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Tides Institute & Museum of Art

8 Cool and Popular Things To Do in Eastport, Maine (2023)

Recognized as a city and archipelago, Eastport is Maine’s least popular city. Though in terms of tourism, Eastport is grand, all thanks to its geographical location and endless, endless recreational opportunities. Eastport is basically an archipelago that houses a series of islands in Washington County. Moose, its main island, is connected to the mainland of the USA by a causeway. All of the Eastport islands are basically located between Cobscook Bay and Passamaquoddy Bay.

Eastport is undoubtedly blessed with some of nature’s best beauty and adventure. This city is the deepest natural harbor on the eastern seaboard of the United States. It is even the easternmost city in the United States, and there’s no city further (the town of Lubec is the easternmost municipality, though). Tourism here in Eastport is flourishing year by year, and there has been only growth seen for the future. Whether the outdoor natural attractions or the indoor tourist attractions in Eastport, options are truly many. So, ready to explore them all?

8 Cool and Popular Things To Do In Eastport, Maine

Join us and find out the Best Places To Visit in Eastport, Maine. Have a look:

1. Quoddy Head State Park (and Lighthouse)

The Quoddy Head State Park is less than an hour’s drive from Eastport and is a must-visit for all. The State Park encompasses 541 acres of area, with West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and Quoddy Narrows as its centerpiece. Built in 1808, it is also the easternmost lighthouse in the United States, and for a few weeks around the equinoxes, it is where the nation sees the first sunrise. The State Park in itself is the closest geographic point in the United States to the African continent. In addition to checking out the lighthouse, a visit to Quoddy Head offers so much to do. The Park features 5 miles of hiking trails, extensive forests, and two bogs. It is also home to diverse habitats for rare plants, and that’s why every Plantsman or Botanist loves visiting here at least once.

During summer, the Quoddy Head State Park is also a popular place to check out minke, humpback, ducks, waders, seabirds, migratory birds, shorebirds, and finback whales at sea. For some peaceful yet enjoyable time in nature, this state park is a must-visit in Eastport.

2. Shackford Head State Park

Another outdoor recreational area, Shackford Head State Park, is a popular place to visit in Eastport, Maine. The State Park got its name after an American Revolutionary War soldier, John Shackford, who in the past was the owner of headlands. Encompassing nearly 87 acres on Moose Island, the State Park overlooks Cobscook Bay while occupying an area that separates Cobscook Bay and Broad Cove. The major attraction of Shackford Head State Park is the hiking trails that meander through nature. The same trail network overlooks small beaches and secluded coves, providing some beautiful views to the hikers. The State Park also features a few picnic areas with brand-new pavilions and Charcoal BBQs where visitors can relish their afternoon picnic.

Since the Park is also a birds wonderland, some trails remain closed during the peak of nesting season. However, later, one can explore the trails and other areas, enjoying birdwatching activities. Some of the common birds found here include terns, sandpipers, woodland species, and bald eagles.

3. Tides Institute & Museum of Art

A cross border Art and Cultural institute, Tides Institute & Museum of Art is a cool place to visit in Eastport. With a wider view, the museum ensures and encourages cultural ties between Maine, New England, and the Atlantic Provinces. The museum involves different sections of life, including art, history, photography, and architecture. Today, a visit inside allows individuals to explore different aspects of life, from the sea to history, environment, and culture. Besides housing a grand collection, the museum also hosts several shows through different seasons.

Tides Institute & Museum of Art operates Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm while remaining closed for the rest three days. Its settlement within the historic downtown and working waterfront of Eastport makes it one easy affair for both locals and visitors.

4. Raye’s Mustard Mill

Raye’s Mustard is the last remaining stone-ground mustard mill in America. Since 1900, the Raye family’s four generations have been in the business of mustard grinding, and the tradition still continues. However, the facility today operates as a working museum and a testament to the past. A visit here allows individuals to learn about the first-hand production process, the history of mustard-making, its role in the bygone sardine industry of Maine, and much more. Every single year, the museum successfully attracts and hosts thousands of tourists from all 50 states and different nations across the world. Not only for visual entertainment, but a range of visitors also chooses Raye’s to get their hands on fresh stone ground mustard paste. The award-winning small batch blends here are purely handcrafted in an artisanal form and in different flavors. The museum also has several gifting and merchandise options.

