Ready to live it up and enjoy the lifestyles of the rich and famous? If so then you 110% want to check out this expert’s guide to the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine.
Because Kennebunkport is this iconic, cute AF, Maine beach town where all the pseudo-wealthy, East Coast elite go to eat lobster, relax on the beach, and admire the quaint shops that line this picturesque town, which sits just off US-1.
I mean, this town is so posh that the Bush’s (aka the presidential family) even have a house here. So, yeah, definitely don’t expect to have this place all to yourself when you’re visiting over the summer.
Because although it’s conveniently situated on the Southern Coast of Maine, it’s also just a short drive away from Boston – making it a hotspot of sorts for Massachusetts day-trippers and weekenders who are looking for a quick and easy getaway.
It’s not all bad though since there are a ton of super rad things to do in Kennebunkport, Maine (and neighboring Kennebunk) – especially if you’re visiting during shoulder season and avoid the insane crowds of summer.
Plus, I’ve been to Kennebunkport, and nearby Kennebunk, more times than I can count. Therefore, I know the ins and outs of this amazing place and can tell you exactly where to go, where to stay, and what to eat while experiencing all the best Kennebunkport things to do.
This way, you can quickly and easily plan the perfect Kennebunkport itinerary while exploring a town that basically oozes preppiness and routinely serves it up with a side of white anglo-Saxon protestant pride.
And I mean that in the best possible way since there is something unabashedly endearing about this famous Maine town.
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Where to Stay in Kennebunkport Maine
Before we even begin this bad boy post of awesome and discuss all of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine, let’s first figure out where you should stay.
Because guess what? There are a ton of high-end (read, over-priced) accommodations in this town that can definitely leave your wallet crying and begging for more $$$.
And while some of these places absolutely deserve your cold, hard cash…others do not. So, learn from my past mistakes (there have been a lot of them) and book a room at one of the two, super snazzy hotels below.
- The Tides Beach Club Inn ($250 per night) – If you’re looking to plan an extra special, romantic weekend getaway in Maine, then consider spending a few nights at one of the next-level gorgeous rooms in The Tides Beach Club Inn. Not only is centrally located right across the street from Goose Rocks Beach, but it’s a vibrant, modern hotel that sits inside an enchanting, clapboard house. Well-appointed rooms here also come with ocean views, in addition to flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, marble bathrooms, and plush linens. There’s also a fantastic, farm-to-table restaurant on-site with happy hour specials everyone will love. And if you pay for the daily resort fee, you’ll even get access to two on-site pools, as well as a spa/wellness center at a sister resort.
- The Breakwater Inn and Spa ($130 per night) – Nestled along the majestic Kennebunkport River, this casual, historic hotel (from the 1880s) is well-located and features bright rooms with a nautical theme – all of which include WI-Fi, a cozy sitting area, and a selection of premium toiletries. Continental breakfast, afternoon tea, and bike rentals are also all included with the price of your stay. Additionally, guests here can enjoy access to a spa, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant (with river views) that serves delicious seafood and New England-style cuisine.
Best Things to do in Kennebunkport Maine – The Beaches
1. Goose Rocks Beach
If there is one thing that Kennebunkport Maine is known for, it’s the beach.
Therefore, one of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine is to (DUH) go to the beach (you may not want to swim since it’s hella cold but you can always sunbathe). And one of my all-time faves is none other than Goose Rocks Beach.
Contrary to what the name might suggest, it’s actually a three-mile-long, white sandy beach that is bordered by Cape Porpoise to the south and Granite Point to the north.
And unlike many of the other beaches in the area, it’s not totally overrun with tourists since it’s a little off the beaten path (aka, not right on top of Dock Square and the Bush home) and mostly a private beach for people who rent/own summer homes here.
The surf is also relatively calm – making it an ideal place for families who want to hang out and admire Timber Island and Timber Point off in the distance.
You’ll also find a ton of quintessential Kennebukport establishments here, including summer homes, ice cream shops. small boutiques, historic hotels, and delicious seafood restaurants (Tides Inn Beach Club is also right here and offers great happy hours throughout the summer)
Pro Tip: To park here, you MUST get a permit from the Kennebunkport Police Department. You also need to be respectful and try not to walk on the dune grass when visiting. There are also no lifeguards on duty here so be extra careful if you decide to go for a swim.
2. Colony Beach
Located right in the heart of Kennebunkport, near the Bush summer home, is this small little stretch of beach. It sits right at the mouth of the Kennebunk River and is a great place to go for a picturesque walk first thing in the morning.
