Camden, Maine is one of the most special seaside towns in all of New England –– even considered one of the most beautiful towns in America by Condé Nast Traveler. Aaron was raised in the midcoast Maine area & I have spent nearly a decade exploring this town with him! It’s an incredible place with incredible people and businesses. This is an updated travel guide that has my favorite things to do, places to stay and places to dine in Camden.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Camden Maine Hotels & Accomodations
- Camden Maine Restaurants
- What To Do in Camden, Maine
- Bonus: Things To Do in Lincolnville, Maine
CAMDEN MAINE HOTELS & ACCOMMODATIONS:
There are some beautiful spots to stay. When looking for hotels in Camden, Maine I would keep in mind that most are quaint bed and breakfasts or higher-end hotels. If these spots are out of your price range or not your style, there are a lot of awesome places on Airbnb!
This luxury inn (pictured above) built in 1901 and renovated in 2015 has a nod to the past with funky, modern decor and lovely ambiance. We stayed at the Whitehall Inn years ago and absolutely loved it! It’s on the edge of town so it’s quiet and has a great property that welcomes you to relax.
THE BELMONT INN
What’s more charming than a bed and breakfast / inn? The Belmont Inn is a historic and elegant 19th-century Queen Anne-style B&B nestled right in the heart of Camden.
16 BAY VIEW
With views of Camden Harbor from the balcony and positioned right on Bay View Street, this boutique hotel is unique and worth noting. The rooms at 16 Bay View are cozy and the big soaker tubs are luxurious! Definitely check out their rooftop bar for happy hour.
Built in 1849, Abigail’s Inn sits in the historic district of Camden, Maine and is a four guest room bed and breakfast with beautiful grounds. I guess a scene from Peyton’s Place was filmed here!
DRIFT OCEANSIDE INN
Tucked even farther away from downtown, the Drift Inn offers motel rooms, suites and cabins near the seaside. They’re humble dwellings that have been recently renovated & offer a quiet getaway.
If you want to stay in a castle built in the late 1800s – look no further than the Norumbega Inn. This historic inn used to be a summer home for an inventor but now boasts eleven guest suites for travelers.
THE ELMS OF CAMDEN
Right on the way into Camden’s downtown you’ll find this inn with only a handful of rooms. If you ask me, The Elms Of Camden is the quintessential, charming New England inn people stay at in hallmark movies. You’ll love the old pine floors, antique wallpaper and fireplaces in the rooms.
HARTSTONE INN & HIDEAWAY
Just a moment’s walk from the harbor and all of the dining and shopping spots, the Hartstone Inn offers a lovely stay. Their on-site restaurant is incredible.
CAMDEN MAINE RESTAURANTS:
My first focus is always to support local farmers, growers and makers. If you’re in an accommodation that you have access to a kitchen, I recommend checking out the Camden Farmers Market and the local French & Brawn Market (that’s been there since the 1800s). Inside tip: if you want to get steamed lobsters or oysters in the shell and take a seafood picnic to the beach, they can help you out with that!
DINNER / DRINKS:
This place is known and LOVED. Their Thai dishes are unlike anything I’ve had elsewhere. Long Grain utilizes local and seasonal ingredients and serve up some serious flavor. If dining in, I recommend the Kao Soi Gai and if I’m dining out, I get the Pad Kemao (FYI they put anything soupy in plastic to-go containers so I try to avoid that and go for a noodle or rice dish!) but I’ve never had a bad meal there. It’s certainly worth the hype – just please don’t be the reason us locals have to call in 45 times before the busy signal stops ;)
A modern Italian restaurant serving hand-made pasta and other modern culinary influences from Spain, France and the surrounding Mediterranean countries. 40 Paper has an inviting, warm atmosphere with food that intersects traditional and vibrant / experimental.
OYSTER RIVER WINEGROWERS
Oyster River Winegrowers is a horse-powered orchard, vineyard and winery in Union, Maine specializing in producing delicious natural wines. They recently opened up a tasting room in downtown Camden where you can sample and purchase their wines! Definitely worth a pop-in before dinner.
PETER OTT’S ON THE WATER
Peter Ott’s is one of the places I’d recommend for a classic New England meal right on the harbor. You can get seafood, a burger, etc and they have some lovely specials that come and go. It’s not super vegan / vegetarian friendly so check the menu beforehand if you are!
FRESH & CO.
If you love a globally-inspired menu, I highly recommend Fresh & Co. They have a really tasty menu with anything from Brazilian seafood stew, to Moroccan spiced lamb, to Lobster ravioli made with fresh local ingredients. It’s a darling little spot and they have a great wine list too!
Formerly Francine’s, Franny’s is a seafood forward restaurant with yummy bites including vegetarian and gluten free options. The restaurant is small and inviting, we’ve had many special nights spent there with family and always leave pleased. Note that you likely need to book your reservation three weeks to a month in advance!
