Okay, look. I know that “stunning beaches” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider traveling to Maine. But, come on people, hear me out! Because this great state has a long (like 3,478 miles in total), rugged, ever-dynamic coastline that is brimming over with some of the absolute best beach towns in Maine that you ever did see.
Charming little fishing villages with a series of wood plank docks where all the lobster boats sit, eagerly waiting to check the traps that are associated with their unique and colorful buoys.
And while I personally wouldn’t go swimming here since the beaches of Maine can be hella rocky and the water can be super cold (like between 63°F to 68°F in the dead of summer), there are a ton of super charming coastal towns in Maine that you’ll DEFFO want to check out.
A series of idyllic little villages where you can get the best lobster rolls, enjoy stellar panoramas of the nearby Atlantic Ocean, take a nifty little boat ride to one of the state’s many off-shore islands, and basically just live the luxe life…Maine style.
Now, will some of the best beach towns in Maine be beyond obvious? Umm, yeah. I mean, they are popular for a reason (yes Bar Harbor, I’m looking at you).
But, I’ve traveled to Maine so much (At least once or twice a year since I was born. And no, I’m not going to reveal how old I am. Suffice it to say that I am well over twenty.) that I know all about some of the state’s most amazing hidden gems too.
Super cool beach towns in Maine that are relatively devoid of crowds (crowd-free is the way to be) but that will still satiate your need for sand and surf.
So, if you’re ready, let’s swan dive into this wicked awesome guide to 15 of the best coastal towns in Maine.
Pro Tip: Again, I would not go swimming at any of these beautiful beaches. Unless, of course, you are a small child who is totally immune to the cold. Maine’s beaches are also notoriously rocky so pack water shoes if you want to swim.
Personally, though, I’d swim at Echo Lake if I was gonna swim anywhere. It’s near the towns of Fayette, Mount Vernon, and Readfield, and waters reach a balmy (note the sarcasm) 73°F in August.
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If you’re booking a trip right now then I IMPLORE you to get travel insurance – even if it’s not from me.
After all, this past year has been a wild ride and I don’t want you to lose money because government regulations have changed.
Truth be told though, I’ve never traveled without travel insurance and don’t think you should either – especially since I think we’ve all had plans drastically change because of the pandemic.
Therefore, find an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, like my two all-time faves World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here.
Okay, yeah. Item one on this list of the best beach towns in Maine is pretty dang obvious and not exactly a state secret since it’s easily one of the best romantic getaways in Maine.
But what this iconic coastal town in Maine lacks in secrecy, it more than makes up for in awesomeness since there is a TON to do here.
However, let’s start with the beaches since, uh, hello, this post is all about the best beach towns in Maine.
Well to start, Kennebunkport is home to a couple of different beaches, the most notable of which are:
- Colony Beach – This is a short stretch of rocky sand near the Kennebunk River is known for its small waves, You can venture out onto the breakwater rocks and see all of the boats gliding through the harbor. You can also do like the locals do and fish for stripers here.
- Goose Rocks Beach – This is easily the area’s most beautiful beach since it sits outside town and is more secluded near Cape Porpoise. It also features soft sand (a rarity in Maine) and is a great place to go for a stroll and enjoy stellar views of Timber Island. You can also visit nearby Goat Island Light since it’s a super cool lighthouse that is still in use.
You could also leave the comforts of land completely and join one of the many scenic boat tours that depart from Kennebunkport daily.
Because depending on your interests, you could join a whale watching tour that will take you 17 miles offshore to Jeffrey’s Ledge to see (hopefully) whales or do a two-hour lobstering excursion to see what the life of a lobsterman is really like as you sail past Walkers Point where the Bush family has a summer home.
However, if you’re not visiting during the summer, then you can always marvel at the historic mansions that line Summer Street and Ocean Avenue or learn about the area’s rich history at the Brick Store Museum, the Nott House, and the uber-famous Seashore Trolley Museum.
And when you get hungry, head to Dock Square and enjoy a nice meal at Striper’s, the Clam Shack (get the lobster roll), Alissons, Old Vines Wine Bar, and White Barn (it’s New England’s only five star, five-diamond restaurant and features a decadent, five-course price fixed menu.
Pro Tip: Try to visit in the off-season (read, not summer) since the crowds will be less intense and the hotel prices will be WAY cheaper.
Where to Stay: Try The Tides Beach Club for a high-end stay (rooms start at $250 per night) or The Breakwater Inn and Spa for a nice but more reasonably priced stay (rooms start at $130 per night).
Venture 130 miles north of Portland on route 1 and you’ll find one of the prettiest beach towns in Maine – a historic place that is small enough to feel off the beaten path but large enough for you to find tons of things to do.
It sits at the mouth of the Penobscot River estuary and is home to a ton of traditional (and grand) New England-style homes that date all the way back to 1796 when the town was first founded.