5. Enjoy Whale Watching

Eastport has always been a popular spot for Whale Watching in Maine, and you cannot dare to miss this opportunity. During the Summer and Fall seasons, the entire sea stretch around Eastport offers endless opportunities to spot Whales, seals, porpoises, and dolphins. Particularly, the boat trips to Passamaquoddy Bay are much grander (in terms of experience), and that’s why most locals recommend the same. Cruise agencies like Eastport Windjammers offer interactive Whale watching adventures for all ages. Lasting for three long hours, this tour will take participants close to Whales and Whirlpools, ensuring one of the best wildlife experiences. It isn’t dedicated to a guided tour but a boat ride where participants have to spot Whales and other sea creatures on their own. However, since the opportunities are many, no one goes back disappointed.

While sightings can never be guaranteed, experience cruise agencies are recommended. The ones who have been in this business for a long know exactly which part of the sea has more opportunities.

6. Go Fishing

Fishing is a popular activity and one of the major sources of economy in Eastport. Fishing and curing have always been the traditional and cultural draw in Eastport. Though unlike river and lake fishing in the rest of Maine, Eastport is all about Deep Sea fishing, and the experience is truly unique. There are several companies throughout the city that take interested individuals to the right place and allow them to fish with major possibilities. Even if it is your first time fishing in the waters of Eastport, your angle will be bigger than sardines. The most common catches in the Eastport waters include pollock, cod, and halibut. Seasonally, fishermen also get their hands on mackerel and tuna. Not just that, but Sharks too are a possibility here, though only for enthusiasts who are well-versed in the skill.

For the best fishing trips out in the Atlantic from Eastport, companies like Fundy Breeze and Eastport Windjammers are recommended. Not only will they take you deep sea but will also provide you with the best equipment and tips.

7. McCurdy Smokehouse Museum

McCurdy Smokehouse Museum, though, is located in Lubec but within an easy driving distance away from Eastport. The museum was once an industrial fish processing facility on Lubec’s waterfront between 1906 and 1991. It is even claimed as the last intact early 20th-century herring processing facility in Maine. Though today it operates as a small museum set on a collection of adjacent pile wharves. The building in itself is made with timber and shale and is nestled over wooden logs. However, it is still standing strong and is certainly the best example of its kind. McCurdy Smokehouse Museum is also registered on the National Register of Historic Places and is appreciated for its architecture, character, and overall curb appeal. Indoor tours are led by ex-servicemen who are also keen on sharing their real experiences with the guests. Though since the condition of the building is really rough, if not restored, it won’t last there long.

8. Old Sow (Do not miss it)

Old Sow is thought to be the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere. This natural phenomenon is somewhere northeast of Moose Island in Passamaquoddy Bay and is quite a wonderful thing to experience. This strange but appealing site has been popular for hundreds of years now, and the best part is one can get close. Charter companies with experienced tour operators offer a wide range of tours out to sea. They will take participants close to the phenomena but not too close, ensuring safety as well. Old Sow has claimed many lives over the past decades, and therefore getting too close brings heavy risk. The water turbulence here is a to man-powered craft and boats since it exhibits some strange water phenomena.

Best Places to Eat in Eastport, Maine

  • Happy Crab and Waco diner (Cozy dining point in downtown Eastport).
  • Bocephus (Seasonal restaurant for crab and lobster rolls lovers)
  • Breakwater Bagels (Popular for its pastries, coffee & bagels).
  • Bocephus Sandwiches (Popular for Lobster Rolls, handmade sandwiches, wine, and beer)
  • Old Sow Grill (Serves traditional New England food).
  • Waco Diner (Dine with views)
  • Ole Hookers Bar & Grille (Known for its home-cooked specials and a full bar).

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