Summer sailing around Camden, Maine

Summertime in coastal Maine evokes images of searching for the perfect lobster roll, exploring tide pools along the rock strewn beaches and sailing among bays and summer isles. Verdant hills tumble into the deep blue of the Atlantic forming over 3,000 miles of rocky coastline and to properly experience it you must take to the water. On a gorgeous 75 degree day filled with sunshine and gentle breezes we made our way down to Camden’s postcard worthy harbor to sort out our seafaring options. Kayak? Not a great option for us this time with Steve’s mom in tow. Motorized catamaran? Eh, not feeling it. A four-sailed, beautifully restored historic schooner? Now we’re talking.

Schooner Surprise Camden, Maine

Schooner Surprise Camden, Maine

The Surprise was originally built in 1918 as a racing and cruising yacht and sailed in a number of races until the original owner’s death in 1959. This beautiful schooner has undergone several restorations in recent years and was even recognized on the National Register of Historic Places as an important part of United States maritime history. Ownership of the Surprise has recently changed hands to Nicole and Ramiro de Avecedo Ramos; but we had the pleasure of sailing with the boat’s previous owners, Captain Jack and his first mate Barbara, a lovely couple in their 70s who have been sailing the Surprise for almost 30 years and still help out on occasion. Their love of sailing was evident as they shared the history of the ship and their future sailing plans. They even encouraged visitors to pitch in by helping to raise the sails and my inner sailor came out as I got a turn at the helm!

Schooner Surprise Camden, Maine www.casualtravelist.comAfter leaving shore we made our way past dozens of sailboats, yachts and windjammers from around the world who have decided to port in this secluded harbor along coastal Maine. As we left the harbor we passed by the Curtis Island Light, one of the iconic lighthouses that dot the shores of mid-coast Maine. Depending on the day’s winds the boat may hug the coast while heading down to the town of Rockport but the gentle breezes we had were perfect for a leisurely out and back trip to the island of Isleboro. Sun and bright blue skies above and the crisp sea breezes running through my hair I started to understand the lure of life on the water. I began to day dream about getting my own boat and spending my winters exploring the Caribbean and summers along the beautiful New England shore.

Curtis Island Light Camden, Maine www.casualtravelist.comSailing in Camden, Maine Camden, Maine
My daydream ended as we turned the corner and Camden’s incredibly picturesque harbor came into view and my thoughts turned to Maine’s other must-do activity, finding the perfect lobster roll. (More thorough research is needed on my part but I can highly recommend the lobster roll at Graffam Brothers Seafood in Rockport). You’ll find boat tours in most of Maine’s coastal towns but if you visit Camden and want to sail on the Schooner Surprise (and I really think you should), then you’ll find the following information helpful.




(July 1  to Sept. 15)
10am, 12:30pm, 3pm, 5:15pm, 7:15 (sunset sail most days till August 3rd)

(May to June and Sep 16 to Oct 15)
10:30am, 1:30pm, 4:30pm


$39 per person
$29 children under 12

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65 Comments on “Summer sailing around Camden, Maine

    • It was a fantastic afternoon out on the water, thanks for stopping by!

  1. I’ve been dying to get up to Maine! I love the bits of New England that I’ve seen (Mass and New Hampshire, mostly), and am planning on doing a road trip throughout the area sometime in the near future. A sailing trip would be even more fun!

  2. This is definitely the good life. The East Coast of the United States is always home to these high-class pastimes. Many Canadians drive through Maine to get to the Maritime provinces, but there really is so much to see in that State.
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  3. This looks like so much fun. My kids and I took sailing lessons in Spain last year and now we need to practice. This looks beautiful and a ton of fun – the Perfect day!

    • I’m sure sailing in Spain is amazing, especially if you head back to shore and refuel with some tasty tapas.

    • Thanks Dave!I was really surpirsed at how much I enjoyed Maine, no wonder its called “Vacationland”.

  4. The trouble with reading your blog, is that my to do list just grows and grows. I’d love to do a boating holiday. I think sailing has to get in line behind the canals though! 🙂

  5. My experience with New England is so limited (just visits to Rhode Island and Connecticut) but posts like these really make me want to visit. Last year I did see the Tall Ships so that was cool but sailing on one would even be cooler. And on a random note, I actually know of Camden as I read a book years go entitled “That Camden Summer.” It seems like a charming town!

    • I will have to check that book out! We had a fantastic time in New England, I’d love to explore it further.

    • The schooner was beautifully restored and the couple sailing it were just lovely.

  6. I have very fond memories of my own trip to coastal Maine a few years ago. I would adore going back some time. Sailing on a schooner seems like quite an adventure. Getting to help raise the sails and taking a turn at the helm must have been so exciting. I’d like to try it , too.

    • I didn’t expect to love it so much, I’ll definitely have to go back!

  7. Wow that looks gorgeous! And the price is definitely less than I would have expected. I’ve never been on a sail boat but I love boats and I love everything water related so I think I’d love it 🙂

  8. Even though I live far away now, I still find New England coasts –especially those in Maine– some of the most evocative in the world. This looks like a terrific trip.

    • I thought Maine had some of the most stunning shores on the East Coast and I was surprise how much I loved it.

  9. What nice views! And sailing on a historic Schooner with someone to share the history, i bet it was a great experience.

  10. Beautiful pictures. I have read and heard so much about Maine but have yet to visit such a stunning place. Looks like you had a great day out on the water.

    • Maine is a perfect summer destination, the sailing was the icing on the cake!

  11. Great post! I’m from Maine and you reminded me how fun it was to sail there and camp on the islands. I actually just recently visited – for more information about Southern Maine.

    Happy Travels!

  12. I have yet to make it up to Maine, so thanks for sharing these lovely photos! And the price of this boat tour is not bad, whenever I get to Maine, I will have to check out Camden.

  13. Sailing around the coast of Maine must of been wonderful. I haven’t been up in that area for quite some time. Makes me want to go just for the Maine Lobster 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #WeekendWanderlust this week.

  14. Fabulous Share!

    Sailing a yacht is really an amazing experience, I usually go for it in summer season along with my family and love to enjoy our holidays at the beach of a sea. Which makes such memories that stay forever in our heart

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