Whether rubbing elbows with the locals at a festival or enjoying a lobster roll served with a generous side of salt air, Rockland is alive with options in the summertime.

There are trails to hike, museums to explore, restaurants to experience and antiques shops to plunder. Festivals dominate the summer schedule, bringing the waterfront to life with midway rides, blues musicians, schooners, parades, food and fun.

Visitors can shop ‘til they drop downtown or hop aboard a schooner or a ferry boat to experience island life for a day or two. Beaches and lighthouses abound, and the city boasts a unique experience in its Rockland Breakwater.

The granite breakwater is nearly a mile long and visitors stroll down to the lighthouse, fish from the massive granite blocks, beachcomb nearby and keep an eye out for marine life. The jetty ends with the picturesque Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and attached Keeper’s House which is open to the public for seasonal tours. Built in 1902, visitors are encouraged to walk carefully and enjoy the breeze, keeping an eye out for seals or dolphins. Be sure to use the restrooms in the parking area, as there are none on the breakwater.

Rockport Harbor features beautiful views, a statue of Andre the seal, lime kilns, a bell buoy, boat launch, locomotive and small beach. Photo by Kris Ferrazza

Another of city’s biggest claims to fame is the annual Maine Lobster Festival, which kicks off July 31 this year and runs through Aug. 4. Since 1947 the festival has been run by volunteers and drawn thousands of people who take part in a massive lobster feed under tents on the waterfront.

Related events include a popular downtown parade, midway rides, live music, road race, lobster crate race, the crowning of a Sea Goddess and more. A shuttle is available to control traffic. For details, visit mainelobsterfestival.com.


Overlapping with the Maine Lobster Festival is the Maine Antiques Festival held at the Union Fairgrounds from Aug. 2-4. This event boasts more than 100 dealers from 20 states and is the largest of its kind in Maine, organizers say. Held rain or shine, it includes primitives, glass, wicker, tools, jewelry, folk art, furniture, food and a beer and wine garden. For details, visit maineantiquesfestival.com.

The North Atlantic Blues Festival rolls into town July 13-14, with a full slate of music over two days at the public landing. There is a Saturday night pub crawl down Main Street, tent area, food and beverages, vendors and more. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy some of the best blues anywhere just a stone’s throw from the harbor. Rain or shine. For the full lineup and ticket information, visit northatlanticbluesfestival.com.

Boating enthusiasts look forward to the 17th annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show in Rockland’s Harbor & Buoy parks on Aug. 9-11. The show attracts boating enthusiasts, boat builders, designers, architects, craftsmen, artists, furniture makers, jewelers, marine vendors and more.

The event includes live music, food trucks, demonstrations, children’s activities, artists, vendors, exhibits and the ever-popular Boatyard Dog Trials on Sunday morning. For more, visit maineboats.com.

From Aug. 17-24 the Maine Wild Blueberry Festival will be in Union. This local fair has midway rides, carnival games, demolition derbies, 4-H demonstrations and exhibits and even a Wild Blueberry Queen Coronation. For details, visit unionfair.org.

The Camden Windjammer Festival caps off the summer, Aug. 30-31. The fleet gathers and then there is a parade of sail, flag-raising ceremony, talent show, live entertainment, games, dancing, boat tours, food and fireworks. Also pirates invade, there is a crate race, fish relay, dog show, chowder challenge, boat building contest and more. For details, visit camdensnowbowl.com.


Looking for lighthouses? The Rockland area is blessed with them. Nautical history buffs also may enjoy the Maine Lighthouse Museum in downtown Rockland. Recently merged with the Museum of Lighthouse History in Wells, the attraction has been enhanced by the merger with both collections now on display. Exhibits include a large collection of Fresnel lenses and other memorabilia, including U.S. Coast Guard photographs, personal histories, fog bells, buoys, fog horns and other artifacts. The Rockland museum is the largest of its kind in the nation and shares space with the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce and Lighthouse Depot gift shop. For hours and ticket information, visit mainelighthousemuseum.org.

While in the Rockland area, hit up the popular farm stand and greenhouse at Beth’s Farm in Warren for fresh pies, produce, flowers and more. Take a quick dip in Alford Lake in Hope, Chickawaukie Pond in Rockport or Seven Tree Pond in Union. Tour a vineyard at Savage Oaks or Sweetgrass wineries in Union, Breakwater Vineyards in Owls Head or Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville.

Dog lovers need not leave their pups at home. The Midcoast is mutt-friendly, with dogs welcome in many area businesses and outdoor restaurants. Beaches including Laite Beach in Camden allow dogs to visit with their responsible owners from 6 to 8 a.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. Waste must be disposed of properly and be sure to have a leash on hand. For more about visiting the Midcoast with your dog, go to camdenrockland.com.

While in Camden, stop in at Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe on Bayview Street for a sweet treat. The store is two floors of delicious delights, including vintage candies and modern candies sure to please all ages. Handmade confections tempt from behind the counter, while barrels of saltwater taffy await on the second floor.

No Midcoast visit would be complete without a stop at Rockport Marine Park where a refurbished statue of Andre the seal still resides, commemorating one of the town’s most famous residents. The harbor seal, who performed tricks in a live show with harbormaster Harry Goodridge for nearly 25 years, inspired a book and a movie.

There are benches for relaxing, historic lime kilns, a Vulcan steam locomotive, boat ramp, harbormaster’s office and small beach.


Climb Maiden Cliff in Camden or visit Dorman’s Dairy Dream in Thomaston for a cone. Park a beach chair at Birch Point State Park in Owls Head or Drift Inn Beach off Rt. 131 in Port Clyde. Walk the grounds of the historic Owls Head Lighthouse or visit the Marshall Point Lighthouse and Dip Net restaurant in Port Clyde.

Back in Rockland, the historic Strand Theatre features a full schedule on the big screen, as well as lectures and special events. The city has local golf courses (full and mini), and salons and spas to keep guests relaxed and looking their best.

The Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center is just off Main Street in Rockland. Three generations of the Wyeth family have works in the permanent collection there, along with Louise Nevelson’s sculpture and others. Summer exhibits include “Phyllis Mills Wyeth: A Celebration,” a memorial tribute to the wife of Jamie Wyeth, and “Jamie Wyeth: Untoward Occurrences and Other Things.” Visit farnsworthmuseum.org for more.

Other museums include Montpelier in Thomaston, Coastal Children’s Museum in Rockland and the Owls Head Transportation Museum, which boasts a full schedule of summer events, including air and auto shows and cruise-ins. Visit ohtm.org.

Rockland also has a new Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and at Sharp’s Point, visitors can tour the Sail, Power and Steam Museum. In Union, there is a museum devoted in part to Moxie, the ubiquitous soda of Maine. The Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage features Moxie memorabilia and rooms full of antiques at the fairgrounds.

For more on what is going on in and around Rockland in the summertime, visit mainedreamvacation.com.

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