Southern Maine Coast: 7 Day Travel Itinerary
This 7-day travel itinerary of the southern Maine coast explores 4 New England seaside towns (Kittery, York, Ogunquit, and Kennebunkport) as well as the maritime city of Portland. Our down east Maine vacation guide includes advice on seaside attractions, shopping, and other things to do in Maine.
On the 7-Day itinerary, visitors will experience the rugged charm of the region’s weathered harbors and rocky Atlantic shore. Our guide includes visits to lighthouses, cliff paths, fishing villages, and beaches. It is the perfect location to take in the Yankee essence of the southern Maine coast.
Your in for a wicked good time!
The itinerary covers a 50-mile stretch of the southern Maine coast. Ogunquit and Portland serve as travel bases. Ogunquit is about 2.15 hours north of Boston, and 4.5 hours north of New York City.
We recommend you stay days 1 thru 5 in Ogunquit. The town centrally located along the travel route; minimizing drive times. If you stay close to the downtown area you can walk to the Marginal Way, Perkins Cove, and the 3-mile sandy Ogunquit Beach. The last 2 days of the vacation are in the city of Portland.
There are also many lodging options in the York and Kennebunkport areas.
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To fully enjoy this Maine vacation destination a personal vehicle is required. Like many locations in New England the roads are heavily trafficked, and there is a lack of public transportation and bike lanes. Ogunquit, York, Kennebunkport, and Portland have public trolleys to utilize while in town.
Lodgings in Ogunquit range from motels to large resorts, click here for offerings. Our favorite hotel is the Anchorage Resort. It sits directly on the Marginal Way and is an easy walk to the village, Ogunquit Beach, and Perkins Cove. Or, for a more affordable option, check out the Sea Castles Resort (across the street from the Anchorage). In Portland, we suggest booking a hotel in the Old Port area.
Climate / What to Pack
Maine has 4 distinct seasons. You are likely to experience temperatures in the 40-50’farenheit range in the spring; high 70’s in the summer; 50-60’s in the fall, and 20s-30’s in the winter. It is a maritime climate. Wind, rain, snow (and lots of sunshine) should be expected. Dress in layers.
SOUTHERN MAINE COAST 7 DAY ITINERARY
Day 1: Ogunquit Beach, the Marginal Way, & Perkins Cove
After arriving in Ogunquit, park at your hotel. If it is before check-in, walk or take the trolley to the Main Beach near the center of town. (Or, pay to park in the large Main Beach lot.)
Start your week by walking the soft, white sand of Ogunquit Beach. The beach is often mentioned as one of the best beaches in the US. It sits on a point between a tidal river and the Atlantic Ocean. After 3 miles Ogunquit Beach melds into Wells-Moody Beach, so it seems as if you could walk forever.
At check-in, settle into your hotel. Then, as sunset approaches, walk the 1.15 mile (2km) Marginal Way. The paved path runs between the villages of Ogunquit and Perkins Cove along spectacular wave-battered granite cliffs.
The path starts on Shore Road next to the Spar Hawk Hotel. There is a trolley stop in front of the entrance. The path is well maintained with benches positioned at strategic lookouts along the route. Walking the Marginal way is an unforgettable experience, and some of the very best scenery the New England coast has to offer.
At the end of the Marginal Way, you will be in picturesque Perkins Cove. The village is flanked by the Atlantic on one side and a sheltered harbor on the other. Lobster and fishing boats bob in the harbor. There is a drawbridge that provides views of the harbor.
Wander the shops, then get dinner at one of the many restaurants. After dinner, walk back to Ogunquit via the Marginal Way, Shore Road, or on the trolley.
Day 2: York Beach, the Nubble Lighthouse, & York Beach Village
Beach day! Pack up and head to York’s Long Sands Beach (7 miles south of Ogunquit). Leave early to park along Route 1A (kiosk parking). Long Sands is a 1.5-mile beach popular with swimmers, sunbathers, and surfers. Midway on the beach there is visitor center with public restrooms.
Later in the afternoon, drive to Cape Neddick’s Nubble Lighthouse. The unmanned lighthouse sits on a rocky island just off shore. You can’t visit the structure, but there are beautiful views of the lighthouse and New England coast from the boulder strewn shore. There is a small gift shop, take-out restaurant, and parking lot onsite. Get some food or ice cream, sit on the rocks, and enjoy!
Next, drive to York Beach Village (kiosk parking in the Short Sands lot). Wander the beach shops. Stop in at The Goldenrod where you can watch them make taffy. There is a boardwalk with arcade games and an amusement park. If you are still craving the beach, get some take-out and picnic on Short Sands Beach.
Day 3: York Historic District, Kittery Outlets, & The Front Porch Piano Bar
Today, we will complete a 31-mile loop taking in historical attractions, regional food, and shopping.
Our first stop is at the Stonewall Kitchen York Company Store (opens at 9am). The Route 1 facility houses a large store where you can sample delicious sweet and savory mustards, jellies, and other foodie delights. After you stock up on gifts grab breakfast in the café.
From Stonewall Kitchen it is a short drive into Old York (York Village, Maine). Settled by the Europeans in the 1600s, York is one of the oldest towns in the United States. Drive to the visitor reception area at the Old York Museum Center.
There are several historical buildings and sites to visit around town including the Emerson-Wilcox House, Jefferd’s Tavern, the Old Schoolhouse, and the John Hancock Warehouse. Note: Opening hours vary by season so call ahead in the off-season.
