Located in Knox County on the Penobscot Bay, Rockland is a popular tourist destination in Maine. Rockland is also commonly recognized as one of the best places to live in Maine. In 2017, Smithsonian named Rockland as “one of the best small towns in the country,” and Downeast Magazine appointed Rockland as the “best place to live in Maine” the same year. The coastal city’s population is approximately 7,297.
Rockland offers visitors a historic downtown with a wide range of local shops, restaurants, salons, art galleries and more. However, the city’s most popular point of interest is its picturesque, multi-use harbor. Rockland’s working waterfront includes the Breakwater Lighthouse, South End Shipyard and the Snow Marine Park. These entities are home to the city’s commercial fishermen, and also cater to both recreational boaters and cruise ships alike. According to the city’s official website, Rockland landed 35 million pounds of seafood in 2016 and is home to the headquarters of the largest fishing company in the world.
In addition to its thriving harbor, marinas and boatyards, Rockland also offers visitors an exciting local food movement. The city has become known for it’s increasing number of farm-to-table restaurants throughout the past several years. An additional element to the city’s economic success is its manufacturing sector. In fact, Rockland has the largest concentration of manufacturers in Maine. Many boat builders such as Backcove Yachts and Yachting Solutions call Rockland their home.
Many tourists also enjoy Rockland’s Farnsworth Art Museum, which is world-famous for its paintings by Andrew Wyeth and several other popular New England artists. Throughout the summer months, the city hosts many festivals and outdoor events, including the Maine Lobster Festival. For lobster fans, this is a must-see event during the first week of August every year. The five-day event attracts thousands of visitors from all over the globe.
5 Fast Facts About Rockland, Maine:
- In 2008, Rockland became a designated U.S. Coast Guard City. The city has had a long-standing relationship with the Coast Guard, dating back to World War II.
- Rockland acts as a departure point for the Maine State Ferry Service to the islands of Penobscot Bay. These towns include Vinalhaven, North Haven and Matinicus.
- Thanks to the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland is known as a premier destination for experiencing visual arts in the state of Maine.
- Rockland has dominated the ship-building scene in Maine, as far back as 1854. It’s said in 1854 alone, the city produced eleven ships, which included three barks, six brigs and four schooners.
- The city is no stranger to lots of praise; Budget Travel named Rockland their “Coolest Small Town in US,” National Geographic Travel has called the city the "Top Adventure Town in Maine" and named Rockland on their "Top 9 Small Foodie Towns" in Maine.