So, when you’re not out admiring all of these jaw-droppingly beautiful private homes, stop by the Wilson Museum or the Castine Historical Society to discover the area’s rich history (the historical society sits inside a super cute former schoolhouse).
You could also check out the oldest continuously operating post office in the US (it’s a really pretty building and way cooler than it sounds), do an epic kayak tour with Castine Kayak’s, or stop by Dyce Head Lighthouse, which was first built in 1828.
Next, take a stroll along Wadsworth Cove Beach before heading back into town for some delightful baked goods from MarKel’s Bakehouse or some delicious lobster rolls from The Breeze & Castine Variety.
You’ll also definitely want to stop into the super quirky The Compass Rose Bookstore and Cafe since they have a version of Castine-opoly that you can totally play. I mean really, how cool is that?
Yup, just a super fun, quiet place that is easily one of the best coastal towns in Maine.
Pro-Tip: If you can, try and stay at The Castine Inn. Not only is the service exceptional, but it overlooks Penobscot Bay and sits inside a wonderful, historic home that was first built in 1898. The Inn also has this awesome wraparound porch and a charming little garden for you to explore.
You can also get breakfast (not included) which is served in the light and bright dining room and get to stay in one of 21 individually decorated rooms that start at $120 per night in the off-season.
Where to Stay: You could also book a room at the lovely, Pentagoet Inn. It sits inside a gorgeous Queen Anne-style home, with an amazing wraparound porch, that is just a 5-minute walk from the Castine Historical Society and a little over a mile away from Dyce Head Lighthouse.
Rooms are also pretty reasonable and start at $140 per night.
3. Bar Harbor
Yeah, this is another one of the best and not-so-secret beach towns in Maine since Bar Harbor is largely known as the gateway to everybody’s favorite…Acadia National Park.
Therefore, if at all possible, avoid the busy summer season since the area is inundated with cruise ship patrons and selfie-stick wielding tourists of the slightly annoying variety.
But once you actually get there, you’ll love it because this is one of those sweet coastal towns in Maine where there is a ton to do!
It’s all also a super gorg place since it’s right on the coast and is a perfect spot to sit and watch the uber-swank yachts and not-so-swank lobster boats roll on by the areas many islands.
If you can, get up early one morning (read, before sunrise) and take a leisurely stroll down the equal parts scenic and equal parts historic Shore Path. It was originally built in 1880, is about a 1/2 mile long, and starts at town pier and Agamont Park, taking you along the shore and past the Porcupine Islands.
Afterward, explore the Wild Gardens of Acadia (it’s in Acadia National Park itself), which is home to over 200 different species of plants, and the Abbe Museum – a Smithsonian institution focused on Native American culture and the history in Maine.
Whatever you do though, you CANNOT leave without visiting the immortal, Acadia National Park.
Because during your time here, you can hike up to Cadillac Mountain for sunrise or drive along the park’s famous loop road and marvel at Thunder Hole, a small inlet where waves naturally crash into the rocks and push air/water out of the cavern – creating a water spout that can go up to forty feet in the air.
Next, visit Jordan’s Pond House Restaurant (also in Acadia) and chow down (get it because it’s chow-der?) on some seafood chowdah a the lobstah roll before hitting up other local attractions in Bar Harbor like the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, the College of the Atlantic Gardens, the Abbe Museum, and the Mount Desert Oceanarium.
You could also stuff your face in epic food joints like The Barnacle (the cocktails, oysters, and pesto are all really good), Lunch Bar Harbor (go for the #2 Italian and thank me later), and CIAO Food/Drink (it’s small so you will probably have to wait to get in.
The portions are also small so order a few plates like the French Lobster Roll, the Pork Belly Tacos, and the fried cauliflower).
And when you’re finally ready to call it a night, or a dozen, at The Inn on Mount Desert. it’s a lovely little family-run inn that offers modern, relaxed-feeling, reasonably priced (they start at $100 per night) rooms that come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, tea/coffee-making facilities, minifridges, and more.
While you’re here, you’ll also get access to a private balcony with either harborside or garden views and can sample their excellent complimentary breakfast too.
Where to Stay: Try The Inn on Mount Desert for a moderately priced stay or the lovely Saltair Inn with rooms that start at $150 per night.
4. Winter Harbor
A quiet but just as lovely option when visiting Acadia National Park is Winter Harbor. The fishing town is a classic Downeast village with all the beauty of the Acadia but with way fewer tourists.
More parking and less traffic? Yes, please!
It may not have as many shops or inns as its neighbors but there are still tons of hiking and biking trails. Plus they have their own lobster festival in August and two lighthouses, the Winter Harbor Light and Egg Rock Light, which makes them one of the best beach towns in Maine for me.
5. Boothbay Harbor
Who rocks the house? Boothbay Harbor rocks the house as one of the best beach towns in Maine.
Now, is it a secret? Absolutely not since it sits along the mid-coast of Maine and gets inundated with a ton of tourists from Boston since it’s a mere three-hour drive away.
