People walking by Main road in Bar Harbor, Maine

9 Small Towns in Maine to Visit for a Weekend Getaway

Maine, with its rugged coastline, inviting towns, and diverse landscapes, beckons travelers to embrace the magic of the seasons in a way that is distinctly its own. From the coastal elegance of Camden to the historic charm of Bangor and the serene beauty of Casco, each town offers a distinctive escape. Read further to learn about some of Maine’s most captivating destinations, with opportunities for relaxation, outdoor adventures, and a rich assortment of local experiences you will not want to miss.

Bar Harbor

Aerial view of Bar Harbor, Maine.
Aerial view of Bar Harbor, Maine. 

Bar Harbor is renowned as a teaming tourist destination in the summer, but did you know much of the town remains open year-round, with a wealth of winter activities from November to March? Bring along your winter outdoor equipment for a visit to Acadia National Park, or if needed, rental equipment is available. You will find cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, and ice-fishing with Acadia Mountain Guides. Adventurous souls among you can try guided ice-climbing tours.

Not to be missed, downtown Bar Harbor invites a whole new perspective during the cold months. Bundle up for magical winter walks, including the Bar Harbor Shore Path, Agamont Park, and Village Green. Stop in the Side Street Café and warm up with a New England classic clam chowder or the Choco-Latte Café for a cup of hot cocoa.

Accommodations, such as the Hampton Inn Bar Harbor or Maples Inn Bed and Breakfast, operate throughout winter with a variety of amenities. A winter visit to Bar Harbor is budget-friendly, with many establishments proposing exclusive deals and reduced rates, inviting visitors to share in the town’s beauty and activities in a relaxing and cost-effective setting.


Aerial view of Camden, Harbor Maine with fall foliage
Aerial view of Camden, Harbor, Maine with fall foliage

On the coast between Camden Hills and Penobscot Bay, Camden could be a perfect option for a rejuvenating getaway, blending relaxation and outdoor activities. During the Camden Garden Club’s Garden Tour, explore enchanting midcoastal gardens, or time your visit for the thrilling Great Schooner Race, North America’s largest gathering of tall ships.

Camden provides both summer escapes and winter respite. Stay at the Norumbega Inn, known as “The Castle by the Sea,” presenting 11 uniquely appointed rooms with features like fireplaces, libraries, balconies, or panoramic ocean views.

Embrace the brisk, salty air with winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing, or witnessing a thrilling toboggan race. Conclude your day with a satisfying meal at The Waterfront Restaurant, with harbor views, or opt for takeout from Scott’s Place, which has a wide selection, from lobster rolls to hot dogs to onion rings.


Early morning in Belfast, Maine.
Early morning in Belfast, Maine.

Belfast is known as an “arts destination,” with downtown streets lined with year-round art galleries. Treat yourself to the vibrant arts scene during the warmer months with fourth Friday evening art walks, self-guided tours, and free wine tastings at the Belfast Co-op.

Enjoy ice-skating at High Street Ice Rink in winter, with lighting for evening skating. Explore the scenic beauty through a stroll along the Harbor Walk or engage in cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on the rail trail. For family fun, indulge in sledding at the Belfast Commons, while those seeking quiet moments can enjoy a peaceful beach walk. Nature enthusiasts can explore the Belfast In-Town Nature Trail in the calming winter landscape.

Immerse yourself in the local community by shopping and dining at inviting, locally-owned businesses like Delvino’s in downtown Belfast or Dockside Restaurant overlooking Belfast Bay.

Choose from ideal lodging options, including the top-rated Seascape Motel and Cottages and the equally appreciated Belfast Harbor Inn.


Fishing boats docked in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, on coast of Maine south of Portland
Fishing boats docked in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, on the coast of Maine south of Portland.

Ogunquit, meaning “Beautiful Place by the Sea” in the Abenaki language, is a captivating coastal retreat just 36 miles north of Portland, Maine. With less than 2000 inhabitants, this tiny town has ample relaxation opportunities. Consider the Cliff House Maine for lodging, perched on cliffs with panoramic Atlantic Ocean views.

Start your day with breakfast at Bald Head Coffee Company or brunch at the Tiller Restaurant. Alternatively, enjoy room service from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Ogunquit has a lot to offer in any season, but winter brings a particularly enchanting experience. Take a winter walk along the Marginal Way cliffside path, appreciating the waves crashing along the snow-dusted Atlantic coastline. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art, with exhibits featuring American artwork, could be an appealing option on a chilly day.

Meanwhile, the village area calls with its inviting cafes and warm respite from the frosty air. Take a little walk in Perkins Cove, where shops are still open, providing an opportunity for winter shopping amid the town’s quiet appeal.


A crowd of diners decide on their meal at a clam shack in Kennebunkport, Maine. Editorial credit: James Kirkikis /
A crowd of diners decide on their meal at a clam shack in Kennebunkport, Maine. Editorial credit: James Kirkikis /

Kennebunkport, a coastal Maine town 30 minutes south of Portland, is perfect for a weekend escape. Explore Dock Square’s colorful storefronts with specialty shops, including jewelry and old-fashioned candy. History fans will enjoy the Seashore Trolley Museum with a nostalgic journey through transportation heritage.

In winter, indulge in the warmth of Kennebunkport by staying at historic inns like The Captain Lord Mansion or The White Barn Inn, which both provide a cozy hideaway with antique charm and crackling fireplaces. Take a brisk shoreline walk to enjoy calming winter views of the snow-covered beauty.

