The beautiful seaside town of Camden, Maine is one of Vacationland’s best-kept secrets.
Located on Highway 1 in the more remote reaches of Midcoast Maine, about an hour and a half drive from Acadia National Park, Camden is worthy of a weekend getaway or a stop on a coastal Maine road trip.
With typical New England architecture, fantastic shopping and art galleries, and a state park with dozens of gorgeous hiking trails just minutes away, Camden offers something for everyone in a charming coastal Maine town.
Whether you prefer culture or nature, Camden, Maine has something for you: here are our top picks for what to do in Camden!
Where to Stay in Camden, Maine
INN WITH HARBOR VIEW | Lord Camden Inn: For a stunning harborside hotel located in downtown Camden, this inn has all the amenities you’d want and a great location to boot. There is a fitness center, free WiFi, and fresh coffee from a Keurig in room. Some rooms have a harbor or river view, so check your individual room to see!
Luxury B&B | The Belmont Inn: This beautiful B&B is less than half a mile to a beach and has beautiful architecture and furnishings. The rooms are simple but elegant, and there is a garden available for guests to enjoy. The B&B includes a delicious breakfast — your choice of traditional American or vegetarian.
Traditional B&B | Elms of Camden: This charming bed and breakfast is a great choice for those who love something a bit traditional. In addition to tastefully decorated rooms (some with their own fireplace!), guests can also enjoy a shared living space, multi-course breakfasts served in the inn each morning, and an on-site garden.
Best Things to Do in Camden Maine in the Summer Months
Walk around the edge of Camden Harbor.
Camden Harbor is one of the most scenic harbors along the main coast, with stunning views of Penobscot Bay.
Taking a scenic stroll around the edge of the harbor is a great way to while away a few hours on a hot summer day in Camden.
Admire all the sailboats and enjoy the breeze of the ocean water wafting into town.
Marvel at Penobscot Bay on a cruise.
Taking a one-hour boat tour of Penobscot Bay is a great way to spend some sightseeing time in the Camden area — while also getting off your feet and out onto the open seas!
On a boating tour, you’ll get to see the Curtis Island lighthouse, as well as beautiful stretches of the Maine coastline — including some massive and gorgeous seaside mansions!
In terms of wildlife, you may spot harbor seals, bald eagles, porpoises, and guillemots (which are related to everyone’s favorite bird, the puffin).
You may also see lobstermen setting traps, or get to see their own boat pick up their lobster trap! You’ll also get to see views of Camden from the water, which is another beautiful perspective!
Sail out on Schooner Olad.
If you prefer a more historic boat (or a longer boat ride), head out on the Schooner Olad for a two-hour sail.
The Schooner Olad is a classic sailing yacht with gorgeous billowing sails — it was built in 1927 and has been lovingly restored so that it’s in as good of shape now as it was on its maiden voyage over a century ago!
Snap a photo of the lighthouse from the overlook.
While you can see the Curtis Island Lighthouse on a cruise or sailing trip, sometimes once isn’t enough!
If you want to see it from another perspective (or you don’t want to go on a boat in the first place), you can see it from Camden town at the Curtis Lighthouse Overlook, not far from Laite Memorial Beach.
Take a day trip to Rockland for the Farnsworth Art Museum.
The charming small town of Rockland is not far from Camden and makes a worthwhile day trip if Camden is your base during your stay in Maine.
The Farnsworth Art Museum is one of the best art museums in New England and has an extensive collection of Andrew Wyeth’s works, as well as works from other members of the Wyeth family.
Betsy Wyeth bequeathed a large collection of works by the Wyeth family upon her death in 2020, so the museum has been newly updated with her generous gift.
Besides works by the Wyeth family, you’ll also find contemporary and modern art primarily by Maine artists.
Camp in Camden Hills State Park.
There are a lot of campsites available in Camden Hills State Park, whether you bring your own set-up or choose one of the set-up canvas tents which you can rent here!
They come fully furnished with beds and linens and this one can even sleep up to 6 with a queen bed bunk bed! It’s a great ‘glamping’ camping experience that’s still full of outdoor adventure.
There are lots of sites available if you want to bring your own tent, but you will want to book in advance on recreation.gov as these spots go quickly!
Soak in at the views from the top of Mount Battie.
There are two ways to soak in the ocean views at the top of Mount Battie: the easy way or the hard way.
The easy way to check out the views from the summit of Mount Battie is beautiful and requires virtually no sacrifice. You can simply drive up from the entrance of Camden Hills State Park.