But, I can’t really blame them since my family used to visit every single year and there is a TON to do here, like take a scenic cruise along the coast so that you can see the many islands here (like Monhegan Island and Damariscove Island), admire some local lighthouses, and even marvel at local seals and porpoises!
Yeah, you can easily do all this and more as part of a local kayak tour, a fishing trip. or a lobster boat experience.
And if you’re not a fan of actually going out onto the water, well, then you can always visit a scenic lighthouse…or six since Burnt Island Lighthouse, Hendricks Head Lighthouse, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Ram Island Lighthouse, Cuckolds Lighthouse, and Monhegan Light are all in the area and pretty accessible (FYI, some are on islands off the coast so you would need to take a boat to get there).
You could also get back into nature with a stroll through Barrett Park, a visit to Hendrick’s Head Beach (the views from this small beach are stunning and you can see the lighthouse of the same name from here), or a stop at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (it occupies an impressive, 250-acres).
What, need even more fun things to do here? Then visit some local wildlife at the Maine State Aquarium, uncover the region’s fascinating past at the Boothbay Railway Village, or admire some unique local art pieces at the Abacus Gallery.
Because yes, there really is so much to do here and just not a lot of time. This means that you’ll also need a supremely nice place to stay, like the Spruce Point Inn, where you can relax and recharge your metaphorical batteries.
It’s a modern, supremely chic hotel that features a ton of on-site amenities (think pools, tennis courts, hot tubs, etc.) and a selection of well-polished clapboard buildings that include private rooms and full-on townhouses.
All of the rooms here also feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, minifridges, and Keurig brand coffeemakers. Some premium suites even include private balconies, luxurious soaking tubs, and working fireplaces – making this the perfect place to stay while enjoying one of the best coastal towns in Maine.
Where to Stay: The Spruce Point Inn is awesome and has rooms that start at $250 per night. But if you’re looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, then try the enchanting Russell House Bed & Breakfast, where rooms start at just $139 per night.
Like most of the rest of the state, Damariscotta is one of those next-level gorg beach towns in Maine that is known for its seafood.
Nope, not lobster. Instead, this thin slice of heaven is famous for its oysters, which many local chefs still cook up and serve fresh daily. You know, so they can tickle those divine little tastebuds of yours.
So, if you want to try some of this beyond awesome local fare for yourself, then grab a pair of uber-stretchy elastic waist pants and check out King Eider’s Pub and Restaurant, the Shuck Station, Samovar Tea Shop & Tasting Room, the Newcastle Publick House, and Schooner Landing.
You could also sample a beer, or ten, at the Oxbow Brewing Company – a stunning local brewery that sits inside an old farmhouse in Newcastle and serves up some of the finest local brews in the area.
Oh, and if you’re really into all things oyster-rific, then definitely time your visit for the annual Damariscotta Oyster Celebration. It’s held early in the summer and allows you to do fun things like taste oysters, tour local oyster farms, and more!
Plus, if you want to learn more about the history of the region and the development of the oyster industry here, then pay a visit to the Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site, where you can see mounds upon mounds of discarded oyster shells that used to be kept here way back in the day.
Additionally, you could always take a scenic drive through the area and marvel at the many historic mansions here before checking out the historic Lincoln Theater (first built in 1875), the iconic Renys Department Store, Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop (with 20,000+ books), and St. Patrick’s Church in nearby Newcastle.
Believe it or not, the building was actually first constructed in 1807 and is the oldest Roman Catholic church in all of New England. Yup, three cheers for fun facts.
What? Want to do a bit of retail therapy while you’re here (best kind of therapy IMHO), then check out several fun and vibrant local shops like Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop, Alewives Fabrics, Weatherbird, and Damariscotta Pottery.
Afterward, take a scenic river cruise down the beautiful Damariscotta River or try your hand at kayaking with Midcoast Kayak (PSST…want to do something truly unique? Then visit in October for the annual Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta. People actually race through the harbor in boats that are carved out of giant pumpkins. LOL).
Where to Stay: For charming but comfortable rooms and exceptional service, try booking a room at the Oak Gables Bed and Breakfast. Rooms start at $120 per night and include a delicious daily breakfast.
7. New Harbor
If you plan to go see the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, then make New Harbor your homebase so you could also visit Colonial-era Pemaquid’s historical Fort William Henry and board a puffin cruise to see the adorable seabirds on Eastern Rock Island.
Aside from winning the “Nicest Place in Maine Award” by Reader’s Digest, the coastal village was also where some scenes of the movie Message in a Bottle were filmed.
The Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve is great to visit during low tide to walk between the tidal pools and see the different sea life described in the book, The Edge of the Sea.
8. Stonington on Deer Isle
Just a hop skip and jump away from mainland Maine is Stonington, one of those quiet coastal towns in Maine that is brimming over with rustic, New England charm and that sits along the southern end of Deer Isle.
