With its long days of warm sun, summer is no better time to head to the natural wonderland of Maine. While the state might be more well known for its green forests and red lobsters, the coastal region of Maine is full of long sandy beaches and relaxing oceanside towns.
The Maine Beaches is a short drive from most of New England, only 70 miles from Boston, 5 hours from NYC or Montreal and just minutes south of Portland, ME. There is also a seasonal train from Boston, the Amtrak Downeaster.
No matter how you get to Maine, get ready for the most relaxing week of vacation along the idyllic beachside. For this weeklong itinerary to the beaches of Maine, it is based on the fact you are visiting from south of Maine, generally working your way north throughout the week. Grab your bathing suit and sunscreen and get ready for an adventure.
Day 1: Your first taste of the Maine Beaches
It is best to arrive in Maine around lunch time to take full advantage of the day, but not have to wake up early for your departure. To reach the Maine beaches region you can either take the quicker I95 or more scenic US Route 1.
Lunch at Fox’s Lobster House
Start your trip to Maine off right with a taste of the local cuisine at Fox’s Lobster House in York. Grab a fresh lobster roll or our favorite fish and chips at the window and enjoy your meal at the picnic tables in the sun.
Cape Neddick Lighthouse
Just steps away from lunch is the well photographed Cape Neddick Lighthouse, also known as Nubble Light. This small, yet beautiful lighthouse is perched on its own little island and can be enjoyed from Sohier Park.
Cool down at Dunne’s Ice Cream
A short drive or walk from the lighthouse in York is the delicious homemade Dunne’s Ice Cream. Chose your favorite ice cream, sherbet or yogurt flavor or mix together a few for your own concoction. This cash only ice cream stand is so good, even the warm sun will not have enough time to melt your ice cream cone.
Check into the Port Inn
Drive on up to Kennebunk to check into the Port Inn, your friendly accommodations for your duration in Maine. Melt into the comfortable king size beds in your spacious hotel room. With a delicious continental breakfast included and a relaxing pool on site, it is the perfect spot to rejuvenate or spend a lazy afternoon.
Day 2: Tan on the white sands beaches of Maine
Your visit to the Maine Beaches would not be complete without, well, a day at the beach! With over 30 miles of white sand beaches in the region, there are over two dozen diverse beaches to chose from for your ultimate day in the sun.
Goose Rocks Beach
The stunning views from Goose Rocks Beach makes this more isolated beach a sort of hidden gem. The 3-miles long of beautiful white sand leaves plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the calm waters without getting over crowed.
Gooch’s Beach is the largest section of public beach in Kennebunk. Its clean white sands close to downtown makes it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.
Middle Beach is a rockier section of Kennebunk Beach between Mother’s and Gooch’s. Dotted with black stones, this beach is less busy, but perfect for some exploring.
For those traveling as a family, Mother’s Beach is a perfect choice. The small sandy beach has plenty of off street parking just at the water. At the far side of the beach is a massive playground with a spectacular view.
Marginal Way to Ogunquit Beach
Go for a stroll along the rocky seashore on the paved Marginal Way path. Enjoy this mile long path from Perkins Cove all the way to the sandy shores of Ogunquit Beach. Along the walk you are met with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and several smaller and more rocky beaches to dip your toes into the water. Ogunquit Beach itself is rated one of the best in New England, which comes as no surprise with its warm sands and calming waves.
Parson’s Beach and shore walk
Parson’s Beach is a privately owned beach, which is open to the public. During low tide, you will find many locals fishing on the edge of the vast beach. Behind the sand dunes of the beach there is also a short walk among the salt marshes where you can enjoy local wildlife.
Day 3: Take in the scenery by foot, train and airplane
Morning scenic flight
Start the morning off right with a bit of excitement with a scenic flight. We were met at the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport by Andrew Button the Chief Flight Instructor of Southern Maine Aviation. We hopped into a Cessna 172 Skyhawk for a fun flight, with enough room for our dog, Gordo!
During the one hour scenic flight we made it all the way down to Portsmouth, NH before making our way along the coast to Portland, before heading back towards the airport. Along the flight we had amazing views of the rocky seashore, long sandy beaches, several towns and of course many iconic lighthouses.
The hour long scenic flight is $195 per hour and holds up to 3 passengers, or two and a calm dog.
Lunch at Fisherman’s Catch
After an exciting morning exploring Maine by air, head off the beaten path to enjoy lunch at Fisherman’s Catch in Wells, ME. We highly recommend sitting outside in the sun or at the cute boat turned into a bar. We got the Fish and Chips and the daily special, a salmon fillet sandwich. Lucky for us, the large portions meant there was an afternoon snack to go.
Stroll through Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge
Down 50 miles of coastline from Kittery to Cape Elizabeth is over 14,000 acres of wildlife refuge. While most of this protected land is not accessible to protect the plants and animals, there is a beautiful hike for a sunny afternoon. The Carson Trail is a one-mile loop through the pine tree forest that provides fantastic views of the salt marshes and local wildlife.
