Camden embodies Maine’s “Vacationland” reputation with its laid-back, kick-your-feet-up style, inviting you to enjoy the natural beauty of its rugged coastline.
The quaint seaside town of Camden is situated on Penobscot Bay. With ocean views, scenic drives, outdoor adventure, and a welcoming community, Camden is the quintessential New England coastal small town. It is also a lovely place to enjoy a weekend getaway.
Best Things To Do In Camden
Camden is nature’s playground. At your fingertips are numerous outdoor activities, including hiking, sailing, fishing, and swimming.
Here are some of our favorite things to do in the area.
1. Sail Penobscot Bay
Uncork your bottle and pour a glass while you sit back and let your captain navigate Penobscot Bay — it’s the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon in Camden.
If you don’t have your own yacht, book a 2-hour tour on the 45-foot Schooner Surprise. You will find yourself whisked away from the mainland with a gentle wind guiding the boat over the bay waters. Relax as the crew unfurls the jib and hoists the mainsail. Your captain will regale you with stories of Camden history, intermittently stopping to point out local wildlife. You will find your mind drifting with the wave swells.
Maine Windjammer Cruises
Another highly recommended sailing adventure is with Maine Windjammer Cruises. Sail away without a care in the world and explore coastal Maine from your unique perch on the side of a beautiful ship.
Don’t forget to snap a photo of Camden’s charming Curtis Island Lighthouse at the entrance of Camden Harbor.
2. Camden Hills State Park
Camden Hills State Park is an outdoor oasis for the nature enthusiast. For a nominal parking fee, you can enjoy everything the park offers. The park has picnic sites, hiking trails, and campsites, but the star is Mount Battie with its spectacular summit views.
3. Mount Battie
The trek to the top of the 780-foot Mount Battie is a mile-long out-and-back hike. Rated as moderate, the hike is a well-traveled path requiring some scrambling. If that’s not your thing, you can easily take the quick drive up the auto road. The expansive views of Penobscot Bay and Camden Harbor from the summit are gorgeous. On a clear day, you can see as far as Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.
A longer trail for the hardy hiker is Mount Megunticook, Maiden Cliff, and Mount Battie Loop. Rated as hard by AllTrails, the 8.6-mile loop trail offers pretty overlooks and will get your heart pumping.
If you are looking for the perfect picnic spot, the top of Mount Battie is top-notch. You will often encounter locals lounging on camp chairs next to matching folding tables enjoying a picnic lunch. It is one of the best places for an alfresco meal in town.
Spend some time wandering around the summit and scouting out the best place for your selfie, and then climb Mount Battie Tower. A World War I memorial, the 26-foot-tall stone tower provides the most spectacular panoramic views.
4. Laite Memorial Beach
Laite Memorial Beach is a family-friendly beach located in the center of Camden. The pebbly shoreline is a fun place for exploration. Situated next to a grassy park that has a playground, outdoor grills, and picnic tables, the beach offers all the traditional day-at-the-beach comforts. Laite Memorial Beach is a local favorite, and one of the best ways to experience an area is to act like a local. When in Camden…
5. Barrett’s Cove At Megunticook Lake
Barrett’s Cove at Megunticook Lake is a sandy beach with lake swimming, uncrowded shores, and spectacular views of the Camden Hills. Bring your lunch and enjoy the public outdoor grills and picnic tables while feasting your eyes on Mother Nature’s boundless beauty. Barrett’s Cove has a public boat ramp for the water enthusiasts in your party. It also has rock-climbing facilities where you can tackle the looming Barrett’s Cove Cliff.
6. Megunticook Lake
Megunticook Lake is a pristine, spring-fed mountain lake by the bay. The lake community is a perfect retreat for the outdoor adventurer and the quiet nature lover. Glide your kayak around the still morning lake, try your hand at trout or bass fishing, or take a leisurely hike around the lake.
Ducktrap Kayak and SUP will deliver kayaks and stand-up paddleboard rentals to your cabin at Megunticook Lake. Relax, take your time, and explore the lake. The rhythmic paddling paired with the beautiful vistas is Mother Nature’s spa treatment.
7. The Fox Islands
Vinalhaven and North Haven, collectively known as the Fox Islands, make a wonderful place for a day trip. The 1.25-hour Vinalhaven Ferry ride is an adventure on its own. You’ll sail out of Rockland Harbor, past Owl’s Head, and across Penobscot Bay.
The islands offer wonderful hiking trails, inlets for kayaking, quarry pond swimming holes, and nature preserves for your outdoor enjoyment.