And while it is a relatively quiet and secluded place, it’s still easy to get to since you can just drive over a series of bridges to experience all that Stonington has to offer.
Plus, added awesomeness? Stonington routinely catches the largest number of lobsters in the entire state.
So, there will easily be more than enough left over for you to sample a delicious lobster dinner at a variety of local eateries like Aragosta, Stonecutters Kitchen, Harbor Cafe, The Cockatoo Portuguese Restaurant, 44 North Coffe, and more.
And when you’re not stuffing your face with all of this delicious foodie goodness, stroll through the beautiful 88 acres of red spruce forests in Crockett Cove Woods Preserve (the Barred Island Preserve is incredibly lovely too).
You can also do a day trip to Acadia with Isle au Boat Services, tour the Haystack School of Crafts in the summer (the Turtle Gallery and Nervous Nellies are super cool art galleries too), or visit the local opera house and enjoy various local performances.
Now, for an exceptional stay on the island, try the Inn on the Harbor. All of the beautiful rooms here sit inside a yellow, 19th-century building that overlooks Stonington Harbor.
It’s also located just two minutes away from the Stonington Fish Pier and the Opera House and features a wealth of individually decorated rooms with spacious sitting areas, free WIFI, flat-screen TVs, and a complimentary breakfast buffet that is served daily in the on-site cafe.
Where to Stay: The Inn on the Harbor since service is great, rooms are nice, and rates start at $110 per night in the low season.
Oh, hello, Camden – one of just many delightful little beach towns in Maine. And although it may not be a closely held state secret (don’t expect to have this place all to yourself in the busy summer months), it is regarded as a haven of sorts for shoppers, outdoor lovers, and beachgoers of every variety.
So, during your stay, be sure to hike through Camden Hills State Park (Enjoy a marvelous sunset over Penobscot Bay from atop Mt. Battie. And don’t worry, you can drive up)), take a daily sailing cruise through Penobscot Bay aboard a historic Windjammer, and relax on the beach at Barret’s Cove on Megunticook Lake (it’s less crowded than other beaches and the water is warmer since it’s on a lake).
You could also take a stroll along Laite Memorial Beach, go skiing at Camden Snow Bowl in the winter, take a day trip to one of the lighthouses on Camden’s outlying islands (like Curtis Island Lighthouse), check out the historic local library, take the kids to Aldermere Farm, grab a coffee at the Owl and Turtle Bookcshop Cafe, or pop into the Camden Opera House.
And when you get more than a little hungry along the way, stop by Mount Battie for an informal (but delicious) lobster roll, sample some fresh blueberry pancakes at Mariner’s Restaurant (it’s like a little diner), or enjoy an upscale feast while admiring stellar views of the harbor at Natalie’s.
Finally, replenish some of your well-spent energy at either the Inn at Sunrise Point (in the center of town), or splurge on a luxurious stay at The Camden Harbour Inn.
The former of these two amazing hotels sits right on the water and is a modern, boutique hotel with a wealth of old-world charm that oozes out of this historic building with its vintage-inspired furnishings.
So, stop by and choose from one of several grand suites and luxury suites that all include a complimentary daily breakfast from their vast menu of a la carte items.
Pro Tio: If you want to stay on land but still want to see some gorgeous local lighthouses, then you could head to Curtis Lighthouse overlook or go down to the Marshal Point Lighthouse.
Where to Stay: If you have the budget for it, go for The Camden Harbour Inn since the hotel is absolutely worth its $200 per night.
10. Blue Hill
Okay, so technically speaking Blue Hill Bay is a region and not just a single town. But, the area is so quiet, that it’s just easier to lump everything together and refer to it as one of the best coastal villages in Maine.
Now, what can you expect from a visit here? Well, it’s an incredibly peaceful peninsula that is filled with local residents who enjoy their solitude and who like to picnic at Bluehill Falls, which features some of the most impressive coastal views in the region (I’ve also heard that the views from Caterpillar Hill are pretty awe-inspiring too).
You can also enjoy a scenic drive along the seemingly neverending network of quiet backroads here that wind along the coast and offer stellar views of nearby Penobscot Bay.
Because this regiond? Well, it has an old-world charm that is beautiful to behold. So much so that no less than E.B. White himself actually bought a farm here.
And if you have time, also check out Castine (mentioned above) and Blue Hill since they are brimming over with enchanting boatyards, vast artist communities, local farmers markets, and quaint little shops that are well worth your time.
Where to Stay: See above section on Castine
This laidback fishing village along Maine’s mid-coast is located near Camden and is a whole of hell of a lot quieter – something that I for one love since this tiny town was also named one of America’s prettiest towns by Forbes Magazine.
I mean, beautiful and not inundated with hordes of tourists? Seriously, what more could you want from one of the best beach towns in Maine?
More than that though, this awesome village is well located (about halfway between Bar Harbor and Kennebunkport) and a place where you can take a day trip to Camden or Rockland (home to the Wyeth artist family and the Farmsworth Museum).
