Summer in Maine: What to do on a weekend getaway to Kennebunk and Kennebunkport

Coastal Maine has a rugged beauty of cobalt blue beaches, old lighthouses and rustic lobster shacks. On the rocky coast, find two postcard-perfect New England beach towns.

In the neighboring Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, many of the historic, 19th-century homes that give the area its character were built by ship owners and those maritime roots still run deep.

During the summer, the area provides the perfect base for an action-packed weekend of surfing, hiking and eating loads of lobster.


If you haven’t booked a B&B, start your day with breakfast pastries and coffee at Mornings in Paris (21 Western Ave., Kennebunk, 207-204-0032, morningsinparis.com), a flowery spot with outdoor bistro seating, on Kennebunk’s main drag. Then get ready to hit the beach at Aquaholics surf shop (166 Port Rd., Kennebunk, 207-967-8650, aquaholicsurf.com), which runs surf lessons and rents gear, including wet suits, boards and kayaks. For surf spots, try Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk for beginner-friendly waves.

Head to nearby Wells for old-timey doughnuts at Congdon’s Doughnuts Family Restaurant & Bakery (1090 Post Rd., Wells, 207-646-4219, congdons.com) — just get there before 2 p.m. — and to explore the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (321 Port Rd., Wells, 207-646-9226, fws.gov).

Watch the sunset from St. Ann’s Stone Chapel before dinner at the kitsch-laden Mabel’s Lobster Claw (124 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, 207-967-2562, mabelslobster.com) and dessert at Rococo Ice Cream (6 Spring St., Kennebunkport, 207-835-1049, rococoicecream.com), which churns out creative flavors like blueberry chipotle and sweet avocado cayenne.


Get amped before a hike at Dock Square Coffee House (18 Dock Sq., 207-967-4422, Kennebunkport, docksquarecoffeehouse.org), a third wave-style cafe that also sells local products like Maine maple syrup, jam and granola. Then drive south and west about 40 minutes to Mount Agamenticus (186 York St., agamenticus.org) — or, as locals call it, “Big A” — for scenic overlooks and easy to advanced trails.

After working up an appetite, head to the waterfront Cape Porpoise Lobster Co. (70 Mills Rd., Kennebunkport, 800-967-4268, capeporpoiselobster.com) for authentic lobster rolls, delicious chowder and crispy onion rings with a view.

Spend the rest of the afternoon at one of the Kennebunk and Kennebunkport beaches, like Goose Rocks, Colony, Parson’s or Mother’s, which during low tide transforms into a wonderful stretch of tidal pools for exploring on foot.

For dinner, head to Pearl Kennebunk & Spat Oyster Cellar (27 Western Ave., Kennebunk, 207-204-0860, pearloysterbar.com), a seasonal restaurant opened by Rebecca Charles, chef and owner of Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village. The shellfish-heavy menu inspired by the oyster saloons of the 1800s also includes her take on a lobster roll.


Getting there: The drive from midtown takes about five hours, or fly nonstop on JetBlue, Delta, American Airlines or United to Portland, Maine, located about a half-hour from Kennebunk, and rent a car. You’ll need one to explore the area.

Where to stay: For a historic spot, the Waldo Emerson Inn (108 Summer St., Kennebunk, 207-985-4250, waldoemerson.com) is a charming, six-room bed-and-breakfast originally built by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s great-uncle in 1753 with connections to the Underground Railroad as a safe place. For affordable rates even in high season, try Fontenay Terrace Motel (128 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, 207-967-3556, fontenayterrace.com).

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