7 Things to Do on the Southern Coast of Maine

Planning a trip to the coast of Maine can be overwhelming. There’s so much to do and see, so fitting everything into your itinerary can be a challenge, especially if you’re only going for a long weekend. Whether you’re a foodie, an adventure seeker, or simply want to kick back, relax, and unwind, Maine’s coastline has something to offer.

While there are so many things that we could add to this list, we picked a few entertaining options for people with varying interests, whether you’re traveling with your kiddos and want a few family-friendly options or want the deets on some of the best eats in the area. Add as many as you want to your itinerary to enjoy an unforgettable vacation that matches your traveling preferences.

Where Should I Go On the Coast of Maine? 7 Entertaining Activities to Fill Your Itinerary

If you’re at a loss for what activities to do and where to go on the coast of Maine, this list is here to help. We’ve visited the area dozens of times, bringing guests from all walks of life to the picturesque coastline of Maine. A few of our top suggestions for your coastal Maine journey include:

1. Eat Your Way Across the Coast

Maine is known for its seafood, especially its lobster, harvested fresh from the ocean. So, while you’re in the area, be sure to sample the delicious eats available down the coast.

For example, if seafood is your kryptonite, stop at the 1637 restaurant at York Harbor Inn. It offers an assortment of fresh seafood, including lobster, scallops, and haddock, each offered in various dishes to suit your fancy.

Or, if you prefer to consume sustainable, organic, and locally-grown cuisine, visit Dizzy Birds Rotisserie, located in Biddeford. The restaurant has a variety of options to suit various palettes, although they definitely specialize in chicken (hence the name). They have some incredible rotisserie chicken, chicken soups, chicken pot pie (this one is outstanding), and some to-die-for cornbread.

Or, if you’d like delicious New American eats in an upscale setting, try The Central Restaurant & Bar in York, Maine. The menu is ever-changing, so you never know what might be on it when you visit. The times we’ve visited, we’ve had some mouthwatering Pho, a fabulous chicken cordon Bleu, and delicious pan-seared scallops in a coconut curry. Everything we’ve had there is outstanding, so it’s hard to go wrong, regardless of what you choose.

2. Go on a Fun Boating Excursion

Given its coastal location, southern Maine offers no shortage of boating adventures. If you’re not prone to seasickness, this is an activity we highly recommend. We loved spending time out on the water and enjoying various types of excursions.

For example, the Gulf of Maine is a prime location for whale watching. Depending on when you visit, you might have ample opportunity to get a closer look at these magnificent creatures. Humpback, finback, and minke whales routinely frequent the gulf, so there’s a good chance you’ll see them if you go out on a tour during the right times of year.

Or, if it isn’t the prime whale-watching season, you could embark on a lobster boat tour. These tours give you hands-on experience in Maine’s lobster fishing industry, teaching you all about lobster harvesting. On some tours, you can even help haul in the traps. And the best part? You get to enjoy the freshest lobster right from the sea.

3. Hit the Best Beaches in Southern Maine

If you’re on Maine’s coast, you can’t miss its beautiful beaches. There are some stunning beaches along Maine’s southern coast, including Ogunquit, Old Orchard, and Goose Rocks Beach.

Ogunquit Beach is one of the most popular destinations on the southern Maine coast, and for good reason. Its wide, sandy shore and gentle waves make it the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, relaxation, and long walks with an incredible view of the Atlantic. Since the waves are pretty gentle, we thought this would be the perfect place for a family outing (if you have kiddos along for your trip).

Old Orchard Beach has an impressive seven-mile stretch of sand with plenty of room for sunbathing, swimming, and beach games. Plus, there’s a lively pier, amusement park rides, and plenty of places to eat, so you won’t need to go far when hunger knocks.

Goose Rocks Beach, located in Kennebunkport, is a quieter spot perfect for relaxing. It’s nowhere near as lively as Ogunquit Beach or Old Orchard Beach, so it’s the ideal spot for a quiet afternoon with a good book or simply soaking in the stunning coastal scenery. We love visiting this spot in the early mornings, especially with a toasty cup of coffee and a good book.

