In the beautiful seaside village of Boothbay Harbor, you’ll find there is no shortage of interesting things to see and do. This vibrant community and its protected harbor hosts several annual events and festivals that draw people in from near and far, and any time of year you’re sure to find plenty to keep you busy. Whether you’re considering a full vacation getaway or just a short visit as you swing through, you’ll want to check out this list of 10 things to do in Boothbay Harbor, Maine!
Visit Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
One of Maine’s most treasured and popular visitor attractions, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is almost 300 acres of carefully cultivated gardens and art installations that showcase the incredible natural beauty of Maine.
There are walking trails to be explored, classes to take, events to attend, and one of the most popular is Gardens Aglow, the annual holiday light extravaganza that is one of the reasons why Christmas in Maine is such a phenomenal experience! Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is typically open to the public May-October, with Gardens Aglow kicking off just in time for the holiday season in November.
Check out Boothbay Railway Village
Affectionately dubbed “Vintage Vacationland,” Boothbay Railway Village is an outdoor history museum that shows what Maine was like in the late 19th-mid 20th century. Exhibits include Town Hall, originally built in 1847 and carefully maintained over the years, a hardware store, general store, blacksmith shop, carriage display, and so much more!
Take a ride on their authentic steam locomotive and tour this Maine gem to see for yourself what a 19th century Maine village looked like. On special occasions, rides in a Ford Model T are offered. You might even catch a vintage ball game or an antique car show while you’re visiting!
Go to the Cabbage Island Clambake
Sail aboard the Bennie Alice to partake in one of Boothbay Harbor’s most illustrious summer traditions: Cabbage Island Clambakes hosted by the Moore family. Seven days a week from the very end of June to the weekend after Labor Day, the Cabbage Island Clambakes continues a tradition that has been passed down over several decades and through two families to continue today.
Guests arrive on the private island to be welcomed by the Moore family, and the clambake offerings are quintessential Maine delights like lobster, chowder, corn on the cob, blueberry cake, and of course, clams! Adult beverages and lawn games are also available, but the main events will always be the spectacular scenery of the island and the fantastic feast!
Visit The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor
Built in 1894, The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor hosts live music, theatric productions, comedy shows, and so much more. This historic building is located in downtown Boothbay Harbor and is a sight to see, whether you’re there to enjoy one of the over 100 performances the Opera House hosts annually or not!
There is a bar on the main floor as well, but during most performances, the upstairs bar and lounge is open, with its ornate crown moldings and antique ceiling lights showcasing the intricacies of the 1894 building; this area was originally the Boothbay Harbor Pythian lodge. Be sure to check out the calendar to see what’s going on at the Opera House during your visit!
Take a Red Cloak Tour
Red Cloak Tours is Maine’s largest walking tour company, and their Boothbay Harbor tours have three options: Haunted History & Mystery of Boothbay Harbor, Historical Tour of Boothbay Harbor’s Waterfront & Maritime Background, and a general historical walk. TeleTours include a private, live Red Cloak tour host to guide you, and a Tidbit Tasting Party can also be included, with your Red Cloak host sharing the history and folklore behind some of Maine’s quintessential foods.
Red Cloak Tours are available in several different areas of Maine, and they bring the history of each location to life, and visitors are left with a newfound appreciation for and connection with the area of their tour. If you’re interested in Boothbay Harbor history at all-haunted or not-look into taking a Red Cloak Tour; you won’t regret it!
Attend the Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days Festival
If you’d like to get a taste of what coastal Maine life is like, the Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days festival is a great start; every summer, the Boothbay region kicks off the season with this week-long festival that honors Boothbay’s maritime history and the continued impact it has on all who live here.
Festivities include an antique boat parade, golf tournament, fireworks over the harbor, live musical entertainment, and so much more; participate in a codfish relay and then tell me you don’t feel like you are getting a solid feel of what being a coastal Mainer is really like!
Side note: If you’ve never taken a windjammer cruise, add it to your Bucket List asap; it’s an incredible experience!
See Burnt Island Light House
Burnt Island Light House is one of Maine’s many stunning lighthouses, and the lovely 5-acre island it is housed on can only be reached by boat. Restoration efforts continue into 2021 (also the lighthouses Bicentennial year!) but once the restoration is complete, you will be able to visit and climb the steps of Burnt Island Light House to see the incredible view of Maine’s sparkling waters.
The beautiful island has plenty to appreciate, with nature trails that allow you to explore the craggy shoreline, excellent fishing opportunities, and even a tire swing to relax in and enjoy the crisp, clean coastal air! Be sure to follow the Keepers of Burnt Island Light for updates on the lighthouse’s restorations.
Take a Puffin Cruise
Maine is the only state in the US where wild puffins nest, so if you’d like to see these adorable fuzzy birds for yourself, Cap’n Fish’s Cruises is your chance! Of course, you might also see some other Maine marine wildlife during your scenic sea cruise, such as seals, whales, and blue heron, to name a few, in addition to a few historic Maine lighthouses you’ll pass on the way out to the island where they nest.
Cap’n Fish’s offers other cruises as well, including a whale-watching cruise, a whale and puffin combo cruise, and several other scenic specialty cruises. Whatever it is you’d like to see on Maine’s coast, Cap’n Fish’s can probably help you find it!
Enjoy Boothbay Region Land Trust
The efforts of the Boothbay Region Land Trust to preserve and protect the charm and beauty of the Boothbay region can be enjoyed by anyone with a little time to explore and appreciate the 26 public preserves that include over 35 miles of trails and two working waterfront wharfs. In addition to their preservation efforts, free educational events are offered throughout the year as well.
32-acre Oak Point Farm is a popular destination, hosting the visitor center for the land trust and a place to learn more about the organization’s efforts, and even support them with a purchase of a souvenir before you leave. Oak Point Farm also offers a 2-acre freshwater pond and lovely walking trails to enjoy in the warmer weather or to snowshoe through in the snow. Supporting the land trust’s efforts to preserve some of the Boothbay region’s wildlife, lands, and waterways is a great way to enjoy the beauty of Maine.
Sample the goods at Boothbay Lobster Wharf
In coastal Maine, you know the lobster will be fresh, but how about dining-on-a-working-lobster-wharf-fresh? That’s what you get at Boothbay Lobster Wharf, where you can watch as the fishermen sail in and unload their daily lobster catch. You choose which lobster you want to eat, and the folks at Boothbay Lobster Wharf will cook it up for you!
Their menu includes plenty of other quintessential Maine eats, like lobster chowder, jumbo lobster roll, and lobster mac & cheese, so come hungry! They also have a full bar, so it’s easy to kick back on the wharf and enjoy the eats and the scenery as you witness a piece of the lobster fishing action.
A visit to Maine is always sure to please, with fantastic hiking, beautiful beaches, and striking waterfalls all around the state. If you find yourself in the Midcoast region of Maine, be sure to add Boothbay Harbor to your list of places to visit!
Read these next:
- 8 Great Things to Do in Rockland Maine
- 9 Beautiful Botanical Gardens in Maine
- 10 Coastal Towns in Maine That are Hidden Gems
- 4 Beautiful Maine Islands Worth Visiting
Amy is the founder of New England with love. A proud Vermonter, she hopes to share her love of New England and help you find the best adventures in the region. Amy is also blogger/founder at Two Drifters, where she writes alongside her husband about romantic and couples travel, relationships, honeymoons, and more. When not working on websites, Amy is probably reading, cuddling with her husband, son, and cats, & drinking a maple latte.