17 Best Things to Do in Rockland, ME

Rockland, ME
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Located in the heart of midcoast Maine is the small city of Rockland with an approximate population of 7,000.

Rockland is a charming town with a dense suburban feel surrounded by a beautiful panoramic view of the harbor.

This city is a popular tourist destination known for its lobster fishing industry and protected harbor—tourists gather here annually to witness the famous Maine Lobster Festival.

Rockland is also the art capital of Maine—this city is home to celebrated classic and contemporary artworks.

If you are heading out to the midcoast of Maine, this city is the perfect choice for a vacation filled with explorations and unique experiences.

This city will charm you with its rich culture, history, and fantastic local festivities.

Here are the 17 best things to do in Rockland, Maine:

Walk Along the Scenic Breakwall Leading to the Historic Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Scenic View at Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
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No vacation to Rockland would be complete without stopping by the historic Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse.

On your walk along the scenic breakwater, you are surrounded by the breathtaking view of the Atlantic, calming sounds of the sea, and peaceful skies.

The lighthouse is situated at the end of a 7 to 8 miles long breakwater where the historic lighthouse will welcome you.

Scenic View at Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
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Climb up the lighthouse if you want a bird’s eye view of Rockland Harbor, and you’ll surely appreciate the walk once you get to see the sights in every direction.

When planning a trip to Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, make sure to check the weather and wear your most comfortable shoes for the hike to get to the lighthouse complex.

Walk Along the City's Waterfront at Rockland Harbor Trail

This five-mile-long walking path showcases a gorgeous harbor view; the trail links the historic downtown and redeveloped waterfront.

Rockland Harbor Trail is the perfect place for a relaxing walk and sightseeing.

Have a peaceful walk surrounded by picturesque scenery and get a glimpse of Rockland’s arts and culture.

The path may be short, but it’s a go-to place for a sweet, relaxing experience when visiting Rockland.

Learn and Play With the Little Ones at Coastal Children's Museum

Coastal Children's Museum is located on the sound end of Rockland Harbor Trail; this is a must-visit place for families traveling with little kids.

The museum features many interactive exhibits for a better learning experience, including workshops, a sensory play area, and more.

They have a variety of games and activities to keep the little ones entertained.

Don’t hesitate to visit this quaint museum because there are lots to explore inside that will definitely excite the little ones.

Attend the Annual Maine Lobster Festival at Harbor Park

A few walks away from Rockland Harbor Trail is the community's gathering place for all events and festivities.

The famous Maine Lobster Festival is regularly held in Harbor Park; the festival takes place during the first weekend of August.

The five-day festival features a grand parade, world-class lobster dishes, cooking contests, music concerts, and more!

Every year is a different way of celebrating the world's most fantastic Lobster Festival, so make sure to get in the mix of fun and great food.

This waterfront hub is perfect for an afternoon picnic with great views and a relaxing atmosphere on regular days.

A few installations of ship anchors and other marine items are displayed in the park, giving the park more personality.

Appreciate America's Contemporary Arts at Farnsworth Art Museum

Outside View of Farnsworth Art Museum
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If you are an art enthusiast, you will appreciate a day of art appreciation at Farnsworth Art Museum.

The museum is home to over 15,000 nationally recognized collections of works created by America's greatest artists.

The museum carefully curated the exhibits with an expansive collection of quality art so your eyes will surely marvel at beautiful pieces of art.

Outside View of Farnsworth Art Museum
Crispins C. Crispian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take the opportunity to channel your artistic side through events and workshops offered by Farnsworth Art Museum.

You can also stop by the museum store and choose from a variety of art-related items.

Watch the Day on the Life of a Puffin at Project Puffin Visitor Center

The Project Puffin Visitor Center opened its door to the public to educate people about the importance of protecting wildlife.

The project's successful initiative brought the puffins back to their historic nesting islands.

Head out to their visitor center to witness real-time videos of puffin and other rare seabirds from the remote Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge.

They also have interactive exhibits and educational discussions for wildlife conservation.

You can extend your support in protecting the habitat of these amazing creatures by donating.

Experience a Luxurious Bed and Breakfast Accommodation at the Historic Berry Manor Inn

This lovely Victorian-era mansion was built in 1898 originally owned by Charles H. Berry, and it’s now open to accommodate guests with its 12 elegant rooms.

Experience elegance like you're in the 19th century in a beautiful Victorian home; this place is perfect for a romantic getaway.

They serve sumptuous multi-course breakfast to start your day before you go out to explore Rockland.

There are other perks like free parking and access to their pantry where you can try their famous homemade pies.

The manor is set on a tree-lined street located in a quiet neighborhood for a comfortable stay.

Tour the Historic Olson House

View of the Historic Olson House
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The Olson House is a national historic landmark in Rockland, and this colonial farmhouse is famous for its appearance in several works of Andrew Wyeth.

This two-story house was home to Christina and Alvaro Olson, who became friends with Andrew Wyeth.

If the house’s beauty captured the renowned artist's interest, you would also feel the house's charm and story gravitating towards you.

View of the Historic Olson House
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The house is a beautiful sight, an old cedar-sided house on a hill.

