When you wish upon a snowglobe, you may be thinking of getting happily trapped in a charming small town in Maine, just like in one of your favorite Hallmark Christmas movies. Rekindle a holiday romance as you stroll hand-in-hand down a picture-perfect Main Street decked out in cute holiday finery. If the snow begins to fall, you know you are in the right spot for a delightful made for television, holiday movie.
No matter what your old-fashioned Christmas plans, from romantic getaways, family-friendly events, or even gal pal shopping extravaganzas, you will find a real-life Hallmark Christmas adventure in Maine. Beautifully decorated village streets, many in vintage style, wrap you in the sweet community feel of winter in Maine.
Throughout New England, you will find cute and charming small towns that embody the Christmas spirit, many of these local villages are the inspiration for a host of feel good movies. Imagine a big city executive arrives in town to shut down the beloved local inn, and falls in love with the owner who is struggling to keep it afloat. Of course, they save the inn, save the town, and embrace as light snowflakes fall gently on their cheery faces. That is the vision of directors when they visit small towns in Maine; the perfect setting for an old-fashioned, uplifting Christmas story.
Small towns draped in a snowy blanket of white, iridescent from the moonlight dancing off the snow and water, offer the perfect backdrop for a romantic Christmas scene. One such quaint, seaside town is Camden, with a walkable Main Street, a pretty harbor, and beautiful old homes.
Christmas by the Sea in Camden is celebrated on the first weekend in December. Santa arrives at the dock in a quintessentially coastal Maine manner — by lobster boat. As he makes his way through town, Santa greets all the children with a jolly ho ho ho. The festivities include a parade and tree lighting in the centrally located Harbor Park.
Pro Tip: Perfectly casual with luxurious appointments, the Camden Maine Stay Inn is a picture-ready stay in Camden.
Wiscasset, Maine, is a delightful small town where you will fall in love with a hometown Christmas. Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest is 3 days of fun shopping in charming downtown Wiscasset for all the made-in-Maine items you need to check off your Christmas gift list. From December 3–5, you can kick off your holiday shopping and explore this lovely coastal town.
The local shops and galleries are stocked with beautiful items waiting just for you. Whether you are shopping at Rock Paper Scissors for that unique gift or Sylvan Gallery showcasing contemporary works of New England artists, you will be enchanted by this charming town.
Pro Tip: If you have time for a getaway stay in Wiscasset, you can find lots of great information in our Wiscasset destination guide.
3. Boothbay And Boothbay Harbor
As the colorful lights twinkle off the water and snow gently falls, blanketing this quaint area of Maine’s coastline, you almost feel like you are on a real life Hallmark movie set. The town is full of festive activities to get you right into the holiday spirit. Boothbay Lights is an extended festival of holiday cheer. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens hosts Gardens Aglow, a drive-through lighting extravaganza. The Lighted Boat Parade and Sparkle Fireworks Display is an event unique to this waterfront town.
Pro Tip: When you want to watch a Hallmark movie, in a charming Hallmark movie town, this waterfront condo in downtown Boothbay Harbor is just the thing. Cozy up on the sofa with your favorite cold weather libation, switch on a feel good Christmas movie, and play out the scenes in your own joyous seasonal script.
Freeport, home to L.L. Bean’s flagship store, is a shopping mecca. The shopping district is easily walkable and during the Christmas season, it comes alive with festive decorations. The shopping district in Freeport is the center for the Sparkles for the Holidays celebration during the month of December. Shoppers will be enchanted by the seasonal decorations, and will certainly get you in the spirit of the season.
L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights showcases stunning lighting displays, store windows decked out in festive holiday colors, along with fun and festive Instagramable photo tableaus that will make you the star of your own Hallmark Christmas movie. Of course, there is so much great shopping, and who doesn’t love all the cool and interesting gifts you can find in L.L. Bean and all the other shops in downtown Freeport.
Pro Tip: Our Freeport destination guide is a great source of information about what to see and do in Freeport. You will love all the fun adventures awaiting your visit.
