One of the most popular areas in the Kennebec Valley Region is the Belgrade Lakes, a chain of seven lakes and ponds that have drawn visitors for 100 years for freshwater fishing and other outdoor recreation. Fishing camps and lakeside cottages line every lake and the summer community is vibrant while the off seasons are very peaceful. Loon calls echo off the shores and the night skies are filled with stars.
The Belgrade Lakes are located just a few miles from Interstate 95 in the Augusta/Waterville area, so city amenities are not far away, but far enough to maintain the rural feel of this region. In the summer, you can watch the mail boat deliver packages right to residents’ docks on Great Pond.
Things to Do in the Belgrade Lakes
Fishing is the number one draw to the lakes. Early each morning, you’ll find quiet boats slowly drifting along as folks fish for landlocked salmon, brook trout, brown trout, small and large mouth bass, smelt, pickerel, northern pike and white perch. The largest lake is Great Pond, located in Rome, at 8,239 acres with a maximum depth of 69 feet. Messalonskee Lake is the second largest with 3,510 acres and a depth of 113 feet. With the many other ponds and lakes in the area, you’re sure to find your favorite spot.
You can rent any kind of boat you’d like—from antique cruisers and pontoon boats, to kayaks and canoes—from the numerous marinas in the area like Great Pond. Brightside Marina offers rentals and boat tours as well. The Belgrade Lakes are perfect for trying out a stand-up-paddleboard for the first time, too.
Spend a day on land golfing among the mountains and lakes at the Belgrade Lakes Golf Club—an award-winning 18-hole course. Or take a hike up Blueberry Hill for panoramic views of the lakes—an ideal hike in the fall.
Restaurants in the Belgrade Lakes
You have plenty of dining options in the Belgrade area. At the center of town is Day’s Store which has been a favorite family-owned general store since 1958. Best known for their pizza and sandwiches, they also prepare full meals to take home that you can enjoy on a picnic table in their lakefront yard, or on your boat at their dock. After a day on the lakes, why not dock and dine at The Village Inn and Tavern? Famous for their 12-hour roast duck, the Village Inn has something for everyone. For a waterfront view, head to the Great Pond Marina to the popular Sadie’s Restaurant. The Olde Post Office Café in the tiny village of Mount Vernon serves fresh locally-grown foods in a charming historic building. For a tasty lobster roll or locally-made ice cream cone, visit The Ice Cream Place in nearby Smithfield.
Where to Stay in the Belgrade Lakes
There are many camps and cottages to rent in the Belgrade Lakes. The Village Inn has six guest rooms and two suites, all overlooking the water. For a classic all-inclusive camp, stay at Bear Spring Camps on Great Pond, where three homecooked meals are prepared daily and you have a plethora of activities to choose from. It was here that E.B. White spent his childhood summers. Stay on the lake that inspired the film “On Golden Pond” at the two-and-four bedroom cottages at Belgrade Lakes Four Season Cottages or check out Camp Skoglund in Mount Vernon, for a private lakeside experience.