Ogunquit Beach, Maine | The Beach That Has It All

Looking to get outside this summer? Here’s why Ogunquit, Maine, is the beach town that has it all.

By Mel Allen

Apr 28 2021


Ogunquit Beach, Maine

Photo Credit : Kindra Clineff
Ogunquit Beach, Maine
Photo Credit : Kindra Clineff

Centuries ago, the Abenaki people named this slice of land along Maine’s southern coast “Ogunquit,” meaning “beautiful place by the sea.” In the late 1800s, artists descended on what was by then a fishing village, and visitors have been coming ever since to this beautiful beach, which stretches over three miles north to meet the sands of Wells.

When the tide goes out and the beach widens, you feel as if you can walk forever, your feet dipping into, then out of, the sea. Sunbathers and kite flyers spread along the sand. When you want a different vista, you can take to the Marginal Way, a mile-long cliff path that lets you stroll above the pounding waves; its end point, in Perkins Cove, is still a fishing harbor where lobster shacks and ice cream stands and shingled shops await.

For families with young ones, just steps away from the main beach there’s a slender, sheltered beach on a tidal river where the water is calm, the sand dotted with little pools—all perfect for sand castle builders. When the tide goes out, kids ride their inner tubes to the Atlantic, then race back to do it again. There’s also parking at three separate beach spots, as well as a trolley that goes to and fro, picking up people from hotels and a downtown filled with shops and eateries right on the other side of a walking bridge.

I have a friend who says Ogunquit is “the one place that I can truly relax and drop my guard and just enjoy life—it is my happy place.” And when you’ve had enough of sun and sand and surf, there’s an open-sided shelter where you can sit back and watch the sun slowly fade, and make plans for the next day that awaits.

Find more in “Take It Outside,” our 2021 guide to the best ways to love the New England outdoors.