You can also enjoy a sunset dinner cruise aboard a local schooner through Penobscot Bay, rent a kayak and do a bit of sea kayaking, admire views of Indian Island Lighthouse from Rockport Marine Park (FYI, it’s not open to the public), and see how a real farm works at Aldemere Farm.
Finally, spend the night at the stunning, Samoset Resort. It sits on 230 sprawling acres of land that overlook the water and is home to 178 luxury guest rooms that are only a few miles away from the center of town and the lovely Owl’s Head Lighthouse.
So, step inside and you’ll find a wealth of light and airy modern rooms with private balconies that feature exquisite furnishings, plush beds, flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, Keurig coffeemakers, iPod docks, and minifridges.
There’s also an 18-hole golf course on-site, in addition to an Italian restaurant, a casual grill, a wine bar. a chic spa, a beach-like entry pool with a bar, and a kids club – easily making this one of the absolute best places to stay in Rockport, or in all of Maine for that matter.
Where to Stay: Samoset Resort is definitely THE place to stay in the area and has rooms that start at just $195 per night, which is not too bad when you think of all the features that are included with your room.
Hello, and welcome to the pure awesomeness that is Cutler, Maine. A quiet little fishing village that was first founded in 1826 along the rocky shores of Machias.
Initially, home to an expansive plantation, the area is now known for a series of dynamic hiking trails that take you all along the rugged and awe-inspiring Atlantic coast.
And while there are tons of amazing things to do here, it’s still one of those quiet beach towns in Maine that is renowned for its natural beauty.
That’s why, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast of even the smallest measure, then Cutler is the perfect place for you.
So, feel free to hike (or bike) your way through the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land and camp out at one of the remote campsites that you’ll discover here.
Because this 12,334-acre natural area is filled with an array of blueberry barrens, woodlands, and peatlands that culminate with gobsmacking, cliffside views of the legendary Bay of Fundy.
Afterward, go on a beautiful walk to the Little River Lighthouse and take a guided tour of the facility. And if you really fall in love, you can even spend the night here and savor the scenic beauty all around you
Next, visit the Bold Coast Charter Company and take a boat out to Machias Seal Island, where you can see the largest puffin colony on the coast of Maine. Trust me, it’s even cooler than it sounds.
And while there aren’t too many places to eat here (you may want to head to Jonesboro and Machias for some grub), you can definitely try some local fare at Heen’s Restaurant before spending the night at The Bluebird Motel in East Machias.
Yeah, there are a distinct lack of options here when it comes to accommodations but the price is right (rooms start at $89 per night) and the motel is well-reviewed by everyone who has stayed there.
Pro Tip: Want to go on some even more awesome hikes? Then check out Bog Brook Cove, trek along Cutler Bold Coast Trail (it’s an amazing hidden gem that is probably one of the best trails in Maine), and explore the Western Head Preserve.
Where to Stay: The Bluebird Motel is nice and really the only place to stay that’s actually close to Cutler. It also has everything you need for a comfortable stay and features rooms that start at just $89 per night.
Lubec is the easternmost town of the country and it sits right on the Canadian border. It is the first place where the sun rises first in the US. Head over to West Quoddy Head Lighthouse for a view of the iconic red and white striped lighthouse and an epic sunrise.
The town was once the smoked-herring capital of the US and the McCurdy Smokehouse Museum is one of the last places where you can go to learn about the process and its connection to the town.
Remember to bring your passport so you can drive to Campobello Island in Canada, the only international national park in the world. It is also home to Theodore Roosevelt’s summer home which is now a museum that lets visitors see how life was in the 1920s.
Again, this is one of those uber-obvious coastal towns in Maine. But come on! You can’t realy make a list of the most awesome beach towns in Maine and not put Freeport on it! Now can you?
Good, I’m glad we agree. Because I mean, hello, Freeport is basically a Maine institution.
Now, is it hella touristy? Heck yeah, it is!
I mean, if you walk along the mile stretch of US-1 that goes through this iconic town, you’ll discover at least 200 different retail stores that sell basically anything and everything you could ever imagine.
And because local laws forbid builder’s from actually destroying any historic buildings, many of these posh outlets and boutiques are actually hidden away inside these stunning,1850s era, Greek Revival homes that make my history-loving heart swoon.
So yeah, it’s kind of like this mini-shoppers paradise that was all started nearly a century ago, when a man by the name of Leon Leonwood Bean opened up a shop that sold outdoor gear to intrepid travelers heading into Northern Maine.
And thus, the first ever LL Bean store was born. It’s also a place you should 100% visit since it’s way more than just a store and has super cool fish ponds for you to check out and rock climbing walls for you to explore.
However, if you’re not really into retail therapy, then you could always learn about the area’s local history at the Freeport Historical Society (it sits inside the beautiful Harrington House), explore Pettengill Farm (a unique salt-water farm from the 19th-century), visit Casco Castle (it’s in Winslow Park so you can walk the many trails here and enjoy the stellar views), or hike through Wolfe Neck Woods State Park.
