memorials, weddings, and other special occasions. However, it’s open to the public for meditating, praying, and just relaxing. As visitors, your family can enjoy the formal garden of perennials, annuals, herbs, and trees. Also, you can have a picnic on the spacious lawn.
Best Restaurants in Camden
There’s nothing like fresh, local seafood or a killer lobster roll. And it’s even better when it’s made by a family-owned business with no pretensions. Mount Battie Take Out is a seasonal take-out restaurant that is revered far and wide for its lobster roll.
If you’re looking for a diner feel with fresh, blueberry pancakes or delicious lobster roll, look no further than Marriner’s Restaurant. You know the food is good when people are willing to wait in line for it, and often during peak hours, you’ll find a line waiting to get into Marriner’s.
And if you want to kick it up a notch and partake in a fancier affair, you’ll enjoy Natalie’s, a unique dining experience that overlooks the harbor, in addition to offering a culinary vacation – locally sourced and fresh ingredients for a full-flavored experience.
While you’re on the coast, you just have to partake in the amazing and locally sourced seafood. You can do this at Waterfront Camden, where you can enjoy seafood that’s been caught locally. Meat, seafood, and more are all sourced locally and daily to bring you food at the height of its flavor.
We love so many restaurants in the area and we especially love recommending locally-owned and operated restaurants in Camden, Maine.
Favorite Festivals in Camden
There’s nothing like a good festival to get the toes tapping and the spirits up, diving into the community and local culture. Kicking off summer, there’s the Jazz in June festival in Camden. Jazz in June is a 3-day music festival held in various venues all over town as well as in the streets. You’ll love listening to the great jazz music and exploring the different venues, all at once.
To wrap up summer, there’s the Camden Windjammer Festival on Labor Day weekend. Food, live entertainment, and the holiday weekend are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also a treasure hunt, make-your-own mini boats, and the sailing of schooner fleets. And, you can see their live updates here.
Summer isn’t the only time for great festivals in Camden. The Christmas by the Sea Festival is a 3-day festival to help get you in the Christmas spirit. From caroling to shopping, from a live nativity to a rocking parade, the Christmas by the Sea Festival is a can’t-miss.
And speaking of great winter festivals, every February you’ll love the U.S. National Tobogganing Championship. This competition isn’t just for professional teams – although it’s definitely that! – but prizes are also awarded to the oldest team, the best costume, and more!
Midcoast Maine is all about the festivals. You can learn more about the best festivals in Camden, Rockland, and Rockport and check them out for yourself.
Best Places for Camden Shopping
Whether you need to pick up necessities for your trip or a gift for someone at home, you can find what you’re looking for in one of Camden’s many shops. The town is home to some of the best unique and independent shops in the MidCoast.
Museums and Historical Sites in Camden
High Street Historic District
Unique architecture and historic sites are always popular destinations. In Camden, you’ll find the High Street Historic District. High Street is listed on the National Historic Registry and maintains standards on its buildings to comply with 18th and 19th-century designs. It’s like walking down a street to the past.
If you’d like to learn about the Camden area, visit the Camden-Rockport Historical Society to see one of the best collections of artifacts, photographs, and historic documents. The organization is committed to preserving the area’s history, and its museum complex stretches over six historic buildings.
For a more unique museum experience, check out the National Oz Museum. It has the biggest and most comprehensive collection of memorabilia related to the magical Land of Oz. The museum is a shrine to the characters, stories and other works based on “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, although it has other exhibits geared toward young visitors, too.
If you prefer to spend your time in the Revolutionary Era, you can visit the Henry Knox Museum. You’ll catch a glimpse of the hustle and bustle of this by-gone era.
However, these are only a few of the interesting museums to visit in Camden and nearby towns. Take a look at more can’t-miss museums and galleries here.
Plenty of Lighthouses
And what would a visit to the Maine coastline be without seeing a lighthouse or two? In Camden, you can see the Curtis Island Lighthouse. Established in 1836, this lighthouse is a part of a public park. It is not open to the public but can be viewed by boat or from the Curtis Island Overlook.
On the westernmost point of Islesboro is Grindle Point Lighthouse, and you must take a boat ride from Camden to visit it. Originally established in 1850, the current tower and other buildings were built in 1874. The lighthouse and Sailor’s Museum, which is located in the keeper’s house, are open for tours during the summer.
Since Maine has 65 lighthouses, there are many more for you to discover. Review this list of lighthouses in MidCoast Maine to plan your next tour.
The Hotel to Stay at in Camden, Maine
After you’ve had a chance to explore beautiful Camden, Maine, we invite you to stay with us at our Camden Maine Hotel. We love serving our guests and making hospitality our number one priority. You’ll love the better-than-continental breakfast, the heated indoor pool, the on-site spa services, and the amenities that take each stay from ordinary to extraordinary.
Looking for a more traditional Maine roadside motel experience? Our sister property, Glen Cove Motel, is just down the road in Rockport, Maine!