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Ogunquit, Maine: The Beautiful Place by the Sea
With an idyllic atmosphere and postcard-ready sights at every corner, the small town of Ogunquit just happens to be one of the most popular destinations along the Maine coastline. Every summer, thousands of travellers make their way to the peaceful town known as the “Beautiful Place by the Sea”, all looking to enjoy sandy beaches, charming buildings and friendly locals.
Whilst much of the New England and Maine coastline can best be described as craggy and rocky, Ogunquit benefits from beautiful sandy beaches. It should come as no surprise then to learn that the town is wildly popular, especially in the summer months.
Ogunquit Beach is the primary destination for visitors, particularly day-trippers. The sandy stretch is the site of sunbathing, sand castles, and surfing during peak season, with large crowds of good-humoured travellers feeling the sand between their toes. If you’re looking for something a little quieter, Footbridge Beach – located east of Ogunquit Beach – is generally consider the quieter of the two.
If sitting on the beach isn’t enough for you, why not take a walk along the Marginal Way. This fully-paved, 1.25-mile trail offers the chance to see Ogunquit’s beautiful coastline up close and personal. Dotted along the Ogunquit coastline you’ll find a selection of hotels and resorts, many boasting picturesque sea views.
If you’re not lucky enough to score an oceanfront hotel during your stay, the Ogunquit Trolley is a great way of getting to and from the beach without incurring hefty parking charges or spending half your day trying to find a parking spot. The trolley runs throughout the summer months, with passengers required to pay a nominal fee.
Landmarks and Heritage
If you take a leisurely stroll around town, you’ll discover a number of cultural and historic attractions. Top of the list for many visitors is Ogunquit Playhouse. This small theatre sees several different theatrical performances each summer, with locals and tourists alike in attendance.
Other popular attractions in Ogunquit include: the Ogunquit Heritage Museum; the Ogunquit Fire Company Fire Museum Ogunquit Memorial Library; and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. The coastal views on offer in the latter are said to compete with the magnificent artwork on display.
Scattered amongst these attractions you’ll discover a town-full of historic wooden buildings, many with colourful shutters and trimmings. Galleries, boutiques, antique shops, cafés and restaurants can be found within. A number of inns and hotels are also situated nearby, particularly along Shore Road.
Just south of Ogunquit’s town centre lies Perkins Cove, one of the more popular destinations for tourists. The small village is home to a harbour that has been used by local fishermen for centuries. Today, you can still see fishing boats departing the harbour at high tide.
In addition to the harbour, Perkins Cove is also packed with restaurants, boutique shops, and other tourist bait. Locals and past visitors heartily recommend Barnacle Billy’s, a seafood restaurant that has been in operation for more than five decades. The clam chowder and lobster rolls here receive rave reviews. To be fair, Ogunquit in general is much lauded for its seafood. With a host of restaurants, lobster shacks and other dining options on hand, you’ll have plenty of chances to try the catch of the day.
If you find yourself in Perkins Cove, take a stroll across the hand-operated drawbridge, which is opened to allow fishing boats to make their way in and out of the harbour.
Any visit to Ogunquit isn’t complete without a trip out on the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll find tour operators offering a wide range of boat trips, including those lasting an hour, a morning, an afternoon, or all day.
If you’re into fishing, hop aboard a boat and partake in a deep-sea fishing excursion, or climb aboard a bona fide fishing vessel and go lobstering. If you’d prefer to simply sit back and relax, take a sightseeing tour along the Maine coastline on a sailboat. Be on the lookout for seals and, if the season’s right, whales. Also, be sure to check out the Nubble Lighthouse in nearby York, ME, one of the region’s favourite landmarks.
Many of the town’s hotels can provide you with details for respectable boat trip operators, with some even offering discounted tickets.
Exploring the Region At Large
If you’re planning a week-long trip to Ogunquit, you’ll have enough time to get out there and explore Southern Maine at large. Local towns like York, Moody, and Kennebunkport offer similar settings to Ogunquit, with cosy buildings housing galleries, coffee shops, and the likes. They also offer further spectacular views of the Atlantic coast.
Families may wish to visit Wonder Mountain in Moody, ME. The small amusement park features go-karts, mini-golf, a fun centre, and a maze. Up the coast in Saco, ME you’ll find Funtown Splashtown USA, a seasonal water park that’s sure to keep the kids busy.
If you find yourself itching for a spot of city life, Portland, ME is less than an hour’s drive away, whilst Boston, MA can be reached by car within 90 minutes, dependent on traffic, of course. With a wealth of activities, attractions and amenities in both, you could do worse than to spend a day-trip in either.