Found on Penobscot Bay, Rockport offers you and your family such maritime enjoyments as sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Take a boat tour around the harbor and bay on the Schooner Yacht Heron, or take a trip to the Lockport Marine Park. The kids will love the black and white “Oreo” cows at Aldermen Farms and the mini-golf course at Golfer’s Crossing. Buy some artwork at Prism Glass Gallery, learn about the area at the Camden-Rockport Historical Society or take in a concert at the Rockport Opera House.

Of course, seafood is high on the menu at Rockport’s restaurants, but there’s also Mr. Wat Sushi & Noodles and the Italian fare at La Bella Vita & The Enoteca Lounge. Rockport vacation rentals range from great, multi-bedroom Queen Anne houses with verandas to comfy little cottages or apartments within view of the harbor. Take a look at some of our favorite areas in Rockport to book a vacation rental.

1. Camden

This seaport city is close enough to Rockport for them to be considered suburbs of each other. Activities in this vibrant town include excursions to Mount Battie or Camden Hills State Park. As in Rockport, boat tours around the bay and the harbor are available, or you can kayak, rent a rowboat, or swim in Megunticook Lake.

2. Rockland

A little less than seven miles south of Rockport, Rockland is the home of one of the more famous of Maine’s lobster festivals. You’ll not only enjoy the best lobsters, but there are vendors who sell everything from candles to maple syrup to hand-made clothing. Enjoy the rides, artwork, and the ridiculously fun lobster crate races. As with Rockport, vacation rentals are found in many sizes and can be had right on the waterfront.

3. Lincolnville

If you and your family are nature lovers, Lincolnville is the place for you. Take a walk around Fernald’s Neck Preserve, Ducktrap River Park, or Warren Island State Park. Summer isn’t the only time to visit Lincolnville, so come in the winter for Blockhouse Pursuits Dogsled Adventures. For fine Maine wines, stop by the Cellardoor Winery.

4. Hope

Hope, Maine is home to a couple of friendly Asian elephants who used to work for the circus. You’ll need to make reservations ahead to visit, but it’s a treat for the kids to get up close and personal with the two elephants and learn about them. Afterward, head for the homely but filling grub at Hatchet Mountain Publick House or the Hope General Store.

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5. Appleton

Found more inland than the other cities mentioned, Appleton is found in a place of great beauty, exemplified by Sennebec Pond. Visit the Historical Society to learn about the place, then take in the views from Appleton Ridge. For fresh ingredients for home cooking, stop into Deer Foot Farm Natural Market & Gardens.

6. Islesboro

Islesboro is on an island in Penobscot Bay and has a ferry and air taxi service to Lincolnville during the summers. Take the family to Warren Island State Park for some hiking, boating or just relaxing in one of the many shelters. Don’t miss the Historical Society & Museum and the Grindel Point lighthouse. For vittles, head to Pike’s Place or Rosalie Joy’s Bakery for cookies and cakes.

7. Owls Head

This town is on a promontory on the mainland and is the site of a famous lighthouse. Only 30 feet tall, the climb gives you a fantastic view of the harbor. Other places to visit include the Transportation Museum with its vintage cars, and beautiful Birch Point Beach State Park. Vacation rentals in spacious New England homes are often found right in the ocean.

8. Warren

Fifteen minutes southwest of Rockport, Warren is an inland city whose vacation rentals come in the form of wood or stone farmhouses near the St. George River. One open secret is Andes Variety & Take Out. It looks like a humble truck stop, and it is, but locals rave about the chow.

9. North Haven

North Haven is found on an island of the same name right across from Owls Head. One thing sailors notice as they approach Pulpit Harbor is the osprey’s nest on Pulpit Rock. This nest is about 100 years old and still in use, so take pictures. Other things to do in North Haven are charter a boat to explore the coves, creeks and tiny islands in the area, and visit the Goose Rock lighthouse.

10. Union

Union takes pride in its farms and vineyards, so make sure you and the family stop by the Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery to not only sample the vino but take in a concert. You and the kids can pick your own blueberries and commune with the farm animals at Blueberries on Top. Cottages and chalets, some on the large ponds found in the community, make for comfortable vacation rentals.

11. Belmont

If you’re in the market for gifts that say “I’ve been to Maine,” Belmont’s the place. Visit the Maine Heritage Antiques gift shop on Maple Road or Inspired Crafts on Tunk Woods Road. Griffin’s Other Place is an old fashioned general store that’s open every day of the week. Visit Bahner Farm for the freshest fruits and veggies and other comestibles, then take the kids down the road a piece for ice cream at Super Scoops.

12. Belfast

The city of Belfast lies 12 to 15 minutes northeast of Belmont. Enjoy boat tours around Belfast Harbor, then you and the hubby can take a twilight stroll on the harbor walk. Take the family bike riding on the Passy Rail Trail or visit the farmer’s markets or art studios, including the Susan A. Cooney Fine Art Studio. Visit Young’s Lobster Pound for Maine lobster, or if you’ve had more than enough lobster, head to Delvino’s Grill & Pasta House for Italian food or Laan Xang for Thai.