Looking to visit some of the most quaint small towns in Maine? Today we’ve rounded up our can’t-miss Maine towns for the quintessential New England experience!
Maine, with its rugged coastline, picturesque lighthouses, and breathtaking natural beauty, has long been a beloved destination for travelers seeking an escape from bustling city life.
While the state is famous for its larger cities like Portland and Bangor, it is in the smaller towns that you’ll find a unique charm and a genuine sense of community. In this blog post, we will take you on a journey to discover some of the most quaint small towns in Maine, where time seems to stand still and a warm welcome awaits.
Here’s a quick guide to visiting these small towns in Maine during each season:
Best small towns in Maine during spring: Bar Harbor, Camden, Greenville
Best small towns in Maine during summer: Boothbay Harbor, Old Orchard Beach, York
Best small towns in Maine during fall: Kennebunkport, Camden, Bar Harbor
Best small towns in Maine during winter: Camden, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach
Read on to learn more about these Maine towns and what makes them so special!
14. Boothbay Harbor
Boothbay Harbor is a quintessential coastal small town in Maine with a bustling waterfront, charming shops, and a vibrant maritime culture. Visitors can enjoy scenic boat tours, explore picturesque lighthouses, and indulge in fresh seafood.
It is one of the most beautiful seaside towns you can imagine, and it is in the south of Maine, on the coast of Lincoln County, and has just over 2,000 people.
In addition, it is well-known for its maritime heritage and as a port for lobster boats, commercial ships, and several luxury yachts.
There are a lot of day trips to choose from out of Boothbay Harbor, like scenic cruises, whale-watching trips, deep-sea fishing, and even the chance to watch a working lobster boat in action. You can even rent boats and yachts, and the conditions are great for sea kayaking.
On the other hand, the Boothbay Railway Village and Maine State Aquarium are both excellent options for people traveling with kids. The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden also has a children’s garden and a magical fairy village with tiny houses, perfect if you are with kids. Plus, this fantastic 270-acre area of carefully cared-for plants is also home to native and exotic plants. It has themed gardens showing off a collection of artworks.
The town is also home to many art galleries, the Carousel Music Theater, an Opera House, and several cultural events that happen all summer long. It means that there are a variety of excellent restaurants and a wide range of unique shops.
This picturesque fishing village on the mid-coast of Maine has a distinctive atmosphere that captures the essence of a quintessential New England town.
Greenville is a cute town in Piscataquis County, the gateway to the well-known wilderness in the state’s far north. It is also on the southern side of Moosehead Lake, one of Maine’s most famous lakes.
This town has a lot of the practical charm that Maine boasts. Whether you want to play on the lake or look around the area, you’ll find many fun things to do.
The attraction of this town on a lake is, of course, water-based. You can go boating or fishing on the peaceful waters of Moosehead Lake. But there’s also hiking, wildlife excursions, museums, and cute shops and restaurants to check out.
Want to go shopping? Northern Maine Minerals is a popular place to buy rocks, gems, jewelry, and fossils. You could also go to Mud Puddle Mercantile, a unique gift shop that sells clothes, accessories, memorabilia, and more.
Visit the Moosehead Maritime Museum to learn more about the area’s long history. Here, you can see a wide range of nautical relics from the long past of Moosehead Lake. The museum is also home to the iconic Steamboat Katahdin. You can cruise on the lake every day from late June to mid-October.
Greenville, Maine, offers a unique vibe that revolves around its stunning natural surroundings and its reputation as the gateway to the wilderness. If you want to experience Maine small towns that feel ultra-natural then Greenville is your spot!
Nestled on the coast, Camden is famous for its picturesque harbor and stunning views of Penobscot Bay. The town boasts tree-lined streets, white steepled churches, and a vibrant downtown area filled with boutique shops and excellent dining options.
Camden is one of the most well-known small towns in Maine for a reason! It’s just one of the cutest towns I’ve ever seen.
The Penobscot Nation used to live here, and they called it Megunticook. In 1791, the town’s name changed to honor Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, a member of the British Parliament.
Camden has a gorgeous beach, but Camden Hills State Park is its most well-known natural attraction. More than 30 miles of hiking trails are in the park, and one of the best is the trail to Maiden’s Cliff, which gives you a great view of Megunticook Lake below.
