Not too far from the border of New Hampshire, on the Maine coast, there is a town called Ogunquit. It is truly one of my favorite southern Maine spots to visit.
It is a small coastal town that draws in thousands of visitors in the summertime. People come from all over the world to spend time on the gorgeous, lengthy sand beaches, for the shopping, excellent dining choices, boating, fishing, surfing…you name it. There is plenty to do.
When I was a kid growing up in northern Maine, I didn’t know anything about Ogunquit. No one ever talked about it. When people made the three hour trek to the ocean, they went to Old Orchard Beach or to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor. I often went to Bar Harbor, and of course, I’ve been to Old Orchard. Who didn’t when they were a teen? Families love Old Orchard for the amusement parks and side attractions. You can walk the “strip” in Old Orchard, or the pier, get a dough boy (or funnel cake, or fried dough..whatever you call them from wherever you are on the map; in Maine it’s a dough boy) a cotton candy, a cheap bathing suit, some plastic beach toys, and go on an array of carnival rides that will make you throw-up your dough boy. In Bar Harbor, you can visit Acadia. You can hike, ride horses, sit at the beach, or do the side attraction like the Acadia Zoo in Trenton. Don’t get me wrong, they are both fun places to visit, but when I first saw Ogunquit, I was hooked! It is a bit more of an upscale, adult- oriented beach town. Hot sun, lazy beaches, casual attitudes, upscale shops, and nearly every restaurant has lobster or some type of delicious seafood on the menu. To me, it has that Florida, I’m-on-vacation-don’t-bother-me feel to it.
This is what I like to do when I get there:
- Walk Marginal Way
- Take one of the trollies back to the square.
- Eat at the Footbridge.
- Shop in one of the many, many gorgeous shops-clothes, jewelry, art, antiques..etc.
- Eat again!
- Go to the beach for some sun and relaxation
- Eat again
- Book a cocktail cruise on Finest Kind cruises
- Look at the lighthouse at Nubble and the moon over the ocean
- Sleep peacefully with a smile on my face
The walk (Marginal Way) is a little over a mile one-way with gorgeous waterfront homes on one side and incredible ocean view on the other. The people who own the homes there, landscape their lawns beautifully. There is always an abundance of flowers and butterflies along the way, even this late in the season.
However, as I have said, the town does draw in visitors. Too many sometimes. Summertime is bustling and busy. It’s hard to find adequate parking and it’s hard to move around with all of those elbows and strollers. The wonderful people there have all kinds of advice about where to eat, what to see, where to stay, and what to do. I have found some gems in the years I have spent there. I want to tell you about two or three, to save you some trouble.
The Colonial Inn. It is not right on the ocean, which makes it seem less desirable. Everyone wants something right on the water but if you don’t book a room at the Colonial, for that reason, you are missing out. This is what it looks like:
So yeah, it’s gorgeous. It’s not on the water, but does have an ocean view. The staff is incredibly attentive and often do extras to make your stay even more special, like this:
Having an anniversary? They will surprise and delight your spouse with something like this. They also do weddings and special functions. I’ve never seen any other hotel go through so much trouble to make you happy.
They are also a bit cheaper for not being on the water, but it is beautiful hotel. Relaxed, but fun. Elegant, but economical. I love it and the staff. They are in the middle of the shopping and very close to the entrance of Marginal Way.
Where to eat? For a fancy restaurant on the water, try MC Perkins Cove. Good food, good ambiance, and excellent service…but if you don’t care what the place looks like as long as it has good food, you can’t beat The Footbridge Lobster. I don’t really like to eat anywhere else, unless I have to dress up and be fancy…then it’s MC.
For one, they have the absolute best lobster stew and crab rolls I’ve ever tasted. I literally dream about their food all year long. The staff is pleasant and attentive and that’s amazing considering how busy they usually are. There is usually a line out the door! I would gladly wait in line an hour or more for a crab roll from them! So yummy!
And if you are thinking, ‘Ogunquit doesn’t sound like a good place for families’, you would be wrong. York’s Animal Kingdom is right down the road. My grandson loves it.
You can pet goats, see tigers, lions, and maybe even some bears! Plus Ogunquit has a couple of toy stores, and an arcade for the kiddos, pizza shops and those cheap beach toys that Old Orchard has. There are also plenty of places that have kids menus, as well. And what kid wouldn’t like to ride on a trolly?
Anyway, I wanted to share what I know about Ogunquit so that when you visit, it can be just as wonderful as I know it to be. I’m not much of a travel blogger, but I do travel a lot; to Ogunquit, more than any other place. I love it and I hope you’ll find my suggestions helpful.