See the Coast of Maine in Seven Days –The best of Kennebunkport, Freeport, Newcastle, Rockland, Camden & Bar Harbor
While this itinerary starts from Southern Maine in Kennebunkport and heads up the coast to Freeport, Newcastle, Rockland, Camden then Bar Harbor, it can certainly be enjoyed in the opposite direction too.
If you’re seeking an itinerary that offers a taste of the region’s adventure, culinary scene and must-see’s and must-dos, choose this itinerary which highlights the best parts of each region or customize your own itinerary with the help of your Inns Along the Coast innkeeper.
Day 1: Kennebunkport, Maine: Stay at Captain Jefferds
Your day starts with a hot, full breakfast to fuel your day, served by your innkeeper with any food allergies or restrictions in mind (be sure to tell the inns of these food needs prior to arrival).
Spend some time going over your itinerary for the day with your innkeeper who will offer maps, directions, tips on great photo hotspots, and little known places to discover Maine’s coastal beauty.
First event of the day: Enjoy a driving tour of Kennebunkport, stopping along the way to walk on the many beaches to smell the salt air and even take a dip in the cold Maine waters. Along the way photo stops will surely include Walker’s Point, President Bush’s summer home, and St. Anne’s Church, set on a cliff overlooking the ocean. If lighthouses are a must-see for you, head to nearby York Beach on your driving tour for a view of the quintessentially Maine Nubble Light and a walk along York Beach’s wide sandy shores. While there, meander through Historic York Village for a taste of Maine history too.
Return to Dock Square to visit the beautiful shops and visit Alissons Restaurant, famous for their seafood or The Clam Shack, famous for its lobster rolls, open May through October. For lunch, enjoy a trip to Mabel’s Lobster Shack, a favorite of President Bush’s, or Cape Pier Chowder where you can dine on the pier on fresh lobster off the boat from May through October.
Or spend some time on the water enjoying a sail aboard Schooner Eleanor.
Enjoy dinner at a Kennebunkport favorite, Federal Jack’s offering locally crafted beers and a wide variety of options. If fine dining and elegant service are more your style, consider the White Barn Inn, one of the only five-star/5 diamond dining experiences in Maine.
Day 2: Kennebunkport to Freeport, Maine: Stay at Brewster House Inn
Fuel up for the day with a homemade and hearty breakfast at Captain Jefferds Inn.
Start your day by getting in on one of the Kennebunkport Foodie Tours. Enjoy a walking tour of Kennebunkport’s locally made specialty foods. (Additional fee; open June through October). Note Foodie Tours are also offered in Rockland and Bar Harbor too. Now it’s time to start heading north to explore what Coastal Maine has to offer. Next stop, Freeport. However, along the way, be sure to visit Portland, famed foodie town.
Just under a half hour from Kennebunkport is Fort Williams State Park and the Portland Head Light guarding the entrance to Portland Harbor. Commissioned by George Washington, the Portland Head Light is a Maine icon, and worth a selfie for sure.
Be sure to spend some time shopping and grazing your way through Portland’s Old Port where you’ll find shopping galore. A popular stop is Duck Fat, for their fabulous fries cooked in you guessed it…duck fat. Another famed restaurant here is Eventide Oyster Co, renowned for their oysters and fresh seafood.
Jump on route 295 North and head to Freeport, just 20 minutes up the road. You can make the obligatory stop at L.L. Bean (Maine’s most popular attraction) at any time of the day or night because it’s open 24/7/365. It’s worth a stop, because everyone will ask if you went there. Time it right, and you might just be able to catch a free concert during the Concerts in the Park summer and fall season. Leave time to visit the other Freeport outlets too, like North Face and Patagonia, Nike, Gap, Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic, Abercrombie & Fitch and many more.
Any time after 3:00pm, check into the Brewster House B&B, within an easy stroll of the outlets and restaurants of Freeport. Enjoy some time socializing with your innkeepers and learning all about the area.
For dinner, stroll to the Azure Café or the Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro – both of which offer outdoor seating in the warmer months. For those who love good Greek food, the Mediterranean Grill right down the street is another great option. Or in the summer months, head to Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster for an on-the-water quintessential Maine lobster shack experience from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. It’s BYOB, picnic tables, lobster or fried fish plus homemade pie and casual dining the way it should be in Maine.
Day 3: Freeport to Newcastle: Stay at the Newcastle Inn
You’ll start your day right with a three-course hand created breakfast offered up by Chef Dave at the Brewster House Inn. Bid farewell and check out by 11:00am to continue your journey up the Maine Coast. You’ll access Maine’s Route One in Brunswick, and stay on it for the rest of your trip up the coast.