Afterward, enjoy some local brew at The Maine Beer Company or sample some traditional Cider at Porterfield Cider. The drinks are super tasty (as is the food) and it sits inside a charming farmhouse from 1890.
But for real food, like hello lobster, head to the Harraseeket Inn (Try The Real Maine Meal which is a cup of lobster stew, a lobster roll, and a 12-ounce Maine microbrew beer for $25), Azure Cafe (a fine dining restaurant that has nice seafood cakes), Derosier’s Market (they have good hot sandwiches), and Petrillo’s (They serve good Italian food and it’s less crowded than a lot of places here).
And since you’re gonna dine here anyway, you should probably spend the night at the Harraseeket Inn too! Not only is the hotel well-located, but most of the rooms inside this family-owned, luxury inn also feature an ensuite fireplace,
Additionally, they have an indoor heated pool that you can use all year-round, as well as a delicious complimentary breakfast that is included with the price of your stay.
Pro Tip: I’ve been to Freeport well over twenty times and I’m not gonna lie, The Desert of Maine is kind of a tourist trap. It’s fine for small kids but is otherwise not really worth your time. Instead, take a scenic boat cruise, hike through Bradbury Mountain State Park, or explore the Maine Audubon.
Where to Stay: The Harraseeket Inn is the best since it’s well located, features a ton of amenities, and is well-priced at $144 per night.
For one of the quietest and best beach towns in Maine, Harpswell won’t disappoint! The area is made up of peninsulas with long, winding roads connecting them to the mainland and 200 islands, most of which can only be visited by boat.
Obviously, the sunset is gorgeous here so please make sure to snap a couple of photos. There is plenty of hiking, kayaking, or simply driving around to be done. You’ll get to see another side of Maine’s rugged coast.
BUT there are lobster and fish shacks on stilts plus candy shops so you’ll still get the full Maine experience.
16. York Beach (Part of York City)
Founded in 1624 by European settlers, York is actually the second oldest city in the entire state (after Kittery) and is easily one of the prettiest beach towns in Maine – a fact that you could probably easily discern from the stunning photo above.
It’s also made up of four distinct villages that are known as York Beach, York Harbor, York Village, and Cape Neddick respectively, with York Beach probably being the prettiest of the bunch.
So, if you’d like to visit one of the best coastal towns in Maine for yourself, then be sure to visit Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse (it’s super photogenic and sits on a small rocky island), soak up some rays on Long Sand Beach (it’s a big, quiet, sandy family beach.
So although it’s popular, it shouldn’t feel too crowded), and hike to the top of Mount Agamenticus (The climb is pretty short but the views from the top are stunning and parking is free).
And if you have even more time (and are feeling extra ambitious) you could also sample some local beers during a four-hour Granite State Growler Tour (a shuttle bus will take your group to several different breweries in York).
Don’t forget to devour some local artisan bread at When Pigs Fly bakery (they have twenty-five different all-natural breads, among other things), admire some local art at George Marshall Store Gallery, or take some culinary greatness home with you at Stonewall Kitchen.
No seriously. Stonewall Kitchen is like this awesome cafe/grocery store where you can sample foods, take a cooking class, or just shop for souvenirs And FYI, the desserts here are EPIC.
However, if you can’t really wait until you get home to eat ALL of your feelings, then you could head to York 54 for some handcrafted pizza, sample some decadent local seafood at the York River Landing
(Spoiler Alert: They have 36 different local craft beers on tap), or try one of the epic entrees at The Central Restaurant and Bar (this place is popular so relax at The Central Bean and Bakery while you wait).
Afterward, enjoy a relaxing night at the luxurious Stage Neck Inn, a fantastic hotel that has Individually decorated, British Colonial-style rooms with private balconies that overlook the harbor.
Sure, it’s not cheap. But, a stay here is definitely worth the splurge if you want to make your very Maine vacay feel extra special.
Where to Stay: My top pick would be Stage Neck Inn, where rooms start at $240. However, if you’re looking for a moderately priced hotel (that is still super lovely), then try the York Harbor Inn instead.
Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Kennebunkport in southern Maine is Saco – one of those stunning beach towns in Maine that home to a mere 20,000 people and that is known for being the oldest recorded permanent settlement in the state.
However, what’s a girl (or boy) to do when they finally do arrive in one of the best coastal villages in Maine?
Well, I’m so glad you asked (even if you actually didn’t). Because contrary to what I first thought, there’s actually a ton of super cool stuff to do in Saco.
So, rock your most fabulous beach attire and head on over to Ferry Beach State Park for oceanside views, sandy beaches (just don’t go swimming since it’s hella cold), picturesque hiking trails, and a cute little nature center.
There’s even a resident Tupelo here, which is a type of black gum tree that is not normally found this far north. Yup, feel free to be duly impressed.
