Located in the Midcoast Maine region on Penobscot Bay, Camden Harbor is a popular destination. In fact, the area population more than triples over the summer months. On the busy harbor, the quaint seaside town of Camden is known as the Jewel of the Maine Coast. Whether you prefer outdoor or indoor things to do, Camden Harbor has something for everyone.
Best Outdoor Things to Do Near Camden Harbor
Camden Maine has a lot of great hiking trails, and you’ll find many of them at Camden Hills State Park. In fact, the park has 20 multi-use trails for biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Some favorites include the 1-mile Megunticook Trail, 1-mile Maiden Cliff Trail, and 1.5-mile Nature Trail.
For the best Camden Harbor view, though, take the 0.5-mile Mount Battie Trail. At the top of the mountain, you’ll see the 26-foot stone WWI memorial tower. Take a look at this list of other awesome hiking trails in Camden too.
On Camden Harbor, Laite Memorial Beach is a small beach that’s ideal for swimming and paddleboarding. You can search for shells while you stroll on the rocky beach at low tide. The beach has picnic tables and grills for you to use, and you can see Curtis Island Light as well. A little farther inland, Barrett’s Cove Beach is another small beach that rests on Megunticook Lake. It has a boat launch, picnic facilities, and beautiful views of Mount Battie.
Camden Harbor Park & Amphitheatre
Harbor Park and the Amphitheatre were given to the library in 1931 by Mary Louise Curtis Bok. Camden Harbor Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a “Contributing Resource” to the High Street District. The Amphitheatre serves as a park and garden for visitors and residents of Camden.
“Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheater is a must-do when you are visiting the area. The views are gorgeous. A great place to stroll or sit and relax while enjoying the stunning view of one of the most beautiful harbors in Maine. The harbor front has good places to eat and drink.” – Andy N., Google Review
Camden Maine has numerous things to do for families. With an 18-hole course, Golfer’s Crossing is open seasonally and features natural landscaping. The 66-acre Merryspring Nature Center is a nature sanctuary with walking trails and gardens with herbs, daylilies, perennials, and roses. Providing fun outdoor learning, Aldermere Farm allows you to explore the farm, learn about Belted Galloway cows, and walk a kid-friendly path.
Wondering if you can take a boat ride in Camden? Situated on Penobscot Bay, Camden Harbor is the departure point for several Camden Maine boat tour companies. During these tours, you have the chance to see ducks, eagles, porpoises, seals, whales, and much more. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite boating companies below:
- Camden Harbor Cruises
- Maine Windjammer Cruises
- Schooner Appledore II
- Schooner Lazy Jack II
- Schooner Olad & Cutter Owl Sailing Cruises
- Schooner Surprise
- Sloop Anjacaa
Located on Curtis Island in Camden Harbor, Curtis Island Light is a 25-foot white brick tower that was built in 1896. Although you can’t climb the light, you can visit the island and explore the footpaths throughout the park, which is only accessible via boat. Learn more about Camden lighthouses and tours here.
Best Camden Harbor Things to Do Indoors
Camden-Rockport Historical Society
Preserving the Camden Harbor area’s history, Camden-Rockport Historical Society has a museum complex with six historic buildings. The buildings feature an amazing collection of artifacts, photographs, and historic documents.
Camden Public Library
Giving children the opportunity to use their imaginations, the Camden Public Library has a diverse collection of books. The children’s room has plenty of interactive games too. On top of that, the library hosts an array of events — such as creative art journaling, knitting, adult story club, and more.
Camden Opera House
For indoor entertainment, go to the Camden Opera House. The building opened in 1894 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has a 489-seat auditorium where a variety of concerts, national and international conferences, theater, and other performances are held every year.
Best Events & Festivals Near Camden Harbor
U.S. National Toboggan Championships
In February, the U.S. National Toboggan Championships is held at the Camden Snow Bowl. The competing teams are made of two, three, and four people. Aside from awards for the fastest teams, awards are handed out for the best costumes, best-crafted toboggans, and more.