5. Kennebunkport And Kennebunk
Old-fashioned celebration of Christmas lights, good cheer, and holiday music, the Christmas Prelude is Kennebunk’s holiday festival. Since 1982, the small town has transformed into a wonderful winter wonderland. Between December 2 and 12, you can join in for a traditional Christmas tree lighting, outdoor Christmas markets, or simply enjoy the seasonal ambiance while strolling the beautifully decorated town.
The Holiday Trail of Lights is a town-wide challenge to out-decorate your neighbor. With a detailed map, you can navigate by car around Kennebunkport and Kennebunk as you ooh and ahh at the over-the-top Christmas decorations. It is a fun and relaxing way for the entire family to stay warm and cozy while enjoying the gorgeous lighting displays. Spending time with loved ones while enjoying the dazzling light displays is a fabulous experience delivering great memories.
Pro Tip: Enjoy a wonderful waterfront winter wonderland stay at The Breakers Inn and Spa. Your getaway at the inn is just what you need to shake off the work-a-day blues and delve into a great Maine stay while playing a leading role in your own Hallmark movie script.
Gardiner offers visitors a trip into bygone days. The downtown historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, so you know you will find all the cozy charm synonymous with downeast Maine. Perched on the Kennebunk River, Gardiner is a fun spot to simply enjoy the beauty of the Christmas season. Scarf-clad shoppers pop in and out of stores checking items off their list, shopkeepers add the finishing touches to stunning holiday displays, and if you time it right, a gentle snow will drop soft flakes on your eyelashes and rosy cheeks.
Shopping in one-of-a-kind stores like the Majestic Craft Store where items are locally crafted and perfect for your Christmas giving list. Venture into and Monkitree to discover fine, artisan created gifts.
Pro Tip: Round out your visit with lunch at the A1 Diner and enjoy tasty homestyle food you will adore. Amped-up diner favorites like the classic meatloaf sandwich or the Reuben with horseradish sauce will keep you well fortified.
The charming seaside town of York is known for its beachy summer scene. However, during the winter months, the quiet little town hosts fun, family-centric Christmas events. York hosts the annual Festival of Lights with a parade, breakfast with Santa, craft fairs, Grinchmas, Polar Express events, and more. The event schedules are to be published soon, check the site for up-to-date information on dates and times.
Nubble Light, a classic New England lighthouse icon, is the picture-perfect backdrop for your Maine Christmas photo. It would make a lovely Christmas card photo with the entire family smiling in the foreground. When it is lit up for the holidays, the twilight views are gorgeous.
Pro Tip: Plan a getaway stay in this delightful beach town during the summer, our York destination guide will help you plan your visit.
Waterville takes Christmas very seriously and actually transforms into Kringleville for the holiday season. Mr. and Mrs. Claus greet visitors in their very own Kringleville home in the center of town on weekends in December. When you include the young and young at heart in your Christmas celebrations, it brings extra joy and happiness to the season. It is the perfect place for a family-focused Christmas get together.
After a visit with Santa, explore the quaint shops to create a family holiday tradition. When you are ready to dine, stop at The Proper Pig for some fabulous pub grub and a pint. Try the Dog Father, a killer homemade Polish kielbasa sandwich. Don’t neglect your sweet tooth, its famous bacon caramel cheesecake is a dinner-ending flavor bomb.
Pro Tip: Waterville is home to Colby College and the Colby Museum of Art. This teaching museum showcases American artists and contemporary art for visitors’ enjoyment and education.
That’s A Wrap
Main Streets framed with historic brownstone buildings, snow falling gently on tree-lined streets, shoppers with packages hurrying about, and elaborate Christmas decorations that simply make you smile. This is what charming small towns in Maine feel like during the Christmas season. They are the quintessential Hallmark holiday movie sets that you can experience during the season.
It is time to create your own Hallmark movie memories and visit one or more of these lovely real-life towns for a pre-Christmas getaway visit. Grab your favorite flannel shirt and L.L. Bean boots, it’s time for a winter wonderland getaway adventure.
Hallmark movies and settings are a holiday happening: