City Guide: Camden, Maine

Mid-coast Maine (Penobscot Bay in particular) is the most beautiful part of the state. Camden is family friendly town with loads of recrfeational and photo opportunities within a short drive.

Where the mountains seet the sea, Camden is a popular destination. The harbor, the architecture, the landscape, and recreational features are vast and varied; and the food is pretty darned good too (hint: Cappy's Chowder House).

With a river running through town and emptying into the harbor as a waterfall, there are some great photography choices (hint: footbrige in early evening). Many of the shops and boathouses are built on pilings that are set into the water.

There are parks within walking distance to town as well as a short drive away, where you'll find warm water fun on the many lakes and ponds.

You can also hike or drive, up one of the mountains in Camden Hills State Park for sensational vistas (hint: bring a tripod, and go during leaf-peeper season).

Camden is also especially dog-friendly
Ol' Ralf can swim, chase balls (or sticks) in the inner harbor, and get fresh water at one on many dog bowls put out by local businesses along the sidewalks. Poop-bag dispenser boxes are conveniently scattered around the parks, and there are even a couple of doggie boutiques.

The two hotels that are down town, the Lord Camden Inn and the Camden Riverhouse Inn and Suites, each have dog policies.

Other photo oportunities are numerous and varied too. Morning and evening light in the harbor and parks can be magical (I don't say that things are magical very often; it's just not a word I normally use, but the light at thosae times is pretty cool). The wiki map below shows some of the places we like (give me a few more days to get little photos in the map please), you can add your favorites too.

Things to do with kids:
Play in a park or on the beach -- At Camden's inner harbor is a grassy park great for exploring the beach, picnicing, relaxing, or burning off steam. There are also lot's of ducks here. You can also head south on Bay View Street and you'll get to a little park on the left with swingsets, playground, and a semi-sandy beach great for swimming, sunbathing, or exploring intertidal sea life.

Walk the breakwater out to Rockland light house
This 1 mile round trip is a fun way to get a little excercise after dinner, a good photography opportunities, and a popular fishing spot. Kids love to run along breakwaters on top the rocks, and when they run this one, you can bet they'll be tired enough to go to bed without much guff!
Swim at Lincolnville Beach -- a sandy beach on the rocky coast. There's a good little seafood stand down by the ferry terminal and there are some stores for kids to pick up souveneirs, sodas, and sweets. At low tide, you can walk way, way out and look for sand dollars.
Ride the ferry to Islesboro -- board at Lincolnville beach, north of Camden. Get some fried clams at the clam stand while you wait.

Visit Camden Hills State Park -- Auto road up Mount Battie, trails up Bald Rock Mountain and Maiden's Cliff, camping in the campground.

See the National toboggan Championship races at Camden Snow Bowl (or ski there)
Cruise the Bay on a Schooner! book passage on the waterfront.
Places to eat:
Cappy's Chowder House -- You've got to eat at Cappy's at least once. A great lunch or dinner spot (tip: try the chowder). Kid's meals come in big cardboard classic cars. It's crowded, but in the off hours, seating isn't such a problem. Bloody Marys got greast reviews from the folks I sat next last.
Camden House of Pizza has the best pizza; at least if you like traditional pizza. Good for eating in the room while doing laundry and packing the night before leaving for home.
Su Casa -- A great Mexican restaurant opened by two guys: one from Corpus Cristi and the other from Ecuador via Seattle. The salsa is fresh pico de gallo, and the entrees are fantastic. The margeritas are nothing to shake a stick at either.
Camden Deli -- good sandwiches, good coffee, enclosed sun room seating overlooking the harbor. A little congested up front, but there's plenty of room in the back.

Mariner's Grill -- A kid-friendly restaurant with "The best haddock sandwich I've ever had!" says Tinsley. And the cole slaw was "to die for". A nice quiet peaceful place to get away from the mob; the service was fast and friendly. The blueberry pancakes are awesome as well. And there's a deck overlooking the harbor.
Peter Otts Tavern has been the traditional fine dining choice in Camden, but reviews of this placu under its new ownership haven't been great.

Places to stay:
Camden Riverhouse Inn and Suites -- our favorite for the homey one bedroom suites.
Norembega Castle -- great place for a second (or first) honeymoon.
Lord Camden Inn -- haven't stayed there, but the balconies look over Main Street and the harbor. It could be a nice place to stay.

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