Whether you live in Maine or you’re just visiting, a boat tour is a great way to see the sights. And if you’re looking for some suggestions on where to go, you’ve come to the right place!
We’re going to take a look at the 21 best boat tours in Maine. And we’ll show you options from all along the Maine coast.
So if you’re ready, let’s get started!
The Best Boat Tours in Maine
There’s a choice of two vessels with Camden Harbor Cruises – M/V Lively Lady and M/V Periwinkle. Choose either option and you’ll see the beautiful coastline around Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay.
Tours are child-friendly, and the little ones can get involved checking lobster pots. Adults will enjoy the seaside mansions, atmospheric lighthouses and grand visiting yachts.
It’s best to book ahead to secure your place. Some seats are in the shade – let them know in advance if you have a preference. There’s a flushable toilet on board too.
Based in New Harbor, award-winning Hardy Boat Cruises is a great choice to see Maine’s wonderful wildlife. They offer trips to see seals and puffins, as well as cruises to Moneghan Harbor and along the Maine coast.
Their puffin trip involves a 1.5-hour round trip out to Eastern Egg Rock to see the birds in their natural habitat. It’s fully narrated by a guide from the National Audubon Society and Project Puffin.
There’s also a 1-hour seal watching trip, and a 1.5-hour trip to Muscongus Bay with a stop to view the seals. In colder weather, warm drinks and blankets are provided too.
If you’d like to get a glimpse into the life of a Maine fisherman, check out Lucky Catch Cruises. They provide lobster tours to tell you all about these fascinating crustaceans – and how they get from sea to plate! You can even purchase whatever is caught on your trip for the freshest possible diner.
Each tour lasts between 80 and 90 minutes, and they depart four or five times a day. Opt for the Seal Watch tours to get the best chance of seeing some seals too.
If you’re looking for a tour from Bar Harbor, Acadian Boat Tours offer a brilliant selection. There are daytime cruises, sunset cruises, tours focusing on seabirds and those dedicated to lighthouses, small coastal towns and fjords.
You can also join in a fishing trip, or even charter a private tour with your very own captain. And if you’re there on Independence Day, there’s a special trip to see the fireworks from the water.
If you’ve ever dreamed of sailing on an elegant, old-time schooner, this is your chance to make it happen. Portland Schooner Co. offer sails on two elegant ships. Bagheera and Heart’s Desire are Alden schooners, dating from 1924 and 1925 respectively.
There are four trips every day – one in the morning, two in the afternoon, and one at sunset. And both boats are also available for private charters.
Robertson Sea Tours offer a great range of excursions on their 32-foot boat, the Kandi Leigh. Choose from puffin and seabird tours, lighthouse cruises, or lobster catching trips. You can also charter the boat for a private tour.
The number of trips each day depends on the season, and the lighthouse cruise runs only in September and October. Check out the website for an up-to-date schedule and online booking.
Cap’n Fish Cruises is based in Boothbay Harbor. Here the focus is very much on Maine’s fascinating wildlife, with the tour’s termed “sea-faris”.
Tours include the opportunity to see whales at Maine’s primary whale feeding grounds. You can also combine whale watching with a trip to Eastern Egg Rock to see puffins.
There are also some great options for history lovers. The Kennebec River Cruise tours 44 miles of the river, with a narration taking you back to its colonial past. And other tours focus on lighthouses and other local landmarks.
For a glimpse into the traditional lobster industry, there’s nothing quite like Lulu Lobster Boat Ride. Lulu is the only Downeast-style lobster boat giving tours from Bar Harbor, and it provides a unique experience.
The two-hour trips include hauling lobster traps, with an explanation of how it all works. And you can learn some fascinating facts about the life and biology of the Maine lobster. Also on offer are sightseeing and seal-watching trips.
Don’t worry about heading out in colder weather – blankets are provided to keep you snug and warm.
Finestkind Scenic Cruises are located in the picturesque Perkins Cove. They offer a choice of three different vessels carrying 37, 43 and 60 passengers respectively. And there’s also a traditional wooden-crafted sailboat, the Cricket, which has room for six people.
Choose from breakfast or cocktail cruises, scenic lighthouse cruises or lobstering trips. If you’re looking for tranquillity, opt for a sailing cruise on the Cricket. Powered by sail and oar, there’s no engine to disturb the peace and quiet – or the wildlife.
If you love oysters, you’ll love Damariscotta! The town is home to 80 percent of Maine’s farmed oysters. The two-hour tours take in everything you need to know about the oyster industry, and you can sample the produce whilst you’re on board!
All those tasty oysters also attract other wildlife. Expect to see harbor seals, bald eagles and ospreys on your tour.
You can combine your oyster tour with wine tasting, or a sunset cruise with cocktails. And in September and October, there are special tours to view the beauty of the Fall trees from the water.
Downeast Charter Boat Tours in Lubec offer trips to see some spectacular sights.
One of the most unusual is “Old Sow”, the largest whirlpool in the Northern Hemisphere. According to local folklore, it gets its name from the pig-like sounds it makes. And there are smaller whirlpools – or “piglets”, as they’re known – around the perimeter too.
