Wiscasset in Maine is a charming small town that has full of history, heritage, outdoor recreation, a vibrant arts community, and top-notch lobster rolls.
This town’s streets are lined with well-preserved century-old buildings and houses, each having its great backstories to tell.
This town is nestled along the Sheepscot River, north of Boothbay Harbor.
Wiscasset is considered a coastal town since it’s a few minutes' boat ride from reaching the North Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the best attractions in this town are the numerous historical sites and museums.
You can visit the Nickels-Sortwell House and Castle Tucker, which offer wonderful insights into the town’s rich history.
It takes about 30-minutes to reach Augusta from Wiscasset through MS 27.
A bit of a backstory of Wiscasset: It was originally inhabited by Native Americans, but in 1663, European immigrants started to settle there.
In 1802, the town was named after Wiscasset, an Abenaki name that means “Coming out from the harbor but you don’t see where?”
Wiscasset was then known as a busy shipbuilding and fishing town that grew to become the busiest seaport town behind Boston.
The town is also easily accessed through Maine State Route 27 from Augusta, the capital city of Maine.
Wiscasset has dozens of interesting things and activities waiting for you to discover.
So, here are the 15 best things to do in Wiscasset, Maine:
Visit the Nickels-Sortwell House
Wiscasset’s downtown district has a high concentration of old and historic buildings and houses.
One of the most famous among these buildings is the Nickels-Sortwell House, which is distinctly known for its simple yet elegant federal-style architecture.
Constructed in 1807, this house turned into a museum is considered a National Historic Landmark.
The original owner, Captain William Nickel, was a known trader and shipowner in Wiscasset back in the day.
The house’s lavish style and decorations directly reflect the prosperity and exquisite tastes of the community during the peak of the town’s maritime industry.
It is a nice place to learn history and appreciate the intricate details of the house’s design.
In total, the Nickels-Sortwell House has five bedrooms, all furnished with traditional period decorations.
They are all equipped with modern amenities for a more convenient stay.
Remarkably, this famous house is available to rent out for different affairs and for accommodation.
Also, it’s a nice place to start your Wiscasset travel adventure.
Buy Rare Collectibles at the Peter Eaton Antiques
Wiscasset’s town center teems with boutiques, small shops, and art galleries.
One of the highly recommended places to check out is the Peter Eaton Antiques along Federal St.
Even if you’re not a seasoned antique hunter, you’ll still enjoy browsing through its collection of vintage wooden furniture, artworks, accent pieces, and other fine antique collectibles.
Amazingly, most of the antique collectibles displayed at the shop are from the federal and colonial eras, making them more valuable for collection.
If you’re planning to add something new to your antique collection, it would be great to visit the Peter Eaton Antiques.
Be One with Nature at the Eaton Farm & The Back River Trail
The Eaton Farm & The Back River Trail is one of Chewonki’s trails with the most accessible access and the most charming scenery.
If you want excitement after growing bored of visiting historical sites in Wiscasset, this is your go-to place.
Traversing the Eaton Farm & The Back River Trail is fairly easy for hikers on all levels.
It is very easy to traverse since the trail comprises old woods roads, meadow paths, and footpaths along the peninsula.
Although there are several steep portions along the trail, they’re all easily passable.
This outdoor attraction in Wiscasset is the perfect place to immerse with nature and do outdoor activities like bird watching and nature photography.
Browse through Beautiful Artworks at the Wiscasset Bay Gallery
The Wiscasset Bay Gallery features fine artworks from American and European artists dating back to the 18th to early 20th centuries.
Housed inside the historic Wawenock Building along Main St., the Wiscasset Bay Gallery is filled with charming contemporary paintings that are mostly inspired by the picturesque Maine coastline and the maritime character of the region back in the day.
The gallery holds various themed exhibits, featuring dozens of different art genres such as realism, modernism, and impressionism.
It is a worthy place to visit, especially if you have a taste for art.
