THIS IS A MUST DO IF YOU VISIT BOOTHBAY HARBOR.WE SAW MORE WHALES THAN WE EXPECTED.LOTS OF FIN WHALES VERY CLOSE TO THE BOAT.LATER WE GOT HUMPBACK WHALES UP TO THE BOAT.VERY FRIENDLY WHALES.THE CREW WERE GREAT,NARRATION VERY INFORMATIVE,AND WHAT A NICE CLEAN BOAT.
Department of Marine Resources Aquarium
A particularly good place to visit if you've got kids with you, although I wouldn't recommend going more than once. Here you can see the various sorts of aquatic life that live in the Boothbay region, and learn a few things about them. At the 'touch tank,' you can pick up a starfish or a sea cucumber, and get a closer look at a horseshoe crab. The real highlight of the aquarium, however, is a tank where you can reach in and pet the sharks and skates.
You can take a variety of different boat trips from the harbor. Different cruise companies have booths down near the water front offering harbor tours, lighthouse tours, fishing boats, whale watches, seal rocks, sunset sails etc. You will also see flyers posted for individuals making a go in the tour or fishing business. Most are very flexible and offer to let you change or cancel if the weather is poor.
If you take a cruise beyond the harbor be sure to bring a jacket as it gets cool and breezy outside of the harbor.
My favorite cruise with kids was the Miss Boothbay. This is a lobster boat and they take you out and pull traps. This was great because they got to see lobsters, crabs, sea urchins, star fish, etc. up close and touch them. You don’t go a long distance but you learn something about the how the business works.
There are many sightseeing boat trips all along the piers. From local recommendations and my own experience, Cap'n Fish is the best. They offer a variety of trips from whale watching to coastal lighthouse tours.
Southport-Boothbay Harbor is a nice place to spend a few days while touring the area. Nearby is Pemaquid Point Light, worthy of a visit. It has a small nautical museum within it. Then there is the Maine State Pen Gift Store - - what a bargain for hand crafted Maine gifts, such as detailed wood boats, this is in the small town of Thomaston. A must see. Prices are about half what you would expect to pay. Rockland is neat but always crowded with traffic. Owls Head light is nearby and worthy of a visit. Port Clyde and Tenants Harbor also.
If you've got access to a small powerboat, spend a day going from island to island and enjoying the outdoors. The Burnt Island lighthouse, just outside the harbor, is beautiful. Through the Townsend Gut and into the Sheepscot River, you can pick raspberries on Powerderhorn, collect sea heather on Spectacle, and drive past Seal Rock. If you're feeling more adventurous, try heading out past Burnt to some of the outer islands. Damariscove and Outer Heron are both great day trips. Damariscove has the added bonus of being both a nature preserve and a national historic site. If history is your interest, you might like heading across the Damariscotta to Colonial Pemaquid. Be warned, though -- you'll need a chart for most of these trips. If you don't have access to a boat of your own, book a tour with one of the many sightseeing companies in town.
It's a bit of a drive from Boothbay, but Reid State Park is home to a rarity in Maine -- beautiful, clear, long beaches. It's definitely worth the trouble to get there. Go for a walk or try some bodysurfing on the mile- or half-mile-beach, or visit the lagoon. One warning -- the water is very cold! The scenery, as well, is as spectacular as any you'll see along the coast.
' Bay Lady' Departs daily from Pier 6 . WWW.balmydayscruises.com
Takes about 8-12 people on board. We enjoyed being close to the water and sailing soundless through the Harbor.