Aerial view of Camden, Maine.

13 Coastal Towns In Maine For The Ultimate Beach Getaway

The different sides of Maine, including old versus new and the beach scene versus the raw nature, are often packed into one constricted area of a small beach town like the ones below. These towns offer bare walking trails, soft sand strolls, and second-to-none views off the cliffs. They also come with spectacular waterfront views from in-town brimming with quaint shops, captain's homes, and ports.

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor, Maine
Rocky coast and view of boats in the harbor at Bar Harbor, Maine. 

The town of Bar Harbor seems to have it all, starting with its picturesquely perched location on Mount Desert Island to the historic resort town vibe resonating in its Victorian-style buildings down the main street descending to the waters. Back-dropped by the majestic Cadillac Mountain and with the Acadia National Park in the vicinity, there's also an atmospheric Lighthouse to reminisce about. Part of the largest island in the area, Bar Harbor comprised a popular summer colony for the rich and powerful until the fire of 1947 destroyed much of their upscale residences. Still, the vestiges of its illustrious past can be seen in the stunning Victorian 'cottage', now a hotel, Mira Monte Inn. Bar Harbor's Mount Desert Street illustrates the past splendor of America's Gilded Age, while the modern restaurants and bars are highly rated. 

Blue Hill

Seacoast village, Blue Hill, Maine
Seacoast village, Blue Hill, Maine. 

Known for its incredibly peaceful vibe, Blue Hill comprises a tucked-away peninsula with some of the most impressive coastal vistas, starting with the scenic drive along the never-ending quiet backroads winding along the coast for killer views of the nearby Penobscot Bay. The old-world charm is too beautiful to summon, with enchanting boatyards, vast artist communities, local farmer's markets, and quaint little shops, while the notable Bluehill Falls is a local gem for setting a picnic. Sharing the peninsula with the fishing town and the photogenic shoreline along the falls, the residents comprise generations of families, artists, and small farm farmers. The off-the-grid location and vibes make the array of high-quality art galleries, restaurants, and other urban amenities even more worthy, sans the crowds. 

Boothbay Harbor

Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church on the shore of Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Editorial credit: Bob Pool /

Established in the 17th Century, Boothbay Harbor has a colorful history from its British colonial roots to the thriving lobster-canning factory and fisheries through the industrial period in the late 19th Century. The crumbling coast and its location in southern Maine make Boothbay Harbor that picturesque seaside town from the childhood books. A popular summer destination for yachting along the jagged coast, islets and inlets combine fun, relaxation, and active time spent on the sea. June brings about the impressive Windjammer's Day celebration, while its Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens boast second-to-none beautiful grounds and gardens to explore. As a classic Maine destination, with brimful nature trails, historical sites, charming shops, and oceanfront dining, it is juxtaposed in the raw by the quiet coves and rocky shores.


View of a beautiful harbor at twilight in Camden, Maine
Beautiful Harbor with yachts and fishing boats moored to wooden piers at twilight in Camden, Maine. 

Set overlooking the picturesque Penobscot Bay, the lovely Camden is a perfect coastal town for a weekend getaway or seaside vacation, including traditional lobster boats and yachts. With a thriving art scene and truly stunning views of Penobscot Bay, everything in town feels local and authentic. The Highstreet historic district has beautiful homes from the 1800s, such as the Camden Public Library from 1796, set next door to a park and amphitheater, while the magnificent building of the Camden Opera House opened in 1894. There are hundreds of miles for scenic hiking with trails at the Camden Hills State Park, among others for the active. The fun annual events include the Jazz in June Festival and Windjammer Festival in summer. Being an outstanding year-round destination, there's even a Christmas by the Sea event in December and the US National Toboggan Championships in February.

Cape Elizabeth

Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Aerial view of the Portland Head Lighthouse at sunset at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. 

A short drive from Portland, the cozily nestled pretty town of Cape Elizabeth comes inclusive with a 1.6-kilometer crescent-shaped beach. Known for the gentle waters, the town is thoroughly enjoyed by families and those who want to chill out effortlessly, floating with bellies warmed by the sun. Comprising a shaded picnic area and plenty of amenities, there are also various activities to engage in, from simple strolls along, to kite-flying on the beach, to the hypnotic sights of waters with lobster boats, also making for an ideal photo opportunity. There is a conveniently-located beachside snack for those who believe that time-off should not require wasting energy on walking. The boardwalk is perfect for those long evening dining experiences. 


Motorboats and sailboats at anchor near the waterfront make for a peaceful scene at Castine, Maine.
Motorboats and sailboats at anchor near the waterfront make for a peaceful scene at Castine, Maine. Editorial credit: Ken Schulze /

Set at the mouth of the Penobscot River estuary on a promontory into Penobscot Bay with beautiful views of inlets and coves, Castine is one of the prettiest beach towns in Maine. With its Wadsworth Cove Beach, the town seems to have it all, including many traditionally grand New England-style homes dating back to 1796. With an off-the-beaten-path feel, the town comes with modern comforts, sights, and activities, such as the Wilson Museum and the former schoolhouse, now the Castine Historical Society, that tell of the area's rich history. There is also the oldest continuously operating post office in the US, the Dyce Head Lighthouse, constructed in 1828, and a 3-day Plein air art festival in July. Compass Rose Bookstore and Cafe is a quirky local favorite.


