Plan your next coastal vacation with this list of Yankee’s favorite seaside inns and oceanfront hotels in Maine.
By Yankee Magazine
Jul 05 2022
Please note that businesses throughout New England have modified their hours and/or operations in response to COVID-19. Please check with individual businesses before making travel plans.
Planning a coastal Maine vacation or weekend getaway? Prefer your R&R with an ocean view? Find the perfect escape with our roundup of Yankee’s favorite seaside inns and oceanfront hotels in Maine. Naturally, with a coast as long as the Pine Tree State’s, there are too many worthy oceanfront spots to include them all, so we limited our list to inns and hotels recently featured in the pages of Yankee or on NewEngland.com. If we missed one of your favorite beachfront hotels in Maine, we hope you’ll add it to the comments below.
Set on Winslow Homer’s beloved Prouts Neck, this historic gray-shingled inn is a deluxe getaway that’s open from May through October, and it pulls out all the stops in summer with a four-night special that includes either a sail on a vintage Maine-built schooner or a lobstering expedition on Casco Bay. Named a 2014 NewEngland.com pick for “Best Seaside Inns in New England.”
Only 15 minutes by ferry from the mainland but feeling like a world away, this meticulously renovated seaside inn on Chebeague Island blends simple charm with contemporary style and a top-notch dining room. Much of the charm of this 1920s establishment is that it’s a part of island life. Monday-night dinners are regular event for summer island residents, who sit on the inn’s famous porch and take in the sunsets, some of the finest in New England. Named a 2016 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Classic Island Inn.”
SEE MORE:5 Maine Islands to Visit This Summer
The fjord of Somes Sound cleaves Mount Desert Island in two. The 24-room Claremont sits on the take-a-deep-breath-and-exhale western lobe, removed from the bustle of Bar Harbor and the main attractions of Acadia National Park. Since 1884, it has welcomed guests to its six-acre spread at the mouth of Somes Sound with views across to Greening Island. Six modern inn-style rooms and 14 cottages are other options, but stretching out on a sleigh bed in the main inn, with the breeze ruffling the window sheers, feels like visiting the home of the Down East grandma you wish you had. Named a 2018 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Historic Hotel,” a 2016 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Classic Seaside Hotel,” and a 2014 NewEngland.com pick for “Best Seaside Inns in New England.”
Set high atop a cliff of black volcanic boulders between York and the sandy beaches of Ogunquit, Cliff House has enjoyed an osprey’s view of the ocean since opening in 1872. Recent renovations went beyond mere restoration to create a sleek contemporary hotel with every imaginable creature comfort and an ambitious spa for beauty and wellness treatments. All 226 rooms and suites come with private terraces and those same incomparable views that have been the resort’s calling card since Ulysses S. Grant was president. Named a 2018 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Luxury Escape.”
Designed by renowned Maine architect John Calvin Stevens and opened in 1914, this sprawling, dog-friendly Kennebunkport landmark exudes a delightfully old-fashioned ambiance. Although the Colony lies a mere mile from Dock Square, the dreamy ocean views and on-site facilities — two restaurants, a beach, a heated saltwater pool, an 18-hole putting green — make it hard to leave. Named a 2017 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Destination Stay.”
The aptly named Dunes, a collection of housekeeping cottages and guest rooms, features 12 landscaped acres bordering an Ogunquit tidal estuary. Rowboats waiting at the dock make it a cinch to access the beach, but the Dunes’ heated pool is equally inviting. To this, add a knowledgeable, helpful staff and a location that puts downtown attractions within strolling distance. Named a 2017 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Beach Retreat” and featured in the 2015 Yankee travel article “Sandcastles by the Sea | Best Beachside Lodging in New England.”
A prime waterfront location on the St. George peninsula south of Thomaston guarantees that all 19 rooms at the East Wind Inn have views of the lobster boats anchored in the harbor and the islands offshore. Guests can choose between two adjacent buildings: a 19th-century former sail loft or a former sea captain’s mansion. The rooms are simply furnished with finds from local antiques dealers, striking precisely the right note for this unpretentious working stretch of the Maine coast. Named a 2018 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Rooms with a View.”
