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Brunswick, Maine, is an idyllic college town northeast of Portland. Many guests cut through town to Camden or Acadia but are missing out. There are some great activities and things to do in Brunswick, Maine.
As a college town, Brunswick is home to Bowdoin College, a thriving arts & music scene, gorgeous historical homes, and proximity to the coast. The downtown area has shops, restaurants, and ample green spaces to relax and play games.
Brunswick has much to offer if you enjoy history and love touring historic homes. The commercial district, Lincoln Street, and Federal Street are part of the National Register of Historic Places. I quickly snapped picture after picture of beautiful homes while we explored.
My husband and I recently explored Brunswick, a hidden gem in midcoast Maine. Don’t sleep in this charming community. Add it to your next trip to New England.
Visiting Brunswick, Maine
Brunswick has a little something for everyone- a rich history, musical events, a quaint downtown, outdoor adventures, and plenty of large green spaces.
1. Pejepscot History Center
Although on the smaller side, Brunswick has a rich and interesting history. The center highlights many aspects of the community. The center operates a museum that is free of charge, so it is worth checking out. Check the hours to ensure exhibits are open.
2. Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum
Joshua Chamberlain served as a union officer in the Civil War, Maine governor, and Bowdoin College president. He dedicated his life to service in his community through his remarkable life.
You can tour his home, part of the Pejepscot History Center. You do have to purchase tickets, but there are discounts for AAA and senior citizens. FYI- it is only open seasonally.
3. The Skolfield-Whittier House
Brunswick has a rich history of individuals making their mark and beautiful homes to tour. A local family owned the Skolfield-Whittier House for several generations. You can tour the house to see the life of an upper-middle-class Maine family in the 1800s.
4. Harriet Beecher Stowe House
As a US History teacher, I love checking out historical sites when we travel, and I definitely made time to find Harriet Beecher Stowe’s home in town. Known for exposing the horrors of slavery in her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe helped in the fight to end slavery in the US.
You can tour this National Historic Landmark and the home of this magnificent woman.
5. First Parish Church
While you visit Brunswick, you can’t miss this gorgeous church. It caught my eye before I knew the significance. I made my husband drive around the church a second time and park so I could get and explore. It is simply beautiful.
6. Androscoggin River
Androscoggin separates Brunswick from a neighboring town and offers beautiful views. For decades, mills scattered throughout Maine dumped waste into the rivers, and activists spent years advocating for change. This river was one of the reasons for the passage of the Clean Air Act in the 1970s.
The river offers many activities. One of the best things to do on the river is fishing. Another way to casually enjoy the river is to visit the 250th Park, a small park. You could pick up a picnic lunch and enjoy at the river.
Or visit Androscoggin Woods, a 53-acre property managed by a trust. You can hike, fish, or bird watch on this beautiful property.
Lastly, you can head west for 30 minutes and see the beautiful river in nearby Lewiston.
7. Androscoggin Swinging Bridge
Built in 1892 to transport mill works over the river, the Swinging Bridge is a site like none other. It connects Brunswick with Topsham.
During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) improved the structure after terrible flood damage. The bridge was rehabilitated in the early 20th century and is part of the National Register of Historic Places.
You can access the bridge through the Androscoggin Riverwalk, and it is a little under a mile there and back.
8. Explore Downtown
If you love quaint towns of restaurants and locally owned shops, park your car and explore downtown Brunswick. Visitors, college students, and residents shop, dine, and socialize on Maine Street. It is a great place to relax.
While you stroll, make time for a meal at Great Impasta and grab a gelato at a famous spot downtown- Gelato Fiasco. Beware, it is so popular the line may be out the door! Take a break in one of the decorated Adirondack chairs scattered throughout. They are painted to represent famous musicals and plays.
Lastly, if you have time, you can browse the book selections at Gulf of Maine books.
9. Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College sits on a beautiful campus a short walk from downtown. College students mill around, bike, drink coffee, and picnic in the large public spaces on campus. The grounds are beautiful and worth checking out.
Relax on campus to check out the gorgeous green spaces and historic buildings.
10. Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
Although on the smaller side, Bowdoin College is rich in its cultural history and contributions to the community. On campus, the Peary- MacMillan Arctic Museum highlights the Arctic environment, geography, and culture.
The museum has exhibits that rotate out seasonally as well as permanent collections. You can see an early example of sleds used in the early 1900s to explore by Bowdoin graduates in the Arctic.
11. Bowdoin College Museum of Art
While on Bowdoin’s campus, check out their Museum of Art. Admission is free.
Their collection highlights American, Asian, European, contemporary, and modern art. They also rotate visiting exhibitions, so check their website for updates.
12. Sunset Sail
Camden is an idyllic town about an hour north of Brunswick and the perfect location for a sunset sail.
