The Kennebunks, Maine

Jun 18, 2024 | 0 comments

If you are dreaming of an ideal New England getaway, filled with miles of craggy coasts, white sand beaches, fresh lobster and homemade blueberry pies, Maine’s charming seaside towns of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport will absolutely delight you. These quaint neighboring towns, known as “the Kennebunks,” are separated by the Kennebunk River, but you can easily walk over a bridge to reach either one.

Capitivating Beauty

The coastal beauty of Kennebunkport is so captivating it even became the beloved summer home to the Bush family. You can spy the presidential compound at Walker’s Point from afar, and if the Texas flag is flying, you’ll know President George W. Bush is in town. Whether you are looking to take a leisurely drive along Ocean Avenue, check out the fishing village of Cape Porpoise in Kennebunkport or visit the Seashore Trolley Museum, this beautiful area offers a classic taste of Americana.

Must-See Attractions

For a great overview of the area, Intown Trolley offers an informative one-hour narrated sightseeing tour of some of its most noteworthy spots. A stroll through Dock Square, the center of town, is a must. You’ll find art galleries, boutique shops, seafood shacks and souvenir stores galore. Located on the bridge that connects Kennebunk to Kennebunkport is the famous Clam Shack, known for its jumbo lobster rolls, fried clam plates and long lines. Don’t miss visiting the Seashore Trolley Museum, which boasts of being the “world’s first and largest museum of mass transit vehicles.”

Walker’s Point is best known for the Bush family compound, the famous presidential summer home that juts out into the Atlantic with sweeping oceanfront views. While it is not open to the public, you can get a great view of the property along scenic Ocean Avenue. Parking is not permitted along the way, but there is a designated vantage point for a quick photo opp. If you want to learn more about the history of the Bush compound, book a sail aboard the Schooner Eleanor or check out the First Families Kennebunkport Museum.

Also along Ocean Avenue is the architecturally impressive St. Ann’s Episcopal Church. The property is worth a visit, or even a picnic on the spectacular grounds, which are open to the public daily to enjoy the sweeping Atlantic views. If you are looking to spend some time on the water, reserve a seat aboard the First Chance Whale Watch for an afternoon of fun whale-spotting. Rugosa Lobster Tours offers adventures where you can learn about Maine lobster fishing while on a wooden lobster boat.

Hit the Beaches

There are three beaches in Kennebunk – Gooch’s, Middle and Mother’s. Gooch’s Beach, located between the mouth of the Kennebunk River and Oaks Neck, is the most popular beach in town, so be sure to arrive early during the summer to claim your space. Middle Beach is less populated due to its rocky beach, but is a great spot to catch a beautiful sunset. Mother’s Beach is ideal for families with its small beach and playground area. In Kennebunkport, Colony Beach is located at the mouth of the Kennebunk River and has a pebbly beach popular for leisurely strolls, while beachcombers flock to Goose Rocks Beach for its 3 miles of powder sand.

Where to Eat

Start your day off right with a stop at Boulangerie for a croissant and espresso. For lunch, if you are looking to sample some of Maine’s best lobster, check out Nunan’s Lobster Hut. They are known for an overstuffed lobster roll. Mabel’s Lobster Claw is known for its enormous baked stuffed lobsters. Craving fried clams? Order a lunch box at The Clam Shack and enjoy it on the bridge overlooking the Kennebunk River. If you prefer a brew with a view, head over to Federal Jack’s or Baston River Brewing near Dock Square. For lighter fare, request a seat on the deck at Arundel Wharf for craft cocktails and small plates. There are also fine dining options available at the White Barn Inn Restaurant and Earth at Hidden Pond. Finish off with a visit to Rococo Ice Cream for an artisan-made scoop.

Both towns are easily walkable, so part of the charm of a visit is simply wandering around and popping into places that intrigue you. No doubt, you’ll discover why this area is a favorite with so many repeat visitors in no time.

Fun Field Trips

  • Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells (10 minutes)
  • Kittery Outlets (30 minutes)
  • Nubble Lighthouse in York (30 minutes)
  • LL Bean Flagship Store in Freeport (45 minutes)
  • Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth (45 minutes)

Local Campgrounds

Sandy Pines Campground (RV and tent sites, glamp tents, cottages)
277 Mills Road, Kennebunkport, 207-967-2483

Huttopia Canada (glamping tents, tiny houses, tent sites)
149 Sand Pond Road, Sanford, 207-324-1752

Red Apple Campground (RV and tent sites, camping cabins)
111 Sinnott Road, Arundel, 207-967-4927

Hemlock Grove Campground (RV and tent sites, camping cabins)
1299 Portland Road, Arundel, 207-985-0398

Bentley’s Saloon & Campground (RV and tent sites, park model rentals)
1601 Portland Road, Arundel, 207-985-8966

This article on The Kennebunks in Maine, written by Kellie Speed, was originally published in Girl Camper Magazine.

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