In addition, some of the artworks displayed in the gallery are for sale, so chances are, you might take one home as your prized souvenir from your Wiscasset travel adventure.
Shop for Antique Collectibles at the Marston House Wiscasset
The Marston House Wiscasset is one of the many antique shops scattered throughout the town.
So, if you’re seeking more antique shopping, this is a place you need to go.
It is known for its charming antique and French textile collection at the same time, Marston House serves as an affordable bed and breakfast.
It is conveniently located along Main Street, making it very accessible when you’re in downtown Wiscasset.
Browse through their extensive collection of antique collectibles and unique French fine textiles that you can buy as your souvenir.
Explore the Wiscasset Old Jail
The Wiscasset Old Jail or the 1812 Jail is a unique historical site that tells you the story of the grave conditions of detention facilities back in the day.
Unlike other historical sites in Wiscasset with more positive backstories, Wiscasset Old Jail tells you a detailed description of the harsh environment of prison life back in the 1800s.
Touring this historical site lets you step inside the jail cell, where you will instantly feel the heavy atmosphere and the anguish that prisoners experienced back in the day.
The prison served its purpose until the completion of the Thomaston state prison.
Today, the Wiscasset Old Jail is managed by the Lincoln County Historical Association, which provides tours in the area.
Situated along upper Federal St, the old prison was turned over to them in 1954.
Have Fun at the Monkey C Monkey Do
Aside from history and arts, Wiscasset is also home to a fun-filled attraction, the Monkey C Monkey Do, a theme park that centers on various obstacle courses for the family.
It is a must-visit place, especially if you bring your family with you during your trip to Wiscasset.
It features more than 60 obstacle courses from swinging and climbing to ziplining and so much more.
In addition, this facility, located along Bath Road, has eight zip lines you can try out along with its giant swing.
Each of their obstacle courses has varied difficulty levels, so regardless of your parkour skills, you are assured to have utmost fun.
Feel the Thrill at the Wiscasset Speedway
The famous Wiscasset Speedway is a must-visit racing venue in town.
It is widely famous for hosting countless local and national stock car races.
It features a 3/8-mile, high-banked oval race track and is currently operated and owned by Vanessa and Richard Jordan.
It regularly hosts racing events from April to October that feature the best racers in Maine.
The track opened in 1968 by Wilford Cronk, a local businessman who was also a hardcore racing enthusiast.
Since then, it has earned recognition as the state’s fastest and biggest stock car racing oval.
Whether you’re a racing fan or not, the race events happening at Wiscasset Speedway are completely exhilarating and worth watching.
There is always a certain thrill when it comes to watching car races; that is why you should visit Wiscasset Speedway along Alna Road during your tour through the town.
Walk Inside the Castle Tucker
Located along the corner of Lee St. and Bradbury St., Castle Tucker is another prominent historical building you need to check out in Wiscasset.
Castle Tucker is an interesting place to learn the story of the Tucker Family that bought the house from Judge Silas Lee in 1807 during the peak of Wiscasset’s thriving seaport and maritime industry.
Castle Tucker is more of a mansion with a lavish Victorian design and was bought by the Tucker family to preserve its original state and design amidst financial problems.
To cover the cost, they turned the mansion into a boarding house.
Currently, Castle Tucker is owned by Historic New England and serves as a historical site and museum where visitors can walk through its extensive rooms and hallways through guided tours.
Whether you’re a casual tourist or a history buff, there is an interesting thing that awaits you in Castle Tucker.
Inside this historic mansion, you’ll come across the original decorations and furnishings of the old mansion, while enjoying the great view of the Sheepscot River nearby.
Discover the Natural Beauty of Cushman Preserve
Wiscasset’s surrounding areas are filled with mini-islands, forests, beaches, peninsulas, and farmlands that add to its natural beauty along the riverbanks of the Sheepscot River.
