is a town in Lincoln County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,334 at the 2000 census. During summer months, the entire Boothbay Harbor region is a popular yachting and tourist destination.
The area was part of Cape Newagen, where the English established an early seasonal fishing camp. In 1666, Henry Curtis purchased the land from the sachem Mowhotiwormet, commonly known as Chief Robinhood, who lived at what is today Woolwich. But the settlement was attacked and burned during King Philip's War, resettled shortly afterwards, then destroyed again in 1689 during King William's War. It was abandoned for 40 years.
In 1730, Colonel David Dunbar, the superintendent and governor of the Province of Sagadahoc, laid out a new town, named Townsend after Viscount Townshend. Despite predations during the French and Indian Wars, and robberies during the Revolutionary War by marauding British sailors, the settlement was successful, not least because of its large, deep and protected harbor. During the Penobscot Expedition, in 1779 Townsend became a rendezvous point for the American naval fleet prior to its disastrous encounter with the British at Castine.
Renamed Boothbay in 1842, the harbor continued to develop as a fishing center. In bad weather, it could hold at a time between 400 and 500 vessels, often Friendship Sloops, seeking shelter. By 1881, it had a fishery and fish oil company, an ice company, 2 marine railways, a fertilizer manufacturer, and a factory for canning lobsters. On February 16, 1889, the community was set off from Boothbay and incorporated as the town of Boothbay Harbor. Some location filming for the 1956 movie version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's
, notably the "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" sequence, was done there. Each summer, Boothbay Harbor draws crowds of tourists. Attractions include the state aquarium, art galleries, restaurants, boat tours to coastal islands and whale watching.