Written by Missy Johnston
This is the perfect time to fulfill your dream of taking a private, luxury yacht charter to Maine. Start in Camden cruising through Penobscot Bay, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, and other charming places in “Down East,” Maine, before winding back around to Camden to disembark after a terrific yacht charter cruise.
Let’s take a look at some of the best things to stop and see along the way.
Relax and unwind in Camden.
Boarding in the relatively quiet and serene town of Camden means that almost immediate destressing occurs due to being far away from any bustling, crowded cities.
Before leaving Camden be sure to explore ashore as there is much to see and do just in Camden. Camden offers several great opportunities to get out into nature. Mt. Battie in Camden Hills National Park offers a hike to the tallest peak in the region. The hike takes about an hour and there are spectacular views at the summit. The Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheater is a park that surrounds the inner harbor, which offers shopping, dining, and a great view of the Windjammer Sailing Yachts.
Camden’s Historic District, which was added to the National Registry of Historical Places in 1989, is made up of 58 structures on High Street. These structures offer a closeup view of the architecture of the 1800s and early 1900s.
Most of the restaurants in Camden specialize in local fresh seafood which offer superb New England dining experiences with seafood choices such as lobster, mussels, scallops, cod, haddock, salmon, and clams, among others.
Breathe the fresh air at Acadia National Park.
Bass Harbor Headlight, Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park has plenty more hiking, fishing, swimming, and picnicking opportunities. Cruise to the nearby islands, Isle au Haut or Butter Island, for beautiful views and a taste of some untouched wilderness, or climb Cadillac Mountain to look back toward Mt. Battle. Mount Desert Island is home to the picturesque Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
The remarkable beauty of the area, with its jagged cliffs, rolling waters, and coastal forests more than makes up for the relative lack of soft sand and brilliant sunlight. Acadia is the oldest national park in the eastern half of the United States, and everything is pristine and well-preserved.
Maine is a prime location for sea kayaking, if the charter yacht has this water toy, to explore the numerous coves where there is always local wild and bird life to see.
Or spend time just off Schoodic Point watching the waves crashing against craggy rapids that occur just offshore in certain places on the peninsula. Speaking of crashing waves, there’s not a better spot to see the immense power of water meeting land than Thunder Hole. The name comes from the thundering sound of the waves pounding against the rocks.
On land there are also many horseback riding and bicycle trails that span the coastline. Sail to Rockland Harbor to see the very picturesque Breakwater Lighthouse for a photo op before the yacht cruise continues.
Enjoy seafood and history in Bar Harbor.
Bar Harbor, Maine
No private luxury yacht charter to Maine would be complete without a stop in Bar Harbor to experience this quaint New England town. It’s a wonderful place to shop, have dinner, and discover the local history of the area.
While much of Mount Desert Island is protected land within Acadia National Park, some of the settled areas, including Bar Harbor, are just as interesting. The known history of the area dates back nearly 10,000 years, to the Wabanaki Indians, who were the island’s main inhabitants until the French inhabited the area in the early 1600s.
During the 1800s, Bar Harbor was a top summer resort, known for its cooling breezes and featuring the largest resort hotel in the nation. Not far from the hotel, very wealthy summer residents, with well-known last names such as Mellon, Astor, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt, began to build grand homes along the ocean shore of West Street. This street eventually became known as Millionaires Row. These mansions still stand, and they can be viewed at low tide on the Bar Island Walk.
The Historical Museum in Bar Harbor contains items that offer an intimate glimpse into the Gilded Age. It is open only in the afternoons. The Abbe Museum is an acknowledgement of the rich Native American culture of New England. Affiliated with the Smithsonian Museum, this museum is dedicated to the history of the Wabanaki tribe in Maine.
Bar Harbor Restaurants and Shops
As readers of Moby Dick by Herman Melville know, whaling was once a lynchpin of the New England economy. The Bar Harbor Whale Museum features natural exhibits of marine life, including whale skeletons, that are native to the area.
The Bar Harbor region has several beautiful and historic gardens to visit, such as the Sunken Gardens, the Turrets Seaside Garden, and several others under the umbrella of the College of Atlantic Gardens. Or there is always the Village Green, filled with lovely flower gardens and the antique Italian fountain that was placed there in 1909.
Shore Path and Ocean trail are two excellent walking paths to explore once visitors have strolled through town. For Yachties who haven’t explored Thunder Hole already from the sea, it can be approached by land by walking down Ocean Trail’s rocky pathway.
For Yachties with children, Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater is worth a visit. Ed and his fellow diver will dive down to the ocean floor, record video and audio of everything they see, and transmit it back to the tour group waiting up on deck. Then, they bring some neat sea creatures back for guests to touch and see. It’s a great way to introduce kids to the magic under the ocean’s surface.
Out in the open waters in DownEast Maine, it’s possible that while on board you could be visited by whales and other interesting wildlife. Humpback, Minke, and Finback whales frequent the waters around Bar Harbor, as do seals, dolphins, porpoises, and a variety of ocean birds.
Butter Island Lobster Boil on a bed of fresh seaweed
And be sure to ask, as a special treat, that usually every private charter yacht can supply guests is a private lobster boil complete with rockweed seaweed on board or on a beach including lobster, usually bought right from the lobster boat, steamer clams, fresh corn on the cob, potatoes, and sausage. When the raw egg put in the bottom of the pot rises to the surface hard boiled, the Lobster Boil is done and can be poured out on deck or onto a bed of seaweed right on the beach.
Cruise back to Camden to disembark after a full yacht charter experience in DownEast Maine.