The Maine Lobster Boat Races Schedule for 2020 follows the format of previous years, with the Boothbay, Rockland and Bass Harbor boat races taking place in June, followed by the Moosabec Reach, Stonington, Friendship and Harpswell boat races in July and concluding with the Winter Harbor, Long Island, Portland and Pemaquid races in August. Below are details of the 2020 lobster boat racing schedule, along with tips on the best viewing locations for each race and information on the harbors in which the races take place. Each boat race starts at 10am unless otherwise noted.
The Maine Lobster Boat Races Schedule for 2020
June 20th: Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat Races – The Boothbay races are best viewed via boat. For information on the fishing village of Boothbay Harbor, including where to eat and what to do, click here.
June 21st: Rockland Lobster Boat Races – The Rockland boat races are best viewed via Rockland Breakwater. The races have good prizes and draw a nice crowd of local boys and big boats from the surrounding islands. There is a great party atmosphere on the day of the races, with lots of rafting up. If you aren’t able to make it to Rockland for the races, another great time to visit is during the town’s annual lobster festival.
June 28th: Bass Harbor Lobster Boat Races – These races are best viewed via boat. A blessing of the fleet usually takes place after the races.
July 4th: Moosabec Reach Lobster Boat Races – The Moosabec Reach races, otherwise known as the Jonesport Beals boat races, are perhaps the most iconic races of the season. Maine lobster boat racing as we know it originated in these sheltered waters between Jonesport and Beals Island. The races are always highly competitive and the towns host 4th of July events alongside the racing. The arching bridge which connects Jonesport to Beals Island is an excellent vantage point for watching the boat races (as well as the official finish line of the race).
July 12th: Stonington Lobster Boat Races – The Stonington boat races are always a festive affair, with a number of events happening before and after the main competition, including a pancake breakfast and crab meat rolls in the odd fellows hall (you haven’t lived until you’ve had a Stonington crab meat roll). The Stonington lobster boat races are best viewed by boat and Isle au Haut Boat Services runs a charter for flatlanders who want to view the action on the water. Stonington is one of the most picturesque lobster fishing villages in Maine and well worth a visit even if you can’t make it to the races. Bagaduce Lunch, in Brooksville, is a great lobster shack to check out if you’re in the area and Stonington’s Annual Fishermens Day is another event worth experiencing in July if you’re not able to make the races.
July 19th: Friendship Lobster Boat Races – The Friendship races are best viewed via boat.
July 26th: Harpswell Lobster Boat Races – The Harpswell races are best viewed via boat. If you are driving to Harpswell for the races, it’s worth stopping into Estes Lobster House, which consistently gets listed as one of the best lobster shacks in Maine.
August 8th: Winter Harbor Lobster Boat Races – The Winter Harbor races are best viewed via boat. These boat races form part of a wider Downeast Maine Lobster Festival held in the town that day. The festival itself is well worth a visit and includes a pancake breakfast, parade and lobster dinner. For a look at the typical schedule for the Downeast/Winter Harbor Lobster Festival, click here.
August 15th: Long Island Lobster Boat Races – The Long Island boat races are best viewed by boat.
August 16th: Portland Lobster Boat Races – The Portland boat races, also called the MS Harborfest Lobster Boat Races, are best viewed from Fort Allen Park/the Eastern Promenade (including the walk-way below).
August 16th: Pemaquid Lobster Boat Races – The Pemaquid boat races, also called the Merritt Brackett lobster boat races, are best viewed from the top of the tower at Pemaquid Colonial Park. The Olde Bristol Days are also celebrated over the weekend, with fireworks on Saturday eve, a parade, food, craft vendors, music and more.