The Maine border is just an hour by car from Boston so pack your sunscreen and head for the beaches of Southern Maine. You can begin at York Beach, wind your way up Route 1 to Wells, Ogunquit, Gooches, Old Orchard, Higgins, Willard, East End and Popham Beaches and on to Sand Beach at Acadia National Park. Although perhaps more famous for its breathtaking rocky coastline, Maine has beaches—and lots of them!—with some of the softest white sand on the East Coast. Southern Maine beaches are popular among surfers, with waves ranging from the gentle to the dramatic. Several are protected by trained lifeguards during the summer, while others feature tidal pools where you can stroll barefoot in search of seashells and sand dollars.
After a day in the sun, you may want to cool down with a beverage or a bite to eat at one of the region’s many restaurants. Throughout the area, there are eateries to satisfy every taste and style. Casual diners will find irresistible take-out seafood and homemade ice cream at outdoor picnic tables. Those seeking a quieter, more formal dining experience can feast on gourmet entrées from award-winning chefs, complete with candlelight and white linens.
Refreshed, you may require a bit of “retail therapy” and Southern Maine is the place to find it. The region boasts miles of fun shopping-on-a-budget emporiums, where you can fill up on souvenirs, and more miles of one-of-a-kind art galleries, pottery shops and clothing boutiques. (You may want to warm up your wallet in Kittery, home to more than 120 factory outlet stores offering everything from footwear to cookware.)
If you prefer a more dynamic vacation experience, Southern Maine has something to offer during all four seasons. You can go salt water fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking, golfing, hiking, biking, snowboarding, dog sledding, skating, and of course, skiing. For the dedicated walker, there are well-groomed trails as well as walking tours of forts, lighthouses, picturesque villages, historic sites and public gardens. You may also enjoy simply wandering the streets of Southern Maine cities and towns to check out the region’s many architectural gems.
If you want to do it all, getting around Southern Maine is easy; many locations offer town-owned trolleys to ferry visitors between beaches, accommodations and restaurants.
For more information on each of the communities in Southern Maine, click on the town name below:
Kittery & The Yorks
Ogunquit & Wells
Kennebunk & Kennebunkport
Sanford & Springvale
Old Orchard Beach
Pine Point Beach