Summer Fun on Maine’s South Coast: Kennebunkport to York

Miles of white sand, saltwater taffy, long estuaries to explore by kayak, one of Maine’s most iconic lighthouses – what’s not to love about that stretch of shore between Kennebunkport and York?

Coastal Kittery is home to numerous factory outlet shopping malls, Kittery Naval Shipyard, and an extensive Maine Tourism Information Center. Visit local Chamber of Commerce offices for more information about various towns and events throughout the region.

The quartet of beach towns —Kennebunkport, Wells, Ogunquit, and York — couldn’t offer more variety if they tried. Wells and York are all about families kicking back. Kennebunkport and Ogunquit are known as more high-end enclaves, although their beautiful beaches are open to all and each offers a wide range of lodging and dining choices. 

For a traditional shore dinner go to Mabel’s Lobster Claw ( If you’re lucky, the signature Lobster Milanese – grilled shrimp and lobster – will be on the day’s menu. On Route 1, taste craft beers at Sebago Brewing (

Get a different view of Cape Porpoise or the Kennebunk River on a guided tour with Coastal Maine Kayak and Bike ( in Kennebunkport or join them for paddleboard lessons or tours. They welcome all skill levels and offer bike and scooter rentals, too. 

The 220 grassy sites at Sea-Vu Campground ( include shaded tent sites as well as RV sites with full hook-ups, TV and WiFi. Everyone loves the setting overlooking the ocean and families appreciate the large pool and mini-golf course, as well as the trolley stop at the front gate for car-free beach access. 

Experience a different coastal environment at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge on Route 9. A mile-long interpretive trail winds through a coastal forest and along tidal marshes where sightings of heron, egrets, and sea birds are common ( Just across a tidal creek, the Wells Reserve at Laudholm has seven miles of walking trails (

The Maine Diner on Route 1 in Wells is no secret. For more than 30 years it’s been serving fried clams, chowder, blueberry pie, and all the other Maine coast favorites ( Get more suggestions of things to do at the Wells Chamber of Commerce visitor center or check (

Not all of the fun is within the sight of the sea. Head inland to Sanford to find Mountain View Golf Range, a family-friendly center with mini-golf, a driving range and batting cages (

York is a family favorite, not only for its beaches (descriptively named Long and Short Sands), but for Maine’s most iconic lighthouse, Nubble Light at Cape Neddick. Add The Golden Rod,, famed over a century for its saltwater taffy and New England’s only zoo/amusement park at York’s Wild Kingdom,, and you have a winner. 

You can’t camp closer to the beach than at Libby’s Oceanside Camping, in York Harbor, overlooking the mile-and-a-half Long Sands. Owned by the third generation of the family that founded it in 1923, Libby’s offers full hook-ups, TV, and free WiFi, but best of all are the ocean views from nearly every site and direct beach access. 

— Story by Bobbie Randolph
Bobbie writes about her favorite Maine experiences, from camping and kayaking to skiing and dogsledding.

Web Hosting Provided by Maine Hosting Solutions