With its iconic pier and amusement park, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, serves up lots of old-school fun as well as miles of sandy beach.
By Cathryn McCann
Oct 11 2018
Old Orchard Beach Pier | Guide to Old Orchard Beach, MainePhoto Credit : Cathryn McCann
Old Orchard Beach, Maine, is widely known for its iconic wooden pier jutting out over the ocean – providing games, dining, and entertainment with the best of views. Alongside that pier stretches seven miles of sandy beach that’s perfect for an afternoon lounging under the sun or playing in the waves. Even better, the beach is bordered by an amusement park with a Ferris wheel, carousel, thrill rides, fried dough, and other delights. There are plenty of must-do’s while visiting Old Orchard Beach: Try the signature offering at Pier French Fries, for instance, or browse the aisles at Dickinson’s Candy Factory. Read on for some of our favorite things to do, places to eat, and places to stay in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
Touting its layout as being “designed with both the expert golfer and child in mind,” Pirate’s Cove offers putting for everyone. Located across the street from the beach and walking distance from downtown, the property’s two 18-hole courses have an 18th-century pirate theme, with caves, footbridges, and cascading waterfalls.
Palace Playland, the amusement park that lies just steps from the beach, is part of what makes Old Orchard Beach so iconic. After all, you can’t dive into the ocean and pop up to see a lit-up Ferris wheel going round and round at just any old beach. There’s also a carousel, two roller coasters, and several other thrill rides, plus plenty of amusement park food.
It’s not a trip to Old Orchard Beach without a stop at Pier French Fries, which serves up fries made from local potatoes and topped with everything from ketchup, vinegar, and salt to (for the more adventurous) hot nacho cheese, gravy, and chili. Poutine and other tasty treats are also available.
Simply put, Dickinson’s Candy Factory is 4,500 square feet of sweetness. Here you’ll find candies of every variety, plus homemade fudge, taffy, caramels, cheese, and kettle corn. There’s a treat for every palate, be it ice cream with a sprinkle-bedazzled cone in the summer or a caramel-covered apple in the fall.
Walk along this often-photographed wooden pier in summer and you’ll encounter delights of every kind: games, casual dining, entertainment, and the world’s smallest candy store. And just below? The seven-mile swath of sand that earned a 2016 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Beach.”
Located right on the beach, Surf 6 offers casual dining and live music with a grand oceanfront view from both the indoor dining area and the patio deck. And, in keeping with the restaurant’s nautical theme, the bar was made from the bow of an actual lobster boat. On the menu: seafood and classic American fare.
Most people agree that if you’re looking for a classic slice of New York–style pizza in Old Orchard Beach, Rocco’s is the place to go. The variety of toppings is impressive, and in the summer Rocco’s stays open for late-night snackers.
Billing itself as “the home of Ocean Park cinnamon buns, hot coffee, and cool people,” Café 64 specializes in coffee drinks, breakfast, pastries, and light lunch fare (soups, salads, acai bowls, sandwiches, and paninis).
Once a private home and now a family-owned eatery, Joseph’s by the Sea beckons those seeking upscale dining with an ocean view. Along with an ample menu of wines, beers, and cocktails, there are dishes both classic (charbroiled swordfish, baked stuffed lobster) and unexpected (bison cranberry meatloaf), with vegan and gluten-free options included.
This two-story cottage overlooking the beach serves up cocktails and homey seafood dishes (e.g., lobster mac and cheese) amid a fun, laid-back atmosphere. Look for the fresh-made lobster rolls and the triple-fried French fries.
For quick, casual seafood, stop by Mainely Lobster Café right in the heart of Old Orchard Beach, which will set you up with a tasty meal to go or to enjoy at one of the cafe’s picnic tables. For breakfast nibbles, there are chocolate croissants, blueberry turnovers, and other fresh-baked pastries.
Originally built in the early 1900s, the recently restored Rebekah Inn has nine individually decorated rooms, three of which have a private balcony with ocean views. The inn is conveniently located right on the beach and a five-minute walk from downtown.
Located near downtown, Atlantic Birches Inn is an elegant 1903 building with a spacious front porch, an in-ground pool, and a large lawn. The main house and the cottage house each has five newly renovated rooms. Breakfast is continental-style — and includes homemade muffins.
Offering a choice of hotel rooms, suites, or beach houses, Alouette Beach Resort features such amenities as indoor and outdoor pools, an on-site café, and a fitness center. Some lodging options come with Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces, and/or kitchenettes; many are pet-friendly too.
Originally the Ye Olde Staples Inn, which opened in the 1700s as Maine’s first hotel, the Old Orchard Beach Inn has been fully renovated but maintains a historic feel with hardwood floors, antique furnishings, and period details. It has many modern conveniences, however, including private baths and central air, and is located just minutes from downtown.
For those who want a bit more space, Atlantic Ocean Suites offer apartment-style comfort at the beach. Each suite has an open floor plan, a balcony, a full kitchen, a dining and living space, and breezy nautical decor.
Have you ever been to Old Orchard Beach, Maine? Let us know!