Make sure to visit the Old Gaol. The site of Maine’s first prison is a National Historic Landmark. The complex functioned as a correctional facility between 1656 and 1860. Today, it displays colonial and Native American artifacts. Also, visit the nearby Old York Cemetery. Onsite, there is said to be a witch buried under a stone slab.
Before leaving town stroll through York Village with its collection of churches, monuments, and small shops.
Our next stop is the Kittery outlet mall district. Set your GPS for the Kittery Trading Post. The trading post is packed with outdoor gear and housewares for camping, hunting, fishing, summer sports, and so much more. It is great fun to wander through the taxidermy and displays.
Exiting the trading post, cruise along Route 1 where you will find a wide range of outlet shopping malls filled with upscale, nationally known stores. In a compact, roughly 1-mile strip, Kittery hosts some of the best shopping on the eastern seaboard.
There are a number of seafood restaurants along the strip. When you get hungry, we recommend you head to Warren’s Lobster House, Robert’s Maine Grill & Raw Bar, Bob’s Clam Hut, or the Weathervane to get your fill of lobstah, clams, and chowdah.
Tonight, head to the Front Porch Piano Bar in downtown Ogunquit. This fun destination restaurant and bar has been serving up food and sing-along piano tunes for over 35 years. It’s great fun. Or, if you love the theater, check out what is playing at the Ogunquit Playhouse. The historic play house’s summer season generally runs between May and October.
Day 4: Explore Cape Porpoise & Kennebunkport
Our road trip this morning is another 30-mile loop. This time we head north to Kennebunkport.
Begin the day exploring the fishing village of Cape Porpoise. The port sits just north of Kennebunkport on Route 1. Onsite you can walk the Cape Porpoise Pier and observe lobstermen at work, and view the Goat Island Lighthouse. In the village, wander the weathered capes and sea shanties. There is a General Store, several art galleries, and a few chowder houses serving fresh seafood.
From Cape Porpoise, take a meandering ride to Kennebunkport’s Walker Point. The Bush family compound can be viewed from a scenic outlook along Ocean drive. At this location, two US presidents spent many a summer.
Continue a leisurely drive south along Ocean Drive. The avenue is lined with old merchant and sea captain’s houses that overlook the stunning southern Maine coast.
Along the route, you will come to St. Ann’s Episcopal Church (1887). The stone church sits on a lovely grassy plateau with magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean. There is an outdoor chapel, and the rustic stone church is often open to view.
Driving into Kennebunkport, you will pass a series of magnificent old hotels and yacht clubs. Stop to shop, walk along a pier, and take in the stately inns and idyllic seaside views.
Park in the Dock Square public lot in Kennebunkport (hourly rate). Spend the rest of the day exploring the charming and historic village. The atmosphere is slightly more formal than in York and Ogunquit. There are many art galleries, artisanal cafes, wine bars, and upscale shops to discover. Click this link for information on a 2 hour guided walking tour of Kennebunkport.
Fishing boats and million-dollar yachts fill the surrounding harbor and Kennebunk River. You can rent kayaks to explore the area. Or, take a cruise out of the harbor. There are sailing, catamaran, lobster boat, and sunset cruises that leave throughout the day.
Day 5: Ogunquit Beach Day
Today, relax and enjoy Ogunquit. Our perfect day would include an early morning walk of the Marginal Way, and breakfast downtown.
Gather your beach gear and head to Ogunquit Beach. If you can’t walk to the beach there are parking lots at the Main Beach and (more tranquil) Footbridge Beach. There are restrooms and trolley-stops at both lots. Main Beach has more choices for snacks and beach gear.
Ogunquit Beach is clean, flat, and rock-free. From Main Beach you can walk until you reach the Footbridge Beach, and then continue on to the Wells-Moody Beach.
Tonight, have dinner in the Wells-Moody area. Some of our favorite restaurants include Mike’s Clam Shack, Billy’s Chowder House, The Steakhouse, and the Ogunquit Lobster Pound. After dinner, play minigolf in Wells or drive to Perkin’s Cove for an ice cream and harbor views.
Day 6: Portland, Maine Old Port and Schooner Cruise
It’s time to leave Ogunquit and drive 40-miles north to the city of Portland, Maine. Spend the morning exploring the quaint cobblestone streets of Portland’s Old Port. The area is full of wharves, warehouses, and blocks of winding streets and brick buildings.
During the day, Old Port’s coffee bars, boutiques, and gourmet food shops stay busy with shoppers. At night, the area comes alive with patrons visiting the many breweries, bars, and nightclubs in the area.
Much of Portland’s waterfront historic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The prevalent architecture of the area is 19th century in styling. Bull Feeney’s at the corner of Fore and Exchange Street is a good example of this style.
There are working piers along the waterfront. Sandwiched between a ferry terminal and a commercial fishing complex, the wharves are filled with restaurants, shops, fishing boats, cruise hubs, yacht clubs, and so much more. In the afternoon, take a schooner tall ship cruise to see the amazing harbor and waterfront from a different perspective.
Day 7: Pick Your Activity: Whale Watch, Trolley Tour or Portland Lighthouse.
In the morning, take a whale watch or harbor cruise to see the Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth (the most photographed lighthouse in America). There are many tour operators along the waterfront.
If you prefer not to be on the water, take a trolley tour of the city. Tickets can be purchased from a booth on the waterfront. Or, drive (5-miles) to the 90-acrs Fort Williams Park where you will find the Portland Lighthouse. There are picnic grounds, hiking paths, a cliffside walk, and rolling lawns In addition, there are restrooms and a take-out stand onsite.
Now, its time to head home. Hope you flatlandahs had fun! Laura and Randy
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