Most New England beach towns are aflutter with tourist traps over the summer, but there are still hidden gems and treasures off the beaten path for you to explore. Here’s a look at York Beach, a sun-bleached beach-side summer town, and Kennebunkport, a bustling (by Maine standards) historic city.
York Beach, ME
Across from the York Harbor Inn, what looks like a park or war memorial is actually the entrance to a oceanside boardwalk. The trail is a mix of Newport cliff walk and hiking trail, with views of turquoise pools and pristine rock beaches. Parts of the walk are steep, so bring appropriate footwear and make sure to pack your camera. The foliage is almost as stunning as the crystal clear water.
On the other end of York Beach, Sohier Park is home to a historic lighthouse. A ski-lift style gondola dangles invitingly, waiting to escort you to the lighthouse island, but you’ll have to sweet talk a coast guard to get a ride. No matter; the sweeping views down the coast are worth the visit.
Skip the crowded, over-priced tourist joints in town and head to Captain Hook’s, over the bridge and just out of downtown. Grab a seat at the picnic-style outdoor tables and place your order. Most fish and fried things are ordered inside, but for lobster, you go out back and pick out your lunch in person.
If you are into architecture, history, or just pretty things, the Carriage Rides are a real treat. They depart from the edge of the town’s residential area at 25 Ocean Street. Watch where you park your car though – a sign on a nearby house warns visitors: “Don’t park here. We’ll crunch your car while you shop and dine.”
Wanna Stay Overnight?
In Kennebunkport, you can get 40% of the Nonantum Resort ($144-214, 1-800-552-5651) or 30% off at the Kennebunkport Inn ($199, 1-800-248-2621). Just ask for the “Inn Crowd” rate.
Gabi Logan is a jetsetting food and travel writer. In addition to being a fabulous contributor to The SavvyBostonian, Gabi inspires people with her menus, recipes and cooking tips for delicious home-cooked gourmet food in a flash at The 30 Minute Dinner Party. For more of Gabi’s guest posts on The SavvyBostonian, please click here.