Long inaccessible to the public, the middle reaches of the Damariscotta River in Midcoast Maine are now plied by a tour boat that offers Oyster Farms & Seal Watching Tours, Happy Hour and Music Cruises, and Oyster, Wine, and Sake Tastings. World-famous Damariscotta River oysters are served onboard, along with drink specials and pairings from the Boat Bar on every cruise.

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Hard working and friendly oyster farmers can be photogenic.

The spacious and stable River Tripper is handicap friendly, seats 49 passengers, and has a sun canopy. The boat is also available for private parties and charters.

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A memorable and fun anniversary party on The River Tripper.

Bring your camera to capture seals basking on the ledges. Enjoy forest preserves, bald eagles and ospreys soaring above coves, and the primitive and marvelous horseshoe crab in its northernmost breeding grounds. We’ll explore hidden bays where you can easily imagine pirates lurking and American Indians hunting in days gone by. You will have the unique opportunity to watch oyster farmers in action on several oyster farms during our partially narrated Oyster Farms & Seal Watching Tours, and to learn about the rich history of the river.

Oyster farmers are getting ready to harvest the world-famous Damariscotta River oysters.

“Enjoy a wonderful relaxing cruise along the Damariscotta River” 

“My husband and I really enjoyed our cruise along the river. […] As we started our trip out our captain began to tell us many different interesting things about the area, oyster farmers and loads of history. […]  He also had a wonderful sense of humor that he shared with us all along the way. There was a well stocked bar and we enjoyed some wonderful spiced hot cider and a sampling of three different kinds of oysters. Fresh from the different farms. […] This was so wonderful, we look forward going back again.There were smiles from everyone the whole time. I highly recommend taking this cruise.” tmullen2014, Rochester, NY

Harbor seals bask on the sun at Goose Ledge at mid-tide after a few hours of fishing.

Humans have worked this river for about 13,000 years. Their most famous legacy forms immense, white mounds on the riverbanks. Native Americans harvested and ate the wild oysters, leaving behind the largest prehistoric shell middens in North America.

The Damariscotta River also attracts copious birdlife, including great blue herons, grey herons, common loons, double-crested cormorants, greater yellowlegs, common terns, kingfishers, and hooded mergansers, and many more: A true bird-watchers’ paradise!

Kids bring the most questions to Captain Chip.

Complementing the river’s natural bounty are stately mansions and saltwater farms with fields sweeping down to the water’s edge; an old-time boatyard that still builds wooden boats; and the working waterfront of oyster farmers, clam diggers and lobstermen.

In the evenings, enjoy our Happy Hour Tours, Live Music on Fridays, or an Oyster & Wine Tasting on the stable and roomy River Tripper.

Grey Heron catches an eel_photo by Ann Jackson_LRes

Bird Watchers were delighted to see this grey  heron catching an eel.

“Sunset Cruiser” – “We had a wonderful time on our sunset cruise we danced to live music enjoyed fresh oysters on the halve shell with our favorite beverages. We photographed the gorgeous sunset then watched the lights of Damariscotta twinkle on the water as we returned to our berth. The crew was awesome answering any and all questions and providing first class service to all.” Stephen D, Bristol, CT

The River Tripper is a safe and comfortable way to enjoy the sights, sounds, and history of the Damariscotta River from Mother’s Day through October, when we close with the Pumpkin Boat Regatta and the Leaf Peepers Tours.

River Tripper presents a unique opportunity for people of all ages to experience the tranquil Damariscotta River. Let us introduce you to our summer residents, the curious seals and birds. Learn how oyster farmers produce top-quality American oysters during our daily Oyster Farms & Seal Watching Tours. Enjoy a laid back Happy Hour Cruise with a cocktail in hand and a big smile on your face as the briny breeze caresses your soul.

Mighty Oysters home page

A sumptuous Pemaquid oyster during Oyster & Wine Tasting is sublime.

If you’d like to add live music to your Maine boating experience, Friday at 5:30 is your boarding time! During our Wine & Oyster Tasting and Oyster & Sake Pairing Cruises Maine foodie aficionados will be pleased to sample half a dozen different oyster types from the Damariscotta River, ranging from the mild Norumbega oysters to the extra briny and plump Pemaquid oysters. You might choose to pair them with sumptuous summer wines, bubblies, or even sake. Don’t miss the Special Cruises that celebrate holidays, natural phenomena, local festivals and more!

We are half way between Camden and Portland, just two minutes from Route 1, in Midcoast Maine, by ‘the bridge’ in Damariscotta.
Great drinks are served during Happy Hour Cruise

Visit Olga’s Boat Bar during Happy Hour Cruise for a special cocktail, wine, local beer or oyster shooter

Fog is rare, and waves are rarer!

The Crew

Captain Chip Holmes is a boatbuilder, licensed captain, and raconteur, born and raised along the Damariscotta River. When First Mate Olga Oros is not casting off, tying up, or making documentary films, she is tending to a second venture, Damariscotta’s first boatel, floatel – floating hotel. Mazu, the Bed & Boat, is the most unique vacation rental in Maine on the Damariscotta River: http://maineboathotel.com


For additional information on our daily tours, please click on the MORE button below.

  • Teci_summer_SM

    Oyster Farms & Seal Watching Tour

  • Happy Hour

  • Oyster, Wine & Sake Tastings

  • Music On The Dam River 

The River Tripper cruising home page

“Cruising down the Damariscotta River at sunset is a magical mystery tour of the highest caliber! … It was truly magical!” – William E, Bremen, ME – Trip Advisor