11 Top Things To Do In Augusta, Maine

Trip Ideas May 3, 2024

Augusta, Maine, serves as a captivating blend of the past and present, offering visitors an array of experiences that showcase its unique charm. As the state capital, this city stands out for its rich history, scenic beauty, and cultural vibrancy. It's a place where the echoes of history meet the bustling activities of today, creating a destination full of discoveries for all who visit.

For those inclined towards outdoor activities, Augusta does not disappoint. The Kennebec River, a central feature of the city, invites enthusiasts for fishing, kayaking, and serene walks along its banks. The city's parks and trails, such as the Kennebec River Rail Trail, offer ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and enjoying Maine's picturesque landscapes.

Augusta Maine
Source: Britannica

Things to do in Augusta span from exploring its historical roots to immersing oneself in outdoor adventures and cultural festivities. This blend of attractions makes Augusta not just a destination to visit but a place to experience and remember. The city extends an invitation to all who wish to explore the depth of Maine's heritage, the beauty of its natural landscapes, and the vibrancy of its cultural scene, ensuring a memorable visit for everyone.

1. Viles Arboretum 

The Viles Arboretum in Augusta offers a serene escape into nature with its expansive six miles of trails, making it a perfect destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. As one ventures through these well-marked paths, the area becomes a haven for bird-watchers, where the melodies of various bird species fill the air, creating a peaceful harmony with the rustling of leaves. This unique feature adds a delightful layer to the hiking experience, inviting visitors to slow down and appreciate the vibrant ecosystem that thrives within the arboretum.

Augusta Maine
Source: Maine Trail Finder

Throughout the year, the Viles Arboretum transforms to match the season, offering a range of activities that cater to different interests and skill levels. In the warmer months, the trails beckon hikers to explore the lush landscapes, where the flora and fauna of Maine can be observed in their natural habitat. The diverse plant life not only beautifies the trails but also serves as an educational resource, highlighting the importance of conservation and the role of arboretums in preserving biodiversity.

For those looking for things to do in Augusta, the Viles Arboretum stands out as a year-round destination that offers a blend of recreation, education, and conservation.  

2. Kennebec River Rail Trail and Greenway Trail 

The Kennebec River Rail Trail and the Greenway Trail stand out as premier destinations for those looking to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and historical depth of hiking near Augusta Maine. Spanning a generous length that connects multiple communities, these trails offer an unparalleled outdoor experience for both hiking and biking enthusiasts. As one ventures along the Kennebec River Rail Trail, the journey unfolds with spectacular river views that serve as a dynamic backdrop to a well-paved path. This trail is not just a route; it's a narrative that weaves through the rich tapestry of the area's past and present.

Kennebec River Rail Trail 
Source: TrailLink

Alongside the river, the trail gently guides visitors through a series of historical sites, offering a unique opportunity to connect with Augusta's heritage. These landmarks tell stories of days gone by, enriching the journey with a sense of place and time that is as engaging as the natural scenery. It's a harmonious blend of exploration and education, where each step forward is an invitation to delve deeper into the locale's history.

3. Lake Cobbosseecontee: Recommend fishing and water sports activities 

Lake Cobbosseecontee, a gem in the vicinity of Augusta, offers an array of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. This expansive water body is a haven for those looking to escape into nature and indulge in recreational pursuits. Fishing here is a premier attraction, with the lake being renowned for its abundant populations of bass, northern pike, and perch. Anglers of all skill levels find the waters both challenging and rewarding, with ice fishing in the winter adding an extra layer of adventure.

Lake Cobbosseecontee
Source: Fine Art America

For those inclined towards more vigorous activities, Lake Cobbosseecontee does not disappoint. Water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, and sailing are popular, with the gentle breezes and scenic backdrop providing a perfect setting for these exhilarating experiences. The lake's clear waters are also ideal for swimming during the warmer months, making it a favored spot for families looking to cool off and have fun.

4. Fort Western: Describe the oldest wooden fort in America 

Fort Western stands as a remarkable testament to America's colonial past, specifically illuminating the 1750s era with its rich historical context and architectural integrity. Located in Augusta, Maine, this wooden fortress holds the distinction of being the oldest of its kind in the nation, offering visitors a unique journey back in time to the early days of American settlement and the complexities of life on the frontier.

Constructed in 1754 during a period of escalating tensions between British colonists and the indigenous populations, Fort Western was originally designed as a defensive bastion and a trading post. Over the years, it has served multiple roles, from a community hub to a strategic point in military campaigns, reflecting the changing dynamics of its time. Today, it serves a new purpose: educating the public about the colonial era and the daily lives of the people who lived through it.

Fort Western
Source: Marine Tourism

For those exploring the area, finding attractions in augusta maine will undoubtedly lead to Fort Western, where history buffs, families, and curious travelers can engage with the past in a meaningful way. The fort's presence enriches the cultural landscape of Augusta, offering a tangible link to the historical events that shaped the region and the country. Through its preservation and educational efforts, Fort Western not only commemorates the past but also inspires a deeper appreciation for the complexities of American history and the resilience of its people.

