Camden Maine is known by locals as the “Jewel of the Maine Coast”, and the adorable seaside town certainly lives up to its reputation. A walk along the historic 19th century downtown area is a shopper’s delight. Dozens of local stores and boutiques carry something for everyone, from gifts and home décor to toys and nautical goods. On our last trip, we got a head start on our holiday shopping by purchasing some distinctly Maine gifts.
If you’re a fan of outdoor activities, Camden is definitely the place for you! A variety of boating companies will take you out of the harbor on a sightseeing trip or a day sail. If you’re more interested in hiking, Camden Hills State Park, located just a few miles from downtown, has over 30 miles of trails (click here for trail info and a map), including one that winds its way up to the 800 foot summit of Mount Battle. Don’t feel like making the trek by foot? There’s also an option to drive your car to the top, for a small fee. In either case, don’t forget your camera to capture the sweeping views of Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay. For all of you outdoorsy types, Camden Hills State Park also offers over a hundred different very private camping sites. Click here for information or to make a reservation.
Camden is home to a wide variety of cafes and restaurants. My favorite place for breakfast is Marriner’s Restaurant, where you absolutely must try the blueberry pancakes. If the weather is nice, be sure to sit outside on the deck, which has picture perfect views of the harbor. For lunch or dinner, take a 15 minute drive to Claws in Rockland for the best lobster roll in the area. Claw is only open seasonally (late spring to early October) so be sure to call ahead or check their website. Order at the window, take a seat on the patio (which is heated and enclosed during inclement weather) and dig into what many consider to be the best lobster roll in Maine. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!
Now that you’ve had the required Maine fare, how about another Maine treat? Located only 25 minutes outside of Camden atop a peninsula that juts way out into Penobscot Bay, the 30 foot cylindrical tower known as Owls Head Lighthouse was built in 1825 (and rebuilt in 1852) as a navigational aid to ships going in and out of Rockland Harbor. A lighthouse keeper’s cottage was added in 1854, and it now serves as the headquarters for the American Lighthouse Foundation. Owls Head Lighthouse is also supposedly haunted by at least two ghosts. Locals refer to one spirit as the “Little Lady”, and she is most often seen in the kitchen or looking out a window. The other ghost on the premises is believed to be one of the former lighthouse keepers. Reports of mysterious footprints in the mud and snow, slamming doors, rattling silverware, ghostly apparitions, and human-sized indentations in beds have all been reported by staff and the family of former keepers. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do any ghost hunting for yourself because neither the lighthouse nor the keeper’s cottage are open to the public since they are still in use. However, visitors can still climb the wooden steps up to the lighthouse for the most incredible view of the harbor.
Other activities in the Camden area are Owls Head Transportation Museum, which features over 150 exhibits on antique aircraft, motorcycles, bicycles, and automobiles, and Barrett’s Cove, a hidden cove of Megunticook Lake that has a lovely designated swimming area. If you’re up for a short drive drive, Fort Knox (a huge 19th century fortification and the most popular historic attraction in Maine) and the adjacent Penobscot Narrows Observatory are are a great half day trip (about an hour from downtown Camden) that the entire family will enjoy.
For driving directions to Camden, click on the map below.
Camden Hills State Park is located at 280 Belfast Rd in Camden, ME
Marriners Restaurant is located at 35 Main St in Camden, ME
Claws is located at 743 Main St. in Rockland, ME
Owl Head Lighthouse is located on Lighthouse Rd in Owls Head, ME
Owls Head Transportation Museum is located on Museum St. in Owls Head, ME
Barrett’s Cove is located at 104 Beaucaire Ave in Camden, ME
Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Observatory are located at 740 Fort Knox Rd in Prospect, ME