Downtown in Belfast, Maine. Image credit Enrico Della Pietra via Shutterstock

6 Underappreciated Towns to Visit in Maine

Maine is the best choice for anybody looking for a ton of outdoor activities and breathtaking coastal views. Maine towns provide a variety of activities, from quaint stores to national parks. There are many fascinating sights to see and entertaining things to do in even its overlooked towns. Outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and wildlife observation or visiting museums, art galleries, and delicious restaurants grant visitors the opportunity to uncover what Maine has to offer. These six underappreciated Maine towns should be the next destination for an enticing trip that combines relaxation and excitement.


The Dalton Holmes Davis Memorial Library in Bridgton, Maine.
The Dalton Holmes Davis Memorial Library in Bridgton, Maine. Image credit Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This picturesque town in the western part of the state possesses stunning mountain views and crystal-clear lakes, with a population of just 5,418. Bridgton is the perfect escape that comes with adventure and charm. Even in the summer, Pleasant Mountain Ski Area, one of Maine's largest family-owned ski areas, offers plenty to do. Known for its 40 trails and glades, two terrain parks, and 19 lit trails for night skiing, this spot transforms into a hiking and mountain biking paradise when the snow melts.

Take a stroll through history at Narramissic Historic Farm. Looking toward South Bridgton, stunning views are found across expansive fields. The farmhouse, filled with antique furniture, provides a fascinating glimpse into rural Maine's past. Experience nature at Holt Pond Preserve, where hundreds of acres of diverse ecosystems await. Wandering through wetlands on extensive boardwalks and trails allows visitors to discover the magic of the natural habitats.

After a day of exploring, there are delicious meals available at one of Bridgton’s many fantastic restaurants. The Black Horse Tavern has a cozy atmosphere and mouthwatering dishes that are sure to satisfy everyone.


Bustling downtown street in Ellsworth, Maine.
Bustling downtown street in Ellsworth, Maine. Image credit EQRoy via

Ellsworth transports visitors to a leisurely life full of historical exploration and many outdoor activities to choose from. This little town, with 8,399 residents, is the ideal destination for a vacation since it provides beautiful scenery, a fascinating past, and enjoyable activities fit for all ages in the community.

Ellsworth is a great starting point for your explorations of Acadia National Park. Thanks to convenient access to the park's entrances, visitors may quickly explore the well-known landscapes, which range from rocky beaches to lush woods, and enjoy some of the best hiking, riding, and sightseeing in the country. The outdoors of the Birdsacre Stanwood Homestead Museum ensures visitors learn about history. Uncover more about the historic estate and bird rehabilitation by strolling through the tranquil gardens.

Ellsworth hosts its beloved Autumn Gold Festival on the last weekend in September. The Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce organizes this spectacular fall festival, which features a variety of activities and attractions, including live music, art exhibitions, boat rides, car displays, food vendors, and the popular Annual Mutt Strut. This celebration pays homage to Ellsworth's thriving community and the splendor of fall.


Aerial view of Rockland Harbor during Rockland Lobster Festival in summer, Rockland, Maine.
Rockland Harbor during Rockland Lobster Festival in summer, Rockland, Maine. Image credit Wangkun Jia via

Visitors are invited to embark on an unparalleled coastal journey in Rockland. This lively seaside town, home to 6,936 people, offers the ideal fusion of gastronomic delights, maritime tradition, and artistic flare.

Enter the Maine Lighthouse Museum's intriguing world by going through the doors on One Park Drive. This museum, started by the late CWO4 Ken Black, has the nation's biggest collection of lighthouses, life-saving, and US Coast Guard items. Take in the fascinating displays that will transport you to Maine's rich maritime past and stories. Visitors can treat their taste buds to the freshest seafood straight from the waters of Penobscot Bay at Archer's on the Pier. This waterfront restaurant boasts unparalleled views and mouthwatering dishes that highlight the bounty of the sea. Savor each bite as you soak in the coastal ambiance.