It’s also a classic sand/pebble beach – so definitely not quite as soft and sandy as the aforementioned, Goose Rocks Beach. There are also no bathrooms here, so definitely heed the call of nature before you arrive.
However, there is a small parking lot that comes in mighty handy if you want to enjoy a scenic walk along Parson’s Way. Yeah, it’s. a pretty amazing shore walk that extends for several miles along the coast and offers visitors stunning views of the always awesome, Atlantic Ocean.
PSST…The Colony Hotel can also be found here. It was first built in 1914 and is a stunning. summer resort that kind of makes me feel like I’m living a real-life version of the Great Gatsby. If you can, step inside one of the 125 vintage rooms here and admire the authentic rose wall power/hardwood floors. There are even Adirondack-style chairs on the well-manicured front lawn that you can totally make use of…at least fi you’re a guest of the hotel – which also happens to have its very own, private beach.
3. Gooch’s Beach
I cannot tell a lie. Gooch’s Beach (also sometimes known as Long Beach), along with nearby Mother’s Beach and Middle Beach, are all located in the town of Kennebunk, not Kennebunkport.
However, since Kennebunk and Kennebunkport both make the Kennebunks area as a whole, I’m gonna add this thin slice of awesome to this list of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine.
Because yeah, it’s a pretty dang picturesque and easily the largest/most popular of the three, which are collectively referred to as Kennebunk Beach – you know, just to keep things totally straightforward (LOL).
It also features glorious white sand (something that is insanely hard to find in Maine) and some pretty sweet surf that makes it a great place to try your hand at surfing, or any other wave-related sports you like.
That being said though, parking is EXTREMELY limited and you will need a permit to park along Beach Avenue while you’re here.
However, it’s pretty easy for non-residents to snag a permit from one of the parking kiosks here, which cost $25 per day (or $100 weekly and $200 seasonally), per vehicle (try and arrive before 10:30 am to actually get a spot).
Pro Tip: If anyone in your crew is a fisherman or woman, they can fish for bass on the jetty of the Kennebunk River. You can also bring your pooch here any time before 9:00 am and after 5:00 pm, from June 15th through Labor Day (dogs are also welcome all day any other time of year).
Best Things to do in Kennebunkport Maine – Museums
4. The SeashoreTrolley Museum
Looking for one of the best family-friendly things to do in Kennebunkport Maine? Well, if you’re emphatically nodding your head, “yes” right now then definitely give this super cool museum a whirl.
Trust me, it’s not only of those regular old, indoor museums with about 10,000 different placks to read. Nope.
it’s a super cool indoor/outdoor museum with 250+ streetcars, antique buses, and other vintage forms of public transportation that are just waiting to be explored (I hope one of those streetcars happens to be named ‘Desire”).
Heck, if you want, you can even enjoy a complimentary ride on a vintage trolley, from the early 1900s, every 45 minutes as you explore the single largest electric railway museum in the world.
Along the way, you’ll discover three separate buildings overflowing with fully restored vintage streetcars, omnibuses, buses, light rails, and rapid transit cars that were all used way back in the day – vehicles that are from almost every major city in the USA.
Afterward, stop by the Restoration stop to see exactly how these one-of-a-kind artifacts are brought back to life, before grabbing a snack and souvenir from the quaint Museum Store here.
Pro Tip: Try to visit on a sunshiney day since most of the museum is outside. You can also visit as part of a day trip from Portland since this museum is just 30-minutes away from the city.
Address: 195 Log Cabin Rd, Kennebunkport, ME 04046 (FYI, it’s located on the outskirts of town so deffo drive here)
Hours: Open Wednesday and Friday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, from May 1 through October 31.
Price: Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (60+), $9.50 for kids 6 to 15, $5 for kids 3 to 5, and free for kids under 3.
5. First Families Kennebunkport Museum
Really into presidential history and want to learn everything humanly possible about the Bush family? Then take a gander at this snazzy little museum, which is easily one of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine for anyone who loves history.
It sits inside an old Greek Revival mansion from1853 and contains a wealth of Bush family memorabilia that you’ll be able to learn all about during a daily museum tour, which departs hourly between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.
Add in some fully restored rooms that are overflowing with period piece decor and you have the perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon (it’s really easy to get to since it’s just a short walk away from Dock Square).
Also, don’t get totally confused when people refer to it as either “White Columns” or the “Bush Museum” since this place has a ton of nicknames.
Pro Tip: I’d splurge on the house tour AND admission to the museum since I loved learning about the history of this home and taking in all the gorgeous rooms here.
