Men's magazine Esquire compiled a list of "Charming American Towns You Haven't Heard of But Should Visit ASAP" and as a native of that area, I couldn't agree more.

Coming in at #19 is the coastal Lincoln County town of Damariscotta.

Having lived and worked in the Damariscotta for most of my life it took me many years to realize how unique it really is. A big turning point for me was when it clicked that people actually plan vacations to Damariscotta. There are kids from around the world who have memories of spending their summers in Damariscotta. The same town I'd walk around after school and got my first job in and not thinking much of it.

In times of COVID, take it from a local that the Damariscotta area is definitely worth a staycation.

Love the outdoors?

Use All Trails to find some true gems in the area like Salt Bay Heritage Trail in neighboring Newcastle or continue up route 215 to Hidden Valley Nature Center. If ocean vibes are more your style, Pemaquid Beach State Park and Pemaquid Point Lighthouse are a quick drive from downtown Damariscotta.

Love to eat?

Damariscotta has some fantastic food options. If you're looking for a more formal dining experience check out Damariscotta River Grill. Want some beer, lobster, and live music out on an oceanfront deck? Schooner Landing is your go-to. Looking for something in the middle? Check out King Eider's Pub! Want a great sandwich, classic candy, and other unique goods? S. Fernald's Country Store is the place to be.

Love being on the water?

Midcoast Kayak offers amazing tours and rentals, or hop on a boat with Damariscotta River Cruises.

Love to shop?

Google Maps
Google Maps

Did you know this area is home to one of Maine's most iconic retailers? Reny's was first opened in Damariscotta and, here's a tip, there are two on Main Street! There's Renys which has all the clothing items and then there's Renys Underground, which you used to access, you guessed it, underground! This is the store where you'll find shoes, home goods, toys, and even a soda fountain!

There are a ton of other fun gift shops and boutiques along Main Street as well. It's always fun to shop local!

Damariscotta is an incredibly fun town to explore and being so close to the Pemaquid area, Wiscasset, and Boothbay, one could easily spend a week-long vacation, or staycation and never get bored.

And I never even got into the Pumpkinboat races every October...

Great choice, Esquire! What other small Maine town is worth a visit? Let us know via the app!

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