Looking for a couple’s escape to one of the best oceanfront hotels in Maine? You and your significant other can leave both car and cares on the mainland when you hop a Casco Bay Ferry to Great Diamond Island, where bicycles and electric golf carts are the chief alternatives to walking. An inspired redeployment of the former barracks of the 1890s Fort McKinley, the 44-room Inn at Diamond Cove offers a plush and tranquil retreat. To up the intimacy factor, ask for a parlor suite with fireplace for snuggling on a cool night, and reserve a waterfront table at the inn’s sister restaurant, Diamond’s Edge. Named a 2018 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Romantic Getaway.”
Handsome rooms, suites, and cottages shelter guests at this seaside resort with an outdoor saltwater pool, a restaurant and lounge with indoor and outdoor seating, and a boutique spa. A boardwalk through a New England cottontail preserve links the ultragreen, dog- and family-friendly property with dune-backed Crescent Beach, a state park with lifeguards. Named a 2016 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Beachside Inn” and featured in the 2015 Yankee travel article “Sandcastles by the Sea | Best Beachside Lodging in New England.”
It’s hard to imagine a dreamier place in which to forget the world exists than the Island Inn. Commanding a bluff overlooking Monhegan Harbor and Manana Island, the three-story, cupola-topped inn is filled with simply decorated rooms (with private or shared baths) outfitted with painted wooden floors, antique oak furnishings, and crisp white linens. Suites are also available in the charming Pierce Cottage next door. Public rooms range from a cozy library to a covered sitting porch, and the inn’s restaurant serves all meals. Named a 2017 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Island Inn.”
Step back in time in Castine, a serene coastal town that’s also home to one of our favorite oceanfront hotels in Maine. With lacy curtains, floral wallpapers, and period antiques, the Queen Anne–style Pentagöet complements its historic downtown setting while pampering guests with contemporary amenities (organic mattresses and free Wi-Fi, to name a few) and an excellent dining room. Named a 2015 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Classic Maine Inn.”
If you can tear yourself away from the dreamy views, you’ll find that the facilities at this 230-acre oceanfront resort edging Penobscot Bay include an 18-hole golf course, indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, a fitness center, a children’s program, tennis courts, lawn games, and easy access to the Rockland Breakwater. Named a 2016 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Ocean Resort.”
This 550-acre oceanfront resort on the Phippsburg Peninsula has long been a favorite of families, who come for the blend of contemporary amenities with old-timey flavor, eye-candy scenery, twice-weekly children’s programs, and weekly special events ranging from bingo to lobster bakes. The icing on the cake is the array of recreational facilities — oceanfront saltwater pool, tennis courts, nine-hole championship golf course, three-hole regulation course — plus boat tours, sailing trips, kayaking and mountain biking excursions, candlepin bowling, and a spa. Named a 2017 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Family Lodging.”
Diffuse ocean light surrounds this 1892 inn and cabin community at the southern end of the thumb-shaped peninsula separating Boothbay Harbor from Linekin Bay. Seven inn rooms feature private decks where you can sprawl in Adirondack chairs to watch sails billow on the bay below. Other options include oversize rooms in modern lodges and woodsy housekeeping cottages, many with multiple bedrooms for family getaways. The village is a 1½-mile bike ride away … assuming you can tear yourself away from the view. Named a 2018 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Oceanside Lodging.”
It’s hard to decide what to love most at this upscale yet casual boutique inn: the broad, breeze-loving porch, the view of Goose Rocks Beach (one of our picks for the “10 Prettiest Beaches in New England”) right across the road, or the great local seafood at TBC’s house restaurant. The best part? You’ve got all weekend to debate it. Named a 2014 NewEngland.com pick for “Best Seaside Inns in New England.”
Which seaside inns and oceanfront hotels in Maine are your favorites?
This post was first published in 2018 and has been updated.