Boothbay Harbor, Maine is a gem for travelers looking for a laid-back vacation in a charming village away from the fast-paced city life.
Considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in Maine, Boothbay Harbor offers exceptional water activities, delectable local cuisines, and breathtaking getaways by the sea.
The lovely coastal town is the image of the “quintessential midcoast” with historical sites and memorable sceneries that will make your trip worthwhile.
If you want to discover what makes this place so special, then here are 10 things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine that you should not miss out on while you are there:
A water activity you should try in Boothbay Harbor is kayaking. Whether you are an experienced Kayaker or just beginning to learn, downtown Boothbay Harbor offers several inland and ocean kayaking tours you can sign up for.
Kayakers should visit Boothbay Harbor and go on a kayak adventure during the summer season or late spring for a scenic water trip.
Boothbay Harbor has interesting wildlife that you might encounter in your kayaking activity like puffins and seals.
You will also get to see the picturesque Boothbay Harbor historic lighthouses along the shoreline like the Burnt Island Lighthouse and a majestic view of the sunset from the waters.
9. Dining in Boothbay Harbor
Boothbay Harbor is also home to a wide range of delectable restaurants that serve fresh, locally-sourced seafood dishes. Whether you are looking for an upscale dining experience or a casual lunch by the seaside, you will surely find a restaurant that will suit your taste and budget.
Among the best Boothbay Harbor restaurants to try in your Maine vacation are as follows:
- Mine Oyster – A Seafood restaurant offering one of the best fresh seafood like oysters, and lobster rolls, with several gluten-free and vegetarian dishes.
- The Boathouse Bistro – A superb bar with a fantastic rooftop view. The choices of food are from local ingredients with vegan options.
- Ports of Italy – A fine dining restaurant offering as the name suggests, Italian cuisine
- The Thistle Inn – Also a fine dining restaurant with cozy fireplaces as you indulge in the delicious menu like tuna tartare, roasted duck, Maine crab cakes, and many more.
- Boothbay Lobster Wharf – As the name suggests, you can find the most delicious lobster cuisines here.
If you are more into quick bites or desserts then you should visit the following:
- Shannon’s Unshelled – famous for their lobster roll
- Red Cup Coffeehouse – home of freshly baked goods
- Sarah’s Scoops – features at least 24 ice cream flavors
- Wannawaf– offers decadent waffles, ice cream sundaes, fresh fruits, and many more
- Downeast Ice Cream Factory – with over 65 homemade flavors of ice cream
You should also grab some snacks from the popular Coastal Maine Popcorn shop.
8. Hiking in Boothbay Harbor
If you want to explore the town’s lush landscapes, then hiking is an ideal activity for you. Several hiking trails in Boothbay Harbor offer stunning views of the sea and the surrounding area especially the ones managed by Boothbay Region Land Trust.
The most popular hiking trail in the town managed by Boothbay Region Land Trust that you should experience for a day hiking activity are as follows:
- Lobster Cove Meadow and Appalachee Preserve Loop – This is a moderate trail with a 5.3 km loop. The average hike time is 1 hour and 18 minutes. The Spring season will give you a view of wildflowers. This trail is also popular for birding activities.
- Penny Lake Preserve White, Yellow, and Blue Trail – This is an easy trail that just takes around 18 minutes to hike. This trail offers lovely views all year round.
- Pine Tree Preserve Loop – The 1-mile loop takes just about 24 minutes to complete with the moderate trail.
- Ocean Point Trail – This by Boothbay Region Land Trust easy route will take you along the coastline and up to a scenic overlook of the Boothbay Harbor area. The hiking trails usually just take 18 minutes to complete.
7. Visit Boothbay Harbor Museums, Aquarium, and Historical Sites
Additional best things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine is to indulge in the town’s historic charm by visiting museums and historical sites.
The most recommended Boothbay Harbor museums and historical sites to visit on your Maine vacation are as follows:
Boothbay Railway Village
This is a living museum that captures the feel of a typical New England village in the 1920s. You will get to see antique automobiles, Main Street buildings, and a working steam train.
Sea Dog Brewery
An ideal place for brewery tours. You can also taste the different kinds of beer on tap as well as get a pint to go. If you are there during their event schedule, then you can enjoy plenty of music and dancing alongside the beautiful sea view.
Mystic Seaport Museum
This maritime museum is home to several tall ships, yachts, and boats. You can explore the different exhibits and witness boatbuilding demonstrations.
The Wyeth Center
This art museum is dedicated to Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, two of America’s most popular painters. The museum displays some of their best works as well as those of N.C. Wyeth.
Maine’s Oldest Bookstore
Established in 1825, this bookstore is A historic building and one of the oldest businesses in Boothbay Harbor. It stocks a wide range of books, including bestsellers, Maine guidebooks, and children’s books.
This is the main drag in Boothbay Harbor, and it’s lined with shops, restaurants, and galleries. It’s the perfect place to do some window-shopping or people-watching.
Maine State Aquarium
Visiting Maine State Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. You will enjoy seeing and learning about wondrous marine resources.