Address: 8 Maine St, Kennebunkport, ME 04046
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and closed on Sundays.
Price: $10 per person for museum admission and a house tour while museum admission only is $5 per person. And Children 12 and under can visit for free.
6. Brick Store Museum
If you’re ready to get your cultural swerve on while exploring the Kennebunks area, then mosey on over to the Brick Store Museum. It was first opened in 1936 and contains various exhibits that detail the art and cultural history of this amazing part of Maine.
In fact, the museum houses more than 70,000 different artifacts that all tell the unique store of the Kennebunks, with several rotating exhibits and educational programs/tours that change regularly.
However, regular highlights include a large collection of works done by Edith Barry (a local artist and preservationist who did various paintings, sculptures, bookplates, and photos), a selection of Native American stone tools, New England’s largest WWI and WWII propaganda poster collection, a wooden chest from 1685 that belonged to the Perkins family, local maritime artifacts, and so much more!
So, stop by today and check out one of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine since there is always something new and exciting to see at this charming, local museum.
Address: 117 Main Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Price: Tickets are $5 per person for anyone over the age of 16.
Best Things to do in Kennebunkport Maine – Other Attractions
7. Take a Culinary Walking Tour of Kennebunkport
Guess what? Per usual, there are a lot of amazing things to do In Kennebunkport Maine and you probably don’t have a ton of time.
Therefore, if that sounds kind of like the story of your semi-charmed kind of life (baby) then check out this 2.5-hour, Culinary Walking Tour of Kennebunkport.
Because not only will you get to admire all of the charming storefronts that dot the streets of this magical little town, but you’ll also get to savor some of the best chowdah, lobstah, and craft beer in all of Maine – and all while being accompanied by a super savvy, totally awesome, local tour guide.
So, after you meet up with your legend of a guide, embark on a 1/2 mile stroll that will take you from Dock Square, across the bridge, and into the lower village, where you’ll get to taste your way through the great state of Maine.
Highlights include samples of chowdah, craft beer, lobstah, Satelite donuts, fruit soda, honey wine, whoopie pie, ice cream, coffee, and macaroons, just to name a few.
That’s why you should definitely come hungry and be sure to save room for dessert since those whoopie pies are beyond glorious (so flippin’ good).
Plus, added bonus? All of these foods are locally sourced and prepared fresh daily by nothing but the finest of artisans.
This tour also caters to people with gluten, nut, and seafood allergies, with vegetarian options available too – making this a fun foodie tour that just about everyone can enjoy.
Meeting Point: 2 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, ME 04046 in front of Maine-ly Drizzle)
Hours: Departs every day, except Monday and Wednesday, at 10:30 am.
Price: $129 per person.
8. Explore Dock Square
Located at the very heart of Kennebunkport, Dock Square is basically exactly what you imagine when you think of a quaint New England fishing village.
So yes, there will be tons of tourists here, strolling along Ocean Avenue since everyone likes to explore this historic neighborhood in downtown Kennebunkport.
Just be sure to take it easy and admire the gorgeous views of the fishing boats that sit in the water all around you.
Because this really is a great place to do a bit of window shopping -amidst of wealth of charming beyond belief storefronts – before visiting a local art gallery and then indulging in an authentic, Maine lobster roll (The Clam Shack is a great place to try one) while enjoying stellar views of the Kennebunk River.
And some of my absolute fave shops to visit while I’m here include:
- Abacus Gallery – This is a great place to go if you want authentic, Maine souvenirs to bring home with you. So yeah, no tacky shot glasses here. Just one-of-a-kind local crafts and gorgeous pieces of handmade jewelry.
- Maine-ly Drizzle – A local food store (think high-end grocery store with authentic Maine products) where you shop for delicious kitchen essentials like olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Daytrip Society – A great place for ladies to pick up fun and funky beachwear.
- Alisson’s – This is a casual bar/restaurant where you can grab a traditional Maine lobster roll and chase it down with a nice, cold beer. If you can, grab a table on the second floor for awesome views of Dock Square.
- The Clam Shack – This place has been around since ye olde 1968 and is THE place to go for fresh local seafood (read lobster). It’s also right on the bridge in Dock Square, overlooks the Kennebunk River, and serves amazing fried clam strips.
- Mornings in Paris/Coffee Roasters of the Kennebunks – Both great places to stop for a, you guessed it, coffee.
- Auntie’s House Bakery and Chocolate Shop – Great place to stop if you have a saber tooth tiger size sweet tooth like me. Get the whoopie pies and I promise you will NOT regret it.
