What are some of the best things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine?
After all, when you think about the town of Boothbay Harbor, what normally comes to mind?
Well first off, Boothbay Harbor is a town located in Lincoln County in the state of Maine. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was estimated to be just a little over 2,000 people.
But besides that, the town is also located right by the waters, which means that visitors who come will be able to enjoy a plethora of water type activities.
In fact, Boothbay Harbor is recognized for having some of the best sea kayaking in the entire state of Maine. Here you can find water ranging from open seas to more calm and protected rivers and inlets. All of which provides plenty of opportunities for kayakers of all ages and skill levels.
But that’s not all that Boothbay Harbor is known for.
The town is also a perfect destination for people to come and relax as there are plenty of amazing things for them to see and do. For instance, here you can find things like amazing local shops and boutiques, delicious fine dining, museums, galleries, and even world-class boat excursions.
Whatever the case may be, you can rest assured that there is definitely something that will be of interest to you.
Which is why if you are wondering what exactly you are able to do here in the town of Boothbay, Harbor, I got you covered.
In this post we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
- Things To Do In Boothbay Harbor, Maine
- Visit The Maine State Aquarium
- Visit The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
- Visit The Boothbay Railway Village
- Go On A Boat Tour Around The Waters
- Visit The Burnt Island Lighthouse
- Attend The Carousel Music Theater
- Eat At The Boathouse Bistro Tapas Bar and Restaurant
- Visit Cabbage Island For A Clambake
- Visit The Boothbay Region Land Trust
- Visit The Pythian Opera House
- Visit The Damariscove Island
- Visit The Monhegan Island
- Go Sailing Or Kayaking Around The Waters
- Attend The Gardens Aglow Festival
- Get Some Gifts Or Presents At Abacus Gallery
Things To Do In Boothbay Harbor, Maine
In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Visit The Maine State Aquarium
If you love learning about different types of marine life as well as seeing them up close and personal, then one place you have to visit is a place called the “Maine State Aquarium“.
Maine State Aquarium is located on the shores of West Boothbay Harbor and is actually operated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources.
It is here where you can see a collection of different regional fish and invertebrates all on display for you to enjoy.
For instance, some of the awesome marine life you can see here in this place includes red sea anemones, sun stars, northern shrimp, squid, and even ugly bottom-dwelling fish. There is even a lobster’s den where you can see lobsters of all different sizes and colors. With one special lobster called “Neptune”, who is a jumbo male lobster and loves to show off his enormous claws.
Aside from that, this aquarium also exhibits many different kinds of sport-fish species that will definitely be of interest for any fans of fishing. Not to mention you can even see a few sharks and skates circling around in the tank nearby.
But the best thing about this entire place has to be their special attraction which is a 20 foot long touch tank that houses many different types of invertebrates. It is here where you’ll be able to put your hands in the water and touch all the amazing marine life floating around. From sea stars with spiny skin or sea urchins, maybe even get squirted by a sea cucumber, it’s definitely an experience you will love.
Visit The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Do love seeing different types of plants and gardens? How about seeing nature at its finest?
If that sounds like you, then you need to head on down to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden is considered to be one of Maine’s top attractions as it is the perfect place where people of all ages can come and explore meaningful connections to plants and nature at their own pace.
This garden is the largest botanical garden in New England and spans a whopping 295 acres. 17 of which are gardens that feature native plants and species from Maine and other plants that are suited to northern coastal conditions. In fact, people from all over the country and world love to visit this garden as it sees on average about 200,000 guests come visit each and every year.
And depending on when you decide to come, you’ll see various different types of flowers that are in bloom. For instance, during the month of April you’ll tend to see Early spring bulbs and Spring ephemerals, while in the month of August you’ll tend to see Nepeta, Dahlia, Miscanthus and more.
Plus the garden isn’t just a garden but also a place where people can learn about many things. You’ll find that they are home to a variety of different programs and events all through the year. From offering summer camps for the kids or even offering certificate courses for the adults, there is simply a lot for you to learn here at these gardens.
So if you love learning about plants and flowers in really fine detail, then coming to this garden is one of the best things you can do.
Visit The Boothbay Railway Village
If you’re traveling around with kids, then one of the best things to do in Boothbay Harbor is to simply go visit the family-friendly Boothbay Railway Village.
Boothbay Railway Village is actually a historic organization and museum that will take you back through time as you visit the mid-19th century shortly after Maine became a state.