You can also drive to the summit of Mount Battie to get a great view without having to hike. From the top, you can see Penobscot Bay and the mountains around it.
In addition, the park has a campground that is good for families, places to have picnics, and a wonderful freshwater seaside at Barrett’s Cove on Megunticook Lake.
On the other hand, Camden’s up-scale downtown area is bursting with restaurants, museums, and shops, making it a great place to invest in afternoon discovery and shopping. During the summer, there are a lot of cultural events and performances, so there’s always something fun to do.
Lastly, you can take day trips to outlying islands and see the quaint elegance of the town from out in the bay, along with the beauty of the coast and its many islands.
Camden truly has the quintessential New England vibe, which is why it’s one of the most famous Maine towns!
Kingfield is in the western mountains of Maine, about a half hour north of Farmington. It is home to cultural and natural attractions and is especially gorgeous in the fall!
While it may not be as well-known as some of the more touristy destinations, Kingfield captures the essence of a classic New England town in its own way.
Kingfield features a charming downtown area with historic buildings that reflect New England’s architectural heritage. The town’s Main Street is lined with well-preserved 19th-century buildings, creating a nostalgic atmosphere.
Nestled in the foothills of the western Maine mountains, Kingfield offers breathtaking natural beauty. The town is surrounded by rolling hills, picturesque landscapes, and nearby mountain ranges. The vibrant fall foliage adds to the scenic charm of the area.
Kingfield is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s located near Sugarloaf Mountain, one of the premier ski resorts in the region. In addition to skiing and snowboarding in winter, the area offers hiking, biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities during the warmer months, allowing visitors to experience the natural wonders of New England.
You will also want to stop at the Ski Museum of Maine in Kingfield to learn more about the sport. The museum is devoted to preserving the past of Maine’s efforts at the sport of skiing by displaying several early ski equipment, souvenirs, ski areas of the past and present, and more.
In addition, Kingsfield is home to The Stanley Museum, which tells the story of the people who made the “Stanley Steamer,” the first car that ran on steam. You can also see some of the Stanley family’s history and artifacts, like airbrush canvases, pictures, violins, and even more Stanley steam cars.
But truly, we love Kingfield because it’s just so cute. This is one of our favorite Maine towns to visit for that welcoming New England vibe!
Allagash is renowned for its pristine wilderness, beautiful landscapes, and outdoor adventure opportunities. While it may not fit the traditional image of a quintessential New England town, it holds its own unique charm.
Typically, Allagash is one of the small towns in Maine visited because of its rugged history.
In the early 1800s, Acadian pioneers living by logging moved to this small town. Their successors still reside in the city today. Community events, buildings, and even the community museum all clearly show the heritage.
This town is your spot if you want to find peace. There are all kinds of artists in the area, including quilters, painters, sculptors, musicians, and other creative people. Their work is on display all over town; you can see it for free.
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a great place to camp in a canoe. Rangers keep remote campsites in good shape, and waterway staff patrols the area often, making visitors feel safe. However, the river is 92 miles long, and most canoe trips on the Allagash only see other people at the main access points. So, if you’re going on a long paddling trip, you should be ready and packed!
Alternatively, you can hike up Allagash Mountain. The trailhead is way out in the middle of nowhere, but it has stunning views of all the lakes and ponds nearby. You also have to be able to reach the Ranger’s Cabin at the southern end of Allagash Lake to get there. It is worth it, though, because the hike is short and gives you a great outlook of Allagash Lake and the other lakes and ponds nearby.
The journey to Allagash is part of the experience. Traveling along scenic roads like the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Scenic Byway offers breathtaking views of forests, rivers, and mountains. The picturesque drives showcase the rugged beauty of northern Maine.
If you’re looking for untouched wilderness then Allagash is one of the Maine towns you’ll love.
Do you love lobster? Then you can’t miss going to Rockland, Maine, or the “Lobster Capital of the World.”
The seafront town of Rockland is about halfway up Maine’s shore, about 80 miles to the north of Portland, and two hours drive from Boston. Rockland, Maine, is a vibrant coastal town that embodies many quintessential New England qualities.
Rockland is now famous for tourism and is among Maine’s most desirable destinations. This Maine town is known for its scenic harbor, which is lined with fishing boats, sailboats, and lobster traps. The harbor provides a picturesque backdrop for the town and showcases its strong connection to the sea.
