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Augusta, Maine

Picture of Downtown Augusta, Maine

Kennebec River – Downtown Augusta

The easternmost US state capital, Augusta, Maine is situated on the Kennebec River. The city is located about an hour from Portland traveling north on I-95 (the Maine Turnpike), then east on US 20.

In 1629, English setters from the Plymouth Colony established a trading post here, known by its Indian name, Cushnoc, meaning “head of tide.” Cushnoc was abandoned in 1661 as fur trading became less profitable and as relations with the Abenaki Indians became increasingly hostile.

Fort Western, now the oldest wooden fort in America, was built in Cushnoc in 1754. The area was incorporated in 1797 as Harrington, then renamed Augusta after Henry Dearborn’s daughter later that year. Dearborn was a prominent lieutenant who served under George Washington and later became the 5th US Secretary of War. In 1827, Augusta was designated the state capital after it was relocated from Portland. It became a busy mill town later in the 19th century after the construction of a dam on the Kennebec River and the arrival of the Kennebec and Portland Railroad.

With a population of less than 20,000 today, Augusta is one of the nation’s smallest state capitals. While the textile industry is long gone, renovated brick mills from its heyday give the downtown area its historic character.

Called by Downeast Traveler “one of the country’s best state museums”, the Maine State Museum is an excellent venue for learning more about Maine’s rich history. The Augusta Civic Center, Children’s Discovery Museum and Viles Arboretum are other local attractions.

Things to Do in Augusta

Augusta Civic Center
The Augusta Civic Center is Augusta’s premier venue for events, exhibitions, and functions.

Augusta Civic Center
76 Community Drive
Augusta, ME 04330
Phone: 207-626-2405

Blaine House (Governor’s Mansion)
Tours of the Blaine House are given by the Maine State Museum. They must be scheduled in advance for individuals and groups.

Blaine House
192 State Street
Augusta, ME 04330

Capitol Park
Capitol Park is the designed landscape in front of the State House on the Kennebec River.

Children’s Discovery Museum
The Children’s Discovery Museum provides exhibits and activities that promote the developmental skills of children.

The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 AM to 4 PM; Friday and Saturday from 10 AM to 5PM; and Sunday from 11 AM to 4 PM.

Children’s Discovery Museum
171 Capitol Street, Suite 2
Augusta, Maine 04330
Phone: 207-622-2209

Maine State House (State Capitol)
Tours of the Maine State House are given by the Maine State Museum. They are offered Wednesday and Friday at 9 AM., 9:30 AM, 10 AM, and 10:30 AM for scheduled school groups; and 2 PM and 2:30 PM for all other individuals and groups.

Maine State House
State Street
Augusta, ME US 04330

Maine State Museum
The Maine State Museum has four floors of exhibits and collections of thousands of items from Maine’s history, pre-history, and environment. The museum also runs educational programs.

The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday from 10 AM to 4PM.

Maine State Museum
Maine State Museum
230 State Street
Augusta, ME 04330
Phone: 207-287-2301

Old Fort Western
Old Fort Western (1754) is Maine’s and New England’s oldest surviving wooden fort. It is a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public:

  • Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day: Weekdays except Tuesday from 10 AM to 4 PM, and weekends from 11 AM to 4 PM.
  • Labor Day to Columbus Day: Weekends only from 11 AM to 4 PM

Old Fort Western
16 Cony Street
Augusta, ME 04330
Phone: 207-626-2385

Viles Arboretum
The Viles Arboretum is comprised of 224 acres of land with the mission “to promote the knowledge and appreciation of trees and other plants from around the world as well as plants and animals native to the State of Maine.”

The arboretums’s lands, trails, botanical and outdoor art exhibits are open seven days a week from dawn until dusk.

Viles Arboretum
153 Hospital Street
Augusta, ME 04330
Phone: 207-26-7989

Augusta Lodging

Use the search box below to find a hotel in Augusta.

Augusta Weather

The warmest month typically is July, with daily temperatures averaging 70 degrees Fahrenheit. January is usually the coldest month, with daily temperatures averaging 18 degrees Fahrenheit. November is typically the wettest month with 4.5 inches of precipitation on average.

Photo credits: The picture of downtown Augusta is from Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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