Make sure to stop at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to stretch your legs and view beautiful gardens and floral exhibits. Whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter, these gardens are worth a stop. The fabulous holiday light show is particularly intriguing, and the gardens offer color year-round.
And if time allows, a whale watch or schooner ride - both available in Boothbay Harbor during warmer months - both offer a great view of the Maine coast from the water.
Check in to the Newcastle Inn after 3:00pm and relax. Take a tour of the history of Newcastle depicted in beautifully displayed photos throughout the inn. Learn all about the Glidden Shell Middens in Newcastle from innkeeper, Julie, then go out to explore them in person. You’ll be able to return home and be the only one who knows the difference between a mitten and a midden!
If time allows, cruise the Damariscotta River aboard “The River Tripper” – there’s a happy hour cruise at 5:00pm that just might fit the schedule. Or stretch your legs with a walk or a hike nearby at Hidden Valley Nature Center, Dodge Point Preserve, or LaVerna Preserve. And in the winter months, enjoy cross country skiing/snowshoeing and guided full moon walks at Hidden Valley Nature Center.
This is another hot spot for Maine’s active craft brewing and distilling industry. Beer lovers won’t want to miss a visit to Split Rock Distilling for handcrafted, organic vodkas, Oxbow Beer a casual and down-to-earth brewery offering farmhouse Belgian-style ales & a tasting room, open Wednesday-Saturday, or Fat Friar’s Meadery, a Maine farm winery specializing in meads. They’re all located in Newcastle.
And for your lobster roll-fix, try Larsons Lunchbox in Damariscotta for a lobster roll, Pemaquid Lobster Co-op in nearby Pemaquid or Muscongus Lobster Co-op in Round Pond - all nearby. Other dining options nearby include the Newcastle Publick House, Damariscotta River Grill, or King Eiders Pub.
Day 4: Newcastle to Rockland: Stay at Granite Inn, LimeRock Inn or Berry Manor Inn
Start the day with a hearty and home cooked breakfast by Julie, and check out by 11:00am.
You’ll want to head right up to Rockland to explore all there is to see and do there. Once there, stroll down to Main Street and Rockland’s vibrant harborfront to visit stores and acclimate to your next destination. If walking is high on your priority list, visit the Rockland Breakwater, a .7-mile seawall suitable for walking (wear sturdy shoes or sneakers) to the lighthouse at the end for a fabulous view of the harbor.
Rockland has a vibrant arts scene. Home to the world-known Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center, a trip to this museum is a must do while here. In 2016, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art opened, with a revolving collection of contemporary art works. Add in several lovely galleries on Main Street – and you’ve got a day filled with beautiful artworks, all within an easy walk of one another. Time your visit for the first Friday of the month, and get in on a lively evening as the galleries keep their doors open late with refreshments, entertainment and more on the first Friday evening of each month for Artwalk Rockland.
Additional museum options include the Maine Lighthouse Museum and the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum where you can even arrange for a scenic biplane ride to catch Maine coastal views from the air. Finish up your museum visits with a stop in at the Project Puffin Center on Maine Street to learn all about the work the Audubon Society is doing to save these quintessentially Maine birds or a visit to the Friends of Maine Coastal Islands Wildlife Refuge Information Center, filled with displays about bird and wildlife on Maine’s islands.
To see Rockland Harbor from the water, consider taking an afternoon or sunset schooner ride with Bufflehead Sailing Charters to learn all about the history of the region and Penobscot Bay.
Check in to Berry Manor Inn, LimeRock Inn or Granite Inn any time after 3:00pm and enjoy complimentary snacks, pie, or cookies of the day. Take some time to relax then walk to town to explore Rockland’s eclectic restaurant scene. Enjoy dinner at one of Rockland’s original restaurants, Café Miranda, offering a wildly varied menu with an eclectic flair, or take a global tasting journey enjoying fresh Maine food with an international flair at In Good Company. Primo, the region’s most renowned farm-to-table restaurant, offers fabulous fine dining from Melissa Kelly, multiple time James Beard Award winner. but it’s always a good idea to make a reservation there a week or so ahead of time. Your innkeeper is happy to help get you in to Primo.
Day 5: Rockland to Camden: A day on Penobscot Bay and Hawthorn Inn
Start out the day with a gourmet multi-course breakfast served by your innkeepers at Berry Manor Inn, LimeRock Inn or Granite Inn – which ever Rockland inn you’ve chosen.