8. Camden Harbor Park And Amphitheatre
You will love strolling through Camden Harbor Park and the adjacent amphitheatre. The Camden Public Library oversees the two spaces. It is a beautiful spot to sit and enjoy the sailboats while taking a break from sightseeing.
9. Camden Snow Bowl
The Camden Snow Bowl is a small ski resort that offers big ocean views. The unique experience of standing at the top of a run and looking down at Penobscot Bay is a mind-boggling mix of winter and summer.
The United States National Toboggan Championships take place here every February. More than 400 teams hop on their toboggans and brave the ice-covered wooden chute. Reaching speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, they joyfully experience the need for speed on their toboggan runs. These brave racers will have your heart pumping with excitement as they whiz by on their freefall trip down the mountain.
With year-round accessibility, the Camden Snow Bowl is a fun place to hike, mountain bike, or kayak on Hosmer Pond.
10. Shopping In Camden
The downtown harbor area is home to unique, independently owned shops offering everything from touristy souvenirs to quality wines.
For a Maine memento, visit The Smiling Cow, where the goods are covered with lobsters, moose, and all things Maine.
French & Brawn is the place to shop for quality groceries and picnic provisions, whether you are heading out on a sail or dining at the top of Mount Battie.
Best Restaurants In Camden
The catch of the day is music to any seafood lover’s ears. Camden centers on the harbor, where an eclectic mix of lobster boats, deep-sea fishing vessels, schooners, and private yachts gently bob on their moorings.
Here are some of the best places to taste that fresh seafood.
McLoon’s Lobster Shack
Reclining in a pair of Adirondack chairs overlooking an old wharf harboring lobstering boats while munching on a classic lobster roll is quintessentially Maine fine dining.
McLoon’s Lobster Shack is located on Spruce Head Island. The drive to McLoon’s from Camden is about 30 minutes, taking you through winding coastal back roads. When you think you are truly lost, the parking lot finally appears in front of you. Your adventure will be rewarded with one of the best lobster rolls you have ever eaten. McLoon’s offers delicious classic seafood, but the hot buttered lobster roll is, by far, the most popular item on the menu.
Perched on the edge of Camden Harbor, Waterfront offers guests traditional coastal seafood on a wooden porch with spectacular harbor views. Dine on classics like lobster stew, Atlantic haddock fish and chips, and local whole-belly fried clams. The view and the cuisine are so classically Maine that you will want to come back again and again.
Sea Dog Brewing Co.
Stop in at Sea Dog Brewing Co., a Main Street staple, for a craft beer or a sample flight to pair with their classic American pub fare. Enjoying the fried pickle chips, the classic Reuben, and a quality draft is the perfect way to end a day spent discovering Camden.
Best Hotels In Camden
Camden offers a multitude of charming inns that specialize in making their guests feel right at home. Camping and lakefront rentals round out the cozy accommodation options for your weekend getaway.
Camden Maine Stay Inn
Situated on the outskirts of the busy harbor, Camden Maine Stay Inn, a charming bed and breakfast, is the perfect blend of casual luxury and art gallery. Innkeepers Peter and Janis Kesser are committed to making your weekend getaway special. The charmingly decorated guest rooms, the serene outdoor oasis, and the cozy common rooms decorated with an eclectic collection of art will win you over. Their long list of adoring guests return year after year for the warm hospitality and scrumptious breakfast.
Located on High Street, close to downtown Camden and nestled in with other graceful old Victorian homes, the Camden Main Stay Inn is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Steeples is a converted church that offers views of Camden Harbor, is within walking distance of the downtown restaurants and shops, and is run by James, a highly rated Airbnb Superhost. The serenely decorated interior allows the preserved architecture of the church to shine through. Warm woodwork, sun-soaked stained glass windows, and lofty ceilings make The Steeples a truly special place to stay on your weekend getaway.
Lord Camden Inn
Another beautiful 19th-century stay is the Lord Camden Inn. It is the perfect spot if you are visiting the Camden Opera House for a performance, shopping downtown, or exploring the Merryspring Nature Center.
Your Weekend Getaway In Camden, Maine
Camden is a wonderful place to spend a weekend getaway. It is so relaxing, and there are so many wonderful things to do, that you might want to consider making it a long weekend getaway.
Other wonderful Maine coastal towns like Belfast, Portland, and Lincolnville make perfect stops along a mid-coast Maine road trip when you are in the Camden area.
If you love coastal road trips, try this one from Boston to Rockport, Massachusetts.