A man with an umbrella walking on a marina harbor pier in Damariscotta, Maine.
A man with an umbrella walking on a marina harbor pier in Damariscotta, Maine. Editorial credit: Kristi Blokhin /

With a claim to fame for oysters, live and cooked up served fresh daily, Damariscotta is a slice of heaven for the food lovers in the sea delicacies department. The annual Damariscotta Oyster Celebration in the early summer includes touring local oyster farms, while the yearly Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta has races in boats that are carved out of giant pumpkins. The Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site, with mounds of discarded oyster shells from ages ago, tells stories about the history and development of the oyster industry in the region. There are many historical buildings, including countless mansions, the Lincoln Theater from 1875, and the iconic Renys Department Store. The scenic river cruise or kayaking down the beautiful Damariscotta River is a thrilling bucket-list activity. 


L. L. Bean Store in Freeport, Maine
View of a landmark giant boot outside the original L. L. Bean store in Freeport, Maine. Editorial credit: EQRoy /

One of Maine's most incredible beach towns, Freeport is also a shopper's paradise that started a century ago with Leon Leonwood Bean's first outdoor gear shop, now turned into 200-some retail stores sitting along the US-1 highway that runs right through town. With the law forbidding the destruction of any historic building, many of the posh outlets and boutiques are housed within the stunning 1850s era Greek Revival homes, taking window shopping to a new level. The active can explore the cool fish ponds and some rock climbing walls to conquer. The Freeport Historical Society inside the beautiful Harrington House presents the area's local history, while the unique salt-water Pettengill Farm from the 19th-century comprises an insightful pastime for all ages.


View of a small harbor in Kennebunkport, Maine
View of a small harbor in Kennebunkport, Maine. Editorial credit: Enrico Della Pietra /

Kennebunkport is a known historic fishing village and base to start one's coastal exploration trip upon spending a few peaceful days on the beautiful beaches, strolling past the grand houses, and checking out the quaint harbor of the town set on the South Coast of Maine. There are many local craft stores known to be a trap for tourists. The town where one can spend days relaxing on the local beaches was a top destination amongst the wealthy social circles in New England. Exuding charm and vibrancy at every corner, it is a favorite summertime destination for the Bushes and many other American families today.


West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec, Maine
West Quoddy Head Light in Quoddy Head State Park in Lubec, Maine. 

As one of Maine's most unique and affordable coastal towns for tourists, acclaimed as the nation's easternmost point, Lubec is a beloved destination despite being a difficult reach. The scenic views and authentic small-town feel make the trip worth it, attested by the returning visitors. The incredibly picturesque Quoddy Head State Park with the iconic red and white striped Quoddy Head Lighthouse is the grand landmark from far away. One can feel at the end of the world on the wild side bordering Canada, where the beach and the coastal trails are the places to spot the Atlantic puffins. The stretch of the rocky, rugged shoreline of the Bold Coast under fog and the miles of hiking trails and the stark beauty of the wind-swept trees and sheer sea cliffs looking out and over into the ocean make for an unforgettable atmosphere and sights. 


Boats are moored in the waters of Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine
Boats are moored in the calm waters of Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine. Editorial credit: James Kirkikis /

Ogunquit's coastal setting is a known romantic getaway for being one of the prettiest places in Maine. Meaning a "beautiful place by the sea" in the Algonquin Indians' language, the town with a population under 1,000 was founded in 1980, still containing some of the most amazing architecture. Nothing compares to its spectacular rocky cliffs, while the sandy beaches, such as Ogunquit Beach, are perfect for basking on, and the fantastic art studios are great to peruse. As one of Maine's premier summer vacation towns, it comes with lively nightlife and entertainment in Footbridge Beach, Moody Beach, the Wonder Mountain Fun Park, and other oceanfront accommodations. There's also the Ogunquit Playhouse and top Maine dining, while the Marginal Way coastal walking path connects the center of Ogunquit to Perkins Cove, a tiny fishing village with a working drawbridge, for great shopping and seafood.


Rockport Harbor, Maine
Sailboats and motorboats rest at anchor in Rockport Harbor, Maine, on a beautiful summer day. Editorial credit: James Dalrymple /

Famed for its harbor that is considered the most picturesque in Maine, Rockport is bounded by the lovely verdant park with a resident seal in marble, Andre the Seal. Situated at a short distance from the state's capital city of Augusta, Rockport is one of the most scenic and coolest beach towns in the northeast, with many coastal trails in the vicinity. The small artisan shops along the shores reveal Rockport's claim to fame as an art colony. The charm of its seaside locale and picturesque harbor scene filled with fishing boats and schooners call out to the creative minds while local anglers catch some of the freshest seafood around. There's also an impressive selection of historic buildings in the Rockport Historic District, along with the collection of Belted Galloway cattle at the 136-year-old Aldermere Farm as a popular tourist destination to meet and greet the 'Oreo cows.'


Nubble Lighthouse, York, Maine
Nubble Lighthouse, York, Maine. 

Europeans first settled the famous resort town of historic York in 1624 on the Gulf of Maine. Some of the oldest sites of historical interest are in the oldest portion of Old York Gaol, dating back to 1720, while the 18th Century John Sedgley Homestead is one of the oldest in the state. All proximate to each other, the York Harbor, the York Beach, and the Cape Neddick are known collectively as 'The Yorks,' coming inclusive with four beaches, three golf courses, and hiking at Mount Agamenticus. Long Sands Beach is known for great sand and surf, while Short Sands Beach is near all of the town's attractions. There is also Maine's largest zoo, museums, and shopping, along with the most atmospheric Cape Neddick, with the Nubble Lighthouse as the most photographed lighthouse in Maine. 

In Maine, stepping onto these beach towns will immerse one into charming downtown areas with many shops, galleries, restaurants, amusements, and museums. Known for the fantastic nature and fresh seafood caught on the spot, many have also been the historical summer residences since their earliest years, revealing that quality is an everlasting attribute.

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