I fell in love with the Boothbay region of Maine after my first visit here several years ago. Towering spruce trees jut out of the rocky coastline like arrows being shot out of the ground. Not only are the views magnificent, but there are so many fun activities in this area.
Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor are technically two separate towns, but for all intensive purposes, I will include all of our favorite things to do in Boothbay Harbor as well as Boothbay proper.
The best things to do in Boothbay Harbor:
1. Shop on the Main street
The waterfront area of Boothbay Harbor is a great place for a stroll. Shops and restaurants line Commercial Street. My favorite place for a cup of coffee is Red Cup Coffeehouse. The kids love the toy section of Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop. Finn loves Two Salty Dogs Pet Outfitters. The Abacus Gallery has unique art that I wish I could afford.
2. Get a cone at Downeast Ice Cream Factory
Downeast Ice Cream Factory is my favorite scoop shop in town. It has been serving up super premium ice cream for 43 years. I love their black raspberry with chocolate sprinkles.
3. Maine State Aquarium
Operated by the Maine Dept of Marine Resources, the Maine State Aquarium fosters an appreciation of local species and conservation. While this a small aquarium, it is still very worth a visit. The kids loved the touch tank and we learned a lot.
The aquarium is currently closed for renovations, but will reopen in 2023.
4. Day trip to Monhegan Island
One of my favorite adventures while visiting Maine is taking the ferry out to Monhegan Island. While Monhegan Island is only about ten miles off the coast, if feels like you are a world away. It is wild, rocky and rugged.
We left from Boothbay Harbor on a Balmy Days II cruise. Our ferry left at 9:30 AM and arrived back at 4:15 PM. While that seems like a lot of time, the boat ride was 1.5 hours each way which only gave us about 3-3/4 hours on the Island.
5. Take a Puffin Tour
See firsthand the National Audubon Society’s success in re-establishing a puffin colony on Eastern Egg Rock on a Cap’n Fish’s Cruise.
The cruise is narrated by the National Audubon’s Project Puffin so you get the history of puffins and the Eastern Egg Rock restoration directly from people involved with the project.
This 2.5 hour cruise will also take you past three lighthouses on the way!
6. Burnt Island Lighthouse
The Burnt Island Lighthouse was build in 1821 making it the second oldest surviving lighthouse in Maine. Approximately one mile from Boothbay Harbor, Burnt Island can only be accessed by boat or kayak. Kyaks can be rented from Tidal Transit.
Balmy Day Cruises offers a “living history” tour of the lighthouse. After a scenic 15 minute boat ride, you will have 2.5 hours to explore the island. While on the island, visitors can climb the spiral stairs up into the lantern-room, tour the buildings, and visit the covered-walkway museum.
7. Cabbage Island Clambake
Sail the Bennie Alice from Pier 6 in Boothbay Harbor to Cabbage Island, a quintessential Maine experience. The Moore family hosts guests 7 days a week from mid-June through Labor Day. There you will enjoy a traditional Downeast clambake cooked on the water’s edge. This is the number 1 rated attraction on TripAdvisor.
8. Carousel Music Theater
The Carousel Music Theater is a summer dinner theater that celebrates the great singers and songs of the 20th century. Enjoy a three course meal, while the cast, who is also the wait-staff, sing a cabaret.
9. Harbor Theater
If big screen entertainment is more your speed, check out the Harbor Theater. This non-profit movie house is open year-round, showing first-run films, art and indie films, documentaries, classics, plus special Q & A events.
The best things to do in Boothbay
1. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is such a gem. I wish I lived locally so I could get a membership and come every week. It has the most amazing children’s garden you will ever see.
Throughout the children’s garden, you will see sculptures and activities that are inspired by famous children’s books that were written by local authors.
Don’t miss the giant trolls hidden in the woods. The kids had so much fun finding all six of these whimsical trolls which are made of recycled wood.
2. Boothbay Craft Brewery
The best way to end a day at the gardens! Sit beneath the shade of a huge flowering chestnut tree sipping a craft beer while eating a farm to table meal.
The Boothbay Craft Brewery is family friendly and dog friendly. There are outdoor games to play and be sure to sneak inside and look for the hidden door.
3. Boothbay Railway Village
Step back in time and see how life in Maine used to be. Walk through the village made up of historic structures as well as a vintage automobile museum.
Kids will get a kick out of riding in an antique coach behind a 100 year old locomotive. Train rides depart on the hour from 11-4 PM Tuesday- Sunday.
4. Boothbay Farmer’s Market
Located right on the town common, The Boothbay Farmer’s Market sets up every Thursday from 9 AM until noon. My daughter is the pickiest eater and even she loved walking around the booths taste testing all of the different foods. We walked away with so many goodies for a picnic and even some local art. There was live music playing as well. The Farmer’s Market runs from May 19- October 6.
5. Porters Island Preserve
This one mile loop trail is a fun and easy way to see some of Maine’s beautiful coastline. This is my favorite walk to do and it is dog-friendly. There are two geocaches here which is the best way to get my kids hiking.
6. The Oven’s Mouth Preserve
Ovens Mouth Preserve is comprised of two distinct peninsulas connected by a pedestrian bridge. There is a large network of trails going through this area and the difficulty is considered moderate due to the roots and rocks that create tripping hazards.
7. Dolphin Mini Golf
Play a round of mini golf, have ice cream and hit up the arcade. Have some good old fashion fun at Dolphin Mini Golf.
These are so many things to do in Boothbay Harbor. Let me know in the comments what your favorite activity is!
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