Pro Tip: Time your visit just right and get an awesome photo of the sunset from Lanigan Bridge.
9. Admire Goat Island Lighthouse
No trip to Maine would ever be complete without admiring some picturesque lighthouses that quietly sit along the rugged and rocky Atlantic Coast.
Therefore, one of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine is head up to Cape Porpoise Pier (just hop on Pier Road from Highway 9) and admire the stellar views of Goat Island Lighthouse.
Sadly, it sits on an island off the coast. So yeah, you can’t actually visit the lighthouse itself. However, if you want to get a closer look, you can always go on a boat tour of the area with one of the town’s local companies, like New England EcoAdventures,
Pro Tip: There are only a few parking spaces at Cape Porpoise Pier so definitely get here early if you want to find a place to park your car. And if you want to actually get up close and personal with a beyond gorgeous Maine lighthouse, you could always do a day trip to Portland Head Light which is about an hour drive away and easily one of the best lighthouses in Portland Maine.
10. Check Out Walker’s Point
Known for being the site of the Bush summer home, Walker’s Point is a picturesque peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and that is home to a ton of gorgeous mansions that are owned by many of the town’s most elite residents.
Now, as you probably already guessed, you can’t just walk out there and explore the Bush’s private home. However, you can hop on Ocean Avenue from Dock Square and enjoy a scenic, 2-mile drive towards Cape Arundel.
Along the way, you’ll see a ton of mansions on one side and can admire the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Also, keep an eye out for an overlook here that will give you a fairly decent view of the Bush home.
It’ll be on your right and sits just past Endcliffe Road. So, stop here and you’ll be able to see Walker’s Point stretch out right in front of you, just across the water.
Also, fun little factoid for you, when Dorothy Walker married Prescott Bush in the late 1800s, her father built them a home on Walker’s Point – a house that was later owned by the 41st US president, George Bush, who routinely invited various world leaders to the area for meetings.
Yup, just a super historic place indeed.
11. Hike Through Madelyn Marx Preserve
You obviously can’t visit Maine without enjoying the oasis of natural beauty that is this amazing state. And one place where you can do just that is Madelyn Marx Preserve.
It’s a fantastic, 24-acre nature preserve that protects a vast salt marsh area – a place that can be enjoyed by the whole family since all of the trails here are incredibly flat and allow you to take a nice leisurely stroll through the woods.
Also, while taking in the wealth of coastal salt marsh views here, be on the lookout for lots of coastal bird species since they like to call this place home.
So, if you want to get back into nature and enjoy one of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine, then just hop on Route 9 and pull off into the small parking lot that you’ll find right after you cross the Mousam River.
Pro Tip: While you’re here, take the Bridle Path to the Sea Road Preserve and explore the nearby Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge since all of these natural areas are basically interconnected with one another.
Address: 155-211 State Rte 9, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Hours: Open daily from dawn until dusk.
12. Visit Kennebunk
Okay, so even though this part of Maine is generally referred to as, “Kennebunkport”, there are actually two distinct towns here that are named Kennebunkport, which sits on the Kennebunk River, and Kennebunk, which sits on the Mousam River.
And then if you wanted to refer to the region collectively, you could call it, “The Kennebunks”. Yeah, I know. Your head probably just exploded a little bit, but that’s totally normal since all the names here are pretty dang similar.
Anyway, after you’ve finally gotten over all of that naming confusion, take a day trip to nearby Kennebunk. You can start in Rotary Park and admire some of the small waterfalls that occur along the Mousam River.
Afterward, head into downtown Kennebunk (around York Street( and admire all of the quaint shops, historic homes, and delicious eateries that make this tiny town in Maine a thin slice of awesome.
13. Check Out Maine Art Hill
If you’re an art lovin’ culture vulture of even the smallest measure then you’ll adore Maine Art Hill in Kennebunk. It’s an amazing place that’s home to, coun em’, nine different galleries that showcase the work of more than 45 different local Maine artists.
So, if you’re in the market for a truly original painting, sculpture, or decorative item, then this is one of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine for you!
Because everything here is on sale and ready to go home with you. Or, you could always just do a bit of window shopping and admire the unique outdoor wind sculptures here while attending one of the gallery’s many special events.
Whatever you do though, just be sure to give yourself plenty of time here since this innovative art mecca is home to five distinct art destinations, all of which are outlined below.
- The Gallery – It’s open year-round, has been displaying art within the community for 25+ years, and is home to several resident, internationally renowned artists who all showcase pieces here.