There are dozens of ways to enjoy Wiscasset and Midcoast Maine’s natural beauty by exploring its nature preserves.
One recommended place to visit is the Cushman Preserve, a 147-acre nature preserve where you can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities.
You can enjoy hiking in summer and snowshoeing during winter there.
Its trails offer you the picturesque beauty of Cushman Cove and the nearby Cushman Point and Back River.
In addition, it is very accessible and a walking distance of Wiscasset’s other attractions like Castle Tucker.
Appreciate Arts at the Sylvan Gallery
If you’re looking for the best contemporary art gallery in New England, you should check out Wiscasset’s Sylvan Gallery along Water St.
This gallery houses some of the best contemporary artists in the region.
Its exhibits feature sculptures, paintings, pastel, and watercolor arts from more than 16 artists.
It is a haven for art enthusiasts and it's a nice way for casual tourists to learn the beauty and uniqueness of contemporary arts.
Enjoy browsing through the gallery that displays various artworks from landscapes, still life, figurative arts, and marine art that centers on the beauty of the coast of Maine.
In addition, Sylvan Gallery is a walking distance of Red Eats and the town’s Main St., making it very accessible to drop by.
Bite into the Famous Lobster Rolls at Red’s Eats
Maine is known throughout the United States for its top-quality Maine lobster, which is also one of the reasons why many flock to the coast of Maine.
There are numerous awesome restaurants in Wiscasset to visit if you’re longing to taste the famous lobster rolls.
One of the most recommended is Red’s Eats along Main St.
Red’s Eats doesn’t need a lengthy introduction because this restaurant has been featured many times in magazines and food shows.
Arguably, they serve the most delectable classic lobster roll in Maine.
Red’s Eats has been operating in Wiscasset for the past 81 years and still maintains the highest standards they put in each serving.
Learn Farm Life at the Morris Farm
If you want a relaxing activity in Wiscasset, you can check out Morris Farm, which offers a fun-filled agricultural program for the family courtesy of the Morris Farm Trust.
This attraction in Wiscasset aims to promote sustainable agriculture in town through its educational programs, demonstrations, and collaboration with the community.
Their farm, which is open every day, offers exciting workshops for adults and children.
Learn how to harvest, plant, and feed farm animals in the most fun way.
In addition, the Morris Farm also has a store where you can buy fresh milk, organic meats, organic eggs, and other produce from Wiscasset’s community gardens and local farmers.
Shop for Unique Garden Decors at the Carriage House Gardens
Located in a mid-19th century barn along Pleasant St. in Wiscasset, Carriage House Gardens features uniquely designed garden decors, accessories, and artworks.
It offers visitors its handmade artisanal products from New England artisans ranging from garden ornaments to supplies.
The owner, Lucia Droby, has a vast collection of colorful ceramic pieces.
She also has handmade copper and iron birdbaths, wooden benches, and other garden decorations.
There are plenty of fancy garden accessories, decors, and supplies to browse through this charming shop that will surely give you an enjoyable experience.
Ultimately, this shop is a cool place to look for unique souvenirs when you get back home.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Hop on the Steam-Powered Locomotive at the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway
Just outside of town takes you to the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway, or WW&F.
It is another magnificent historical site where you can ride a century-old, steam-powered locomotive.
What makes this historical site interesting to visit is you can tour the Sheepscot Valley on a fun ride through the locomotive and traverse the historic railway that was once used for transportation from 1894 to 1933.
It is a must-visit place if you want to experience a one-of-a-kind historical tour aboard a fully-operating vintage locomotive that you can’t find anywhere else.
Wiscasset earned its reputation as the ‘prettiest village in Maine’ because of its well-preserved architecture and historical sites that give you the chance to travel back in time while enjoying its iconic lobster roll.
Wiscasset is packed with adventure that you thought you wouldn’t find in this sleepy town in Maine.
For a memorable visit to Wiscasset, make sure to do all the exciting things listed in this post.