MÉ LONG TOGO
Mé Lon Togo is a new addition to Camden & one that I hope will stay. The chef & owner brings the unique flavors of Togo (a country in West Africa) to Maine and we loved our meals when we visited. They focus on as many local ingredients as they can in season but the flavors and mixtures they offer are so unique! I recommend their spin on cioppino and Aaron loves the chicken in peanut sauce.
Located on the rooftop of the 16 Bay View hotel I mentioned, The View truly has the best view in town.
This spot has a great location and view with an emphasis on craft beers and wood-fired food. Lots of seafood, pizza, burgers, etc. I’d consider it casual and the food can be hit or miss but the menu is worth checking out when deciding where to eat while in Camden!
Natalie’s is located on a Relais Chateux property and the refined dining experience makes that apparent. They source their ingredients from local fishermen, farmers and their on-site vegetable gardens to create a modern New England menu, influenced by international cuisines and inspired by the seasons.
SEADOG BREWING CO.
This is a low key, family-friendly spot. Seadog is a classic beer in Maine & if you stop in here, I recommend trying the blueberry ale!
CAMDEN HOUSE OF PIZZA
I’m not saying it’s the best pizza in the world but sometimes, you (ahem: Aaron) just wants a good, old-fashioned slice of pizza and if that’s the case: Camden House of Pizza is the spot. Aaron’s been going here since he was a kid!
COFFEE / BREAKFAST:
The local coffee shop that usually has a line out the door! Zoot Coffee recently relocated down the street from its old location and the new space is modern, inviting and much more spacious. They offer healthy breakfast-y foods / baked goods and delicious coffee. They do allow you to bring in your own mug to save on waste too!
The Bagel Cafe is a Camden staple so it would feel amiss to leave it out. Everyone that I know who grew up here has a fond story or two of this place and their bagels are really delicious! They have a huge assortment with nearly the same amount of cream cheese options.
OWL & TURTLE BOOKSHOP / CAFÉ
The perfect little book shop with a cafe in the corner … what more could we ask for? The Owl & Turtle is a darling stop while in town and you can snag a book for your trip while you’re in there!
If you’re looking for a yummy, healthy breakfast / lunch option, this new spot in town is a great choice. Mixed Greens‘ menu has vibrant bowls, salads and savory / sweet toasts using local, organic ingredients.
Another new spot in town, BOWA is full of flavor! They have everything from tacos, to curry, to noodle bowls and you can even get a boba tea while you’re there. Everything I’ve tried I’ve loved & they offer a lot of vegetarian options. Highly recommend this place.
If you want to grab a quick sandwich, the Camden Deli is a town classic. Also, they have a beautiful view off their back deck!
The Waterfront restaurant has been around forever. They have tasty, reliable food and a killer view!
WHAT TO DO IN CAMDEN, MAINE:
SAILING OUT OF CAMDEN HARBOR
Sailing out of Camden Harbor is so special & iconic. It’s something I fell in love with almost a decade ago and have been doing every summer since. We recommend it to anyone coming to stay in our neck of the woods because it’s pretty dreamy. Pack some snacks, beverages of choice and enjoy the views.
VISIT CAMDEN HILLS STATE PARK
Want to see an iconic, postcard type view of Camden? Take it all in from the top of Mount Battie in the Camden Hills State Park. There’s a minimal charge to get into the hike but its worth it in my personal opinion. If you want great photos, avoid the middle of the day. You can either drive up or hike up –– your choice!
CHECK OUT THE CAMDEN SNOW BOWL
The Camden Snow Bowl is the local ski resort. It’s small, really special to the locals and one of the only places you can ski with ocean views. If you’re here in the summer, you can hike & bike it. In the fall, you can peep the foliage on a chairlift ride. In the winter, you can ski the slopes.
If you’re in need of anything for your adventures –– gear, rentals, etc. stop into Maine Sport!
POP INTO THE SHOPS DOWNTOWN
There’s been a lot of change in Camden since the pandemic, some shops closed and some new ones have come in so I can’t tell you exactly which ones will be here to stay but one of my favorite things about Camden is the quaint and charming downtown. Do yourself a favor & spend a little time popping into the shops & galleries. Some of my favorites are Sugar Tools, Jo Ellen Designs, Page Art Gallery and Stone Soup Books. There are so many to explore!
EXPLORE LINCOLNVILLE, MAINE TOO:
The next town up is charming Lincolnville, Maine. I don’t know enough about the area to make it’s own post so I thought I’d tack on my recommendations here. If you’re looking to stay in the area, this might be a tucked away area to stay or a nice day trip from Camden to explore.
What lens are you shooting with in these? Love the wide angle! We are currently on our way home from visiting family in Maine. We didn’t make it up to Camden but it was still the most wonderful ever being up there in the Fall. Missing it so much already! Have you ever been to Freeport or Brunswick, ME? That’s where our fam is from. It’s like Stars Hollow, so quaint!