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36 Hours in Bath
Activities: Walking, sightseeing, dining, shopping, hiking, beaches
Family-friendly, great for a day trip or overnight
Region: Maine’s MidCoast & Islands
Historically one of Maine’s largest cities and a major supplier of America’s 19th-century sailing vessels, this charming town skirting the Kennebec River is known as the “City of Ships.” Today, its maritime influence is still present throughout the quaint town of redbrick sidewalks, local shops and restaurants housed in architecturally classic American-style buildings. Sail into Bath, and you’ll find plenty to do—in town and beyond.
Start your visit by exploring downtown Bath’s eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and museums along tree-lined avenues. Satisfy your inner child with a visit to Island Treasure Toys for puzzles, games and craft kits, and then enjoy a treat at Bath’s Sweete Shoppe, a cheerfully robin-egg-blue candy shop offering sweet delights and gifts. For book lovers, Mockingbird Bookshop offers timeless classics, new releases and local favorites, as well as steaming cups of tea to-go, while Open Door Bookstore specializes in rare and out-of-print books. Refresh your space at Maine Street Design Co Shop with a selection of local home décor products and a professional design team ready to assist you. Home cooks and kitchen gadget lovers know that Now You’re Cooking is a must when it comes to cookware shopping. They also carry a wonderful wine selection. Halcyon Yarn is a utopia for knitters, crocheters and other fiber artists with their wide selection of signature yarns. And for the ultimate Maine (shopping) adventure, don’t forget a stop at Reny’s for just about anything from snacks to shoes.
When your shopping bags are sufficiently filled, head to Kennebec Tavern for lunch along the riverfront and choose from a generous selection of seafood, sandwiches and pasta. Mae’s Café and Bakery is a local favorite serving breakfast and lunch all day. Wood-fired pizza is the specialty at Bruno’s and Centre Street Bakery has a nice selection of “grab-and-go” options.
Afterwards, a good walk may be exactly what is called for, and there’s no better place to do so than at Linwood E. Temple Waterfront Park overlooking the sprawling Kennebec River. Dog-friendly and with plenty of decks and benches, you can relax while enjoying some beautiful views. Library Park is another perfect spot for relaxing or a picnic. The William Zorach Spirit of the Sea fountain takes center stage in the park.
Part of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Thorne Head Preserve is a scenic and easily accessible gem offering wonderful hiking opportunities.
Just a seven-minute drive away, the Maine Maritime Museum will bring you back into Bath’s ship-building heyday, with its 20-acre waterfront campus featuring indoor galleries, the only surviving wooden shipyard in the country, a working boat shop, a newly restored historic schooner and more.
Bath’s proximity to scenic Georgetown and Reid State Park (about 17-minute and 25-minute drives, respectively) make it an ideal place to stay overnight for a couple of days. The Kennebec Inn, Pryor House B&B, or Benjamin F. Packard House Bed and Breakfast are all charmingly comfortable options that will leave you refreshed and ready to take on your day. The Hampton Inn is perfectly situated on the riverfront and close to downtown Bath.
Head south to Georgetown to discover the Josephine Newman Audubon Sanctuary, 119 acres of trails winding through salt marsh, meadow, forest and coastline. Reid State Park will stun and dazzle with its impossibly long, wide sand beaches and rocky headlands overlooking sweeping seascapes, lighthouses and islands. Even in the winter, the park is a serene and beautiful escape—perfect for a refreshing beach walk.
From Ellsworth: 100 miles
From Bangor: 114 miles
From Lewiston/Auburn: 28 miles
From Portland: 34 miles