Nicknamed “The Pine Tree” State for its abundance of white pine, Maine is home to some of America’s most beautiful coastlines and a booming seafood industry. While lobster is the first thing that may come to mind when mentioning Maine, the state has much more to offer than just delicious cuisine. From idealistic waterfront towns such as Rockland, to spend the summer to endless winter fun at ski resorts and iced lakes, here is a list of Maine’s nine must-visit small towns.
Camden is a go-to destination for experiencing a tight-knit community feel paired with a historical ambiance that narrates tales of early settlers of New England. The annual Parade of The Tallships, The Camden Jazz Festival, and the National Toboggan Championship are a few of the many events to catch in Camden during a visit. Lobstering and boating tours with Captin Jack’s Lobster Boat Adventure will highlight your visit to Camden while indulging in Pine Tree State’s claim to fame and learning more about the thriving local seafood industry. Harbor Park and Amphitheatre, Camden-Rockport Historical Society, and galleries like Page, Camden Falls, and Carver Hill are staples in the town’s local tourist scene and some of the best places to check out while you’re in the Camden and Rockport area. 
Blue Hill was initially recognized for being a lumber center and shipbuilding hub. However, today, it stands out for being one of the best summer escapes in Maine and remains true to its roots with endless watersport opportunities and fun. The artistic scene in Blue Hill ranks as one of the must-visit towns in Maine, boasting both historic and modern displays such as the Liros Gallery, featuring 19th-century pieces, and the contemporary Cynthia Winings Gallery. Nature enthusiasts and those seeking a challenge can hike Blue Hill Mountain and Osgood Trail for rewarding scenic views overlooking Blue Hill Bay. End the visit in Blue Hill with some fine dining at some of the oldest restaurants in the area, like Arborvine, established in 1823, or settle for a more casual option at Blue Hill Co-op, which has been serving farm-to-table meals since 1974. 
Five miles south of Portland is the cozy coastal town of Cape Elizabeth, one of the best small-town escapes for city dwellers, thanks to its convenient location. Cape Elizabeth is one of the state’s primary agricultural communities because of its more extended growing season than other nearby towns. What sets Cape Elizabeth aside from other nearby communities is the abundance of historic lighthouses, with structures dating back to 1719, like the Portland Head Lighthouse, the oldest and most photographed lighthouse in Maine. Two Lights State Park, the New England Spurwink Church that dates back to the 18th century, and Fort Williams Park are other notable destinations to check out during any visit to Cape Elizabeth. 
Rockland is a popular vacation destination among state locals and an artistic coastal resort town, from the eclectic shopping experiences on the town’s main street to unique community events like the Maine Lobster Festival. These events pay homage to the state’s leading export and claim to fame and other events like the Festival of Lights and the North Atlantic Blues Festival. Explore the New England Breakwater lighthouse that dates back to 1827, and find historical American art at the Farnsworth Art Museum, which features pieces from famous artists like Eastman Johnson, Fitz Henry Lane, Frank Benson, and more, along with other contemporary works. A Rockland visit is incomplete without trying the prided seafood cuisine at famous restaurants like Primo, archer’s On The Pier, and Hills Seafood Co. 
Stonington is one of Maine’s underrated destinations and stands out for its gorgeous oceanic setting. Located on the southern part of Deer Isle, Stonington has a toned-down atmosphere and quaint, wooden New England homes that add to the small-town appeal. Stonington ranks on this list as a secluded escape that competes with touristy towns like Bar Harbor in its offerings of aqua-centric ambiance. Stonington stands out as a fishing town and is known to have one of the busiest fishing ports in the state, with a fleet of over 250 boats at its harbor. Escape to the fishing village at Boyce’s Motel, built in the 1960s, or opt for a homely feel with historic stays like The Inn at Ferry Landing, which has a history that traces back to the 1940s. Stonington’s unique location starts the perfect travel itinerary throughout Maine, as visitors can venture out to the nearby Deer Isle, North Haven, and even more secluded Isle Au Haut. 
A beach town that attracts visitors from all over Canada, Old Orchard Beach is part of the Portland-south Portland Metropolitan area and is famed for its 7-mile-long beach and 500-meter boardwalk. The Palace Playland amusement park on the coast makes for a memorable family escape, while waterfront restaurants like Hooligans Steak and Ale and Surf 6 Oceanfront Restaurant make up the ideal place to catch a charming cotton candy sunset. Additionally, Ferry Beach State Park, sitting only 3 miles away from the beach town’s center, is a go-to destination to appreciate wildlife in the area. 
A small community on the Kennebunk River, Kennebunkport is home to one of the oldest European settlements in the area, with roots dating back to 1629. Acclaimed by photographers and artists for its rocky shores of Cape Arundel, this must-visit town in Maine boasts picture-perfect nature and a booming art scene with architecture from the bygone era, such as the St. Anne Church. Explore Kennebunkport through the work of creative locals at displays and art galleries like the Northlight Gallery and Chris Becker Photo Gallery, allowing local insights into history, sceneries, and creative talents. The King’s Port Inn, located in the heart of Kennebunkport, and the far-out Rhumb Resort top the lists of cozy rentals in the area for a relaxing overnight stay. Cruise along the scenic waterfront Ocean Ave that stretches from a downtown Mainstreet to vast residential regions in tiny wooden homes and mansions. The Walker’s Point Estate, or “Bush compound, is one of the notable mansions in the area that served as a summer house for ex-president George W. Bush. 
Castine is a must-visit for its colonial rule history and the influence of British, Dutch, and French settlers, with a history that can be traced back to 1613. Castine is considered one of the oldest communities in America. Named after French military officer Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie de Saint-Castin, it was one of Maine’s towns inhabited by Native American tribes long before settling conflicts between European explorers. Castine is a lovely visit, decorated in creative New England architecture that complements the open land landscape of the town’s suburbs. To learn more about early American settlements, stop by Wilson Museum, which keeps tradition and culture alive in the area with special events and activities like blacksmith shops, wood shops, and boat exhibits. The New England Dyce Lighthouse is an exceptional backdrop surrounded by pine trees and old-fashioned white wooden homes. It is one of the calmest and smallest towns by land size, measuring only 20 sq mi.
Finally, one of the most popular New England and best summer resort towns, Bar Habor, wraps up the list of must-see small towns in Maine. Bar Harbor enjoys an upscale, classy atmosphere with wealthy residents, endless fine-dining options, and abundant nature in its Acadia National Park. It is renowned for having some of the best foliage sceneries along the shore of the Somes Sound and is rich with waterbodies like Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond. Cruise your way to the summit of Cadillac Mountain via the 27-mile loop road and browse the town’s artistic galleries in the historic downtown area. Tailoring to the tourist demographic, Bar Harbor makes the perfect family-fun escape, romantic getaway, or overnight trip; visitors can find everything from local guided historic tours on The Old Trolly Bus to the Bar Harbor music festivals that have been celebrated for over 50 years, there is no shortage of things to do in Bar Harbor. 
The nine must-visit small towns in Maine blend history, scenic northern vistas, and a range of community events that celebrate the individuality of each city. Find your preferred escape, or plan a town-hopping itinerary to see more of Maine’s rocky green coastline and endless lighthouses. Regardless of how you plan a trip to Maine, it will surely be one to remember. 
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