Top 5 Things to do in Calais, United States

February 11, 2018 Veronika Gaddis

Calais /ˈkælɪs/ ( listen) is a city in Washington County, Maine, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 3,123, making Calais the third least-populous city in Maine (after Hallowell and Eastport). The city has three Canada–US border crossings (also known as ports of entry) over the St. Croix River connecting to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada.
Restaurants in Calais

1. St Croix Island Historical Site

8 Miles South on Rt I From Calais, Maine on St Croix River, Calais, ME 34119 +1 239-566-6092
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4.5 based on 36 reviews

St Croix Island Historical Site

Reviewed By MichiganMadmoose - Michigan

The desk clerk at our motel suggested we stop here. It had interesting statues and a story of the history by each as you walked along a path. Path was very easy to navigate for almost anyone. Worth a brief stop.

2. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

84 Saint Croix Dr, Calais, ME 04619-4230 +1 207-454-3871
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4 based on 24 reviews

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

Reviewed By Jason G - Greenville, SC

This is a quite remote site for even most of Maine. The drive, especially along Hwy 1 is really beautiful any time of year, and it is does seem you are on the edge of the nation.

Operated by the National Park Service, yet the only International Historic Site in the system, it surely must be one of the least visited sites in the system. If you are traveling in the area, I do highly recommend stopping here. It won't take but 30 minutes, but it is worth it to contemplate the arrival of French & European culture in this part of the work four hundred years ago.

3. Urban Moose

345 Main St, Calais, ME 04619-1809
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4.5 based on 9 reviews

Urban Moose

Reviewed By BeeMelissa - Portland, Maine

Great shop in an old bank...even items in the vault. Unique gifts with a Maine spin in downtown Calais. Always find something fun and interesting here. From jewelry of all kinds, done by local artisans, art and sculptures to home decor and garden accessories. Nice photography for sale as well...cards, wall decor, etc. Some lovely and unique items done with driftwood, shells, seaglass...hangings, jewelry, and lamps to name a few of the interesting items. Parking is sometimtes difficult here. Sister shop is 45th Parallel in Perry, Maine, a short drive south on Route One. Very large with ample parking...A real treat to check this venue out...amazing antiques here as well. Both are great places for interesting gifts and decorating ideas.

4. Wabanaki Cultural Center

39 Union St, Calais, ME 04619-1819 +1 207-454-2126
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4 based on 3 reviews

Wabanaki Cultural Center

Reviewed By Maurene_K - Dover, New Hampshire

The Wabanaki Cultural Center is downstairs from the Maine State Visitor Information Center and Chamber of Commerce.

This lesser-known attraction is a hidden gem right in Calais Center.

The center has exhibits broken down into two sections.

The first section is “Life on the Water” which has a touch tank just inside the entryway. I saw crabs, snails, and starfish. There as an informative video about the dramatically high and low tides caused by the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine. A display depicted all the industries related to shipbuilding: cooperage, blacksmithing, carpentry, ship’s chandleries, etc. One salient fact was that the average ship was outfitted with 100 barrels for ship’s stores, food and fresh water.

The second section was about the five tribes of native peoples of that area that formed the Wabanaki Confederacy made up by five nations: the Maliseet, Mi'kmaq, Abenaki, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot. They were 'People of the First Light' or 'People of the Dawnland'. A diorama showing how nothing went to waste showed a native preparing an animal hide. There was a wonderful video in which a man talked about his trade of making birchbark canoes. He said that, when he delivered a finished canoe, it was always by water. And, when he passed Saint Croix Island where 35 of 79 members of Pierre Dugua’s French expedition perished during the winter of 1604-1605, he always made an offering in their memory.

There was a showcase of basket-making. There were shelves of antique baskets alongside shelves modern baskets by present-day artisans. The designs of the antique baskets were mostly utilitarian; the modern designs combined the utilitarian with more creative touches. One fanciful design had a cat's face.

This museum/cultural center was very worthy of a visit. I recommend it.

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5. Whitlocks Mill Lighthouse

Lighthouse Lane, Calais, ME 04619
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2.5 based on 3 reviews

Whitlocks Mill Lighthouse

Reviewed By Maurene_K - Dover, New Hampshire

Whitlocks Mill Lighthouse is best seen from the water as it is down on private property after Lighthouse Lane turns into a private road that is clearly marked.

I saw it from a rest stop. The view was obstructed.

The only value in making the effort to find the rest stop or see it by boat is for its distinction of being the northernmost lighthouse in the United States.

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