Every summer, people come from all over the world to the 4-day Maine Lobster Festival to see live music, play games, and, of course, eat lobster.
There are many places to stay in Rockland, but the Samoset Resort in Rockport is just a few miles up the road. It’s a beautiful seaside resort that’s the ideal place to stay near cute Rockland.
7. Old Orchard Beach
Old Orchard Beach, also known as “OOB,” is a beach town in Maine that is so cute you simply must visit. It looks and feels like a classic New England beach!
Here, you’ll find seven miles of lovely beach where you can splash around in the cool ocean water or relax in the sun on the sand.
Even though Old Orchard Beach is a popular place for families to have fun in the summer, it is still a small town. It’s clear from the fact that the town’s sights, from the traditional Ferris wheel with a view of the ocean to the old-fashioned carousel, have a sense of the past.
The Old Orchard Beach Pier and boardwalk are iconic features that evoke a sense of nostalgia and reflect the seaside charm of many New England coastal towns. The pier is lined with shops, eateries, and amusement attractions, providing a lively and vibrant atmosphere.
Throughout Old Orchard Beach, you’ll find a mix of charming beachfront cottages, Victorian-style homes, and historic buildings. The architectural style is often associated with classic New England aesthetics, adding to the town’s character and charm.
Old Orchard Beach, located in Maine, certainly exudes a quintessential New England coastal town atmosphere. We recommend visiting this Maine town in the summer if possible!
Next on this list is York, a small town on the coast of Southern Maine known for its amazing beaches, which are great for taking pictures.
York is the second oldest town in Maine. It has a great location on the Gulf of Maine, right next to the Atlantic Ocean. Further, it has long been a favorite summer vacation spot for people all along the East Coast.
To start your adventure, head to York Harbor, which boasts beautiful water views. Short Sands Beach and Long Sands Beach are two beaches in York that you must go to if you want to have fun in the sun.
Also, Cape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse is a must-see because it is among the most well-known lighthouses on the east coast. The public can’t go inside, but it makes a beautiful photo in any season!
Aside from those, York Village is the historic downtown, where you can explore cute shops, restaurants, cafes, and historical buildings. This is where you’ll find your quintessential New England vibes.
Old Gaol was built in 1656 and was the first prison in Maine. It’s a great place to go if you wish to learn more about the town’s history.
If you’re hungry, go to the Dockside restaurant right away. Since it opened in 1952, it has been one of York’s best-kept secrets.
The York Beach Boardwalk is a lively and family-friendly area with arcades, shops, and eateries. Enjoy an ice cream cone, play games, or take a ride on the carousel while soaking up the coastal ambiance.
Overall, York is one of the best small towns in Maine to visit if you want that New England vibe, especially in the summer.
Castine, Maine is a hidden gem nestled along the stunning coast of Penobscot Bay.
Castine boasts a fascinating history dating back to the early colonial period. The town has seen the presence of Native Americans, French settlers, British forces, and American patriots. Visitors can explore this history through its well-preserved architecture, historic landmarks, and museums.
Don’t miss Fort George, a fortification dating back to the Revolutionary War, or the Wilson Museum, which showcases the region’s heritage. Immerse yourself in the stories of Castine’s past and gain a deeper understanding of its significance in American history.
Castine’s small-town charm is a magnet for visitors seeking a tranquil and picturesque getaway. Meander through its tree-lined streets, adorned with colonial homes and blooming gardens. Spend your days exploring the rocky coastline, relaxing on secluded beaches, or embarking on scenic hikes along the nearby trails.
Despite its small size, Castine boasts a vibrant cultural scene. The town is home to Maine Maritime Academy, an esteemed institution for maritime education. You can visit the Maine Maritime Academy Museum and learn about the rich maritime history of the region.
Additionally, Castine hosts various events, including art exhibits, concerts, and theater performances throughout the year. Engage with the local community and immerse yourself in the arts and culture that thrive in this charming coastal town.
If you like cute coastal towns, you should put Bath on your list of Maine towns to check out.
Bath has a rich maritime heritage that can be traced back to its shipbuilding roots. As the home of Bath Iron Works, one of the country’s largest shipbuilding facilities, the town has a deep connection to the sea.
Explore the Maine Maritime Museum, located on the banks of the Kennebec River, where you can delve into the region’s maritime history, see exhibits on shipbuilding, and even take a boat tour to witness the shipbuilding process firsthand.
