Acadia National Park Trail

Top 10 Things to do in Ellsworth, Maine

At times, some smaller Maine communities can be hard to reach. Luckily, Ellsworth is found in a convenient location. Built alongside US Route 1, it’s both a perfect stop on a Maine tour or a great vacation destination altogether. The central location and easy accessibility will surely prove useful when you are exploring the top things to do in Ellsworth, Maine. 

Via the major roads through the city, travelers may easily locate several lodgings in Ellsworth. There are many choices for you to select from, including brand-name hotels or motels. In the neighboring woods, there are also many accommodations for a vacation close to nature.

Ellsworth offers an unbelievable mix of sights and events that draw young and elderly alike. Either in spring or winter, you won’t experience monotonous and uninteresting days. If you are planning for a great time in the area, we recommend that you join us in exploring the best things to do in Ellsworth, Maine. With our recommendations, it will be easy to put together an itinerary, that will stretch multiple days.

How to get to Ellsworth, Maine

When you are traveling by car, it’s very easy to get to Ellsworth. It’s located right on US Route 1. You can easily follow Route 1 from Portland, all the way to Ellsworth. While driving towards the city you will pass plenty of picturesque scenery.

Another option is to drive towards Bangor. It’s one of the closest major cities to Ellsworth and you should have no difficulty coming from Bangor to Ellsworth. All you have to do is follow route 1A and you will arrive in no time.

Flying into Ellsworth proves no difficulty either. The closest international airport is located in Bangor, which is a nice 40 minutes drive only. After you book a flight to Bangor we also recommend reserving a car rental at Bangor airport and you are set for a nice vacation. 

Do I need a car to explore Ellsworth, Maine?

Absolutely! Maine is quite an amazing place. However, to fully explore and experience what it has to offer, one must drive. Ellsworth is no exception to this. While it’s located nicely in a central location, that still doesn’t mean you can’t be expected to drive. Whenever visiting it’s always recommended to rent a car or come by car directly.

Top Things to do in Ellsworth, Maine

Now that the most burning questions are all answered it’s time to explore what Ellsworth has to offer. By the end of our things to do in Ellsworth list, you will see, that it’s a perfect place for both a family or solo holiday. You can be immersed in nature and explore some amazing museums in the area. What’s best? Most of the things are well within an hour’s drive.

1. Down East Sunrise Trail

In addition to linking eastern Maine with the East Coast Greenway, the Down East Sunrise Trail is a multi-use route. Enjoy a natural setting in lush green forests and wetlands that is a refuge for iconic wild species, including moose, beavers, eagles, white-tailed deer, and wild turkeys.

The Down East Sunrise Trail starts at Ellsworth and it’s amongst the most popular things to do in Ellsworth, Maine. Many people come he for the purpose of walking or hiking the trail in its whole length. Meanwhile, others prefer to do a small leg of the trail while in Ellsworth and return to the town in the evening.

If hiking doesn’t sound fun to you, you can also get on the trail with a bike, ATV, or buggies. It’s quite a feeling to speed down the dirt road trail and take in the picturesque scenes in an open buggy. For more information on the trail, visit the official site.

Down East Sunrise Trail
Map courtesy of

2. Downeast Scenic Railroad

Are you more of a railroad person? Well, lucky for you, the Down East Trail also has a railroad track right beside it. You can ride the Downeast Scenic Railroad line to experience the beauty of the trail from the comfort of a vintage rail carriage. This activity is especially recommended as a things to do with children when in Ellsworth.

Offering a beautiful ten-mile round-trip train ride from Ellsworth, Maine, on the historic Calais Branch Line, the Downeast Scenic Railroad provides the experience of a journey through the Maine countryside. Passenger rail service has not been provided on this route for decades. You will enjoy stunning views of landscapes and animals throughout the trip. Animals including deer, foxes, beavers, bald eagles, blue herons, and perhaps bears will be easily seen.

3. Woodlawn Museum

The massive historic estate of Woodlawn is situated a short distance from downtown Ellsworth, Maine. A family home that was formerly home to three generations of the Black family has been turned into a museum that exhibits the family history and the house itself.

