10 Best Beach Towns in Maine, According to Locals

Maine’s coastline stretches for hundreds of miles, dotted with charming towns that offer scenic boardwalks, drive-in movie theaters, and beautiful beaches. The Southern Maine Coast, a 50-mile stretch from Kittery to Portland, is particularly known for its stunning beach towns. Here are the top beach towns in Maine, chosen by the locals who know them best.

1. York

York is the second-oldest town in Maine and is famous for its classic New England architecture and the iconic Nubble Lighthouse. Lauren Mendoza, a local business owner, recommends Harbor Beach, Cape Neddick Beach, and Long Sands for their distinct appeals.

For a peaceful walk, she suggests the Wiggly Bridge and Fisherman’s Walk. Don’t miss the vintage Fun-O-Rama arcade and a visit to The Goldenrod for saltwater taffy. For dining, try The Little Auk for cocktails and The Viewpoint for dinner with a view of Nubble Lighthouse.

2. Ogunquit

Ogunquit, once an artist colony, boasts over three miles of sandy beaches and a picturesque downtown. Jake Cryan, a Maine food and travel enthusiast, highlights the Leavitt Theatre for free summer movies, live music, and great cocktails.

The Ogunquit Playhouse offers Broadway-caliber performances, and Brix + Brine is perfect for oysters before a show. Art lovers will enjoy the Ogunquit Museum of American Art with its beautiful oceanfront grounds.

3. Wells

Wells is a historic town with four beaches and a rich antique market. Start your day with a breakfast sandwich from Brewed Awakenings and head to Billy’s Chowder House or Spinnakers for lunch. For antiques, Bo-Mar Antiques offers treasures from over 100 booths, perfect for finding a unique nautical souvenir.

4. Kennebunkport

Kennebunkport is a quintessential beach destination with stunning beaches, a vibrant downtown, and an evolving culinary scene. Goose Rocks Beach is a local favorite. Shop at Dock Square and stay at The White Barn Inn, The Nonantum Resort, or Hidden Pond for luxurious accommodations.

For dining, visit Bev’s Cafe for breakfast, The Clam Shack for lunch, and Rosella for a sustainable sushi dinner. For drinks, head to Batson River.

5. Biddeford

Biddeford, once a bustling mill town, now boasts a thriving culinary scene and beautiful beaches. Enjoy breakfast at Palace Diner, grab a sandwich at BiddoBanh, and dine at Magnus on Water. The Biddeford Pool offers ample parking and a spacious beach for a relaxing day.

6. Saco

Saco offers peaceful beaches and family-friendly amusements. Ferry Beach State Park and Camp Ellis are great for nature lovers, while Funtown Splashtown USA and Aquaboggan Water Park provide fun for all ages. The revived Saco Drive-In offers double features almost every night.

7. Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach is ideal for those seeking a classic beach boardwalk experience. The historic pier, operating since 1898, features bars and vendors, while the nearby amusement park offers rides, carnival games, and weekly fireworks. Don’t forget to grab Pier Fries and visit Lone Pine’s beer garden.

8. Cape Elizabeth

Cape Elizabeth, known for its lighthouses and lobsters, has several beaches, including Crescent Beach State Park and Kettle Cove State Park. Fort Williams Park, home to Portland Head Light, offers beautiful oceanfront trails. Two Lights State Park and The Lobster Shack at Twin Lights are also must-visits.

9. South Portland

South Portland’s Willard Beach neighborhood transforms into a beach town in the summer. Willard Beach is dog-friendly and has amenities like a snack bar, lifeguards, and free parking. Top dining spots include SoPo Seafood’s oyster bar, Cafe Louis, and Bistro Leluco. For dessert, try Willard Scoops and Scratch Baking Company.

10. Scarborough

Scarborough, near South Portland, features Scarborough Beach State Park and Higgins Beach, perfect for surfing and sandcastles. Ferry Beach is great for sunsets and swimming. Lady Slide Sessions, run by the Maine Surfers Union, offers women’s surfing lessons at Higgins Beach. The Higgins Beach Market is ideal for beach day provisions.

Each of these towns offers a unique slice of Maine’s coastal charm, making them perfect for your next summer getaway. Whether you’re looking for bustling boardwalks or peaceful nature trails, Maine’s beach towns have something for everyone.

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