With a nip in the air and frost on the windows, the promise of exciting indoor and outdoor adventures looms large when the snow flies. Among the top 5 winter activities in Maine (specifically in Rockland and Camden), we have found that skiing and snowboarding rank high for thrill seekers. But shuffling through the woods on snowshoes or cross-country skis attracts just as many outdoor enthusiasts to the coast.
From mountaintops to the shining sea, the vistas we love in spring, summer, and fall, take on a whole new character when winter rolls around. Evergreens frosted in white. Frozen ponds sparkling in the sunlight. Snow-capped mountains and seafoam cresting on the waves in the harbor. These are a few of our favorite things.
A few folks may long for the return of warmer weather. But if you take the time to fully appreciate the change of season, dress warmly, and gear up appropriately, winter offers so much joy. Plan a winter getaway to the midcoast of Maine, and let us show you the simple pleasures of lacing up your boots, tying a scarf around your neck, and catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Skiing and Snowboarding
First of all, the Camden Snow Bowl is the only ski area on the east coast that offers an ocean view and serves as the center of winter activity in mid-coast Maine. With 15 vertical runs ranging from double black diamond to gentle bunny slopes for beginners, the mountain offers something for every skill level. In addition to the downhill trails, 2 terrain parks and 11 glades challenge adrenaline junkies. But the pièce de resistance clearly is the toboggan chute, a handmade wooden trough designed to literally shoot you down the mountain and across a frozen pond. Built in 1936, it’s the only one of its kind in the country. Open Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays when the ice is adequate for safety, you can take as many runs as your endurance lasts for $10 per hour.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
Secondly, if you have your own equipment, Camden Hills State Park offers a beautiful destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. With a magnificent view of Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay, the trails in the park remain open for skiers and snowshoers throughout the winter. Multiple trails range from easy quarter-mile treks to the moderate 5-mile multi-use trail that leads to the recently completed replica of a ski lodge built about 70 years ago.
US National Toboggan Championships
Then, if you’re in town in early February, plan on attending the US National Toboggan Championships at the Camden Snow Bowl. This annual event, scheduled over three days, opens with a winter Jamboree held at the Rockport Opera House, featuring choral, folk, jazz, and reggae entertainers on the eve of the event. Day 1 finds the toboggan chute open for practice runs for registered 2-, 3-, and 4- person teams. Teams compete on multiple runs on Saturday and Sunday, vying for the best times and bragging rights for this annual event. Sunday afternoon, the officials present awards to the winning teams. This well-loved event attracts a crowd from all over, so make your plans early and bundle up for an exciting weekend.
Some consider Camden’s Winterfest the Mardi Gras of Maine. Scheduled for a weekend in late January, gear up for family-fun favorites like ice carving, a polar plunge, and a doggie fashion show. Festivities generally kick off around 11am and are held at the Camden Amphitheater on the grounds of Camden’s public library. Food vendors, crafters, music, and more make this event a rollicking good time for all.
The Arts Capital of Maine
Lastly, if outdoor adventures leave you cold, consider the wealth of cultural activities that earned Rockland the epithet of the “arts capital of Maine.” Museums, galleries, and theaters strewn along Main Street and the waterfront offer up a plethora of indoor activities that will keep you out of the chill winds. The Farnsworth Art Museum, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Owls Head Transportation Museum, plus the Strand Theater offers an abundance of gorgeous exhibits and performances to keep you warm and entertained throughout the winter season.
With our inside info on the top 5 winter activities in Maine, you’re well-prepared to plan the perfect cold weather getaway to Rockland. Book one of our luxurious guest rooms and get ready to relax in splendor and dine on the gourmet fare in one of the coolest small towns in America.
Updated January 2023