Boothbay Harbor Road Trip Guide
Boothbay Harbor is one of Maine’s hidden gems. While many tourists flock to more well-known coastal villages, it’s the charm and authenticity of this small town that has many coming back again and again.
Join us as we spend a day exploring the sights, tastes, and history of Boothbay Harbor!
History of Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Boothbay Harbor was established nearly 300 years ago and was known as Townsend until it was renamed in 1842. By then, the small town had become a famous fishing center for Maine’s booming fishing industry and continued to expand over the decades as tourists also began exploring the region.
Today, tourism plays a major role in the small town of just over 2,000 residents. Visitors love the rich history, beautiful scenery, and delicious seafood that Maine’s waters offer.
The best time to visit is the summer when temperatures top off in the low 80s. Winters can be beautiful, but also snowy and cold, with highs generally in the low 30s.
Morning in Boothbay Harbor
Start your morning out right with breakfast and a must-see lighthouse tour. Here are our recommendations:
Breakfast at Mama D’s Mercantile
Address: 50 Union St, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
Menu options: Start your day in Boothbay Harbor with one of Mama D’s delicious coffees, espresso drinks, or chai teas. Breakfast options include baked goods like cinnamon buns, scones, pecan coffee cake, and more. For a heartier meal, check out the breakfast sandwiches, omelets, or waffles.
Don’t miss the Teacher’s Pet – a unique combination of potato toast, peanut butter, apples, and bacon, drizzled with honey.
Reasons to love it: Mama D’s Mercantile has been providing delicious breakfasts and light fare to visitors and locals alike for more than a decade. You can enjoy your meal on the restaurant’s outdoor deck or observe harbor views from the front porch. Guests love Mama D’s charm and excellent service. Bring cash since the restaurant doesn’t accept credit cards.
Tour the Burnt Island Lighthouse
The Burnt Island Lighthouse is a must-see on your trip to Boothbay Harbor. This 200-year-old lighthouse is the second oldest in Maine, a state known for its many lighthouses.
It’s played an essential role over the decades as a well-known navigational beacon. It’s on an island near Boothbay Harbor’s mouth, so you’ll need to take a short boat ride to get there.
Once you arrive, enjoy a living history tour that lets you explore the still-operating lighthouse and the rest of the island’s 5 acres for a few hours. If you time it right, you might even be able to talk to former keepers!
Afternoon in Boothbay Harbor
While your hearty breakfast and lighthouse tour will take up several hours of your morning, there’s still a lot more to see! Consider adding the following to your afternoon schedule:
Eat Lunch at The Boathouse Bistro
Address: 12 The By-Way, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
Menu Options: No matter your mood, chances are The Boathouse Bistro has something for you. With an extensive menu featuring everything from tapas to seafood to sandwiches and salads, the hardest part might be picking just one. Diners particularly love their risotto dishes.
Reasons to love it: This delightful and versatile restaurant is a Boothbay Harbor favorite. Besides the delicious food options, you can also enjoy a view of the harbor from the restaurant’s extensive outdoor seating. With live music, frequently updated specials, and local beers on tap, it’s a great place to relax and recharge after a busy morning.
Take a Boat Tour with Cap’n Fish’s Cruises
A trip to Maine is as much about the water as it is the land, and that’s especially true when visiting a town like Boothbay Harbor. Cap’n Fish’s Cruises offers a variety of boat tours for every interest. Animal lovers can check out the company’s famous whale watch tours or others specializing in seals or puffins.
Those looking to see more of picturesque mid-coast Maine can take river cruises or tours showing off the region’s lighthouses (including another breathtaking view of Burnt Island.)
If you’re lucky, you might even be able to check out one of Cap’n Fish’s specialty music or cocktail tours. With most tours ranging from $30-60 per person, it’s a beautiful and affordable way to learn more about Maine’s unique natural environment.
Spending an Evening in Boothbay Harbor
Don’t retire yet because there’s still more to see in the harbor! From dinner to evening entertainment, here are some of the best-loved things to do in Boothbay Harbor.
Dinner at Mine Oyster
Address: 16 Wharf St #1, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
Menu Options: This place is a seafood lover’s dream. The menu features fresh and roasted oysters, locally caught bluefin tuna, sushi, and many more seafood dishes.
Plus, it wouldn’t be a trip to Maine without some delicious lobster. Reviewers love the lobster corn dogs, woodfired lobster pizza, and lobster tacos. If you or someone you’re traveling with just can’t or won’t do seafood, there are a good number of land-based dishes, too, from ribs to pizzas to sandwiches.
Other reasons to love it: Maine is known for its seafood, and Mine Oyster is one of the best places in Boothbay Harbor to enjoy it. Relax in their authentically decorated dining room, or take in some evening views of the harbor from the outdoor seating area. Diners are also fans of the knowledgeable, friendly service and live music.
Drinks at Vessel & Vine
Address: 4 Pleasant St, Brunswick, ME 04011
Drink Options: Wine is the star of the show here, with various styles and vineyards. Visitors also note the unique cocktails – like the “Grand Entrance,” with aquavit, Contratto Bianco, GB Alfonso, and saline. If you’re hungry, you can also snack on various fresh and pre-prepared dishes.
Reasons to love it: Hop in the car and take the trip to nearby Brunswick to enjoy drinks at this classy and friendly establishment. In addition to trying a massive collection of cocktails, you can also enjoy special dining events. Plus, you deserve a nice drink after a long day of adventuring!
Catch a Show at Pythian Opera House
Boothbay Harbor may feel like a small town in some ways, but you won’t think so when you’re catching a show at this well-regarded venue. This more-than-one-hundred-year-old building has had many uses over the years, from town offices to meeting space for fraternal orders.
But since 2005, it’s returned full time to hosting various shows and entertainment. Tickets are typically affordable (under $50), and performances include Latin, jazz, rock, orchestral works, and more. It’s a touch of culture not found in every small Maine town and another reason to love Boothbay Harbor.
Where to Stay in Boothbay Harbor
Because you’ve spent a full day enjoying the best that Boothbay Harbor offers, you need an excellent place to stay each night you’re there. Here’s our favorite campground in the area:
Campground: Boothbay Brewery & RV Park
Address: 301 Adams Pond Rd, Boothbay, ME 04537
About the Park: This fully equipped park is on the grounds of Boothbay Craft Brewery. With back-in and pull-through sites, full hookups, and free wifi, you’ll enjoy everything you want from an RV park, along with the convenience of an on-site taphouse and restaurant.
Why you’ll love staying here: It’s not often you run into a quality craft brewery that also has a campground on site. It’s far from dry camping–this place has full hookups along with the perks of being able to check out a local brewery steps from your RV. You’re also less than three miles from downtown Boothbay Harbor. Prices are affordable, ranging from $30-50 per night, so you won’t regret booking your reservation!
A Day in Boothbay Harbor
It may not be Maine’s most famous coastal town, but Boothbay Harbor is one of the most memorable. This one day of sea adventuring and delicious dining will have you planning many more trips in the years to come!
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