Take some time to go over your itinerary with your innkeeper who will share ideas for best routes and things to see along the way.
Today, enjoy a Day on the Bay in Rockland before heading up to Camden. First, jump aboard Captain Jack’s Lobster Adventure and learn all about Rockland’s self-proclaimed title of Lobster Capital of the Universe along with other lobster lore. You’ll pull traps with Captain Jack, a salty Rockland Lobsterman any time May through mid-October.
Return to the dock and go for a sail on the Morning in Maine, a historic 55’ ketch where you’ll learn all about the history and natural resources of the region.
Lunch might be at The Brass Compass, just a short stroll from the pier, where you simply must try the Lobster Club Sandwich, which won a throwdown with Bobby Flay. You can also sample some fine home cooking at Home Kitchen Cafe or locally-sourced specialty foods, produce and home cooked fare at Main Street Markets.
Now it’s time to continue the journey up Route One through Rockport to Camden, just about six miles up the road from Rockland. You’ll want to leave plenty of time to meander through the shops along the harbor in Camden before checking in to the Hawthorn Inn, just a few blocks from Main Street. Time your check in for late afternoon and enjoy freshly baked treats and a cold or hot drink in the library or on the deck, depending upon the time of year.
The Hawthorn Inn’s beautiful yard slopes down to Camden Harbor. Just steps through their gate is the Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheater, where live shows and the Camden Shakespeare Festival take place.
And wine lovers have plenty of options for tastings in and around Camden. Start at Cellardoor Winery in nearby Lincolnville. Their 200-year-old barn offers complimentary wine tastings, plus a fabulous wine shop and lite food options. Sit on the deck overlooking a beautiful vista beyond and enjoy locally inspired wines. Savage Oaks Winery and Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery both in Union, Maine and Breakwater Vineyards in Owls Head are both within a short drive, and offer additional chances to try local wines.
The Camden dining scene is eclectic and varied. A must try is Long Grain, a Thai restaurant with a reputation which requires definite reservations. Your innkeepers Lisa and Ted can help you get a table here if you reserve in advance. To continue the international options, Francine Bistro offers up ambitious French cuisine to a full house each night. And for something more casual, the Drouthy Bear offers up cuisine featuring the best from Scotland, Ireland and the British Isles.
Day 6: Camden to Bar Harbor: Stay at Saltair Inn or Aysgarth Station
Enjoy a hearty breakfast with other guests on the deck or in the dining room at Hawthorn Inn then bid your innkeepers goodbye by 11:00am.
Drive up Route 1 through scenic towns like Belfast and take time for photos at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge or stop at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport for a lesson in Maine’s renowned shipbuilding and maritime history.
If you haven’t gotten enough lobster yet, visit Thurson’s Lobster Pound located right next to a working harbor in a quintessentially Maine setting on the way to Bar Harbor. If a departure from lobster is more in order, you might try Poor Boy’s Gourmet, a local favorite casual hangout where everything is delicious on the way in to Bar Harbor.
Arrive in Bar Harbor in time to check in at either Saltair Inn Waterfront B&B or Aysgarth Station B&B, both just a few short blocks from one another and Bar Harbor’s bustling downtown area. Enjoy a complimentary afternoon refreshment, and explore the locally owned Main Street shops and eateries.
Spend the rest of the day in Acadia National Park, driving the Park Loop, renting bikes and taking a ride on the famous Carriage Trails (45 miles of interconnected car-free gravel roads), and enjoying the delicious hot and steaming popovers at the Jordan Pond House. You’ll want to reserve the rest of the day for exploring Acadia.
Return to your inn then head into Bar Harbor for dinner at a choice of popular restaurants like Havana, for hip Latin and American cuisine or Café Mache for French cuisine, fine wine and cheeses. Top it all off by trying Lobster Ice Cream at Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, where a selfie with the smiling lobster is simply a must.
Day 7: Bar Harbor to home
Early risers may want to get up with the milkman and drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain to be among the first in the country to see the sun rise. This is a favorite activity among visitors to Bar Harbor.
Return to the inn for a hot and hearty multi-course breakfast, or if you’ve made arrangements ahead the night before, take a breakfast-to-go with you for the day.
Would you like to add a lobster, lighthouse & luxury theme to your 7-day package? Click here to read all about the Lobsters, Lighthouses & Luxury package offered either separately in each region or combined as one 6-day package offering up everything that's incredibly special about visiting the Maine Coast.