It is here where you will find a variety of different old-fashioned buildings for you to see and explore. For instance, you can see buildings like the Boothbay Town Hall, which is the earliest structure on the Museum grounds. Or even the Dingle’s Store, which is a turn of the century general store with an exhibit displaying a variety of items that would have been for sale back in the day.
Not only that, but there is also a huge collection of over 60 different antique automobiles as well. But the most popular thing here has to be their narrow-gauge steam train where people of all ages can come and ride around through a historic replica village.
Aside from that, the museum is also home to a wide range of events happening all through the year. From things like “Cars and Coffee” or “Fathers Day Train” to even “Books In Boothbay”, you can find it all happening at this place.
So if you ever want to get a chance to see exactly what rural Maine was like back in the early 19th century and also be able to ride on some cool trains, then visiting the Boothbay Railway Village is one of the best things you can do.
Go On A Boat Tour Around The Waters
As you know, the town of Boothbay Harbor is located right next to the open waters. Which means one of the best things to do in Boothbay Harbor is to simply go touring around on a boat.
You can find various different companies offering this service as each company will offer something different.
One of the most popular companies that people tend to pick is one called “Cap’n Fish’s Cruises. This company is a little bit different from all the other boat touring companies in that it does a lot of things that the others don’t.
For instance, many of the boat touring companies in Boothbay Harbor will offer things like dolphin watching or even whale watching. However “Cap’n Fish’s Cruises” offers those plus things like lobster hauling tours and puffin watching tours. Plus you’ll also get to see many awesome lighthouses and amazing landmarks along the coastline as well.
It certainly makes for a fun and exciting adventure as you’ll never know what you may run into on the open waters.
Just know that if you are planning on going for one of these tours, try to book in advance as sometimes they may get full. So prepare early and get ready for the time of your life.
Visit The Burnt Island Lighthouse
One of the best things to do in Boothbay Harbor is to simply visit a relic from the past.
Burnt Island Lighthouse is a place that was built way back in 1821 and is the second oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine that still remains standing to this day. It is located on a 5-acre island that offers many interesting this for you to see and do.
In fact, this place is so famous that it was even added to the National Register of Historic Places as Burnt Island Light Station back in 1977.
Visitors who come will be able to explore the lighthouse during a tour as well as learn about how the lighthouse keeper and his family has lived.
Not only that, but you can also find a living history museum on site that is run by the Department of Marine Resources. It is here where you can take a natural history walk along the perimeter trail and learn from the interpreters about the many abundance of flora, fauna and geological features of this island.
If you are ever visiting the town of Boothbay Harbor and have some time to spare, I highly suggest you visit the Burnt Island Lighthouse. It’s a place where you can get a sense of history and culture as well as learn a lot about the surrounding areas.
Attend The Carousel Music Theater
One of the best places for catching some performances and shows is at a place called “The Carousel Music Theater“.
This family-friendly attraction is open to the public and allows you to experience the many performances and shows that’ll be put on to entertain you.
Depending on when you come, you’ll be able to see many talented singers and actors take the stage performing their very best trying to give you all a really good time. Plus the best part about this is that you’ll also get to eat a three-course meal during the entire performance which is simply amazing!
And all throughout the year this place will play host to a wide variety of special events happening at different times. For instance, back in 2019, they had an event called the “The Maine Comedy All Stars” which brings to town all the laughs and funny jokes you can ever imagine.
The shows and performances last about 2 to 3 hours in length and is the perfect thing to do if you are wanting to kill some time. You’ll be able to be entertained for hours on end all while eating some really delicious foods. I can’t think of anything better that can beat that experience.
Eat At The Boathouse Bistro Tapas Bar and Restaurant
If you’re looking for one of the best places to eat in Boothbay Harbor, then there is no place better than the Boathouse Bistro Tapas Bar and Restaurant.
The Boathouse Bistro Tapas Bar and Restaurant is a restaurant specializing in Tapas style dining that is also very affordable for the wallet.
Visitors who come can try out a range of different foods from the menu. From things like Damariscotta Oysters, Shrimp & Grits, Fried Oysters, Lobster Corn Chowder, Baked Brie, Maine Lobster Flatbread and more are just some of the choices you might see when visiting this restaurant.
Plus if you’re sitting at the rooftop deck, you’ll also be pleased to know that you’ll be able to see some of the best views of the harbor just from your seat.
Here they use locally sourced ingredients and provide it in an unhurried manner that is both pleasant and welcoming.
It’s no wonder this place is highly regarded as being one of the best dining experiences that Boothbay Harbor has to offer.
