When you think of the state of Maine, you may think of Steven Spielberg, beautiful beaches, and snowy winters. However, there is so much more to the Pine Tree State, especially its capitol in central Maine, the city of Augusta.
Sandwiched between Portland in the South and Bangor in the North, Augusta is often overlooked when thinking about Maine. But you shouldn’t count it out! There are loads of things to see and do in and around downtown Augusta.
Things To Do in Augusta, The Capital of Maine
The official Maine government museum, the Maine State Museum is one of the oldest state-run museums in the country. Learn all there is to know about Maine’s past, present and future through exhibits and various collections.
Built in 1832, the home of Maine’s legislature has gone through many renovations and changes. Tour the capitol building and see where Maine’s laws are made, as well as learn some history.
Built in 1754, and a National Historic Landmark, Old Fort Western is America’s oldest surviving wooden fort. Built on the head of the navigation of the Kennebec River in Gardiner, Fort Western “served as a fortified storehouse in support of Fort Halifax, 17 miles to the north.” You can visit this living history museum and get an inside look into life in the 18th century.
4. Blaine House
Home to Maine’s governors, you are able to tour this house built in 1919. Walk around the gardens, or get a tour of the state dining room, state reception room and more. This historic site in Maine’s capital city is sure to awe and inspire, and maybe you’ll even get a glimpse of the sitting governor!
5. Capitol Park
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Located outside of the State Capitol, Capitol Park was created in 1827. Made up of 34 acres overlooking the Kennebec River, you can wander around and take in the beauty of native trees and shrubs.
The Children’s Discovery museum “has a mission to ignite curiosity and celebrate learning through play.” Technically not in Augusta, it is located in nearby Waterville, but will be well worth the short ride once the museum reopens after relocating from Augusta.
Enjoy some outdoor time on this rail trail. A 6.5-mile public trail, the Kennebec River Rail Trail connects the communities of Augusta, Hallowell, Farmingdale, and Gardiner. You’ll enjoy biking, walking, rollerblading, and taking a break with a picnic while you take in the views of the river.
Walk along the Kennebec River Rail Trail to nearby Hallowell (or drive if you don’t feel up to the walk). This quaint historic village has much to offer, from an art gallery, The Gaslight Theatre (Maine’s oldest continuously operating theater), and loads of shopping.
Open sunrise to sunset, this botanical garden is well worth a visit. The Viles Arboretum sits on 224 acres with five miles of trails, has over 5,000 varieties of trees and shrubs, and over 20 collections of trees, flowers and other plants. A visitor center and gift shop are open Wednesday through Saturday.
Located in the Gannett House, a house built in 1911, you will learn about the Gannett’s and all about the 1st Amendment when you take a free tour at this museum. William H. Gannett was a publisher and proponent of the 1st Amendment. The museum promises to inspire “Americans to live and love their First Amendment freedoms.”
Take a break from it all and enjoy some good beer and food in the downtown area at the Cushnoc Brewing Co. With high quality craft beer made right in Augusta, and some delicious wood fired pizza, you’ll be looking forward to dinner riverfront after a long day of sightseeing. With fun named beers like “Gigantic Dad Pants,” and “Shimmy Shimmy Yay,” you may just find yourself buying a four pack to go.
Still haven’t had enough of Maine’s capital city? Check out some more attractions found here, from historic sites to modern venues:
1. Senator Inn & Spa
2. The Governor Hill Mansion
3. Pine Tree State Arboretum
4. University of Maine at Augusta
5. Riverfront shopping along Water Street
Any favorites in the capital of Maine we missed? Share them at our Wide Open Roads Facebook!