5. Maine State Museum 

Visiting the Maine State Museum is an adventure through time, where the natural world meets cultural artifacts, offering a comprehensive narrative of Maine's rich history. Located in Augusta, this museum is not just an ordinary stop; it's a journey that captivates the curiosity of visitors, making it a must-visit destination on your list of outdoor activities near augusta, maine. The museum uniquely combines Maine's natural history, industrial heritage, and cultural evolution, presenting a tapestry woven with fascinating stories and significant milestones.

Maine State Museum
Source: JKennebec Journal

As you step into the Maine State Museum, you're greeted with exhibits that span from the Ice Age to modern times. The museum showcases an impressive collection that includes prehistoric animal bones, which tell tales of creatures that once roamed the land, to artifacts from Maine's indigenous peoples, offering insights into their lives and contributions to the state's history. Additionally, the museum doesn't shy away from exploring Maine's maritime history, reflecting on its pivotal role in navigation and trade.

6. Old Federal Building & Downtown Architecture 

The Old Federal Building, often referred to as the Old Post Office, stands as a testament to Augusta's rich architectural heritage. This Romanesque Revival-style edifice, with its distinctive features and historical significance, draws both locals and visitors who are eager to delve into the architectural marvels of the city. The structure's robust design, characterized by heavy stone work, rounded arches, and a fortress-like appearance, offers a glimpse into a period when buildings were as much about aesthetics as they were about function.

Old Federal Building
Source: Flickr

Exploring Augusta's downtown, one can't help but be enchanted by the blend of architectural styles that narrate the city's evolution. From the intricacy of the Romanesque Revival to the elegance of Neoclassical structures, each building tells a story of time periods, design trends, and the community's aspirations. This variety not only enhances the cityscape but also invites onlookers to appreciate the subtleties of architectural design.

The Old Federal Building, in particular, serves as a focal point for those interested in architectural history and design. Its preservation and continued use reflect Augusta's commitment to maintaining its historical identity while adapting to modern needs. This balance between the old and the new is a characteristic feature of Augusta, making it a unique destination.

For visitors looking for fun things to do in augusta, exploring the downtown area and its architectural wonders offers an enriching experience. Beyond the visual appeal, it's an opportunity to connect with the city's past, understand its growth, and appreciate the efforts to preserve its heritage.  

7. Children's Discovery Museum 

The Children's Discovery Museum is a vibrant and educational playground where families can dive into a world of interactive fun indoor activities in maine. It stands as a beacon for those seeking to blend play with learning, offering an array of activities that cater to curious minds of all ages. This engaging space is designed to ignite the imagination of children, allowing them to explore, create, and discover in an environment that is both safe and stimulating. From hands-on science experiments that unravel the mysteries of the physical world to imaginative play areas that transport kids to lands of endless possibility, the museum offers a rich tapestry of experiences that foster creativity, critical thinking, and a love of learning.

Children Discovery Museum Augusta
Source: MaineBiz

For families looking for things to do near augusta, maine this weekend, the Children's Discovery Museum offers a unique opportunity to spend quality time together while engaging in activities that are not only fun but also educational. The museum's exhibits are thoughtfully designed to encourage children to ask questions, seek answers, and learn through doing. This approach to interactive learning ensures that every visit is both memorable and impactful, providing children with the tools they need to grow into inquisitive and informed individuals.

As you wander through Maine, exploring its natural beauty and quaint towns, you might find yourself looking for an engaging things to do inside in maine that captures the essence of local entertainment. One such place is the 1-7-10 Bowl, a popular bowling alley that stands out with its unique offerings. This venue goes beyond the traditional bowling experience, creating a vibrant social atmosphere that caters to both locals and visitors alike.

1-7-10 Bowl:, Augusta
Source: Sun Journal

At the heart of its appeal is the combination of classic bowling fun with innovative twists like karaoke nights and rock n bowl sessions. These additions transform a simple game of bowling into an exciting night out, offering something for everyone.  

The rock n bowl experience elevates the atmosphere further, blending the rhythmic sounds of bowling balls striking pins with the beat of popular music under vibrant, colorful lights. This fusion creates a dynamic environment where the energy is contagious, making it impossible not to get swept up in the fun.

For those looking for things to do around Augusta Maine, the 1-7-10 Bowl presents a compelling option. It exemplifies how a local entertainment venue can offer a slice of the community's character while providing a welcoming space for making new memories.  

9. Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine

The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, located on the University of Maine Augusta campus, stands as a beacon of education and reflection on crucial human rights issues. Since its establishment in 1985 by Gerda Haas and its housing in the Michael Klahr Center since 2008, the center has been an essential part of Maine's educational landscape. It showcases permanent exhibits alongside artwork and reflections donated by the public, including significant contributions from Maine's school children and university students. These exhibits serve not only as reminders of past atrocities but also as lessons on the importance of tolerance, understanding, and the prevention of bias and discrimination. The center also offers resources and hosts special events aimed at promoting a deeper understanding of human rights issues among individuals and groups. Its presence in Augusta enriches the array of cheap things to do in maine, offering visitors a profound and educational experience that goes beyond mere entertainment to challenge and inspire.  

Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine
Source: HHRCMAINE

10. First Amendment Museum

The First Amendment Museum, an emblem of American freedom and democracy, stands as a beacon of knowledge for those curious about the foundations of their rights. This museum offers a dynamic and interactive journey through the history and significance of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition the government. Located in the state's capital, the museum provides an enriching experience for visitors of all ages, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the rich tapestry of American civil liberties. 

First Amendment Museum
Source: Maine Tourism Association

A visit to the First Amendment Museum is an engaging way if looking for things to do in Maine on a rainy day. As part of the broader array of sparetime recreation augusta maine, this museum presents a unique opportunity to dive deep into the bedrock of American values. The museum's exhibits are meticulously curated to foster an understanding of how the First Amendment has shaped American society and its discourse over the years. Interactive displays and thought-provoking installations allow visitors to explore the complexities and nuances of freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition. These interactive experiences are not only educational but also stimulate reflection on the contemporary relevance of these freedoms in today's digital and globalized world.

11. Mill Park: Detail the park's amenities 

Mill Park, located in the vibrant city of Augusta, Maine, stands out as a prime example of outdoor recreational and community gathering space that caters to a wide range of interests and activities. This expansive park offers residents and visitors a rich tapestry of natural beauty and amenities, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring the area.

One of the key attractions of Mill Park is its well-known farmers’ market, which brings together local farmers, artisans, and producers. This market serves as a lively hub of activity where visitors can explore a plethora of stalls offering fresh, locally-sourced fruits and vegetables, handmade crafts, and gourmet foods. The market not only provides a platform for local businesses to thrive but also offers an opportunity for community members to connect, share recipes, and discover new ingredients.

Mill Park
Source: Augusta Farmers Market

For pet owners and dog lovers, the dog park within Mill Park is a welcoming space where dogs can roam freely in a safe, enclosed area. This aspect of the park underscores its commitment to being an inclusive space for all members of the community, including furry ones. The dog park is a popular spot where pet owners can socialize while their dogs play, contributing to the park’s friendly and communal atmosphere.

Conclusion

Augusta is a city rich in history and natural beauty, a place where every visit can turn into an adventure. From its renowned golf courses to the scenic Riverwalk, visitors find themselves immersed in a blend of cultural and outdoor activities that cater to all ages and interests. It's a city where the past and the present coexist harmoniously, offering a plethora of experiences that range from exploring historic sites to enjoying modern-day entertainment and dining.

One of the highlights of Augusta is its vibrant arts scene. The city is home to numerous galleries and museums that showcase the work of local and national artists. The Morris Museum of Art, for instance, offers a deep dive into the world of Southern art, featuring collections that span several centuries. For those interested in performing arts, the historic Imperial Theatre hosts a variety of shows, from concerts to plays, providing entertainment for all tastes.

For golf enthusiasts, Augusta is synonymous with the Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in professional golf. While the Augusta National Golf Club is private and exclusive, the city comes alive during the tournament, with various events and activities celebrating the sport. It's a time when the global spotlight is on Augusta, showcasing not only the prestigious golf tournament but also the city's hospitality and charm.

In conclusion, exploring Augusta reveals a city that thrives on diversity and balance. Things to do in Augusta encompass a broad spectrum, from delving into the rich tapestry of its historical and cultural sites to engaging in the myriad of outdoor and recreational activities. It's a place where every corner holds a story, every path leads to discovery, and every visit leaves a lasting impression.  

FAQ

1. Are there any culinary surprises unique to Augusta?

Absolutely. Augusta hosts culinary experiences that let you taste unique local dishes, including wild Maine blueberry-infused specialties and the city's twist on classic New England seafood. Take advantage of the chance to try lobster in ways you've never imagined.

2. Is there a way to explore Augusta's history in a non-traditional manner?

Indeed, there is. Beyond traditional museums, Augusta offers historical scavenger hunts. Using a map and clues, you can discover hidden historical markers, architecture, and stories throughout the city, making learning about Augusta's past an interactive adventure.

3. What are some unusual art experiences in Augusta?

Augusta is home to several off-the-beaten-path art experiences, including interactive street art tours and workshops with local artists. You might even find yourself contributing to a community mural or crafting a piece of Maine-inspired art to take home.

4. How can I experience Augusta's music scene differently?

Look out for house concerts and open mic nights in local cafes. These intimate settings offer a unique way to experience the vibrant local music scene, featuring genres from folk to indie and beyond.

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Oliver Hughes

Oliver has over 15 years of experience in travel journalism. He focuses on European travel, providing expert reviews of vacation rentals and cultural experiences across Europe.