Apart from the museum, you will also be able to visit the estate grounds, which is a public park today. There are many walking trails to explore the park and get immersed in nature. You will have more than two miles of walking paths at your disposal to spend a nice time in the gardens.

4. Telephone Museum

The telephone was developed by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. One of the most common means of communication in our day is his invention. It had a positive effect on both the quality of life and employment. The exhibit at the Telephone Museum offers an in-depth look at the history and significance of this essential communication device.

Technology has become an integral part of our daily life, and cell phones are a huge part of that. However, this museum illustrates how humans communicated before the days of modern technology.

Hundreds of functioning telephones and switching systems are on display here, providing a great opportunity to see how they operate. Hand-crank magneto phones, dial phones, and manual switchboards are urged to be used. In addition, you will discover, hear, and marvel at the early stages of technological advancement that led to computers, mobile phones, and smartphones as well as other remarkable inventions. Don’t skip on this things to do in Ellsworth, Maine, if you love history and technology.

To get to the museum, drive north on Bangor Road (also known as Route 1A) towards Bangor or Brewer. The museum is about 10 miles (or 11 kilometers) from downtown Ellsworth. On the right, look for a sign; take Winkumpaugh Road to the left and follow it as described.

5. Green Lake National Fish Hatchery

The Green Lake National Fishing Hatchery is one of the few US facilities with the goal of promoting and improving American fisheries.

River-specific Atlantic salmon strains are raised at the facility, and approximately one million are released into the river each year. Not only can you learn about the hatchery, but you may enjoy recreational fishing while you’re here.

To get to Green Lake National Fishing Hatchery, use Route 1A north until you reach the intersection with Route 180. Travel about 4.25 miles to the Hatchery entry sign on the left, then take a turn right onto Route 180. It takes about ten minutes to go from Ellsworth.

6. Acadia National Park

A really spectacular national treasure is found along the coast of Maine in the United States, with Acadia National Park. A 47,000-acre leisure area is located on Mount Desert Island. This terrain is characterized by dense forest, a series of rocky beaches, and several glacier-scarred granite summits. Cadillac Mountain is also found here, which is known as the first place to see the sun each morning in the US. In reality, this is only true during some parts of the year.

Bears, whales, moose, and seagulls are all found among the fauna. For many people, the headquarters or Hulls Cove Visitor Center is the first place to visit in the park. Try using an alternate entry like the Welcome Center in Rockefeller Hall on the Schoodic Peninsula during peak summer months to experience the park with fewer people.

Acadia National Park Overview

7. Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show

For a fun things to do in Ellsworth, Maine, you should consider a visit to Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show. It is placed in the secluded woods of Trenton, Maine, in a natural log sports facility. One of the biggest logging parts in the US during the 1870s was known as Down East Acadia.

Invite a friend and experience a re-enactment of a historic lumberjack camp from that time period.

The event highlights the Olympics of the Forest in an exciting and educational ‘LIVE’ presentation that showcases two teams of athletes competing in twelve different events.

You will be a participant in the live event because you’re rooting for your favorite team! This program is ideal for families with children, as it has special events specifically tailored for kids to join in on.

8. Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary

This is a lovely, untouched natural space that is very clean. This scenic path has an interesting story, and you will be able to appreciate some beautiful views along the way. An experience that is important to children and adults of all ages, whether they are avid outdoors people, bird lovers, or history aficionados. During your visit, you will listen to the stories of a well-known family that is famous for producing a world-renowned ornithologist, and be captivated by hawks and owls situated inside a natural sanctuary.

The Stanwood Homestead Museum and Sanctuary (which has always been accessible to the public) formally opened on August 1, 1960. It became a communal effort with barn-raising participation from everyone, sponsored by and completed with a giving spirit. A seemingly endless number of volunteers came together to rebuild the abandoned, dilapidated farmhouse and the surrounding grounds to their former grandeur; completed in the unbelievably short span of ten months.