What, want a beach that is a little closer to town? Then check out the ever-popular, seven-mile-long, Old Orchard Beach with its signature pier. Just be sure to dress warmly since it’s cold, even in the summer (FYI, Pine Point Beach is another thin slice of sandy awesomeness in the area).
If you want, you could also hike the 8-mile long, Eastern Trail, that connects Saco with Scarborough, and then stop at Old Orchard Beach along the way.
It’s a really nice hike that is home to some amazing local wildlife and that will take you through the single largest salt marsh in Maine.
And if you love history almost as much as I do, then stop by the Saco Museum to brush up on your local history before picking up some fresh produce and decadent delights from the Saco River Market and then having a fresh bowl of “chowdah” from Huot’s Seafood Restaurant.
Because yes, no trip to Maine could ever really be complete without at least one sumptuous seafood feast.
However, after all that food, you’ll probably need to head back to your room and nurse that glorious food baby of yours. Welp, there’s no better place to do this than at The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel.
Individually decorated rooms here start at $134 per night, include all the usual amenities (in addition to designer toiletries), and even feature stunning, riverside views.
Pro Tip: I’m not a fan but if you have kids, you may want to check out Funtown Splashtown USA (an amusement park) and Aquaboggan Water Park. You could also visit the exterior of the Bush compound in Kennebunkport or hike the Cascade Falls Trail for impressive views of a local waterfall.
Where to Stay: I’d stay at The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel since it’s lovely and reasonably priced at $134 per night. Otherwise, you could always luxe life it up and stay at the Tides Beach Club for $250 per night.
Is Ogunquit one of those secret beach towns in Maine? Absolutely not. But, it’s so dang beautiful that you’ll probably one mind the hordes of tourists who flock here every summer.
No really. This place is so pretty that Ogunquit literally means “beautiful place by the sea” in Native American, Abenaki. So yeah, this coastal town in Maine clearly has a lot going for it.
However, to really “savor the flavor” as it were, you should head to the cute little fishing village of Perkins Cove (It’s so adorbs there’s a manually operated drawbridge) and walk along the beautiful Marginal Way (a 3-mile pedestrian path along the water) from here.
Afterward, check out Ogunquit Beach or the slightly less popular Footbridge Beach if you want to at least attempt to get away from the crowds.
Finally, admire some of the 3,000 different local art pieces on display at Ogunquit Museum of Art before sipping on some delicious craft cocktails at either That Place or Beachfire! bars.
And if you get a bit hungry along the way, you can always stop to enjoy a bit of local seafood at places like Barnacle Billy’s, Lobster Shack and Bintliff’s, before catching an awesome performance at Ogunquit’s Playhouse. The shows are high-quality, off-broadway performances that take place inside an old barn from that dates back to 1933.
Now, once you’ve sightseed (yup, just made that word up), until you can sightsee no more, then spend a relaxing night at The Cliff House Resort.
It’s an uber-posh hotel where you can have a seaside cocktail in a two-story glass lounge, get a luxurious spa treatment, wile away the hours in a spacious outdoor hot tub, and admire the stellar views from Bald Head Cliff (You’ll see Boone Island Light and Nubble Light off in the distance).
Pro-Tip: Want to enjoy a bit of live music? Then head on over to the Front Porch piano bar. Trust me, it’s the place to go for a fun night out on the town.
Where to Stay: I’d personally stay at The Cliff House Resort in nearby Cape Neddick, Maine. Yes, rooms are a hefty $269 per night but’s it so worth it for all the amenities and luxury that you get. Otherwise, you could always stay at the well-reviewed Juniper Hill Inn instead where rooms are just $107 per night.
19. Spruce Head
What? Looking for another one of the best beach towns in Maine?
If so then haul your cutie booty to Spruce Head. It sits a mere 15 minutes away from Rockland and is a perfect place to visit if you’re into the great outdoors.
To start, check out Clark Island. It’s connected to the mainland by a giant causeway (Get it? Like Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland? Yup, I crack myself up) and is a nice place to find a secret beach or to go hiking on one of the area’s many nature trails.
Afterward, visit a popular local swimming hole at the old island quarry and have a picnic amidst the huge rocks that overlook the stunning blue-green water here.
Next, visit the picturesque Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, which was made famous by its guest appearance in the iconic film, Forrest Gump.
Finally, hop aboard a local ferry and take it to nearby Mohegan Island, where you can walk among the island’s many seaside gardens and visit the uber-famous artistic community here.
And if you’re looking for a great place to stay near Spruce Head, try the Craignair Inn. They offer a selection of individually decorated rooms that feature luxurious bedding and plush robes.
Homemade breakfast is also served in their restaurant daily and features stunning, panoramic views of the ocean.
Where to Stay: Honestly, The Craignar Inn is just awesome and pretty reasonably priced at $130 per night. However, you could always try the nearby and well-reviewed Rockland Harbor Hotel, where rooms start at $129 per night.