The trips will also allow you to see the many lighthouses in the area, and to go whale watching. Each one lasts for around two hours. Departure times will be based on the tides and will be confirmed when you book.
Looking for speed and adventure on your tour? Look no further than Kennebunk Boat Tour Adventures. Their RIB boat will get you to locations fast, meaning you can stay there longer – and enjoy the wind in your hair!
Trips include tours of the Nubble and Boon Lighthouses. And if you choose the Goat Island Lighthouse option, you’ll dock and get a guided tour inside the lighthouse. There’s also a scenic tour of the coastline and a fantastic whale watching experience.
Rugosa Lobster Cruises are the only company operating in Kennebunkport to use a traditional Downeast-style lobster boat for their trips. That makes them a great option if you’re looking for an authentic lobstering experience.
They set sail from historic Nonantum Marina. An on-board lobster expert will tell you about the biology of lobsters and the history of Maine’s lobster industry.
Each trip lasts for an hour and a quarter. You can also charter the whole boat in 75-minute chunks. Check the website for real-time availability.
Balmy Day Cruises in Boothbay Harbor offer a great range of excursions that cover all interests.
Anglers can enjoy a 2-hour mackerel fishing trip on the Miss Boothbay. It includes a brief tour of the harbor, and all tackle is provided.
Photographers can opt for the sunrise trip, hosted by a professional photographer. This 2-hour trip takes in lighthouses in the golden hour when the light is perfect for great shots.
There are sailing trips, sightseeing trips, lighthouse trips, and trips to see spectacular windjammers sailing into the harbor. You can also take a boat to explore Moneghan Island.
If you want to experience Maine aboard a truly beautiful vessel, Camden has plenty to offer. Olad is a classic sailing schooner built in 1927, and will seat 22 passengers. The cutter Owl, built in 1941, provides a more intimate experience for up to six people.
Both sail every day, and there are a range of different options to choose from, from two hours to a full day.
With notice, the Owl can take your party to Stontington for an overnight stay at a beautiful inn. Or choose Vinalhaven for dinner and a stay in Nebo Lodge. Or how about a tent at Warren Island State Park, together with a lobster-bake? Any would be the perfect choice for a romantic evening.
Sea Princess Scenic Nature Cruises run a range of professionally narrated excursions from Northeast Harbor. They’re a great option if you’re looking for a more comfortable trip, keeping to calm waters.
Morning and afternoon cruises of the Arcadia National Park take in the Great Harbor of Mount Desert, Isleford’s fishing community and Somes Sound Fjord. There’s a late afternoon cruise to see seals at East Bunker Ledge. And a 90-minute sunset cruise takes in the views of Somes Sound.
It’s also possible to charter the Sea Princess for your own bespoke trip.
Bar Harbor Island Cruises operate out of Bass Harbor. Most of their trips take place on the 40-foot R.L. Gott, a small and friendly boat that holds up to 49 passengers. They also have a 23-foot Parker, the Fifinella, that can be chartered for your own fishing or sightseeing trip.
Trips take in both wildlife and scenery, and some include hauling lobster pots too. You can head out for a couple of hours, or charter the Fifinella for a full eight-hour day.
Rocky Bottom Fisheries offer a whole range of tours from Portland.
Take in lighthouses, private beaches, islands and wildlife. You can also take part in a lobster demonstration, helping to haul lobster pots and learning about the industry. And you’re welcome to bring your own cooler.
There’s a sunset cruise with music, where you can bring your own bottle too. Book in advance and you can add in a lobster roll to the package.
Enjoy the elegance of a cruise on a tall ship with Schooner Appledore II, based out of Camden. You’ll see wildlife like porpoises, seals, bald eagles and ospreys.
Day and sunset sails are available. And from November to May, the boat can be chartered privately too.
Departure times vary by season. Choose an evening sail, and there’s a discounted price for children up to 12 years old. Daytime sails are free for under 5s, with a discount for children up to 11 years.
Sail Portland Maine offer daytime and sunset cruises by either sailboat or motorboat. The sailboat carries a maximum of six passengers, while the motorboat will carry up to 15. The smaller capacity makes for a friendly and intimate experience. Just book in advance to secure your place.
Each trip lasts for two hours, and you can bring your own bottle on either boat. Enjoy a drink while viewing seals, lighthouses and historic forts around Casco Bay.
For a chance to help crew a boat yourself, check out the windjammer Mary Day.
Sailing out of Camden, this beautiful schooner offers longer trips. The shortest is a two day, one night excursion, ideal for those new to windjamming. The longest is six days. In July, you can even be part of the crew for Maine’s Great Schooner Race. The Mary Day has won it several times!
With extras like lobster picnics, guided lighthouse tours and photography tutoring, these boat tours are very special occasions.
Time to Book a Trip!
That brings us to the end of our look at 21 of the best boat tours in Maine. Whether you want to relax with a professionally narrated excursion, or get hands-on hauling lobster pots, there’s loads to choose from.
Whatever floats your boat, we hope we’ve inspired you to book your perfect trip!