The Most Beautiful Towns in Maine, USA

The peaceful seaside town of Camden is well known for its historic yacht club
The peaceful seaside town of Camden is well known for its historic yacht club | © Norman Eggert / Alamy Stock Photo
Matthew Keyte

For many years the playground of the wealthy from the East Coast cities, Maine is home to pretty coastal towns characterized by period buildings built around small harbors. The towns of Maine typically have a history as long as the United States itself. Here are the most notable to explore.

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Kennebunkport

Kennebunkport has several focal points where you’ll find plenty of small art galleries, museums and souvenir shops. Dock Square and Cape Porpoise afford visitors superb views of the harbor. Among those drawn to the town are the Bush family, who have their summer home here. The likes of Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin have also stayed on the estate.

Camden

Camden has been a popular spot for wealthy holidaymakers since the 1880s, and the Camden Yacht Club, built in 1912, can still be found on the waterfront. Back in the 1950s, Hollywood stars were also drawn to Camden, and the industry itself used the town as a film set for the movie Carousel (1956).

Rockport

Rockport was originally part of nearby Camden, until the towns split in 1891 and developed apart from one another. Rockport is a combination of a beautiful, peaceful harbor and overlooking mountains. Bald Mountain and Ragged Mountain sit northwest as you head inland from Rockport, while the harbor looks out over the bay to North Haven Island.

Ogunquit

The picturesque small town of Ogunquit faces out onto the Atlantic and along the Ogunquit River. For hundreds of years it was a small fishing village, with the fishermen using Perkins Cove as a shield against the sea winds. Today, the sands of Ogunquit Beach draw many visitors. Ogunquit also developed a reputation as an artist colony, and today the Ogunquit Museum of American Art has a collection featuring works by major figures such as Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Hopper and Thomas Hart Benton.

Bar Harbor

Once the favored summer resort of senators and tycoons, Bar Harbor, on the northern side of Mount Desert Island, looks in one direction to the blue waters of Frenchman Bay, and in the other to the woodlands of Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor is a center for yachting and is famous for its scenery. The surrounds are so beautiful that they drew many landscape painters from the Hudson River School to work here in the 1850s.

Blue Hill

The unspoiled and picturesque Blue Hill lies at the head of a bay of the same name and looks out towards the islands of Mount Desert Narrows. The town, first settled in 1762, was once a center for shipbuilding and granite quarrying. There are still plenty of small boatyards and boathouses on the bay and tucked inside the smaller coves flanking the town.

Boothbay Harbor

Boothbay is just north of the harbor that looks towards McFarland Island and out over Mill Cove. It’s still a quaint town of shipyards, small restaurants and boutique shops. A large number of the locals here join the US Navy, and many famous officers have come from the area. The quayside contains plenty of excellent New England seafood restaurants serving up the catch of the day.

Cape Elizabeth

Due south of the city of Portland lies the picture-postcard town of Cape Elizabeth. The town faces out into Casco Bay and is surrounded by coastal parks, Staples Cove and the most well-known lighthouses in Maine, along with the 19th-century Fort Williams Park, which guards the entrance to Portland.

Stonington

Stonington lies south of Deer Isle on the ragged coastline facing out onto Penobscot Bay. The picturesque harbor town looks out over a mass of smaller islands and towards Isle au Haut and its lighthouse. In the 19th century, the locals were known in Maine for being excellent seafarers, and the harbor is still packed with fishing boats today. On land, the town itself has some lovely art galleries, the Stonington Opera House and the local Historical Society to explore.

Castine

The historic town of Castine was once the capital of the French colony of Acadia, and took its name from the French officer Saint-Castin during the late 17th century. Lying at the head of the Penobscot River estuary, Castine is still dominated by handsome villas and period buildings, and its prosperity in the 19th century has left many Greek revival homes in the town. Fort George and the Dyce Head Lighthouse were built by the newly independent Americans, and both still stand.

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