Guide to Exploring the Mid-Coast Maine Area

Rockport, Maine Settled in 1769, Rockport’s primary industries throughout most of the late 1700s and 1800s were lime production, ice exportation and shipbuilding.

Rockport became one of the country’s leading lime producers by 1882. It also became known far and wide for its “Lily Pond Ice,” of which 50,000 tons of clear ice was harvested each year and then sent to different countries around the globe. It was purported that the ice was so clear that a person could read a newspaper placed under a thick layer of it.

Rockport originally was a part of neighboring Camden (Rockport was known as “Goose River.”) It separated from Camden in 1891. A fire in 1907 destroyed almost all of the ice houses and lime kilns and, after a period of deep economic decline, Rockport rebuilt itself as the artists’ haven.

Located mid-coast, Rockport serves as a convenient crossroads for travelers wanting to discover other coastal town as well.

Things to do. Take a ride along the coast of Maine aboard the Schooner Yacht Heron. This 65-foot wooden schooner sails among the islands of Penobscot Bay for day sails.

Visit Rockport Marine Park, a small harbor park that’s home to the Andre the Seal statue and several historical landmarks. It’s also where you’ll find daytrip sailing cruise operators for cruises in Penobscot Bay.

Visit the Rockport Opera House. It was built in 1891 and can seat up to 400 people. It offers dances, music, plays and the renowned Bay Chamber Concerts.

Camden Maine describes itself as the “Jewel of the Maine coast,” and one visit to this quaint coastal town and you will understand why. Located mid-coast Maine, there is an abundance of things to do for visitors searching for outdoor adventure.

Located on Penobscot Bay, Camden Harbor offers daily sailing tours, where want-to-be sailors can learn the ropes, or relax on the deck of a tall ship cruise. Camden is a working harbor, with fishing and lobster boats coming in and out of the bay all day.

The summer months bring thousands of tourists to Camden. For hiking, there is Camden Hill State Park, with over 30 hiking trails, and a breath taking view of Penobscot Bay. Camden is home to the annual Parade of the Tall Ships and Maine Windjammer Festival in September, along with many other festivals that celebrate its coastal history and beautiful ships.

Downtown Camden is charming with upscale shops, seafood eateries and cafes. There are several art galleries and boutiques featuring work from local artists. Known for its wonderful food, Camden is home to many delicious seafood restaurants, where visitors can enjoy freshly caught seafood.

Take a ferry ride to one of Camden’s outlying island communities of Isleboro or North Haven and explore their hiking or bike trails and picturesque lighthouses. There are 18 lighthouse in a 40 mile radius of Camden. Ten historic schooners call Penobscot Bay home. Climb aboard and discover what life was like in the ol’ days, or enjoy a sail in one of them.

If you prefer freshwater, Megunticook Lake offers swimming and canoeing opportunities. Mid-Coast Maine offers breathtaking foliage and apple picking in the fall!

Rockland Maine, located on Penobscot Bay, is famous for its natural coastal beauty giving visitors an honest New England experience. Rockland Harbor offers ferries to and from the thriving and varied island communities of Northhaven and Vinalhaven Islands, and is one of the best boating harbors on the East Coast.

Rockland plays host to the North Atlantic Blues Festival, an annual two-day blues music festival in July featuring national blues performers. In August Rockland is home to the annual Maine Lobster Festival! 20,000 pounds of lobster, live entertainment, art and craft vendors, cooking contests; and the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show, a coastal lifestyle show featuring boatbuilding and marine service experts, artists, and home-builders.

The Rockland Harbor breakwater, nearly a mile long, leads to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and gift shop…the perfect location for a picnic.

Set sail on a windjammer cruise and view the beauty of Maine’s coast from the sea while searching for seals, porpoises, and whales.

Historic Maine Street in Rockland offers plenty of shopping and dining experiences, while the Strand Theater holds live events and films all year round. The Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center exhibit 18th and 19th century artwork of famous American artists. The Maine Lighthouse Museum (or Shore Village Museum) is full of lighthouse artifacts.

Penobscot Bay: Wilderness, the Sea, the Shore, Artists – and Lobster.

If you want to live the real Maine experience, a visit to Penobscot Bay is in order. It’s here that you’ll find picturesque marinas filled with sailboats, power boats and lobstermen.

Penobscot Bay is what you picture when you picture Maine.

Penobscot Bay often is called the “Gateway to DownEast Maine” or the “Gateway to Acadia”; is backed by the Camden Hills to the west and spreads over 40 miles in length and 15 miles in width.

It features more than 200 islands (many of them explorable!). You’ll find lovely villages, hustling fishing communities, and unimaginable beauty.

Explore an art colony, experience fine cuisine, cruise the bay’s waters, take a ferry across its Narrows – there’s just so much to do!

Take in the view from Fort Knox Historic Site (Fort Knox got its start in 1844 to protect the Penobscot River from British invasion). Enjoy the sights as you look at the Camden Hills and Deer Isle from along Route 15.

Visit the quaint coastal towns of Blue Hill, Castine, Bucksport, and Deer Isle/Stonington. Explore the Blue Hill Peninsula and its towns filled with artisans, artists, boat builders, farmers’ markets, sailing opportunities, and more.

Beachcomb along the shore, hike in the woods, pick wild blueberries, taste fresh local produce and seafood. Check out Camden Harbor for the largest fleet of windjammers in Maine. Visit the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport. Visit Isle au Haut, which is now a part of Acadia National Park.

There’s just so much to see and do here. Penobscot Bay’s 1000-mile-long coastline covered with its granite boulders and its wild and undeveloped shore, its many colorful villages and towns is a dream trip for many.