Top 5 reasons to travel to Rockland, Maine

Rockland, Maine, has become the state’s new arts destination. The coastal town of just over 7,000 is home to a thriving arts scene and so much more. I traveled to Rockland, Maine, earlier this summer with my family and we had such a fantastic time. We loved everything about the trip, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top five reasons we think you should travel to Rockland, Maine.

Farnsworth Art Museum | Rockland, MaineFarnsworth Art Museum

Officially opened in 1948, Farnsworth Art Museum was established as a memorial to Rockland resident and real estate investor, William Farnsworth, by his daughter, Lucy. Today, the Farnsworth campus consists of more than 20,000 square feet of of gallery space and its collection contains more than 15,000 pieces. The museum is dedicated to celebrating Maine’s role in American art, from 100-year-old paintings to 21st-century photography. Andrew Wyeth is one Maine artist whose works are featured prominently at Farnsworth. I was absolutely captivated by his realist paintings of the rugged nature and seafaring life in coastal Maine.

Andrew Wyeth was the son of illustrator N.C. Wyeth and the father of artist Jamie Wyeth. The three generations of Wyeths are honored at Wyeth Center, a gallery housed in an 1850s Methodist church on the Farnsworth campus. Do not skip Wyeth Center when visiting the Farnsworth!

Center for Maine Contemporary Art

Originally founded in 1952 as Maine Coast Artists, the new Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) opened in Rockland in June of this year. CMCA’s mission is to celebrate contemporary art in Maine and foster artists at every stage of their career. I was in Rockland for the grand opening of the CMCA and I was just as impressed by the actual museum building as I was by the works inside. Located in downtown Rockland, the CMCA building was designed by New York architect Toshiko Mori. It’s a completely glass enclosed space surrounded by corrugated metal; a very contemporary design to match the art under its roof.

Center for Maine Contemporary Art | Rockland, Maine

One need not be a contemporary art connoisseur to appreciate the CMCA. My daughter Lucia, who is 7, joined me for the grand opening. She was awestruck and asked to use my DSLR camera to snap photos. She’d taken about 100 pictures by the time we left CMCA and she talked about the exhibits for days.


Maine is the easternmost state in the continental U.S. and it is said that it’s where America’s day begins. Depending on the season, Maine is the first state to greet the sun. In line with Rockland being Maine’s new arts destination, I can attest that the sunrises there are nature’s works of art. I’ve seen plenty of sunsets along bodies of water but my time in Rockland was my first experience witnessing the sun rising over the water. The pinks and purples of the early light gave way to intense oranges that lit the sky on fire. The reflections on Penobscot Bay created scenes so dramatic that the images won’t escape my memory anytime soon.

Sunrise | Rockland, Maine

Outdoor adventures

Penobscot Bay, its rugged coast, and the surrounding hills work in harmony to create an outdoor lover’s paradise. Choose from a number of sightseeing boat tours out of Rockland Harbor, or get a first-hand view of operations aboard a working lobster boat with Captain Jack Lobster Boat Adventure. Looking to be out on the water for more than just a few hours? Book a multi-day windjammer cruise aboard one of the schooners sailing out of Rockland Harbor, such as J. & E. Riggin. About 20 minutes north of Rockland is the town of Camden and Camden Hills State Park. There are miles of hiking and multi-use trails that take adventurers through forests and over mountaintops for rewarding views of Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay. The less adventurous visitors or those with mobility challenges may drive the Mount Battie Auto Road to reach the summit and enjoy the same views.

View from Mt. Battie, Camden Hills State Park | Camden, Maine

View from Mt. Battie, Camden Hills State Park


We can’t talk about Maine without mentioning lobster and Rockland is as good a place as any to get your lobster fix (Rockland hosts the Maine Lobster Festival each year). I vowed to eat lobster every chance I got while there. I sampled an array of lobster dishes, from luscious lobster rolls to ridiculously rich lobster mac & cheese. My family’s recommendation is Claws, a casual lobster shack with a deck overlooking Rockland Harbor. We loved Claws so much that we went there for dinner twice during our trip. The outdoor patio and relaxed atmosphere are perfect for families with young children, and there is way more than just lobster on the menu (for the pickiest of eaters). It can get busy and the wait may be a bit long, but it’s so worth it.

