The stretch of coastline around Penobscot Bay, including Rockland, Rockport, Camden, and Belfast, is Maine’s Gold Coast, but you can find budget-friendly lodging and downright cheap sleeps, even oceanfront ones.
Oakland Seashore Motel & Cottages, Rockport
Wow! Oceanfront lodging for a song is yours at this low-key, throwback on 70 mostly wooded acres. It originated as a recrreational park operated by a trolley company. in the late 1940s, shorefront cabins were added, and in the 1950s, the dance hall pavillion was renovated into a hotel. Rooms and cabins are simple, clean, old-shoe comfy, and right on the ocean’s edge. Bathrooms, however, are tiny. Some units have kitchenettes, others full kitchens. Well-behaved pets are $30 per stay. No phones or TVs. Not for fussbudgets, but a real find for those who appreciate quiet simplicity with a big view.
Granite Inn, Rockland
Only one room comes in at less than $100 per night, but with a primo location in downtown Rockland, this is an excellent choice. The room does have a private bath, but it’s down the hall. Not a bad trade-off for the other perks, which include an amazing breakfast, bottomless cookie jar, free wifi, and inroom TVs. The pet- and family-friendly inn is located smack dab across from the ferry terminal, making it an especially good base for day trips to Vinalhaven and North Haven.
Merrybell Motel, Northport
New owners have renovated and updated this vintage 1960s roadside motel (previously the Northport Motel), adding nice linens and organic toiletries as well as inroom fridges; a microwave is available. Pets are welcome for $20.
Yankee Clipper Motel, Belfast
New owners in 2012 completely renovated, giving a boutique vibe to this vintage, 1950’s, Route 1 motel, located on the north side of the bridge. Laminated wood floors, contemporary decor, air-conditioning, free Wi-fi, in-room microwaves and mini fridges, and flat-screen TVs make up for the lackluster highway views. Young’s Lobster Pound is within easy walking distance.
Yardarm Motel, Searsport
Friends have stayed here and love the place. Nothing fancy, but each of the 18 pine-paneled rooms has TV, air-conditioning, and Wi-fi, and a continental breakfast is served in a cheery breakfast room in the adjacent farmhouse. Two rooms are pet friendly. The motel is set back from Route 1, with a nice grass lawn. It’s located next door to BlueJacket Shipcrafters.
Baits Motel, Searsport
Down comforters and fluffy towels; nice shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and soap; inroom coffee makers and fridges; hard wood floors in deluxe rooms and carpeting in standards and suites; cable TV, free local calls, free Wifi; individually controlled heat and air-conditioning; and quality furnishings. No, not one of the mid-range chains, but rather the Bait’s Motel, adjacent to Angler’s Restaurant, in Searsport. Renovated a few years back, this place has to be one of the nicest cheap motels in the state, offering both rooms and suites (pictured). Go off-season, and cheap becomes dirt cheap. Oh, and standard rooms are dog friendly ($20 per night for Fido).