Is Camden the Best Maine Harbor For Cruisers?


Tom Babbitt

Let’s start with full disclosure. Camden has been our home and home port for over 30 years, during which time we’ve also cruised the entire east coast of the US as well as most of the Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean multiple times. We’ve got some basis for comparison. 

Surrounded by the majestic Camden Hills to the west and the incomparable Penobscot Bay to the east, the stunning natural beauty of the place is unmatched. The downtown area hugs the busy inner harbor while affording views of the large and semi-protected outer harbor including picturesque Curtis Island, which is open to the public and well worth a visit. 

Camden is a pleasant place where locals will make eye contact with you and oncoming traffic will likely stop to allow you to make a left turn or let you into line when traffic backs up, and pedestrians are waved across at the crosswalks.

Amenities abound with an award-winning library on the harbor as well as an amphitheater and waterfront park. A modern and active YMCA as well as excellent walking and hiking trails—with some trail heads easily accessible from the harbor—give every opportunity to stay fit and healthy. Excellent schools, an opera house, and an engaged and energetic population make for a stimulating environment year-round.

And, of course, while maritime activities dominate in the warmer months, the fall colors and festivals ease the transition to winter when the town-owned ski resort is a big draw.

For the cruiser who may only spend a few days in Camden, there is a plethora of resources all within 500 feet of the town landing. Consider the following offerings:

  • Over 20 restaurants (7 of which are on the waterfront)
  • 7 hotels and B & Bs
  • 6 day and overnight schooners
  • 5 art galleries
  • 5 interior design/home furnishing stores
  • An extraordinarily wonderful grocery store
  • A pharmacy
  • An independent bookstore
  • A cupcakery
  • A candy store 
  • A wine seller
  • An outdoor apparel and LL Bean mini-branch
  • A propane-filling facility
  • A choice of slips, inner harbor floats and outer harbor moorings available from Lyman Morse, Camden Yacht Club or Camden Harbormaster, in addition to space for anchoring in the outer harbor
  • A full-service yacht yard with Travel Lift and array of shops, restaurants, and other enticements on the wharf

We think you’ll be rewarded with a unique and enjoyable experience on every visit to this extraordinary destination on the coast of Maine, and yes, without even a hint of bias, we emphatically believe that Camden Harbor is the best there is. Check it out in the Guide and let us know if you agree.

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