Orono is a city of around 10,000 people located in the Penobscot County of Maine. It is home to the historic University of Maine founded in 1865 and is a nice, peaceful place located on the banks of the picturesque Stillwater and Penobscot rivers.
Founded in 1774 by European settlers, Orono has a rich history.
Occupying a total area of 19.6 square miles, it occupies part of Marsh Island.
Let’s have a look at the 15 best things to do in Orono and the nearby area.
1. Stroll along the Orono Bog Boardwalk
View pristine nature and some amazing wildlife when you take a walk along this beautiful boardwalk. It starts soon after the parking area and takes you through the Rolland Perry City Forest.
This is a great way to feel like you’re getting out and about into the natural world without having to do any hard hiking on rough terrain. However, if you like to get a bit off the beaten track, there are plenty of trails that you can choose from here.
2. Enjoy a brew at the Orono Brewing Company
After all that walking – especially if it’s a hot summer day – you will appreciate the chance to kick back with a refreshing cold drink. What better way to quench your thirst than with a great beer?
Based in an old industrial building by the river, this location offers a wide variety of delicious brews. The interior is decorated with some attractive murals; there is also a ping pong table and some other kid-friendly activities.
It’s a nice, intimate place with great staff and, most importantly, great beer.
3. Stop in at St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Whether you want to say a quick prayer or just admire the building itself, it’s worth a visit to St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
The interior is beautifully restored and there are various plays that take place here. Some of them have historic themes that fit very well with the interior of the church, making you feel like you are in an old castle.
4. Visit Page Farm and Home Museum
This is an interesting museum that is worth a few hours of your time if you happen to be in the area. There are plenty of exhibits to admire, including a parlor, a blacksmith shop, a small schoolhouse, a barn, beautiful gardens and much more.
One of the barns in this museum inspired one of the popular horror stories written by Stephen King. Overall, it’s a nice place to spend a few hours with the family.
5. Shop at the Orono Farmer’s Market
If you need fresh meat, eggs, cheese, fruit, vegetables, and other products, stop by the Farmer’s Market in Orono. You can get in-season products to consume on the spot or stock up for winter.
There are plenty of vendors with a wide variety of goodies, so there is something for everyone here. The products are fresh and organic; they come at good prices and shopping here supports the local economy.
6. Visit the Emera Astronomy Center & Jordan Planetarium
Exploring space is an exciting activity for the whole family. Other than looking through the telescope, there are plenty of interesting presentations offered here; the kids will love all the activities.
You will find out more about our universe, the planets in our Solar System, the Milky Way Galaxy, and so much more.
Immerse yourself in the immensity of the sky by visiting the Emera Astronomy Center and Jordan Planetarium in Orono.
7. Explore the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine
Orono and the nearby cities of Old Town and Bangor have plenty of museums that are worth a visit. The Hudson Museum is one of them; although it’s not a large one, it still has plenty of interesting things on offer.
You will find old beads, canoes, moccasins, art pieces and artifacts that used to belong to the Native American people who lived here in the past.
There are also various hands-on activities for the kids, so they can get a better idea of how people used to live in times past.
8. Discover a good book at Front Porch Books
Here, you will find a wide variety of books on various topics, including some titles that are hard to find. While the place sells used books, most of them are in pretty good shape.
The prices are more than reasonable and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable. If you are looking for a specific title or a certain genre, they will gladly help you find the right book.
9. Go on a Fishing Adventure
Located in the nearby city of Old Town, Tracewski Fishing Adventures offers you unique experiences in the wilderness. The owner and guide is Kevin Tracewski, an experienced fisherman and the writer of a popular fishing book.
He will take you on a journey through some of the best fishing spots in the area and teach you everything you need to know. Your journey will see you traveling by boat and admiring some of the natural wonders on the way.
10. Go bowling at the Old Town Bowling Center
Since you’re in Old Town, why not stop for a game of bowling? The rules are simple and you don’t really need to have any previous experience. The game played here is candlepin bowling, which is just as fun as the original version.
There is a bar with drinks and snacks and the prices are affordable. Don’t expect a modern facility; this is an old building but you can still have plenty of fun playing here.
11. See the Cole Land Transportation Museum
Another fascinating museum to check out, the Cole Land Transportation Museum includes all the transportation means you can think of – cars, trains, motorcycles, helicopters, ships, plows and many more.
The museum stretches over a wide area and you can easily spend a few hours here. There are informative plaques about each exhibit and you can take plenty of photos with the full-size displays.
To make things more interesting, grab the scavenger hunt list from the front desk. This way you will make sure that you won’t miss any interesting items.
12. Take a walk through the Mount Hope Garden Cemetery
If you want to have a relaxing walk through a serene place, head to this impressive cemetery in Bangor. It’s not unusual to stroll around here; there are even organized tours on a regular basis.
An experienced guide will lead you through the most important places, tell you more about the history and the people that rest here. Along the way, you will admire some beautiful views, old canons and architecture, monuments, commemorative plaques, and the river.
13. Shop at the Bangor Mall
If you have energy left after the long walk in the cemetery, head out for some shopping at this mall. Or have a good meal before shopping at Sephora, JC Penny’s, Victoria’s Secret, Dick’s Sporting Goods or any of the other brands found here.
There are plenty of good stores where you can spend a few hours and leave with a lighter wallet.
14. Browse The Rock & Art Shop
If the items found in a mall are not really your cup of tea, stop in at this lovely gift shop for something different. You will find crystals, rocks and minerals, unusual jewelry, books, toys and all sorts of other lovely items.
This retailer is a big supporter of local artists; each month they display local works of art. The Rock & Art Shop is a great place to get a gift for someone special.
People spend hours shopping here and compare this shop to a natural history museum that has a touch of anthropology.
15. Sample some more beer at the Black Bear Brewery
Even though it’s a small city, Orono has three breweries. They are all worth a visit, but today we’ll discuss Black Bear. This brewery is family owned and produces a wide variety of delicious beers.
The atmosphere is friendly and cozy, the staff are polite, and the beer is amazing. It is made from quality local ingredients and there is always a new brew to try.
As a bonus, you also get free popcorn, which seems to go so perfectly with an ice-cold draught.