Visit Cabbage Island For A Clambake
One of the best things to do in Boothbay Harbor where you can some amazing sunshine, delicious seafood, and memorable experiences, is to simply head down to Cabbage Island.
Cabbage Island is an island that is only a short drive and a ferry ride away from the town of Boothbay Harbor, and offers visitors a wide range of things to see and do.
In fact, you’ll be happy to hear that there is an ongoing tradition here on this island called a “Clambake”. It all started out back in the early 1900’s when the island was first purchased, and the owners hosted a twice-daily clambake on the island. This tradition has continued since all the way to now and is one of the most popular things for locals and tourists to see and do.
Every year between June and September, visitors can find that there are 2 clambake events hosted each day of the week. It is here where you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best tasting seafood you can ever imagine. From fresh Maine lobsters or even clams made in the “Downeast” way, you will definitely be a happy camper once you try these foods.
Not only that however, but visitors who come to this island can also experience a very beautiful scenic tour of Boothbay Harbor aboard the Bennie Alice Ferry that brings you to this island. You’ll also be able to explore and roam around Cabbage Island in all its glory. In fact, the panoramic views have attracted all kinds of nature lovers for generations.
There is even certain activities here which you and the family can do, which includes things like horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, and hiking.
Overall coming to this island is an experience like none other you have ever imagined. It’s a fun and exciting event where you can soak in the nice sun, eat some delicious foods, and also enjoy some of the most beautiful scenic views the area has to offer. Definitely one of the best places to visit here in Boothbay Harbor.
Visit The Boothbay Region Land Trust
If you’re trying to get away from all the city life and just want to surround yourself with nature in general, then one place you definitely need to visit is the Boothbay Region Land Trust.
The Boothbay Region Land Trust is one of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors. In fact, the Boothbay Region Land Trust works tirelessly to preserve the area’s natural habitat and scenic beauty.
It is here where you can find a variety of different things for you to see and do. For instance, visitors who come here can find over 26 nature preserves across the peninsula and over 35 miles of beautiful scenic trails for you to hike on.
You’ll be able to go through many different types of terrain like woodlands, wetlands, salt marshes, islands, and more. While roaming around, you can even find things like a seabird and wading bird habitat, feeding areas for migratory birds and butterflies, historical and archaeological sites, and working waterfront.
It’s literally a haven for all things fun and nature.
But best of all is that entrance to this amazing place is completely free, which means you won’t have to break open the wallet and can use that money for other things. However this place is a non-profit which means donations are accepted and helpful to keep the area in tip top shape.
Overall if you just want to see nature in all its glory while also being able to surround yourself with some peace and quiet, then the Boothbay Region Land Trust is an area that should surely be of interest to you.
Visit The Pythian Opera House
Another place where you can go visit to see some really amazing performances and shows, is at a really historic place called “Pythian Opera House”.
Pythian Opera House which was created back in 1894, is the premiere place where you can see over 100 different events and performances each and ever year. No matter when you decide to come, there is almost always something happening here at the house which will entertain you for hours on end.
For instance, some days you can probably catch a Grammy award winning musician performing here, other days you might even catch a visit from a famous Broadway actor. The possibilities are endless.
But that’s not all.
In fact, on the main floor and second floor of this house, you can find a bar which allows you to indulge in all the alcohol you can ever want. For a fee of course.
Plus when the House isn’t performing any shows or performances, it is usually being a host to various different private meetings and parties all around.
In the end, it’s a fantastic place to visit if you are wanting to see how the locals live their daily lives or just to catch some really amazing shows and performances.
Visit The Damariscove Island
Located just 5 nautical miles off the coast of the mouth of the Damariscotta River, you can find a long and narrow island called Damariscove Island.
Damariscove Island is a place that is uninhabited but is filled with lots of things for you to see and do. It is about 210 acres wide and provides a beautiful setting for visitors to go on day hikes or even having a picnic all around.
Along the trails that loop around the island, you’ll be able to find various stone foundations of early farms, and an unusual ecosystem of coastal tundra with moss, lichens and alpine plants.
Visitors who are hiking around will be able to encounter tidal pools along the rocky shore, a six-acre freshwater pond, a cobble beach, an upland meadow, and a salt marsh.
Not only that, but there is even a small museum located at the head of the harbor that helps provide information to visitors about the various types of flora, fauna, and rich history of the island.
Overall it is a fantastic place to visit where you can find great hiking trails and beautiful scenic views all around the island. It’s an experience you definitely have to try out for yourself in order to fully understand how great it truly is.
Visit The Monhegan Island
If you have some extra time to spare, why not entertain yourself with a day trip to the Monhegan Island.
