There are seven beautiful ‘fingers’ in Maine’s Midcoast region, and the pretty Pemaquid Peninsula is one of them. The beachy escape, known for its scenic beauty, is tucked right between Boothbay and Cushing—about an hour and a half from Portland, Maine. It may be one of the states undiscovered gems, but there are dozens of reasons to visit this sea-surrounded region. What you can expect is picturesque villages, dreamy coastlines, tasty seafood scene and one iconic lighthouse. Do you really need any more than that?
It may not yet be one of Maine’s top spots for tourists to visit, but it absolutely should be. Below you will find out just why Maine’s Pemaquid Point & Peninsula needs to find its way on your bucket list!
Some of the best things to do on Maine’s Pemaquid Point (& Peninsula)
1. Visit Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
There are 65 lighthouses in Maine, 35 of them are in the Midcoast and one of the most postcard-perfect is Pemaquid Point Lighthouse found at the very tip of the peninsula. The front is surely a stunner, but head to the back for a little rocking climbing adventure and to get the most instagrammable view. When you’re done taking pretty pictures, the lighthouse and its surroundings have been preserved in a coastal park area, making it a perfect location for an afternoon picnic!
If history is more important than the photo opportunity, don’t worry. You’ll be happy to know that you can actually visit their Fisherman’s Museum that is inside of the keeper’s house. Inside you will learn all about the fishing industries through curated exhibits of historical data and artifacts.
2. Visit Colonial Pemaquid’s Fort William Henry
The history of Colonial Pemaquid started one thousand years ago as the home to Native Americans, it later became a site that served as an English outpost and seasonal fishing station. Today, it is a state historic site which is visited for the rich history and the panoramic views of the harbor.
The stone fort that you will see on a Colonial Pemaquid today is a partial reconstruction of Fort William Henry, standing in its location since 1908. However, its history actually dates back a lot further than that. The original fort at this site was Fort Charles, built as a wooden structure way back in 1677. Fort Charles only stood for a decade before it was destroyed. In its place was then built Fort William Henry, in 1692, but this structure was also destroyed just a few years later. Then, on the ruins of Fort William Henry was built Fort Frederick, in 1729. Thirty years later, however, this fort was abandoned, and it fell into ruin until it was partially reconstructed as Fort William Henry at the beginning of the 20th Century, and today it boasts and interesting mixture of both Fort William Henry and Fort Frederick.
3. Take an Oyster & Wine Pairing Boat Cruise
Damariscotta River Cruises offers different events almost every night on their boat, like sunset cruises or seal watching tours. But, you don’t want to miss the Oyster tasting that is complete with a wine pairing done by an onboard sommelier!
You will be cruising past the farms while sampling half dozen or so fresh-from-the-sea oysters. Each course will be paired with a complimenting glass of wine or bubbles. It’s a delicious two-hour ride that is as yummy as it is educational.
Glidden Point Oyster Farms from GLP Films on Vimeo.
4. Daytrip to Monhegan Island Via a Hardy Boat Ferry
In just under an hour you will be on an island that has no cars and no paved roads, only accessible by boat. All you have to do is hop onboard a Hardy Boat Cruise who will sail you to Monhegan Island. It’s a place that is tiny in size, only about a square mile, but large in charm. What will you do on this island? Eat, shop, hike and explore the shorelines.
You will have five hours to delve into island-life before your return back to the Pemaquid Peninsula. But, you may find that you just want to stay overnight at one of the handful of quaint inns. My top picks for would be The Island Inn that sits overlooking the harbor or John Sterling Harbor House that was originally built in 1803 and shares the same stunning view.
You can learn much more about the island here.
Note: It’s a bonus that the cruise leaves where the lobstermen stop to weigh their catch. If you’re lucky you will see them putting each one on the scale. And don’t you dare leave the dock without getting a cheesy photo of your face in the wooden lobster cutout!
5. Sunbath at Pemaquid Beach Park
If you are visiting the Pemaquid Peninsula in the summertime, specifically June to early September, then some beach time is in order, and the Pemaquid Beach Park is the perfect place to have it. It not only offers rentable beach chairs for comfy sunbathing, but the small white-sand beachfront also boasts pretty views across John’s Bay.