Hop aboard a train at the Seashore Trolley Museum
Take a ride on a historic streetcar at the Seashore Trolley Museum. Here you will find a collection of public transportation from across the country and throughout history. Enjoy many of the restored trolley cars and related pieces. Our favorite part of the museum is a ride on a restored streetcar, driven by volunteers, some of which come all the way from Boston for the day.
Entrance is $12 per adult and includes the ride on the antique streetcars along the 1.5 mile private railroad every 45 minutes.
Have a well crafted dinner at Salt & Honey
Finish the day of exploring Maine beaches by foot, train and airplane with some unique local foods at Salt & Honey in downtown Kennebunkport. For appetizers we tried the Fried Ravioli and Fish Tacos, both with its own twist on a traditional dish. At the suggestion of our server, for entrees we enjoyed the Salmon and House made Ravioli. We left Salt & Honey with full stomachs and a new appreciation for finely crafted meals.
Day 4: Relax in the quaint town of Old Orchard Beach
Down Old Orchard St to Palace Playland
Spend the morning walking through the small bustling downtown of Old Orchard Beach. Starting at the top of Old Orchard Street work your way though the many shops on your way down towards the water. Make sure not to miss the local collections of souvenirs from Beachology or your childhood dream of endless candies, popcorn and fudge at Dickinson’s Candy.
Getting closer to the water are two staples of Old Orchard Beach; Palace Playland and The Pier. Palace Playland is a little amusement park right in the center of town with children and adult rides, including a massive arcade. The area is open for all to enjoy as you pay per ride, or get an all-day pass for the rides.
The Pier is the ultimate food and entertainment destination out over the water. The Pier features several restaurants, bars and even a few souvenir shops upon its wooden planks.
Rooftop lunch at Joseph’s by the Sea
Just a five minute walk down the beach from the center of Old Orchard Beach is the spectacular Joseph’s by the Sea. If you have the opportunity, enjoy your meal and drinks from the rooftop for unfettered views of the ocean. Halfway through our stay we needed a break from the seafood capital of the world with some juicy hamburgers and well-crafted cocktails. Even if you are not looking for a full meal, head on over for a tasty drink in the sun with the best view in town.
An afternoon on the sands of Old Orchard Beach
After a delicious lunch make your way back towards the center of town to enjoy the afternoon on the white sands of Old Orchard Beach. Enjoy some time in the cool waters and tanning in the warm sun along the beach. If you have the chance, make sure to head underneath the pier for an awesome photoshoot.
Dinner at Huot’s Seafood Restaurant
Head on south of Old Orchard Beach to Camp Ellis Beach where you will find Huot’s Seafood Restaurant. Here we enjoyed delicious plates of fresh fried haddock with a choice of sides. This restaurant has been a long standing spot for locals with a take out line almost as long as the wait for tables.
Since Hout’s is the only restaurant in the Camp Ellis Beach section of Saco, you might be meet with a wait, but the food is absolutely worth it. While you are waiting for a table walk down the street to the long rock jetty sticking out into the ocean alongside the Saco River.
Day 5: A day of amusement at Funtown/Splashtown, USA
Your visit to Maine is not complete without a visit to the Funtown/Splashtown, USA amusement park. If you cannot agree on an roller coasters or water slides, why not a bit of both?! Spend the day on the adrenaline inducing rides or calming tea cups ride and cool off in the playful waterpark. Make sure to bring along a waterproof bag to keep all your gear safe throughout the day.
The best part of it all is the affordable ticket prices for the day to visit both parks at only $39 for adults and $30 for children.
Day 6: Explore Kennebunkport and see the Bush compound
Take the Intown Trolley Tour
Start off the day with an hourlong guided trolley tour of Kennebunkport. Along the tour you will learn a snippet of the rich history of the region. The most iconic spot you will see along the tour is a view of the Bush compound on Walkers Point, with the summer homes of George HW, George W and Jeb Bush.
The best part about the trolley tour is that with the regular $16 you have hop on/ hop off privileges for the entire day if you would like to explore a specific area more on foot. The last tour leaves downtown at 4PM, so do not miss your ride back.
Lunch at Pearl Kennebunk & Spat Oyster Cellar
Enjoy a fine meal at the Pearl Kennebunk & Spat Oyster Cellar. You can either pick to order a la carte, or their $35 fixed price brunch with your choice of two courses and Coffee, Mimosa or Bloody Mary. The juicy Pearl Burger is joined with a large mound of surprisingly thin and crispy shoestring fries.
Explore downtown Kennebunkport
Spend the rest of the afternoon walking through downtown Kennebunkport, making your way into the many boutique shops. Stroll your way down this historic fishing village and enjoy breathtaking views of the marina, beautiful mansions and of course, the friendly people!
Day 7: Sleep in and mosey on home
It is the last day of your vacation to the Maine Beaches and the perfect time to sleep in or fit in whatever you missed on your weeklong itinerary. Several places that are not on our itinerary, but are worth checking out are Two Lights State Park, a hike along the Eastern Trail at Scarborough Marsh and a Scenic Lobster Tour.
If there is nothing else you are looking forward to exploring, the last day is perfect to sleep in late and enjoy the breakfast and some pool time at the Port Inn before heading home after a relaxing week in Maine.
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