Claws, Rockland's Lobster Eatery | Rockland, Maine

Now I’m seriously craving a lobster roll, and hoping we’ve inspired you to plan your own trip to Rockland, Maine!


5 Reasons To Travel To Rockland, Maine

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20 Responses to Top 5 reasons to travel to Rockland, Maine

  1. verushka August 20, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    Eating Lobster is Maine is on my #BucketEatingList ! Just reading this post made me hungry 🙂

  2. Cory Lee August 20, 2016 at 9:31 am #

    You had me at lobster mac and cheese! LOL! But seriously, Rockland looks like a nice getaway.
    Cory Lee recently posted…Going on a Wheelchair Accessible Hot Air Balloon Ride Over IsraelMy Profile

  3. Kari (Happy Coconuts Travel Blog) August 20, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    I have never been to Maine but have heard such wonderful things about it I will be adding it to my list!

  4. Traveling Ted August 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    I would love to fill up on outdoor adventure and lobster on a Maine trip sometime. Thank you for the inspiration.
    Traveling Ted recently posted…Indiana Dunes outdoor adventuresMy Profile

  5. mark wyld August 20, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

    Sounds like a great place to visit. The sunsets over the water look amazing. My girls love a bush walk as we call it here in Australia so this would be an ideal destination for our family

  6. Lara Dunning August 21, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    I’ve wanted to visit Maine for years now. At one point I even thought of moving there. Would love to explore Rockland and best of all it is a small town. Thanks for the insider tips!
    Lara Dunning recently posted…Best Western Plus Bainbridge Island Suites – Great for Extended, Budget & Pet-Friendly TravelMy Profile

  7. Mags August 22, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    I have a confession. I’ve actually never had a lobster roll. I may need to head to Rockland.
    Mags recently posted…Experience The Luxury of Freedom at Big Berry Camp in SloveniaMy Profile

  8. Lillie August 23, 2016 at 9:14 am #

    So funny — my neighbor just showed me a picture of Camden Hills State Park and said it’s where he most wants to go in New England. Now I see why! Rockland looks lovely.
    Lillie recently posted…Provincetown, Cape Cod: 17 Hot Photos and Travel TipsMy Profile

  9. Sanjeet Veen August 23, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    These images looks really nice & beautiful. Thanks for nice and wonderful post!

  10. Katja August 23, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

    You are right, that sunset is sublime! I’ve heard such good things about Maine, so much so that I think I need to get there soon. Are the sunsets that good all year round?

  11. Bryanna August 24, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

    I can’t wait to get to Maine! So many amazing things to do! And that sunset – wow!!

  12. Sarah Hirsch August 25, 2016 at 2:20 am #

    Sign me up! I love Lobster!!!

  13. Victoria August 25, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

    I live near Boston and get to road trip to Maine every summer- have not been to Rockland yet. I love the coast and lobster of course, and cute Main streets- my only problem is that the sea water is a bit cold compared to mid-Cape (Cape Cod, our other New England favorite summer destination).

  14. Sadler House August 26, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    This is a great rundown of some of the many reasons we love Rockland! Thanks for sharing your trip.

  15. Jane Bullock September 3, 2016 at 3:55 am #

    Breakwater!!! #1 I have now walked the Breakwater for my 50th year. Love, love Rockland!

  16. Leah September 3, 2016 at 11:16 am #

    I think you could have stopped at two reasons: sunsets and lobster. Seriously, though, I’ve never been to Maine, I’m ashamed to say. Thanks for reminding me that I’ve got to get there, if only for the lobster and the sunsets. 🙂
    Leah recently posted…American History in Paris: 16 Places to See in the City of LightMy Profile

  17. Steve Morrison September 4, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    It’s the sunrises, not the sunsets that are so beautiful. Our home in Rockland faces the sunrises and, quite often, are really nice.

    • Francesca September 4, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

      Right. Sunrises, not sunsets. I got to witness a couple of spectacular sunrises while in Rockland.

  18. craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous) September 6, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    ok, art, the outdoors, and lobster…. sounds like a plan to me, a vacation land for sure…. heck, I’d even get up for a sunrise… it’s not all sunsets with me 😉

    stay maine, Craig
    craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous) recently posted…Episode 17 – A Helena Good Time in MontanaMy Profile


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