Dotted with charming towns and villages, you could spend days just meandering the long fingers of land that jut out into the ocean. Don’t expect every journey to end in an undiscovered swath of sandy beach, however. Those are few and far between along the rock-bound coast. But along the way you’ll encounter dozens of awe-inspiring vistas, quaint lobster and clam shacks, the errant lighthouse, and perhaps meet a Mainer who’ll tell you, “You can’t get there from here.” Don’t worry. You can, and we’ll show you how.
Scale a mountain in your car, hop a ferry for an island adventure, stand in line for a world-famous lobster roll, or simply amble along the main streets and backroads of seaside hamlets breathing in the salty air. It’s up to you, but here are a few of our favorite ways to spend the day on a mid-coast Maine getaway.
Head to New Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, or Port Clyde to hop a ferry for this picturesque island located 10 miles off shore. With less than 100 year-round residents, Monhegan is a close-knit fishing community that artists and vacationers flock to in summer. At only 2 miles long, by a mile wide this tiny island offers plenty of hiking along the coast and through dense forest. In town, you can visit the lighthouse, the Monhegan Museum of Art and History, and explore the fish houses and artists’ studios tucked away among the winding streets of the village.
Often touted as “the prettiest village in Maine”, Red’s Eats no doubt put Wiscasset on the map. Known for its famous lobster roll, it’s not hard to spot this humble clam hut along Main Street. Just look for the steady stream of folks lined up along the sidewalk inching their way toward the takeout window. But fried fish is not the only reason to visit. Historic architecture, treasure-filled antique shops and a visit to the classic Victorian home of a former shipping family, Castle Tucker, are all good reasons to wander Wiscasset.
Pack some binoculars and perhaps a picnic and drive 20 minutes down the peninsula to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park in nearby New Harbor, Maine. High above the entrance to Muscongus Bay, this iconic structure is one of the most-often photographed lighthouses in Maine. Visitors can explore the educational exhibits in the lobby and climb the spiral staircase to the top of the beacon for an outstanding view of the rocky ledge and turbulent sea below.
Located in the enchanting village of Camden, Maine, a hike or drive to the top of Mt. Battie reveals a vista like no other. The summit reaches 800 feet above sea level, where you can climb the stone tower for a panoramic view of Penobscot Bay, Camden Harbor, and the surrounding lakes and hills. It’s a photographer’s dream destination for sweeping views of the beauty of mid-coast Maine.
Reid State Park
Located at the tip of Georgetown Island, Reid State Park is a rare find along the rocky shoreline of mid-coast Maine. Park your car in the lot, and walk out to a long wide swath of sandy beach, backed by a rocky ledge, that stretches a mile along the coast. An essential nesting area for piping plovers and other endangered marine birds, offshore you can spot the lighthouses on Hendricks Head, The Cuckolds and Sequin Island.
Another rare find along the coast of Maine, Popham Beach in Phippsburg, known for its swirling tides that when low reveal tide pools filled with fascinating marine life, and wind- and water-sculpted driftwood. After hours frolicking in the salt water and soaking up the sun, check out the archways and tunnels of nearby Fort Popham, a Civil war-era fortress guarding the coast.
No matter how or where you spend your days exploring mid-coast Maine, at the end of a busy day, return to the quiet and tranquility of Newcastle Inn.