The Rockland arts industry is on display at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA). Housed in a stunning modern facility, the CMCA presents rotating exhibitions of work by contemporary Maine artists. Admire thought-provoking art and attend artist talks, workshops, and other engaging events that celebrate the region's creative spirit.


Boats along the coast of the Passagassawakeag River in Belfast, Maine.
Boats along the coast of the Passagassawakeag River in Belfast, Maine.

Located on the tranquil banks of the Passagassawakeag River, Belfast is a great vacation spot. With a population of 6,938, this diverse waterfront town has a rich maritime heritage and a flourishing arts scene. Embark on a leisurely journey along the Belfast Harbor Walk, a scenic pathway with captivating views of the bay and historic shipyards. Taking a stroll allows residents and visitors can appreciate the beauty of downtown Belfast while enjoying city parks, gardens, birdwatching spots, and a close-up view of a bustling working shipyard.

Discover tranquility amidst the natural beauty of Belfast City Park, the oldest park in the city, established in 1904. This popular 17.5-acre park is an excellent area for picnics, leisurely hikes, and soaking up the sea breeze. It has ideal views of Penobscot Bay. On Saturdays, Belfast's United Farmers Market of Maine comes to life, offering a bustling gathering place for locals and visitors to buy freshly produced food, baked products, and handmade crafts. Travelers may enjoy the flavor of Maine's bountiful crop while soaking in the lively environment.


The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine.
The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine. Image credit EQRoy via

Despite its slightly larger population, Bath exudes a small-town charm and a rich maritime heritage that sets it apart as a quintessential summer escape and weekend getaway spot. Known as the "City of Ships," Bath beckons with its vibrant downtown area, historic buildings, art galleries, and picturesque waterfront parks with a population of 8,700. At Waterfront Park, visitors may take in the splendor of Bath's historic district and the picturesque Kennebec River. This large park has facilities, including boat docks, restrooms, and chairs, making it the ideal setting for long walks with your loved ones, including your canine companions.

Step back in time and delve into Maine's seafaring heritage at the Maine Maritime Museum. Situated on the banks of the Kennebec River, this expansive waterfront campus features indoor galleries with rotating and permanent exhibits, including the country's only surviving historic wooden shipyard and a working boat shop. Anyone interested in traveling through Maine's maritime history can do so at the Victorian shipbuilder's house.

Savor a sample of the local cuisine at Bath Brewing Company, a neighborhood-focused brewpub tucked away in downtown Bath on the banks of the Kennebec River. It's the best way to relax in Bath's lively sense of community.


Damariscotta, Maine harbor Mid Coast Maine.
Damariscotta, Maine harbor Mid Coast Maine. Image credit Anthony F Battista via Shutterstock

Tucked away along the tranquil banks of the Damariscotta River, this quaint hamlet invites guests to get away from the hustle and enjoy its timeless beauty. The 2,297-person town of Damariscotta, "Maine's Oyster Capital," boasts a walkable downtown area encircled by charming stores and historic buildings, making it the perfect destination to visit any time of the year. At the Damariscotta River Cruises, visitors can savor the local cuisine and admire the stunning landscape of the river by going on specialty cruises that include wine and oyster tastings or seal-watching trips.

Explore the stunning landscape of Dodge Point, a 500-acre wildlife park next to the Damariscotta River. The park's more than 8,000 feet of oceanfront provide secluded pocket beaches, picturesque landscapes, and a variety of habitats rich in wildlife. Whether visitors wish to hike, have a picnic, or just enjoy the nature of the park, this area offers tourists an enjoyable outdoor experience. For Damariscotta's rich cultural history, there is no better site than the Lincoln Theater. This vintage theater draws crowds of both residents and visitors with its live performances, year-round movie screenings, and special events that suit a variety of ages and interests.

Little towns in Maine have just the right amount of amazing scenery, fascinating historical sites, and fun things to do to make sure visitors, whether they are here for a short or a long period, have an amazing time. These towns have many opportunities for exploration and leisure time, from the wide range of activities on offer to the charming seaside communities that are sometimes missed. These six communities, whether you choose to dine locally, see historic buildings, or do all three at once, encapsulate the essence of Maine's beauty.

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