Jazz in June
A three-day event, Jazz in June is held at a few different venues in Camden Maine — such as Blue Cafe, Camden Opera House, Camden Snow Bowl, and Public Landing. Even the streets and boats on Camden Harbor host jazz events.
Camden Windjammer Festival
One of the largest festivals that celebrates sailing vessels, the Camden Windjammer Festival is held every Labor Day weekend along Camden Harbor. The festival is free and includes nautical exhibits, a treasure hunt, food vendors, a talent show, live music, fireworks, and a parade of windjammers.
Camden International Film Festival
Around mid-September, the town hosts the Camden International Film Festival, which focuses specifically on nonfiction films. The CIFF started in 2005 and has been growing ever since. You can purchase different levels of passes from an individual screening to an all-access pass. The screenings occur across Camden, Rockport, and Rockland.
Christmas by the Sea
Camden hosts Christmas by the Sea every December to celebrate the holidays. A parade kicks off the three-day event, which includes caroling, a live nativity scene, carriage rides, a visit from Santa Claus, and a tree-lighting ceremony in Camden Harbor Park. Also, shops are open late with ongoing sales, while crafting and other activities are held throughout the community.
Best Camden Harbor Restaurants
If you need a pick-me-up in the middle of the day, stop by Zoot Cafe on Elm St. The shop serves delicious espresso and coffee in a fun and happy atmosphere. From local food vendors, it serves gluten-free, oil-free, vegan, and vegetarian items.
Long Grain Restaurant
Since 2009, Long Grain Restaurant has been making a fusion of Asian cuisines — combining Japanese, Indonesian, Singaporean, Thai, and Vietnamese flavors. The restaurant uses fresh seafood, meat, and greens. Some popular dishes include the pan-fried garlic chive rice cakes with sauteed bean sprouts, the stir-fried spicy Thai basil minced chicken, and the Chiang Mai curry noodles with local chicken.
Fresh & Co.
Focusing on sustainable roots, Fresh & Co. is located in a building that used to be a schooner slipway. The restaurant menu features seasonal dishes inspired by the owners’ aspirations, interests, and travels. All the dishes are made with fresh local ingredients, and the dining room showcases artworks by locals.
River Ducks Ice Cream
Open seasonally, River Ducks Ice Cream is the best shop for traditional and soft-serve ice cream. You can’t miss the family-owned shop on Mechanic St. because it’s painted bright pink and green. You can choose from 20 flavors — such as Maine deer tracks, Camden cappuccino crunch, and Maine wild blueberry. The shop serves floats, milkshakes, smoothies, sorbet, sundaes, and more, including gluten-free and vegan options.
Wineries & Breweries
The closest vineyard estate to Camden Harbor is Cellardoor Winery, which is located in Lincolnville about 6 miles north. The 5.5-acre estate grows cold-hardy hybrids and has a state-of-the-art winemaking facility. The 200-year-old barn and tasting room give you a chance to sip the wines with a local cheese plate and vineyard view. You can learn about more wineries in Camden in our other blog.
Best Places to Stay Near Camden Harbor
The best places to stay in Camden Maine are away from the busy harbor. The Country Inn is in the ideal location for enjoying everything in Camden. We have 36 guest rooms and suites as well as 11 seasonally available cottages, and all of them are decorated with country simplicity and comfort in mind. Our Camden Harbor inn has a range of amenities, such as a country-style breakfast buffet, indoor heated pool, and hot tub.
Another inn near Camden Harbor, Glen Cove Inn & Suites is just on the opposite side of Rockport from Camden. Although it’s farther from the harbor, it’s in a central location for exploring everything that that midcoast Maine has to offer. The inn has 36 seasonally available rooms, and a variety of amenities, including a homemade deluxe breakfast buffet, a garden, a sun deck, an outdoor heated pool, and the Ocean View Walking Trail.