The hard way involves a hike. The distance isn’t long — just 3.1 miles out-and-back — but it’s steep, with an elevation gain of more than 600 feet via the Nature Trail.
If you prefer your views steeped in sweat, this is the way to go! Alternately, you may opt to drive up to Mt. Battie, and then save your hike for an even bigger challenge: Mount Megunticook!
Frankly, I would have loved to hike Mt. Battie but I was battling some chronic pain so we drove up and parked and walked around to admire the views! It was remarkable and worth the stop, whether you drive or hike.
Take on the tough hike up Mount Megunticook.
The hike up Mount Megunticook is not for the faint of heart but it offers the best views in all of Camden…. if you can stomach the summit!
The hike is 3.8 miles roundtrip, but that short distance means you also have to do 1,000 feet of elevation gain (and loss) rather quickly as you hustle to summit Megunticook.
Be sure to bring plenty of water and a hearty snack or lunch for the trail. It’s rather exposed and temperatures can be surprisingly hot for how far north you are!
It may be a slog, but the spectacular views are worth it! The trail is rated as moderate, but the incline is pretty steep in parts, so it’s best for more experienced hikers. Read a trail report here.
Take the Maiden’s Cliff Trail.
For a hike that’s shorter than Megunticook but still offers lovely views, the Maiden Cliff Trail is a nice option.
It is steeper, since you have to hike up 700+ feet over a 1.7 mile loop, but it’s good for a quick hike if you’re limited on time but still want a workout.
At the end, you’ll spot the white cross that marks a memorial site for a fallen young hiker, with a beautiful view of Lake Megunticook spread out below you!
Marvel at the beautiful Public Library.
Camden has a lot of beautiful traditional architecture and the public library in the heart of town is no exception.
The brick architecture is a lovely change of pace from a lot of the more standard wood-painted houses in other parts of coastal Maine.
The library has existed in some form or another since 1796, but it was destroyed in a fire that razed much of downtown Camden in 1892.
By 1896, it was rebuilt by the residents of Camden, and has been maintained beautifully over the years since.
Shop on Main Street and its side streets.
Camden has some of the best shopping in Maine! There are a number of great stores you can choose from but a few of my favorites are:
– Glendarragh Farm Lavender where you can buy natural lavender products from the largest lavender farm in Maine.
– Sugar Tools is a great boutique with lovely, fair-priced accessories and home goods and a small selection of clothing.
– Jessie Tobias Design is a new store with beautiful (but pricy!) home goods, bags, dresses and blouses, candles, and other gift items.
Cool off at Megunticook Lake.
Megunticook Lake is located in both Camden and Lincolnville and is a favored place for locals and visitors to cool off in the hot summer months!
One of the best places to go is to relax at Barrett’s Cove. It’s a small little beach cove on the lake, close to the Maiden Cliff trailhead.
If you’d like to kayak, there are rentals available at Maine Sport in Rockport and in town!
Relax in Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheatre.
This small public park area in downtown Camden is a lovely green space that can be a nice escape on a hot and humid summer day in Maine.
It’d also be a great place to take a picnic if you grabbed a sandwich to-go from Camden Deli!
Check out the Megunticook Falls in town.
Adjacent to Camden Harbor Park, as you walk along the harbor edge you’ll notice the ‘waterfall’ that cascades into the harbor.
It’s not a true waterfall but rather the final stage of a many-tiered dam that controls of the flow of water from Megunticook Lake to Camden Harbor. Regardless, it’s beautiful.
Unfortunately, the falls are currently under threat of destruction so it may not be here forever — but for now, it’s one of the best things to do in Camden!
Enjoy Laite Memorial Beach.
One of the most amazing things about Maine is that even within walking distance of the downtown of a rather large town, you can find a beautiful beach right at your fingertips.
While Laite Memorial Beach is just adjacent to the harbor, the water is clean and beautiful. The beach is a combination of small pebbles and coarse sand.
Though some people may prefer a more remote, more natural beach, I loved swimming at Laite Memorial Beach. Personally, I found that the sailboats in the distance just add to the allure!
Check out the Owls Head Transportation Museum.
If you’re interested in vintage modes of transportation — classic cars, old airplanes, carriages and the like — head to the small town of Owls Head, about 25 minutes south of Camden.
It’s a great stop for history lovers and car enthusiasts to see some historical vehicles in a decommissioned aircraft hangar.