Let your imagination run wild…
What would make your vacation perfect? Kayaking in the shadow of a lighthouse, accompanied by curious seals and majestic loons? Museums that display their world-class treasures and help you to make sense of the past? Picture perfect historical villages filled with wonderful restaurants and galleries? A sunset schooner ride where the Captain actually encourages you to bring your wine and cheese aboard? The possibilities are endless, let us help you plan seven wonderful days all within one hour of your campsite.
Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Hike and bike hundreds of miles of trails on your own or join a guided tour. The only national park on the Eastern Coast Seacoast, Acadia provides a rich combination of elements-land and sea, woodland, lake and mountain-no one of which dominates another. The second most visited park in America, Acadia’s 41,645 acres evokes the strongest, most long-lasting response from the greatest number of people. One thing we never miss is tea time at Jordan Pond House…one bite of those hot popovers dripping with butter and strawberry jam while you look out through the flower gardens onto Jordan pond and you’ll etch a vacation memory into your mind that will never go away. Mount Desert Island is 45 miles east of Searsport Shores.
Islesboro- From the campground, one of the islands we look across the Bay to is Islesboro. Home to approximately 600 year round residents, this island is a cyclist paradise…only two small hills, plenty of ocean access, a spectacular wildlife preserve, swimming quarries and good blueberry pie…can you think of a better daytrip? The ferry to Islesboro leaves from Lincolnville Beach (20 minutes South of the campground) every hour during the summer. Leave early in the morning, pack for a breezy yet quick ocean crossing and bring your camera because you’ll see dolphins, seals, bald eagles, osprey, sea ducks and beautiful island coves.
Explore the East side of Penobscot Bay. Fifteen miles off Route 1, Castine is the village on the postcard you’ll find in a vintage ephemera shop. Majestic elm trees still shade the town commons and frame the stately homes built during the 1800’s. While you’re here, tour the Wilson Museum (it’s like poking through the attic of your eccentric, world traveling uncle), Visit the Maine Maritime Academy and allow a midshipman to tour you through the STATE OF MAINE, the Academy’s training ship, docked at the town pier in July and August.
You could linger in Castine all day (look for the bakery on the side of the hill), or slowly drive to Stonington, a working lobster village on the tip of Deer Isle (eat fresh seafood at Bagaduce Lunch)…this is a perfect place to launch a kayak and explore the pink granite islands that dot the coast. You can wander into countless artist’s workshops and always find something beautiful, unique and within your budget…and you won’t find it anyplace else in the world. Still want to explore? On your way home visit explore Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and then watch the dolphins playing in front of the lighthouse. If you packed your fishing pole, there’s a fishing pier here too…did anyone say fresh fish for dinner? A must stop on the way home is dinner at Angler’s Restuarant for the finest seafood prepared on the mid-coast, family run at an affordable price.
Searsport- A century ago, one in every 10 American shipmasters hailed from this tiny town. Searsport was the launching area for over 200 world traveled, multi-masted ships. For a detailed map of all the area has to offer visit Head of the Bay Business Association’s Website.
Browse the renowned Penobscot Marine Museum in the morning and then hunt the hundreds of Antique/Flea market stalls in the afternoon. Take the Heritage Walking Tour on the streets of Searsport – Museum on the Streets. Don’t forget to grab a Museum Map. Come back to the campground for a fresh lobster dinner and your own crackling camp fire with s’mores.
If you’re looking to explore a bit further head further north to Bangor. Although Samuel de Champlain visited this area about 400 years ago, about 80 years after the Spanish first visit to the Penobscot Bay, this city is being rediscovered by entrepreneurs and vacationers. Downtown Bangor not only features great theater, but also museums, specialty shops and historic architecture.
Rainy Day Choice:
Maine Discovery Museum
Sunny Day Pick: 2018 American Folk Festival
More about Searsport & Belfast here.
Wake up and walk the beach or bike downtown into Searsport Village. Pick up a fresh breakfast sandwich at Coastal Cafe ….. maybe take it down to the wharf to watch the boats coming in and out of the harbor.
After you’ve gotten your fill, drive up the road to Searsport Pines Golf Course. It’s a beautiful, well-maintained & challenging 9-hole course (2695/36 par) that can be played as 18 holes. Features include: driving range, pro-shop, practice/putting green, cart rentals and club rentals. “The Gazebo” serves popular favorites for a light or hearty lunch with specials that change daily.
Hungry for a good old Maine lunch. Stop at the Brick House Restaurant in downtown Searsport and order the Searsport Shores special (fish and chips dinner to go). Head on down to one of the picnic spots at Searsport Harbor or Mosmen Park.
In the afternoon, visit with some of America’s favorite works of art, including famous Wyeth paintings at the Farnsworth Art Museum or tour the grand collections of working antique planes, autos, bikes and carriages at the Owls Head
Transportation Museum all in Rockland.
Need a bit of exercise? Walk the mile long stretch to the Rockland Breakwater lighthouse…just wear shoes with good traction…there’s no place like this in the rest of the world.
Travel a few miles down the coast along the Lincolnville Beach into Camden Harbor. Camden Maine is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns on Earth. Spend time wandering through the specialty boutiques and micro-breweries.
Shape magazine recently wrote “The Camden-Rockport area depicts itself as the town where the mountains meet the sea. And they do. Steep hills form a bulwark against the sea, creating a rugged, dramatic landscape. In fact, the trails at Camden Snow Bowl, the local ski and mountain-biking area, overlook Penobscot Bay, the deepest inlet along Maine’s serrated coast and reminiscent of a Scandinavian fiord.
As the sun dips into the horizon, pack your favorite bottle of wine and cheese, and relax on a coastal sunset cruise. Your shutter will be clicking as you breeze by seals, dolphins, sea birds and an occasional whale. Don’t forget your Searsport Shores Windjammer discount pass, available at the office.
Belfast…quaint, artsy and not touristy! Dine in fine restaurants, enjoy the children’s waterfront park and shop in the Beyond the Sea– all in one day. Later cruise over to Castine or kayak from the campground around beautiful Penobscot Bay alongside the porpoise and seals.
Get a hold of Our Town Belfast for self guided bike routes throughout Maine. They have great ideas for scenic, novice or advanced rides. Clubs and competitors will also find many helpful tips.
If architecture is “your thing” then you will enjoy wandering the neighborhood of Federal and early-Victorian sea merchant’s mansions. Be sure to take along a copy of the “Walking Tour of Belfast” for an interesting and informative narrative.
In the evening join the Belfast Maskers or Mid-Coast Actors’ Studio for a performance on the Bay or drive on up the road to the
Penobscot Theater or over to the Marsh River Theater offering a variety of shows throughout the summer.
If You Can Make the Time
Weren’t we surprised to discover from one of our camping couples that all of these wineries in Maine are only a short drive from the campground: Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery, Bar Harbor Cellars, Cellardoor Winery, Savage Oakes, Winterport Winery, Bartlett Maine Estate Winery.
A bit further south is Blacksmiths Winery which claims to be the first to use only Maine fruits for it’s award winning fruit wines.
Want cheese with that wine? Grab some award winning artisan cheese to have with your wine choice(s) at Appleton Creamery, before settling in back at the campground.
Bring your goodies down to the Campground’s Ocean boardwalk and enjoy your day’s finds on a bench by the bay.
For regularly updated ideas on exploring the region, check out the blog.