How can one stretch of coastline be home to so many beautiful towns? Here, we celebrate ten of the prettiest coastal towns in Maine. All are especially beautiful in summer, but are well worth a visit any time of the year.
10 Prettiest Coastal Towns in Maine
Courtesy of Cynthia Boyer
Leave Route 1’s hurly-burly behind to discover this historic little town at the mouth of the Penobscot River estuary. No wonder Castine has been drawing artists for 150 years—there’s even a 3-day plein air art festival in July. See more: From water level with Castine Kayak’s daily summer tours.
LEARN MORE: Castine, Maine | A Historic Midcoast Maine Town
The Kennebunk River adds even more waterline charm to the small shops, elegant ship captains’ homes, and fishing ports of this vibrant Southern Maine town of 3,474. We think it’s one of the most well-deserved Maine vacation spots around, especially when you factor in a visit to The Clam Shack. Stay in one of Kennebunkport’s many inns or embrace the outdoors with an upscale “glamping” experience at Sandy Pines Campground. See more: From the river and harbor on Rugosa Lobster Tours.
Some Maine destinations have to be experienced to be believed. Perched on Mount Desert Island at the gateway to Acadia National Park, this historic resort town still resonates with the Victorian splendor of bygone days, not to mention the backdrop of Cadillac Mountain. See more: Lighthouse and National Park Tour via catamaran.
Surrounded by islands and lighthouses, Boothbay Harbor is a Mid Coast magnet for fishing, sailing and cruising. So much so, the town seems half-boats, half-buildings. Don’t miss a visit to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens or a stroll across the Boothbay Footbridge (including the famous Boothbay Harbor Bridge House). It’s the longest wooden footbridge in the country. See more: From the water aboard the Schooner Lazy Jack.
LEARN MORE: Things to Do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine
An all-American small town with shipbuilding roots, Damariscotta sits colorfully on the tidal Damariscotta River and hums with shops, restaurants, a community theatre and the state’s first Reny’s Department Store. See more: From the river, aboard the bright-red River Tripper at Damariscotta River Cruises.
Courtesy of Henry Teverow
One of Maine’s proudest and highest-producing lobstering harbors with more than 300 boats, this Down East town perched on spectacular, granite Deer Isle, shares its beauty with tourists but retains a solid, hometown feel. See more: Take the mail boat to tiny Isle au Haut for a true Down East experience.
The self-dubbed “Jewel of the Coast” is a well-deserved moniker, and this Mid-Coast harbor town of 4,823 on Penobscot Bay is tucked where mountains reach down to the sea. It’s one of our favorite places to visit in Maine in winter, too, thanks to its many wonderful inns and restaurants. See more: From the water, on the Schooner Surprise.
LEARN MORE: Rockport & Camden | Two Miles of Coastal Beauty
A warm and cozy Down East community that retains the splendid historical architecture of its 18th-century shipbuilding roots, Blue Hill’s harbor is a watery gateway to Acadia National Park. See more: From above, hiking Blue Hill Mountain.
The harbor of this tiny coastal town is considered the most picturesque one in Maine… and that is high praise indeed. Further, it’s bounded by a lovely verdant park, complete with a resident seal (in marble). We’re talking about Andre the Seal, of course. See more: From the harbor aboard the Schooner Yacht Heron.
Pure, Down East, and unspoiled. No gift shops, no tourist traps. Here, there’s a daily view of lobster boats in the small harbor, with Canada’s Grand Manan Island in the distance. A nearby colony of puffins and a working lighthouse (where you can spend the night) make this tiny, far-flung town a true beauty. Few coastal Maine towns can deliver such an authentic experience. Unique view: See more: Check out those puffins with Bold Coast Charter Company.
Do you love the Maine coast as much as we do? What are your picks for the prettiest coastal towns in Maine? Towns with the best beaches in Maine? The best lobster rolls in Maine? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.
10 Prettiest Coastal Towns in New England
25 Best Beach Towns in New England
10 Best Seaside Inns in New England