You can bring your own picnic or hit up the snack bar, which is definitely not like any old food stand. Here you can order unexpected dishes like crispy haddock tacos and a roasted red pepper hummus plate.
Note: Beach hours are from 8am-4:30pm and there is a small entrance fee of $4 for anyone older than 12. They have bathrooms, changing rooms, showers, picnic tables and beach item rentals available.
6. Spot Puffins
You don’t have to be an avid birdwatcher to want to get a glimpse of a puffin in the wild. There are only a handful of places in the world to spot these orange-billed beauties and off the Pemaquid Peninsula on Eastern Egg Rock is one of them. The ‘Rock’ is actually a 7-acre island that is home to over 150 pairs of nesting puffins. You might also get to see one of the other 122 species of birds that have been spotted on this island, so have your camera ready!
It’s easy to book a boat cruise to the island, but you will have to time your trip just right, because the season is typically only from mid-March through August.
7. Shop at The Good Supply
The Good Supply is a beautifully curated collection of goods created by 90+ artists and designers in the region. The popular store, that sells quality home goods and gifts, is housed in a restored red barn which only adds to its charm. The exterior building isn’t the only uncommon thing about this place, so are the wares inside. Whether it be a handmade ceramic plate, creatively copper-fold earrings or a beautiful letterpress greeting card, each piece shares a look inside the artisan.
They are conscious of everything they do, from selecting the artists to picking the packaging. Shopping here will not only create a lasting memory, but it will also make you feel good.
The Good Supply from GLP Films on Vimeo.
8. Explore Damariscotta’s Historic Main Street
Dating back to the 19th century, Dramariscotta’s Historic Main Street district is now a blend of the old and the new. It’s a place where you can shop at a 70-year-old department store, get a buzz at a trendy new coffee shop and see a show at a circa 1875 theater. It is also a coastal village downtown where you can easily pick up some sweet souvenirs for yourself or gifts to bring back home. Don’t worry when hunger strikes, just make a beeline for S. Fernald’s Country Store for the quintessential Maine sandwich lunch, a Ham Italian with a can of Moxie soda. If a heartier meal sounds more like your thing, then a beer with a signature seafood pot pie at King Elders Pub might hit the spot.
9. Attend the Pemaquid Oyster Festival
Shuck oysters? Eat oysters? Take a boast to see oyster beds? Yes. Yes. And yes. It is all possible at the Pemaquid Oyster Festival. If you are a lover of mollusks than this is one fall day that you will not want to miss. The festival takes over the parking lot of Schooner Landing and is packed full of shellfish fun. There are educational exhibits, boat rides with the River Trippers, a full-blown oyster shucking contest and, of course, loads of oysters to
Pemaquid Point and its entire Peninsula may not have been on your radar until now, but I hope you are finally taking note (because that’s my job—finding the best bucket list experiences for you.!). It is a certainly a great destination to spend a few days eating your weight in lobster (or oysters), immersing yourself in nature, exploring one heck of a lighthouse and just relaxing on the beach.
Essential Tips for Visiting Pemaquid Peninsula Maine
Getting There: The nearest airport in Pemaquid Maine is Knox County Regional Airport. It is a major hub and most airlines will fly into it. You can easily check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination. From the airport to the city center, you can take a shuttle or take a taxi.
Where to Stay in Pemaquid Peninsula Maine: It’s best to stay near the city center, public transportation or the area that you will be spending the most time in. Russel House Bed & Breakfast is a great choice in the Boothbay Harbor district. For something on the less expensive side, try Sheepscot Harbour Village Resort located in Edgecomb. For a hotel with a little more extravagance, book a room at the Coveside Bed & Breakfast. Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice at Booking.com. If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over to VRBO that has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range.
Getting Around: Driving in a new destination can be a bit of a challenge, but if you choose to rent a car, RentalCars.com has great deals. If you are not renting a car, there are plenty of other options. Taxis, Lyft and Uber are available all over the city.
Insurance: It’s always a good idea to travel fully insured so you are protected in case of trip cancellations or medical emergencies. You can check out pricing at Travelex Insurance.
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