Monhegan Island which is located only a few miles away from Boothbay Harbor, is an island filled with all sorts of interesting things for you to see and do.
For instance, one of the most popular things you can do here is to simply go exploring around all that the island has to offer for you. From things like walking along Lobster Cove where you can see some really beautiful birds flying about, or even roaming around and going up to the Headlands which are the highest ocean cliffs on the Maine coastline. There is simply so much for you to explore.
Plus aside from all the scenic areas and nature, you’ll also be pleased to know that there is a village here which has plenty of things for you to see. In fact, there is a Museum of Art and History located here where you can learn all about the island’s colorful history as well as the birds and plants that live on this island.
And because it is an island surrounded by ocean water at all sides, you can expect to find all kinds of water based activities for you to see and do. From fishing or swimming or even lobster catching, you can do it all here at this island.
You will have to take a ferry to reach this island, but it is totally worth it!
Monhegan Island is one of the more interesting places you can visit around Boothbay Harbor, and it will certainly bring a lot of fun and joy to your life.
Go Sailing Or Kayaking Around The Waters
Let’s be honest.
The town of Boothbay Harbor is surrounded by ocean water, which means that one of the best things you can do here is to simply have fun in the waters.
And what better way to have fun than by going sailing or kayaking around for hours on end. After all, the area is especially known for having some of the best waters around for people to sail or kayak with.
You can find that there are many companies out here which are willing to provide you a rental sailboat or kayak for you to use at your leisure. Plus, a lot of the rental shops nearby will also offer guided tours of the entire area, which allows for kayakers to explore the nearby islands or just paddle around the harbor at their own pace.
One of the most popular companies to use for rentals is one called “Tidal Transit“, and it allows you to rent out a kayak or paddleboard by the hour, half day or full day, or even multiple days.
By sailing or kayaking around the area, you’ll be able to explore Boothbay Harbor in all its glory and take in all the scenic sights that are available for you.
It’s one of the best things you can do here in Boothbay Harbor, and it will be an experience you will never forget.
Attend The Gardens Aglow Festival
If you’re ever visiting the town of Boothbay Harbor around the times of November through December, then one event you have to visit is one called the “Gardens Aglow“.
Gardens Aglow takes place inside the Botanical Gardens and is an attraction that uses over 650,000 Christmas Lights to help transform the gardens into a Christmas Light Wonderland. In fact, because the botanical gardens are the largest garden in the state of Maine, it means that this Light festival is also the largest in the state of Maine as well.
Here you’ll be able to see many different types of structures being put up as well as plants all being decorated with Christmas Lights for your pleasure. It’s literally one of the most beautiful things you can see as everything is all lit up and shining in multiple different colors.
You will need to buy a ticket for this attraction, but it is totally worth it for the experience alone.
So if you are ever finding yourself visiting this the months of November or December, then this is one event where you definitely have to go see.
Get Some Gifts Or Presents At Abacus Gallery
If you are looking for a gift or a present to buy and bring back home, then there is no place better than visiting Abacus Gallery.
Abacus Gallery which has multiple locations all around Maine, also has a shop here in Boothbay Harbor. In fact, the shop here in Boothbay Harbor is actually the first as it was opened up back in 1971. It has since then brought in many locals and tourists alike who are wanting to buy some really beautiful items.
But what makes this place so special is that you are able to find all sorts of different items here that are on display for you to buy. Because of the variety, it makes for being the perfect place to find a gift or present to give to somebody you know.
For instance, you can find things like boxed cards and prints with a variety of different graphics on them. Or you can buy some jewelry which includes pieces made by artists like “Ian Gibson”, “Ed Levin”, “Philippa Roberts”, “Todd Pownell” and more all ready for you to see and buy. Plus there are even items for the home, with things like spiritiles, wood art, cribbage boards, jewelry boxes, clocks, lamps and more.
No matter what it is you are looking for, there is certainly something for everybody here at the Abacus Gallery.
Overall, the town of Boothbay Harbor, Maine is an amazing place to visit if you ever have the time. You’ll find that the city has a lot of different things for you to see and do.
So hopefully this post about the “15 Best Things To Do In Boothbay Harbor, Maine” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the town of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, you will know exactly what things you are able to do for some fun.
Also if you are interested in reading some of my other posts about traveling, you can do so by clicking these links:
- Essential steps for planning a trip
- How to find cheap flights
- There is no such thing as a perfect time to travel
Or you can check out all my blog posts by click this link.
Hope you have a safe and fun trip~