Only have a day or two? From downtown shopping to seaside strolling, here are five of the very best things to do in Kennebunkport, Maine.
By Yankee Staff
Sep 26 2022
Lobster pots, fishing shacks, and rocky shores say “Maine” to folks around the world — but there’s much more to the coastal town of Kennebunkport than these famed regional symbols. Situated on the tidal Kennebunk River, this venerable shipbuilding village had found popularity as a summer retreat by the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was in 1902, for instance, that George H. Walker built the seaside mansion that would become world-renowned as the seaside getaway for President George H. W. Bush and his family.
Though part of “the Kennebunks,” a group of communities that includes Arundel and Kennebunk, Kennebunkport has plenty on its own to fill a visitor’s itinerary. The boutiques and galleries of Dock Square beckon to shoppers, while outdoorsy types can rent a canoe or kayak and explore the local waters. And if you visit during the holiday season, Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude is a yuletide celebration not to be missed — with Santa even showing up by lobster boat! You could easily spend a week or more exploring this classic New England coastal town. But if you have just a day or two, here are the five best things to do in Kennebunkport, Maine.
This two-mile out-and-back seaside stroll takes you past some of the cooler-named sights on the Maine coast: Spouting Rock and Blowing Cave. Ocean views are complemented by peeks at some truly magnificent homes, including the Bush family compound at Walker’s Point; you’ll also pass St. Anne’s Church, a lovely c. 1887 stone chapel overlooking the sea. Benches along the way offer spots to rest and soak up the atmosphere.
Gifts shops, restaurants, strolling, with the scent of the sea everywhere — it’s no wonder that for many, this is the heart of a stop in Kennebunkport. Among the must-visit local retailers are gift shop Daytrip Society, bibliophile haven Fine Print Booksellers, and home design boutique Minka, dubbed one of the most beautiful independent shops in Maine by Architectural Digest.
Two miles east of Kennebunkport, you can visit a working fishing village where time seems to have stopped, and spend time wandering the weathered cottages and watching lobster boats come and go. (Just across from the pier you can see the 1833 Goat Island Light too.) Feeling hungry? Cape Porpoise is also home to Nunan’s Lobster Hut, one of Maine’s most famous traditional lobster shacks, as well as harborside dining favorite the Ramp Bar & Grill.
Considered the world’s premier electric railway museum, this c. 1939 landmark boasts a collection of 250-plus transit vehicles, most of them trolleys, from across the U.S. and beyond. You can even hop aboard a 1900s trolley for a ride on the museum’s heritage railroad. Note: Open May through October as well as select weekends in November and December.
Don’t be fooled by its name — you’ll find nearly three miles of soft white sand along this beach, named for Goose Rocks, an offshore barrier reef that is visible at low tide. If visiting between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, make sure to get a permit to park along Kings Highway before walking through low grass-covered dunes to the beach, named one of our “10 Prettiest Beaches in New England.”
Have your own list of the very best things to do in Ogunquit, Maine? Leave your picks in the comments below!