4. Take a Hike

After soaking in the sun and eating your way up the coast, you might be ready for a hike. While we love relaxing on the beach, we appreciate an invigorating hike to get the blood pumping. There are all sorts of hikes up and down Maine’s southern coast, each with something different to offer.

For example, Mount Agamenticus in York offers an assortment of trails of varying difficulties. The hike to the summit is fairly easy, as the mountain isn’t overly tall, so it’s a good option for beginner hikers and families.

If you’re making your way further up the coast, check out the Acadia National Park. Its network of trails is better suited to serious hikers, as they’re pretty challenging and aren’t ideal for a casual stroll. The Precipice and Beehive trails are challenging options with breathtaking views (if you’re up for a strenuous hike). However, there are easier options, like the Ocean Path, which is great for families.

5. Visit the Local Zoo

If you’re traveling with kiddos, the local zoo is a great kid-friendly addition to your itinerary. York’s Wild Kingdom, located in York, is Maine’s largest zoo and amusement park. It’s home to various animals, including lions, tigers, lemurs, and kangaroos. Throughout the zoo, you’ll find various activities and attractions, including amusement rides, a petting zoo, and even an 18-hole mini-golf course.

However, it’s only a summer thing, so if you visit during another season, it likely won’t be open. If you’re in the area during open hours, though, it’s worth a visit!

6. Meander Through Kennebunkport

Kennebunkport is the perfect place to spend a day, meandering through the town and enjoying its rich history. If you plan to spend a day here, we recommend visiting Dock Square and Walker’s Point.

Dock Square is a charming area with boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon after a morning full of activities. We like to grab a cup of coffee and stroll through the shops and galleries, especially if we’re on a quest to find gifts for loved ones (there are lots of unique finds here that are perfect for gifting).

Walker’s Point is the summer home of former President George H.W. Bush. While you can’t tour the property, you can enjoy the stunning scenic views and learn about its historical significance from nearby lookout points.

If you’re up for a few hours on the water, we highly recommend taking a scenic boat tour while you’re in the area. Various tours highlight the area’s history, wildlife, and impressive coastal homes, so there’s something for everyone. These tours are an excellent way to kick back, relax, and see Kennebunkport from a different perspective.

7. Enjoy a Scenic Train Ride

If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box way to tour southern Maine, hop aboard a train chugging through the area. There are a couple of options in the area, both with something different to offer.

For example, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum, located in Portland, offers a unique experience that takes you along the waterfront. The historic narrow gauge railway offers incredible views of Casco Bay, giving you a different way to experience the scenery.

Or, if you’re traveling from Boston, take the Amtrak Downeaster, which meanders from Boston to Brunswick, stopping several times along Maine’s Southern coast. As the train chugs along, you’ll get to enjoy picturesque views of the coastline, forests, and charming downs along the way. The train is a comfortable and leisurely way to travel, giving you ample opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery without the stress of driving.

You can even hop off the train at one of the stops along the coast to explore further!

Self-Guided vs. Fully-Guided: Which is Best for Exploring Southern Maine?

Traveling to the southern coast of Maine is well worth it, whether you go on your own or travel with a tour group. However, each option has its merits.

For example, on a self-guided tour, you get to travel at your leisure, spending more or less time in each area based on what you want to do. However, you’ll have to plan every detail, from transportation to food to lodging to activities.

On the flip side, with a guided tour, you’ll get the best of both worlds. You’ll have plenty of time to explore at your leisure on free afternoons, but you won’t have to sweat the details. When you travel with a guided tour group, all you’ll need to do is show up at the right place and time for your booking.

After that, your trip is planned for you! You’ll explore some of the top spots along the way, soaking in the stunning scenery (no need to worry about driving) and enjoying the best activities.

Our New England Summer & Fall tour is the perfect example of this. The itinerary is packed with fun sights and activities, including a few dedicated to the southern coast of Maine, but there’s still time set aside for leisurely activities. Plus, you’ll have each evening to yourself, ensuring you have plenty of time to explore.

But the best part? You don’t have to plan the details—it’s all planned for you, from transportation to lodgings to many meals. This way, you can enjoy your vacation to the max, leaving the planning to the pros.

If that sounds like your kind of vacation, book a tour with us today by calling 1-800-CARAVAN or 1-312-321-9800!