6. Whale Watching in Boothbay Harbor
Boothbay Harbor is a go-to destination for marvelous whale watching activities. The whale watching spots are about 20 miles off Maine’s coast. Mid-April is usually the start of whale-watching activities as it’s the time of the year when whales are migrating North for feeding season.
Some of the whale species you will find in Boothbay Harbor are Humpback, Finback, and Minke.
There are plenty of whale watching companies in Boothbay Harbor that offer different kinds of boat excursions with whale-watching packages to choose from.
You can go on a 2-hour Whale Watching Adventure Tour or a 3 1/2-hour Coastal Wildlife Cruise. Whatever package you choose, it’s guaranteed that you will see plenty of whales.
5. Experience Local Arts and Culture
Never leave the idyllic town setting without adding an experience of the town’s arts and local culture to your things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
There are several ways for you to have an immersive stay and the following are the ones that you should not miss out on:
Art Galleries in Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Just walking along the streets of Boothbay Harbor, you will discover plenty of art galleries. Some of these galleries exhibit paintings and sculptures from well-known artists like John Marin and Andrew Wyeth.
Live Music in Boothbay Harbor, Maine
The best places to see live music in town are Eastland Park Hotel, Boothbay Harbor Brewing Company, and Sea Dog Brewery. The live music scene in this town is strong with bands playing a mix of blues, rock, country, Americana, and jazz.
Shops in Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Boothbay Harbor has plenty of locally owned boutiques that sell clothes and accessories made in this coastal town of Maine. There are also several gift shops where you can buy Maine-made food products, souvenirs, and knick-knacks.
Boothbay Opera House
This historic opera house hosts around 100 shows per year with magnificent art displays. You can even have reserved VIP seating booked at the Opera House in Boothbay Harbor.
This is a specialty shop in Boothbay Harbor that showcases souvenirs made in Maine. Among the popular purchases are framed ceramic teacups and cast iron mice.
4. Festivals in Boothbay Harbor
Throughout the year, Boothbay Harbor hosts several major festivals and events that tourists can join in and enjoy. Some of the most notable ones include Boothbay Harbor Fest and Mid-Coast Maine Bluegrass Festival
Boothbay Harbor Fest is a week-long celebration that happens every June. This festival features an art show, a classic car show, live music, and fireworks.
Belfast Harbor Fest and Classic Boat Show is another event that you should not miss when in Boothbay Harbor. This festival is usually held in August and features tall ships, live music, food vendors, and a classic boat show.
Claw Down is another notable festival in Boothbay Harbor that’s worth mentioning. It happens every October and is a fun event for the whole family. This festival features a lobster-eating contest, live music, and plenty of other activities.
Boothbay Lighted Boat Parade that happens every December also needs to be included in your list of things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. This holiday event is not only a great chance for you to witness boat parades and fireworks but it’s also the perfect way for you to get into the Christmas spirit.
3. Trip to Cabbage Island Clambakes
Visiting Cabbage Island is another one of the best things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine especially if you plan to visit Boothbay Harbor between the end of June and the weekend after labor day.
The Moore Family has operated their island’s traditional Downeast clambake for over 50 years, and it’s an experience you will never forget.
Cabbage Island is a small scenic island located about 15 minutes by boat from Boothbay Harbor. You can either join one of their scheduled public or private clam bakes or arrange to have your gathering on the island.
The clambake experience includes freshly harvested lobster, steamers, chowder, and vegetables that you can eat on their picnic tables.
Cabbage Island also has kayaks and paddleboards for rent so you can explore the island as soon as your feast is done.
2. Visit Botanical Gardens
The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is one of the top attractions in Maine’s Midcoast, Boothbay Harbor but it’s not open all year.
The stunning botanical gardens are usually open from mid-April through October with a special Gardens Glow event during Christmas.
The Gardens Glow is such an amazing event with around 650,000 Christmas lights in the central garden.
This vast public garden features miles of walking trails, a children’s playground, and plenty of flowering plants from around the world is one of the best things to see during your visit.
The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is also a great place to relax, meditate, or just take in the amazing natural beauty of this charming coastal town.
Whether you’re coming with your family, friends, or partner, don’t miss out on visiting Boothbay Harbor’s Botanical Gardens.
1. Boat Tours in Boothbay Harbor
Take a boat cruise along the harbor to see its picturesque scenery in this lovely Midcoast Maine town.
You will surely be amazed by how beautiful the harbor is, with the lobster boats docked along its shores, the rocky outcroppings, and small islands scattered around.
Hiring a boat tour for your family vacation is an excellent way to get up close and personal with the harbor’s natural beauty and also the nearby islands like the lovely Damariscove Island.
Different tour operators offer different boat tour packages, so make sure you do your research before booking one for your Midcoast Maine adventure.
One popular Boothbay Cruise is a sightseeing cruise with a tour to the Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse along with an experience of watching lobsters being hauled from traps and chance encounters with dolphins and puffins. You can book this tour here.
Whatever your interests are, you are sure to find something exciting to do in Boothbay Harbor during your trip! So what are you waiting for? Book a flight today and start planning your getaway to this delightful town.