20. York Harbor
If you are looking for some offbeat beach towns in Maine, then consider heading to York Harbor. It is part of York city and you can easily combine it with a trip to York beach so it isn’t really too out of the way.
York Harbor is incredibly scenic with some rugged terrain. Head out on the Cliff walk. This path isn’t paved all the way but definitely navigable. Walking the path with sneakers will definitely make it more comfortable.
The trail winds behind many of the homes and gives you a gorgeous view of the Maine coast. The Cliff Walk ends at a street so you don’t have to walk backwards but if the weather is good and you are having fun, you can circle back too!
The Wiggly Bridge is another cool and easy walk. Plus you can dip your toes in the water or just sit and watch the water laps on the beach.
If you are feeling adventurous head out on a charter boat and get some fishing done too!
Where To Stay: The Dockside Guest Quarters is an amazing place to stay. Not only do the rooms come with their own private balconies and a view of the water, the property is immaculately maintained and even has a game room!
Wells is one of the best beach towns in Maine. Not only does it have a number of gorgeous beaches, Wells is also known for forest reserves, antiques and pretty little cafes.
I highly recommend heading to Wells beach. I know that this is one of the most visited spots in the city but it is popular for a good reason. From soft sand to small tidal pools for young kids, this place is a haven for families with both young and old kids.
Other great beaches are Drakes Island beach, Moody beach and Ogunquit beach. If you want to enjoy some green scenery then head to the Wells Reserves at Laudholm.
Heading to the farms in the area is another great way to enjoy the day. Some of my top recommendations include Spiller Farm and Chase farms.
Where To Stay: If you are in Wells, I highly recommend staying at Elmere House Bed & Breakfast. It is an old farmhouse that has been restored and provides some amazing rooms. It also offers a great breakfast!
Beach Towns in Maine FAQ
What Is The Cheapest Coastal Town In Maine?
Lubec is without doubt one of the cheapest coastal towns in Maine. This is largely because of the lower tourist footfall that is there throughout the year. I think the only thing that deters people from visiting Lubec is that it is a bit hard to reach but it is well worth the effort.
Not only does it have the small town vibe, it also has some dramatic views. Plus since it is relatively cheaper than the other beach towns in Maine, you can stay here for longer without burning a hole in your wallet.
Where Is The Prettiest Beach In Maine?
If you are looking to indulge in Maine’s gorgeous coastline, you will find that there are loads of amazing coastal towns to stay in. Pinpointing just one beach is pretty hard but if I was hard pressed to decide on the prettiest beach in Maine, I would say head to Popham Beach State Park.
It is a 3 mile long stretch of sandy goodness. In fact, it is situated right at the mouth of Kennebec river.
Are There Swimmable Beaches In Maine?
There certainly are swimmable beaches in Maine. If you are looking for one of the prettiest and safest beaches for swimming, I highly recommend Birch Point State Park. Not only does this beach have much calmer waters, you will find that the sand is really soft.
This beach is also popular with anglers too. You just need to bring your own gear along.
A Map of Some of the Best Beach Towns in Maine!
Additional Resources You Will Love
- 15 Amazing Romantic Getaways in Maine
- 10 of the Most Awe-Inspiring Scenic Drives in Maine
- The Absolute Best Time to Visit Maine
- 13 of the Best Hikes in Maine
- 12 of the Best Hikes in Acadia National Park
- 7 Best Lighthouses in Portland Maine
Saturday 6th of March 2021
This is a great post! My husband and I are planning to visit Maine this fall, so we will have to add some of these spots to our list. I've heard of Kennebunkport & Bar Harbor, but most other spots were new to me!
Monday 8th of March 2021
Oh awesome! Fall is the perfect time to visit Maine too so you're going to have an amazing time. Thanks so much for reading and so glad I could introduce you to some new places to visit.
Saturday 6th of March 2021
The region looks so so nice ! I love all these little sea sides towns and beaches.
Monday 8th of March 2021
Me too. It's such a pretty area.
Saturday 6th of March 2021
This is seriously stunning. We just love Maine, but I did not know that it had so many beautiful beach towns. The Little river Lighthouse and Marshall lighthouse look amazing. Reading this wants me to get back to Maine.
Monday 8th of March 2021
Agreed. Same here. When writing this I was like so wait, when can I return? Because now would be great,
Saturday 6th of March 2021
I have always wanted to visit the NE coastal towns. These are just beautiful. Oh, and I am well over 20 as well ;)
Monday 8th of March 2021
Haha. Glad I'm not the only one who is well over 20 years old.
Saturday 6th of March 2021
I love Maine! It is such a beautiful state. When I visited Portland almost four years ago, I got to visit Biddeford Pool, Kennebunkport and Old Orchard Beach. All were amazing. I need to revisit and go up to Bar Harbor and explore Acadia! :)
Monday 8th of March 2021
Yes! There is so much to see and the coastline is really long there.