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Experience the Best of Fall in Camden, Maine

This blog post was updated August 25, 2020 for current status due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Two well respected travel resources, Frommer’s and Travel and Leisure include Camden, Maine in the list of best places to see fall foliage in New England. We certainly agree and it is easy to see why! The spectacular colors and views can still be enjoyed while socially distancing!

fall foliage in Camden, Maine

Town and Country named Maine’s coastal Route 1 as one of the 14 Incredible Spots to See Fall Foliage Across New England. Town and Country suggests starting in Portland and ending in Camden. The drive along coastal Route 1 provides glimpses of the ocean through colorful leaves. You may ask, but where should we stop to not miss anything? Here is one insider’s view of where to stop for the best experience of fall in Camden, Maine.

Maine’s Pumpkin Trail

Heading north on Route 1 from Portland, Maine’s Pumpkin Trail includes Freeport, Maine Maritime Museum, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta. Unfortunately, a number of the events have been cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the planners hope to bring all events back in 2021, bigger and better, I have not removed the information so that you can mark your calendars for 2021. Check out Maine’s Pumpkin Trail Event Calendar to find the events that will occur in 2020.

Maine Maritime Museum

At the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, one can board the Merrymeeting to cruise the Kennebec river viewing fall foliage, wildlife and lighthouses. The Merrymeeting offers an open upper deck and enclosed lower deck for those chillier days. There are a number of different cruises of varying length.

In a pivot due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Cloak Tours are offering TeleTours. These TeleTours are private, live, guided walks done with your own personal storyteller via conference call on your phone. They are offered to your family or small group 7 days a week at times from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The price is only $19.99 for the whole group – up to 10 people. Family friendly topics offered include Haunted History, Maritime History, Historic Cemetery Exploration, in towns all along the Maine Coast.

Red Cloak Tour at Burnt Island

Red Cloak Tour at Burnt Island, Photo Credit: Red Cloak Haunted History Tours. Pre-COVID-19.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

The next stop on Maine’s Pumpkin Trail is the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Located on 295 tidal acres along the MidCoast, it is the largest botanical garden in New England and offers a true Maine experience. In addition to the fall foliage, one can still find flowers in bloom.

Dahlias at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Dahlias at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Fall at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Fall at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta – CANCELLED for 2020

The final stop on Maine’s Pumpkin Trail, the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta, is cancelled for 2020.  This is one of the most fun, interesting fall events! Mark your calendar for 2021.   Most of the events take place over Columbus Day Weekend.  However, the decorated pumpkins line the streets of Damariscotta until the end of October.

Cinderella fairy godmother and coach pumpkins in Damariscotta

Cinderella Fairy Godmother and Coach Pumpkins

One of the most fun events to watch is the Pumpkin Regatta. There are 2 divisions of the regatta, the “Paddleboat” and the “Powerboat” Divisions. In the Powerboat division, participants craft boats out of pumpkins and outfit them with a 5-10 hp outboard motor.

Pumpkin Regatta in Damariscotta

Pumpkin Regatta in Damariscotta

And the winner in 2018 was the Viking, Russell Orms.

Man dressed as a viking in a boat carved out of a pumpkin

2018 Pumpkin Regatta Winner, Russell Orms

Camden International Film Festival — reimagined for the pandemic

Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) usually takes place for 3 days during September in Camden, Rockport, and Rockland, Maine. CIFF has completely pivoted this year in the pandemic.  The festival this year will take place from October 1 through October 12 and be a hybrid film festival.  For full details see the CIFF announcement.  Hawthorn Inn is a proud sponsor of CIFF. In years past, you would not find openings at the Hawthorn Inn during CIFF because we hosted CIFF festival guests.  This year, we have openings.  Come see why Peter Keough of The Boston Globe said “Camden has grown into a major documentary event.” 

Best Ways to View the Fall Foliage in Camden, ME

After leaving Damariscotta, continue north on Route 1 until you reach your final destination of Camden, ME.

Main Street in Camden, Maine with fall foliage

Main Street in Camden, Maine

One can do a scenic drive or walk through the beautiful tree-lined streets.  There are however, more unique ways to view the foliage. Where the mountains meet the seas, one can view the colorful leaves from the top of Mount Battie.

View of Camden Fall Foliage from the top of Mount Battie

View of Camden Fall Foliage from the Top of Mount Battie

Auto road coming down from the top of Mount Battie

Auto Road from the Top of Mount Battie

From the Harbor

One can take one of the many tour boats that run out of Camden Harbor.  As you cruise through the harbor, you can admire the spectacular colors on the shore.

Heading back into Camden Harbor after a boat tour in the fall.

Camden Harbor Fall Boat Tour, Photo Credit: Dan Dishner

Lake Megunticook

One can enjoy the colors as they reflect off the lake.

Trees lining Lake Megunticook in the fall

Tree-Lined Lake Megunticook

Or one can go rock climbing with Equinox Guiding Services, and get a whole different perspective.

Man rock climbing near Lake Megunticook during the fall.

Rock Climbing Near Lake Megunticook, Photo Credit: Equinox Guiding Services.

Camden Snow Bowl

Sundays in October Camden Snow Bowl offers chair lift rides to see the amazing colors and the ocean. Chairlifts will run in 2020.  Check Camden Snow Bowl for dates and times, not posted at the time of this update.

Fall chairlift rides at Camden Snow Bowl.

Fall Chairlift Rides at Camden Snow Bowl, Photo Credit: Camden Snow Bowl.

Find Your Home Away from Home in Camden

Reserve a room at our Camden Maine Inn. Check out the Promotions page to find our current offerings to enjoy the best of fall in Camden Maine! Follow the official report for status/progress of the changing leaves in Maine.

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