⛵⛵Click HERE to book a memorable Sunset sail on the beautiful Maine coast. ⛵⛵
13. Visit the LL Bean Flagship Store
Although it is technically in Freeport, you can’t visit midcoast Maine without a stop at the LL Bean Flagship Store. Obviously, this large complex has lots of shopping, but other mainstream American stores have built locations within walking distance. You could park and easily spend an entire day shopping and dining.
Don’t forget to take the obligatory pic at the 16-foot famous boot, a key tourist attraction in Maine.
Every summer from late June to August, students gather from around the country in Bowdoin to study from some of the best musicians. Visitors and residents can attend student concerts and community events. The festival puts on daily events, so there’s so much to choose from if you visit in the summer and live music.
15. Thomas Point Beach
While in town, you are so close to the magnificent Atlantic Ocean and can’t miss an opportunity for some beach time. Thomas Point is a campground with a sandy beach for guests to enjoy. You don’t have to be a camping resident to access the grounds, and the daily rates are incredibly affordable.
Once on the property, you can swim, play on the beach, play softball or volleyball, or have a scenic picnic lunch.
16. Flight Deck Brewing
Located in the Brunswick Landing, Flight Deck is a great option for guests who love trying the local beer. They also offer wood-fired pizza daily and a BBQ food truck at the end of the week and on weekends. If you don’t want pizza, check out Wild Oats Bakery nearby.
17. Brunswick Town Commons
Brunswick Town Commons is a 71-acre park in the community. Guests can hike, walk their dogs, run, or go bird-watching. In winter, you can use the trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
18. Maine Maritime Museum
The museum is perfect for learning about Maine’s maritime history, especially lobstering and shipbuilding. We visited a few years ago with our boys, and they had many exhibits to explore and teach guests about Maine’s rich maritime history.
As a side note, the museum is in nearby Bath and a short 15-minute drive.
19. Five Islands Lobster
While you are in Bath, consider heading to the coast to try one of Maine’s most authentic lobster joints. Five Islands Lobster is a true gem tucked away from a large city or town.
Watch boats bring in fresh lobster while eating on the pier. This is one of my favorite lobster rolls in Maine.
20. Bradbury Mountain State Park
About 2o minutes west of town and a short drive, Bradbury Mountain State Park is one of the best places to hike and explore the great outdoors in the Brunswick area. They also have picnic areas if you want to pack a lunch or snack to enjoy the state of Maine.
21. Brunswick Golf Club
If you want to hit the golf course, look no further than the Brunswick Golf Club, which is open to the public. You can reserve your spot in advance.
Where to Stay in Brunswick, Maine
Brunswick offers a blend of chain hotels, local boutiques, and rentals. You can easily find affordable and nice lodging options without breaking the bank.
🌟Higher price point- The Brunswick
The Brunswick is a gorgeous hotel in traditional white with modern updated rooms. Within walking distance to the Maine State Music Theatre, you can catch a show below, settling in for the night. It is a short walk to the downtown shops, or you can stroll through Bowdoin College.
I love this hotel’s look and feel and would stay here. It caught my attention while we were exploring Brunswick.
🌟Ready to book The Brunswick NOW? Click HERE!🌟
🌟Mid Range-Traveler’s Inn
Family run, the Traveler’s Inn is near Brunswick and the beach. It is the best of both worlds at a moderate price point. Lastly, they offer a complimentary continental breakfast daily.
🌟Ready to book Traveler’s Inn NOW? Click HERE!🌟
🌟Budget- Relax Inn
Location, Location, Location! At a budget price point, you’ll find yourself near Androscoggin River and the swinging bridge with the Relax Inn. Too often, budget hotels are on the outskirts of town, but this one puts you in a scenic area at a low price point.
🌟Ready to book the Relax Inn NOW? Click HERE!🌟
FAQ: Visiting Brunswick, Maine
Is Brunswick, Maine, worth visiting?
Absolutely! On previous trips to Acadia & Camden, we had merely driven through, but on our last trip, we made the time to spend an afternoon here. You should carve out time to visit this charming community.
How do you get to Brunswick, Maine?
Brunswick is 30 minutes northeast of Portland, Maine. If you don’t live in New England, consider flights to Portland and rent a car. Many people visit Brunswick on their way to Acadia National Park too. So stay a night in Brunswick with an Acadia trip or Portland visit.
What is Brunswick, Maine, known for?
It is home to Bowdoin College and where Union General Joshua Chamberlain lived in the 1800s for history buffs.
Is Brunswick, Maine, walkable?
Downtown has ample, wide sidewalks that are easy for pedestrians to use.
In conclusion: The Best Activities & Things to do in Brunswick, Maine
Visitors to Maine typically bypass quaint and charming communities like Brunswick, which is a major mistake. Brunswick is the perfect getaway for romance or family. There are arts, outdoors, dining, and shipping. I hope my guide to the best activities & things to do in Brunswick, Maine, has helped you prepare for your next great adventure.