Boaters out in the water by Naples Causeway. Photo by John Patriquin/Portland Press Herald

One of the Lake Region’s most popular destinations for summer fun is the Naples Causeway at Long Lake. Like its namesake in Italy, the Naples in Maine is a boaters’ paradise. Within steps of the causeway, you’ll find boat and jet ski rentals, seaplane departures, a historic paddle-wheeler tourist boat, restaurants, bars and ice cream shops.

Sun Sports has a Wake and Ski Academy based at Naples Causeway that offers instruction on the cool new thing: wake surfing. “You can literally surf behind a boat,” said co-owner Harry Hewes, adding that paddleboards, water skis, wakeboards, tubes, water trampolines and water carpets are also available for rental (

RAD Jet Ski Rentals runs a brisk business on the Causeway (693-8200), and Sebago Kayak Co. has a large selection of paddleboards and kayaks for rent (935-4763).

Songo River Queen II is a replica of a Mississippi paddle-wheeler. Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald

The Songo River Queen II, a replica of a Mississippi paddle-wheeler, takes up to 350 passengers on slow cruises of Long Lake ( The Queen docks at Moose Landing on the causeway (where there’s a food stand that offers lobster rolls, hot dogs, fries and Polish sausages).

A much speedier way to get an overview of the area’s natural beauty is a seaplane ride leaving from the causeway (

In the casino building facing Long Lake, Rick’s Cafe serves seafood, steaks, burgers and sandwiches, with stunning views of the lake and mountains from the upper deck ( On the opposite side of the causeway, The Freedom Cafe and Publick House serves seafood and burgers in a cozy old post-and-beam building with a large deck out by the lake (


Getting to Naples Causeway is easy by car: If you’re coming north from the Portland area, take Route 302 around the east side of Sebago Lake. Pleasure boaters from Sebago Lake and Brandy Pond, the southernmost part of Long Lake, also can get to the causeway via the Songo River Lock, the last surviving part of a canal built in the 19th century to transport commercial goods. It’s an interesting piece of historical engineering – a lot like an elevator for adjusting water levels from one lake to another.

Tie up your boat on designated spaces on either side of the Naples Marina gas dock and enter Captain Jack’s for a half-pound lobster or crab roll, a bloody Mary, and live music with beautiful views of the marina and Naples Causeway (

If boating history is of interest, also check out the Mountainview Woodies Classic Boat Club, which hosts a parade of antique and classic boats from Brandy Pond to Long Lake during the second weekend of August.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. 

Rick’s Cafe in the 100-year-old Naples Casino building is a center of activity on the causeway. Photo by Jack Milton/Portland Press Herald

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