For many people, the southern coast of Maine is one of the most scenic, charming parts of New England. White sandy beaches lure visitors to the shore, while a series of impossibly quaint towns beckon travelers with picturesque streets and delightful local establishments. Many people enjoy traveling along Route 1, which allows them to pop in at several small towns and beachfronts along the way. Lighthouses and plenty of prime outdoor activities help keep visitors to this gorgeous region occupied, and it’s easy to see why this stretch of Maine has been a popular tourist area for so long. Wherever your tastes may lie, southern coastal Maine has something for you.
Sightseeing and Attractions: Southern Coastal Maine’s Best Kept Secrets
Whether you headquarter yourself in Ogunquit, Kittery, Kennebunkport or any other of the many charming towns along the coast, this region of Maine is sure to inspire and intrigue you. Consider stopping in at one of the following attractions when in the area:
There are many well known lighthouses along the southern coast of Maine, but if you only have the time to stop at one of them, make it the Noble Lighthouse. It is located just off of Route 1A in York, and is probably one of the most photographed lighthouses in this part of the country. Despite that fact, it is never crowded and is an ideal place to visit if you want to get a feel for what a traditional Maine lighthouse is like.
Kittery Historical and Naval Museum
Southern coastal Maine has long had strong, intricate ties with the sea. You can learn more about the many ways in which the sea has played a part in this region’s history by stopping in at the Kittery Historical and Naval Museum. Several fascinating exhibits here lay out the naval and maritime traditions of this part of the Maine coast, painting a neat picture for anyone who wants to learn more about it.
While it’s loads of fun to explore the charming town of Ogunquit, the nearby Marginal Way is a neat way to see what the local topography is all about. This one mile long trail begins just outside Ogunquit and ends at Perkins Cove. Along its length, you can check out many great examples of local flora and immerse yourself in the special ambiance of this part of the coast.
In the town of York, there are many neat and very historic buildings to visit. One of the best ones is definitely Jefferds’ Tavern. Built way back in the year 1754, this tavern helps visitors learn more about the long history of this part of Maine.
Best Kept Secrets For Families & Couples
Couples who are flying solo will never be bored along the southern coast of Maine, and the same thing goes for families with children as well. All along its length, this portion of Maine’s coast is chock full of prime sightseeing opportunities for all sorts of people. They include:
Seashore Trolley Museum
It’s easy to spend an entire day in the quaint town of Kennebunkport. If you find yourself there with children, try to stop in at the Seashore Trolley Museum. There, a series of displays tell the story of the region in an interesting way. Rides are available, too, and visitors can even operate a street car – with a little bit of help, of course!
Kennebunkport’s Art Galleries
Through the years, many artists have flocked to the southern coast of Maine. You can immerse yourself in that artistic tradition by strolling along and perusing Kennebunkport’s many fine art galleries. The work of local artists is on display here, and you might even find something neat to bring home with you.
The Old Gaol
The history of the coast of Maine isn’t all fun and games. In York, you can take the kids to what may be the oldest British building in the U.S.: the Old Gaol. This is a jail that was built back in 1719, and it’s a very neat place to include on any local tour.
Eating - Sample the Local Cuisine
In Maine, you simply can’t get by without feasting on a lobster at least once during your visit. As you drive along the coast, you’re bound to see lobster traps bobbing out in the ocean. You’re also sure to pass by many lobster stands and restaurants where lobster is the main course. You simply won’t find fresher or more delicious lobster anywhere in the country – or maybe even in the world – so be sure to set aside some time for a lobster feast.
When To Go & How to Get There
For the most part, people usually fly into the airport at Portland, Maine if they plan on arriving by plane. Otherwise, there are several interstates and other routes for getting over to this scenic part of the state. Of course, Route 1 is the main thoroughfare and is worth a drive just for the amazing scenery alone.
Without question, summer is the very best time to be in coastal southern Maine. Still, the crowds can be intimidating. If you want to enjoy the warmth of the summer without the high volumes of people, try planning your trip for just after Labor Day. You’ll still experience the tail end of the summer, but most other people will have already come and gone.