Although it gets its fair share of tourists, there’s something so authentic about this coastal Maine town. Friendly locals, a “Gilmore Girl” feel and an endless supply of activities make Camden, Maine a perfect midcoast destination. Where the mountains meet the sea, there is something for everyone! Fun fact, its authenticity is why filmmakers chose Camden for all of the Maine shots in the 1995 Casper movie (such a classic “Can I keep you?” SO good).
When to Visit:
Summer is the obvious choice when planning a trip to Camden. The weather is pretty perfect, lobster shacks are in full swing and taking a sail on Penobscot Bay sounds dreamy. Although this may seem like a wonderful time to visit, there are some drawbacks to Camden in the summer. Tourists, a lot of tourists. You can expect crowds, particularly on weekends and holidays, and plan for congestion along Route 1 (thanks Red’s Eats). This is not my ideal time to visit but if you go in knowing that it will be busy you should still have a great time.
Fall is my favorite (autumn in Maine is never a bad idea). Temperatures in Maine stay fairly mild through September and even early October, you may need a light jacket or sweater. So if enjoying this seaside town without the crowds is more your thing, visit after Labor Day. This is also when to expect the colorful autumn leaves. Fiery red, orange and yellow leaves takeover the usual green and blue Mid-Coast backdrop. The view from Mount Battie is unreal. Keep an eye on this fall foliage tracker to time your autumn trip just right.
Things to Do:
Relax at Harbor Park
The heart of this coastal town is Camden Harbor and benches on the park lawn offer the perfect spot to watch the ships pull in and out of the harbor. The roaring waterfall nearby is mesmerizing and beautiful aesthetic this serene space. Grab a spot in the park to take in the view, maybe with a coffee or delicious pastry.
Hike Mount Battie
If you enjoy hiking trails take a trip to Camden Hills and hike Mount Battie. When you get to the top, you’ll see the truly breathtaking views of Penobscot Bay and Camden. Make sure you bring your camera! The trails vary from easy to moderate and you can check out this site to see which one may be best for you. If you aren’t much of a hiker you can always drive to the summit too. Remember, when you are exploring a new trail take a buddy or at the very least tell someone what you’re doing, better safe than sorry!
Retreat To Megunticook Lake
Megunticook Lake is a beautiful, pristine lake by the bay. Glide your kayak around the still morning waters, see if you have any luck fishing, or take a leisurely hike around the lake. Ducktrap Kayak and SUP in Lincolnville is the best place to rent equipment for the day, the owner is extremely knowledgeable and will even give you tips on the best place to pick up a sandwich and the secret spot for blueberry picking. Relax, take your time, and explore the lake.
Do a Little Shopping
Camden has some super cute stores and walking along Main and Bay View Streets is one of my favorite things to do. Swans Island Company has a wonderful collection of wool blankets, scarves and hats handwoven by Maine artisans. Being the bookworm that I am I always pop into The Owl & Turtle. This independent bookstore and cozy neighborhood café has delicious pastries and a well curated book collection. Pop into Uncle Willy’s on Bay View Street and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The store is full of vintage candies, house made truffles, taffy, fudge…you name it they probably will have it.
Enjoy a relaxing cruise along the rocky shoreline of Penobscot Bay. There is no better way to spot hidden mansions, lighthouses, small islands, seals, bald eagles and lobster boats. Anytime out on the water is special but a sunset sail is extra special. The two companies that are linked sail through October. Perfect for some leaf peeping!
Visit A Lighthouse Or Two
When you find yourself in coastal Maine, you have to visit at least one lighthouse. There are several options in Camden. Curtis Island Lighthouse -This lighthouse was established in 1836, it is not open to the public but can be viewed by boat or from the Curtis Island Overlook. Grindle Point Lighthouse– 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. You will need to take the Isleboro Ferry to get to Grindle Point.
To check for current local events in Camden check out this site. I hope that you get to opportunity to visit this lovely midcoast jewel! If you are planning a trip check out my other posts about this favorite city of mine. Click here for where to stay and here for favorite restaurants!