Indulge in culinary selections at Alisson’s Restaurant, welcoming you with its warm ambiance and diverse menu with live musical entertainment year-round. During the summer, take advantage of The Clam Shack for fresh seafood in an ideal coastal setting.

For a luxurious stay, there is The Colony Hotel, a historical structure built in 1872, with 110 well-appointed rooms with expansive ocean views, live entertainment, and a private beach. Known as one of Maine’s most pet-friendly resorts, The Colony Hotel welcomes furry family members.  


Bangor Opera House at Main Street in downtown Bangor, Maine. Editorial credit: Wangkun Jia /
Bangor Opera House at Main Street in downtown Bangor, Maine. Editorial credit: Wangkun Jia /

A lively weekend escape to Bangor, Maine, could be just what you need. Take your time as you discover downtown landmarks like the historic Bangor Opera House and soak in the vibrant waterfront area, often the venue for concerts and other cultural events.

If history interests you, immerse yourself in history at the Thomas A. Hill House, designed and built in 1836 by famous architect Richard Upjohn, who is best known for the design of New York City’s Trinity Church.

For your utmost relaxation, stay in Downtown Bangor at the recently renovated Phenix, presenting a stylish combination of modern comfort with vintage aesthetics.

In winter, savor seasonal festivities like the Bangor Winter Farmers’ Market and bring your ice skates to get some exercise in at the Sawyer Ice Arena. Do not miss the Bangor City Forest, open year-round with 9 miles of trails for nature walks, hiking, biking in warmer months, and snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in winter.

For dining, explore local favorites like Geaghan’s Pub & Craft Brewery for a taste of local brews and classic pub fare or Timber Kitchen & Bar for a contemporary twist on American cuisine.


Sebago Lake Sunset
Sebago Lake Sunset

If you are looking for a tranquil escape from the daily grind, Casco, Maine, located on the edge of Sebago Lake in the state's southwest region, might be the perfect spot. There is so much wholesome exploration to do; you might want to bring the whole family. If you plan your trip from the beginning of May to the end of October, you could begin your adventure at Hacker’s Hill Preserve. Enjoy the 27 acres with woodsy pine scents and 360-degree views of the White Mountains, Pleasant Mountain, and Sebago Lakes Region. Take in the splendor of fall foliage and winter scenery under snow from the top of the hill, accessible by snowmobile when conditions permit.

For a cozy stay, consider Migis Lodge, a lakeside resort with 35 cottages and eight rooms with a mix of rustic charm and modern amenities. Enjoy Sebago Lake access and various recreational activities, including seasonal options like water skiing or tennis.

Satisfy your culinary cravings with home-cooked choices at restaurants within a 15-minute drive from Migis Lodge. Top picks include Top of the Hill Grille for muffins, hot coffee, homemade corned beef hash, and bread, as well as Kindred Farms Market and Bakery for stomach-pleasing sandwiches and baked goods.


Osprey nesting grounds in Googins Island, Wolfe's Neck State Park, Freeport, Maine.
Osprey nesting grounds in Googins Island, Wolfe's Neck State Park, Freeport, Maine.

Freeport is a coastal town in southern Maine and home to the world-famous L.L.Bean flagship store, which is open 24/7 year-round in case the need for a little retail therapy hits you in the middle of the night. The outlet shopping area, Freeport Village Station, features more than a dozen outlet stores from bands such as Old Navy and Famous Footwear.

Beyond the commercial buzz, Freeport provides a glimpse into its maritime history at the Freeport Historical Society and the Harrington House, a beautifully preserved home of merchant Enoch Harrington, built-in 1830. If you crave a connection with nature, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, situated along the coastline, featuring scenic trails through forests and along rocky shores, presents a perfect retreat for a peaceful walk or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months.

Consider lodging at the Harraseeket Suites and Inn, a 94-room establishment that captures the essence of Freeport’s hospitality with amenities, including an indoor pool and fireplaces in select rooms. This inn is conveniently located near the town’s attractions, namely Freeport Village Station.


A bridge in Bethel, Maine.
A bridge in Bethel, Maine.

Consider a weekend getaway to Bethel, a serene town in the western Maine mountains, a short drive from premier skiing and just 20 minutes from Grafton Notch State Park. The park boasts 3,000 lush acres with 21 trails for invigorating nature hikes.

History enthusiasts will enjoy stepping back in time at the Bethel Historical Society’s museums, housing over a dozen exhibit galleries and period rooms with artifacts dating back to 1821. A leisurely stroll through the Bethel Village Historic District reveals colonial and Victorian homes, some dating as far back as the 1770s.

For those who prefer a chilly weather escape, Bethel transforms into a snowy haven with various cold-weather activities in winter. A short drive away, Sunday River Ski Resort calls, with world-renowned powdery slopes. You will want to explore the Bethel Pathway for snow-covered landscapes and engage in snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

End your adventure-filled days with Italian cuisine at Watershed Wood-Fired Kitchen, or check out Sud’s Pub for a relaxed atmosphere and diverse menu. Consider the historic Bethel Inn Resort, featuring luxurious rooms, suites, and townhomes with all-inclusive packages for a weekend of quality rest.

Each of these towns in Maine offers a distinctive experience, blending natural beauty, historical significance, and distinctive charm. Whether you are drawn to coastal landscapes, cultural attractions, or outdoor adventures, these weekend getaways have something for everyone. So, pack your bags and prepare for the unforgettable escape you deserve.

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