9. Branch Lake Public Forest

For Ellsworth, the biggest coastal town in eastern Maine, the Branch Lake provides the only supply of drinking water. The lake is also a source of wood collection and leisure. The lake path winds through the forest at 1,3 miles to Branch Lake. Allow 1.5 hours to walk.

The Public Forest Branch Lake provides 5 designated paths meandering through evergreens and moose grounds The most beautiful paths are those beside the tranquil Branch Lake. One of the many things to do in Ellsworth, Maine, that have you explore nature and beauty. It’s truly a holiday destination to connect with Earth.

Branch Lake
Image courtesy of

10. Wild Acadia Fun Park & Water Slides

When you are traveling with children, you are always on the lookout for family things to do. The Wild Acadia Fun Park provides such an activity. There are many water slides, a racing track, a mini-golf course, climbing walls, slingshot trampolines, and other activities to enjoy.

Even better, the park itself is free to visit. They charge for the attractions individually so there is no upfront cost. You pay for only the things you wish to try. One thing to note is that they have closed for renovation during the 2021 season. Before planning a visit you need to consult their official website for full information.

Where to eat at Ellsworth, Maine

As you can see there are plenty of fun things to do in Ellsworth, Maine. When it comes to food, there is also a good selection of options. If you are wondering what’s the best places to check out on your holiday let us give you some nice recommendations.

Union River Lobster Pot

The Union River Lobster Pot is a well-known seafood restaurant for the people of Ellsworth. Lobster is the main attraction as the name suggests. However, do not be mistaken, other seafood items are well prepared and the blueberry pie is exceptional. The restaurant is found on the Union River which means the views will be exceptional during the diner.

Address: 8 South St, Ellsworth, ME 04605, United States

Taste Jamaica Maine

A newcomer to the restaurant scene of Ellsworth is Taste Jamaica, established in 2016. The Jamaican-owned restaurant tries to bring some of Jamacia’s cuisine into the American lifestyle. With delicious meats and exceptional desserts, it’s surely a venue that you must try on your holiday in Ellsworth.

Address: 190 State St, Ellsworth, ME 04605, United States

Provender Kitchen + Bar

Provender Kitchen and Bar is an excellent choice for modern American cuisine. The chef has a good eye for detail and exceptional taste. The menu usually consists of seasonal foods depending on ingredient availability. Highly recommended to visit at least once during your Ellsworth stay.

Address: 112 Main St, Ellsworth, ME 04605, United States

Martha’s Diner

If you are looking for a classic American diner, then Martha’s Diner is the place to be. This breakfast and lunch restaurant servers the classics, prepared with excellence. Big platters and an inviting interior make Martha’s Diner an easy recommendation.

Address: 151 High St # 7, Ellsworth, ME 04605, United States

How many days to spend in Ellsworth, Maine

When you are traveling through Maine you might be wondering what are the optimal days to spend in Ellsworth. Considering, that many of the attractions around Ellsworth can be visited from other locations too such as Bar Harbor you can count 2-3 days in Ellsworth.

However, due to the central location, you can easily plan a full week in Ellsworth. There are enough routes to hike, parks to visit, and attractions to admire to fill up your week with adventure and a lot of fun.

Where to stay at Ellsworth

When you are looking at Ellsworth hotels you have multiple options. Our two favorite picks for an in-city stay are Ramada by Wyndham Ellsworth and Atlantic Coast Inn. You can check these out for simple accommodation. Additionally, use our hotel map to check prices and availability directly. 

True Family Fun

As you can tell Ellsworth is full of things that are great for a family. A family holiday to Ellsworth will have the kids learn about nature and a little bit of technology history. It’s also a great place to introduce hiking to the children due to the many scenic opportunities.

More Travel Guides:

Top 10 Things to do in Ellsworth, Maine

  • Down East Sunrise Trail
  • Downeast Scenic Railroad
  • Woodlawn Museum
  • Telephone Museum
  • Green Lake National Fish Hatchery
  • Acadia National Park
  • Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show
  • Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Branch Lake Public Forest
  • Wild Acadia Fun Park & Water Slides

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