Bath’s downtown area is a treasure trove of well-preserved historic architecture and charming streets. Stroll along Front Street, lined with Victorian-era storefronts and boutique shops.
Explore the many art galleries, antique shops, and specialty stores that showcase local craftsmanship and creativity.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the beautiful Bath City Hall and the renowned chocolate shop, Wilbur’s of Maine. Bath’s downtown exudes an inviting atmosphere that beckons visitors to slow down, enjoy the quaint surroundings, and indulge in the town’s unique offerings.
With a motto like “Beautiful Place by the Sea,” it’s easy to see why Ogunquit is among the most delightful small towns in Maine.
Ogunquit is on the southern coast of Maine. It is known for having one of the best beaches in Maine with calm, warm, shallow water.
The town is also a nice place to visit on its own, with a variety of things to do in the main village and Perkins Cove, a small fishing village just over a mile from the town center.
Both village centers have restaurants, ice cream shops, and bars. The Marginal Way, a beautiful walking path along the water, links the two villages. We highly recommend doing this walk!
On the other hand, people on bikes or in cars can use Shore Road, and the town’s open-air Trolley connects the two, which is especially helpful after a day of shopping.
Ogunquit is famous for its art scene which includes galleries, local artists, live performances, and the famous Ogunquit Playhouse. Plus, it is home to the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, which has yearly exhibits and a permanent collection that includes works by famous artists like Peggy Bacon, Marsden Hartley, and Carl Walters.
Kennebunkport embodies the classic New England coastal town with its charming streets, historic buildings, and picturesque harbor. Its scenic beauty, lobster boats, and quaint shops make it a popular destination for visitors seeking an authentic New England experience.
Kennebunkport, in York County, is a popular vacation destination and among the most charming small town in Maine.
Shipbuilding brought in a lot of money at first in this town, but tourism soon took over once people in cities in the northeast saw how beautiful this stretch of coast was.
Kennebunkport is fantastic throughout the year, so if you are in Maine, you must stop in, even just for the weekend.
When it’s warm, you can watch whales, go to caves, ride horses, ride bikes around town, fish for lobster, kayak to nearby islands, and more. Even George W. Bush had a vacation property here during the summer!
When it gets cooler, you can go shopping at Cape Porpoise, take a guided tour, go to the Goat Island Lighthouse, and gather seashells.
Dock Square, the site of many pictures of the 41st head of state, is a fantastic destination. If you want to see an incredible lighthouse, take a boat trip to Goat Island.
There are also tons of delicious restaurants in Kennebunkport.
The Earth at Hidden Pond is one of our favorite destinations, and its beautiful interior is brimming with natural elements that go well with its organic menu. You can choose from great dishes such as local seafood paella and short ribs.
Visit Kennebunkport during Christmas if possible – the Christmas Prelude is just so adorable!
1. Bar Harbor
The renowned gateway to Acadia National Park tops our list of adorable small towns in Maine!
Bar Harbor is on Mount Desert Island, off the coast of Maine. It is known for its active arts scene, great shopping, and excellent restaurants.
Like most seaside areas, it is an excellent destination for sightseeing cruises. Many tour operators in town offer tours on land, such as haunted tours and food tours.
Nature lovers often think of Bar Harbor in connection with the neighboring Acadia National Park. This 47,000-acre area, with its wooded areas, rocky beaches, and granite peaks shaped by glaciers, is a must-see near town.
On the other hand, the Abbe Museum, which is proud of being Maine’s sole Smithsonian affiliate museum, is Bar Harbor’s most important cultural attraction. The Abbe started as a trailside museum in Acadia National Park and grew to include a space in the business district Bar Harbor. Here, you can learn about the People of the First Light, who lived on this land before Europeans came. The culture is present through artifacts and interactive media in the exhibits.
Overall, Bar Harbor, Maine, is a charming coastal town known for its picturesque beauty and relaxed atmosphere. We recommend visiting this Maine small town in the summer if at all possible!
There you have it: our list of the 15 super cute small towns in Maine to visit!
The Pine Tree State is truly a magnificent destination with all it offers. It is evident in its many small towns, whether inland gems or coastal resort communities. Each is unique and provides everything you hope for an unforgettable getaway.
So what are you waiting for? Ready your bags and gather your travel buddies! A magnificent Maine road trip awaits!