- The Works – A 3-D gallery with unique weekly pop-up art installations. Maine Art Hill Prints and Framing, Rusty Fly Gallery, and Phosart Photography and Fine Art can all be found here.
- Shows – Located at 10 Chase Hill, this is a small gallery inside a lovely historic home. It features rotating gallery shows (June through September) and has an awesome Wind Sculpture Garden outside.
- The Grand – Part of The Grand Hotel, this gallery is open year-round and features works from select artists in The Gallery.
- Studios – This is the newest addition to the Maine Art Hill Family. It sits at 5 Chase Hill Road and is home to seven different galleries.
Address: 14 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Wednesdays.
14. Visit Snug Harbor Farm
Nestled right on Maine’s Route 9 is this gem of an outdoor oasis which is easily one of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine.
Because hidden behind the unassuming entrance to a historic farm from the mid-1800s is a nursery full of uncommon plants. A place that is part traditional English Garden, part reimagined New England Farm Garden.
So, feel free to explore an expansive property that includes a nursery, five greenhouses, and a boutique selling various lifestyle items.
If you want, you can stop by and check out the array of landscape design, fine garden, and event design services that the staff have on offer here. Otherwise, just stroll the grounds, admire the quaint barns here, and window shop it up like a total boss.
Address: 87 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
15. Sample Some Local Brew at Kennebunkport Brewing Company
Ain’t no party like a Kennebunkport Brewing Company party! Am I right? Of course, I am, at least if you want to get your drinky drank on.
Because this local hot spot sits just underneath Federal Jacks Restaurant and Brew Pub and is an epic, seven-barrel brewery where you can tour the facility, see how their beer is made, and then sample some hoppy deliciousness that will instantly make all of your friends at home super jealous.
So, what are you waiting for? Stop by today, tour the facility, and enjoy a delicious selection of tasting beers with fun names like Taint Town Pale Ale, Goat Island Light Ale, and Old Thumper.
And afterward, stop by their on-site souvenir shop and get some authentic Maine merchandise to take home with you as a fun souvenir!
***PSST…If you’re really into mixology or want to do another fun culinarily-minded event in Kennebunkport, you could always check out the Table calendar and register for one of their classes. They offer a ton of different classes like “On the Rocks Monday Mixology” and boozy dessert-making that are held throughout the Kennebunks area.***
Pro Tip: If you want a more quiet evening, stop by Federal Jack’s Restaurant and Brew Pub for dinner. Head upstairs to the deck, order a delicious bowl of clam chowder and admire the sweet views while sampling a beer from Kennebunkport Brewing Company, which is attached to the restaurant.
Where to Eat in Kennebunkport Maine
Luckily for you, there are a ton of amazing places to eat in Kennebunkport. So, grab a pair of extra stretchy elastic waist pants and prepare to eat ALL the feels. Because one of the best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine is to eat at any one (or all) of the amazing places listed below.
- The Clam Shack – Head here for an iconic Maine lobster roll that is made with 1 pound of fresh lobster, mayo, and melted butter. It typically costs around $17.95 and you should expect a line out the door since this place has been mentioned by publications like The New York Times (you can also hit up Mabel’s and Port Lobster for epic lobster rolls too).
- HP Provisions – Stop by this charming general store and pick up an authentic Whoopie Pie. It’s the state treat of Maine and is made with two light and fluffy, individually sized chocolate cakes that form a sandwich around some sweet and delicious vanilla frosting. So…stinking…good.
- Mable’s/Alisson’s – Both serve amazing food but the real highlight of any visit is a big old slice of warm, homemade, blueberry pie. Add a scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream on top and you will be in pure, foodie heaven in no time.
- Rococo Artisan Ice Cream – Step inside and try one of fourteen totally unique flavors of homemade ice cream! Options include things like Chai Cardamom, Blueberry Chipotle, Banana Red Hot, Goat Cheese Blackberry Chambord, Garam Masala, and more! Don’t worry though, they have more traditional flavors too if none of those happen to tickle your fancy.
Map of the Best Things to do In Kennebunkport Maine
Additional Maine Travel Resources
- The Best Time to Visit Maine
- Best Things to do in Portland Maine
- Best Hikes in Maine
- 17+ Amazing Things to do in Rockland Maine
- 12 of the Best Hikes in Acadia National Park
- The Ultimate Guide to Maine in the fall
- 13 Best Breweries in Portland Maine
There you have it! That just about wraps up this mammoth guide to the 15+ best things to do in Kennebunkport Maine!
So, what did you think? Did your favorite activity make the list? If not then let me know because I DEFFO want to check it out.
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