Aside from the exterior structure of the house, its walls speak history that can be found from the inside.

The house also has excellent views overlooking a cove at the water's edge.

This place is a must-visit, so don't miss out on the opportunity to see a great piece of America's art history.

Watch the Sunset at Sandy Beach

If you want a nice escape from the busy district, stop by this little beach for a fun day out.

The beach overlooks excellent views of the harbor and is a lovely spot to watch the sunset.

You can find some colorful sea glass and amusing seashells scattered around the beach.

The beach has picnic tables nearby,  so make sure to bring some snacks for a fun lunch out by the beach.

Harbor Square Gallery is one of the finest galleries in Rockland, housed in an old bank building which is a piece of Maine's history.

The art gallery features an outstanding collection of works from famous Maine artists and other renowned artists worldwide.

You can explore all building levels, including art exhibits in parts of the old bank like bank vaults and hallways.

Make sure to check out their rooftop sculpture garden for a lovely zen setting and gorgeous views.

Delve Deeper Into Maine’s Art Scene at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art exhibits works for artists with ties to Maine and other internationally-known artists.

This cozy art space features several exhibits that change from time to time, so every visit is another discovery of exceptional arts.

There is a dedicated space in the museum to craft your own piece of art and even join art workshops to channel your artistic talents.

This gallery is worth stopping by for art enthusiasts.

Shop for Fresh Local Seafood at Jess's Market

View of Jess's Market
Crispins C. Crispian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A trip to Rockland wouldn't be complete without getting to try the best-tasting seafood from the region.

Why wait for Maine's Lobster Festival to get fresh lobsters when you can shop for a variety of fresh local seafood year-round at Jess's Market.

Jess's Market is a small family-owned business established in 1986 dedicated to serving the freshest seafood, and they offer a wide selection of reasonably priced local seafood.

This place is a highly recommended go-to seafood marketplace to experience the delights of the sea.

Go Sailing on a Traditional Sailing Vessel With Bufflehead Sailing Charters

Aside from admiring the harbor from afar, why not venture on a sailing tour to experience more of Rockland?

Bufflehead Sailing Charters offer a variety of sailing tours to match your budget and preferences on your time.

Whether you want a short sail along the harbor or venture on a trip to the scenic Penobscot Bay, they offer what you're looking for in your sailing trip.

They even offer a lobster bake feast and a sunset cruise for a complete experience cruising the harbor.

Highlight your trip on a sailing adventure along with the beautiful views of the coast of Maine.

Learn About Nautical History at Sail Power and Steam Museum

If you are looking to visit a museum packed with history and an interactive learning experience, the Sail Power and Steam Museum should be on your list.

The museum is home to a collection of marine and industrial artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia.

Aside from the carefully curated exhibits, they also offer sailing classes and music concerts, so a trip to this museum will never be dull because it’s fun for all ages.

The museum itself is a treasure to Rockland, so make sure to stop by and explore Rockland's history.

A few minutes away from Farnsworth Art Museum is another art gallery that features sophisticated pieces from Maine.

This quaint art gallery houses a variety of historical and modern artworks curated to emphasize the art of Maine.

Aside from their regular exhibits, they also organize art fairs to showcase various galleries, collections, curators, and works of independent artists.

You can buy a piece that resonates with you as a commemoration of your trip to Rockland, Maine's Art Capital.

Learn About Maritime History at Maine Lighthouse Museum

Wide View of Maine Lighthouse Museum
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After your trip to Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, you may want to check out Maine Lighthouse Museum.

The museum is home to an extensive collection of lighthouse artifacts and maritime mementos.

A part of the exhibit is dedicated to highlighting stories of heroism, paying tribute to the United States Coast Guard and United States Life Saving Services, and shed light on the unsung lives of lady lightkeepers.

Wide View of Maine Lighthouse Museum
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They aim to conserve these historical artifacts to educate people about the remarkable history of lighthouses and the people behind them.

There’s a lot to uncover about history in this museum, so consider stopping by this gem in Rockwater, Maine.

Shop for Local Crafts to Support the Environmental Cause of The Island Institute

The Island Institute lives by its mission to build a sustainable future for Maine's islands and coastal communities.

Visit the Island Institute to see a variety of crafts and artworks that celebrates the beauty and endurance of Maine's islands and coasts.

You'll be welcomed by the vibrant and cheery atmosphere of the gallery, and you'll be enticed by how a small gallery can provide a glimpse of the culture.

You can shop for products crafted by talented local artisans, and the proceeds will support the institute's mission.

A trip to this gallery is ideal if you want a souvenir to remember your trip to Rockland; not only will you be bringing a piece of Maine's culture, but you'll also be supporting the cause to preserve the beauty of Maine.

Final Thoughts

Rockland is a muse in midcoast Maine with its rich culture and history; a trip to this city is truly an escape from the bustling city life.

You wouldn't have to be driving around the city all the time because most of the popular attractions in Rockland are adjacent to each other.

You'll indeed feel at home with the suburban atmosphere of the city and get acquainted with the community.

Don’t forget to reference this list on your future trip to Rockland, Maine.