For most visitors to mid-coast Maine, access to the ocean is a highlight of their trip. No matter what town your rental property is in, we think Camden arguably offers one of the most picturesque and visitor-friendly harbors around.
Here are three of our favorite ways to make the most of your time on Camden’s waterfront:
1. Sail the bay on a historic schooner
Several of the area’s classic windjammers offer daily two-hour (or longer!) cruises on Penobscot Bay, departing from Camden’s public landing May – October. There’s no better way to take in the scenic landscape of this special part of Maine–the rugged Camden Hills and the many islands studding the bay like green gems–than from the deck of one of these beautiful ships. As you sail past Curtis Island Lighthouse in Camden’s outer harbor and out into the bay, the crew will help you spot seals, porpoises, eagles, nesting ospreys, and lobstermen hauling their traps. The largest of these day sailers is the Schooner Appledore, an 86-foot traditional wooden tall ship built in 1978. Schooner Olad is a 57-foot restored 1927 yacht that holds 22 passengers. Built in 1918, Schooner Surprise is on the National Register of Historic Places. Each of these two-masted ships features a friendly, informative crew that will help you create priceless memories of your coastal Maine vacation. We recommend a sunset sail for a truly breathtaking experience.
2. Relax in Camden Harbor Park & Amphitheatre
For landlubber types, two-acre Camden Harbor Park at the head of the harbor offers a plenitude of hillside benches from which to enjoy a picnic lunch, observe the comings and goings of boat traffic, and monitor the tides and the waterfall where the Megunticook River flows into the harbor. Built by the Olmsted Brothers between 1928 – 1935, the park landscape combines formal and native elements. The adjacent public outdoor garden amphitheatre, part of the grounds of the Camden Public Library, hosts weddings, concerts, craft shows, and other festive events throughout the year. Considered one of the best works designed by renowned landscape architect Fletcher Steele, the tree-shaded amphitheatre (and library) was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2013. The library also features an exquisite children’s garden featuring stone benches made up of representations of classic Maine children’s books.
3. Dine well on seafood at the seaside
Locals and visitors alike take good advantage of the harborside dining options available at several of Camden’s fine restaurants. These range from the Camden Deli with its picture window that looks directly onto the harbor waterfall to larger establishments featuring outside waterfront decks. The venerable, aptly named Waterfront is a year-round favorite; Peter Ott’s on the Water has outside seating that fronts the public landing; the Rhumb Line offers a view from the other side of the harbor at Lyman-Morse Wayfarer Marine. From each of these restaurant’s decks, you’ll be able to watch yachts, sailboats, and fishing boats come and go while gulls and ospreys wheel overhead. Raise a glass to scenic Mount Battie, which rises above the head of the harbor, as you enjoy your fresh-caught seafood (we recommend local oysters, clam chowder, and a lobster roll) “where the mountains meet the sea.”