Things to Do in Ogunquit, Maine
The seacoast town of Ogunquit is located on the extreme southern tip of the state of Maine. Just 71 miles north of Boston, Qgunquit, which means “beautiful place by the sea” in Native American, is a popular vacation destination for citizens of New England, New York, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces.
What sets Ogunquit apart from other seacoast communities in the area is it's quaintness and charm. While other towns have allowed chain hotels, chain fast food restaurants and shopping centers (and all that goes with them) within their borders, through smart and strict zoning, Ogunquit has managed to avoid this. (but don't worry, these amenities are just a short drive away.) This town is full of small classy hotels, little boutiques and restaurants that will satisfy every palate.
Located, south of the towns of Wells/Moody and north of York, the town has a shoreline of only 3 ½ miles. But it is spectacular and beautiful. In the north, it consists of two sandy and pristine beaches. The southern half of the shoreline consists of cliffs by the sea and the rocky, craggy outcrops so typical of the Maine coast.
The Marginal Way runs on top of these cliffs and outcrops for 1 ¼ miles. This walkway affords spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, the rocky cliffs and indigenous flora and fauna. The path begins near the center of town and ends in Perkins Cove. Perkins Cove is a small, picturesque harbor where visitors can enjoy restaurants, specialty shops and art galleries. Also, several chartered sightseeing boat rides and fishing trips originate from here.
You can't go hungry in Ogunquit. According to tripadvisor.com, there are 74 restaurants in this small town. The first food I think of when I think of Maine is lobster and most restaurants serve fresh, succulent lobster. You can eat it in a fancy restaurant like Jonathan's, in the rough at the Qgunquit Lobster Pound, or dockside at Barnacle Billy's in Perkins Cove. Being so close to the sea, you are guaranteed to get a fresh piece of fish or clams. Check out Five O Shore Road, The Beachfire or Oarweed Cove. If seafood is not your thing, There are great Italian restaurants like Robertos, Julies Ristorante or Cafe Amore. La Pizzaria has great pizza and there are several Mexican and Asian restaurants. This is just one man's opinion, but the best meal I've ever had was several years ago at the Old Village Inn. The filet mignon was tender, juicy and tasty and every thing from salad to desert was excellent. It was expensive, but worth it!
If you are looking for a place to say in town, you have a lot of choices. Ogunquit has many Hotels, Motels, Inns and B&Bs. Competition is very high in the local market so nearly anyplace you choose, will be clean and comfortable. The center of town features smaller Inns and B&Bs, while the larger hotels, like Gorges Grand, Juniper Hill, and The Anchorage are a little further out. The Beachmere and The Colonial Inn overlook the Marginal Way and have spectacular ocean views.
But there is more to Ogunquit than hotels and restaurants. Thousands are attracted to the beautiful beaches in the summer. You work on your tan, or enjoy frolicking in the surf (but beware, Maine water can be a bit chilly even in hot weather). Surfers can enjoy the big waves, especially the day after a storm. There are a few vendors in town that will rent canoes and kayaks. You can enjoy a leisurely canoe ride along the Ogunquit River and salt marshes. If an Ocean cruise suits you better, there are opportunities in Perkins Cove to take fishing excursions, sightseeing and whale watching cruises. You can even sail along with a lobsterman while he checks his traps.
The Ogunquit Playhouse is the town's crown jewel. A summerstock theater that bills itself as “Broadway on the beach” it offers several professional productions every summer. This year, West Side Story and Young Frankenstein are among the productions being offered. Ogunquit Playhouse regular, Sally Struthers will appear in this summer's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
But don't feel that you have to stay in town your entire vacation. The Outlet Malls of Kittery are located just a few miles south, as is one of the most photographed lighthouses, Nubble Light on Cape Neddick in York. Cape Neddick Country Club has a public 18 hole golf course. It is located on Shore Road. Shore Road is a scenic, windy route from Ogunquit to York Beach that hugs the coast and affords many stunning views of the Ocean and craggy rock line. Up on US Route 1 is the town of Wells which has shopping centers, fast food restaurants, and mini golf courses, as well as a multi screen movie theater and a beautiful beach. A few miles further north is the town of Kennebunk. Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are quaint seashore towns like Qgunquit. The Bush family's summer home is located there on Walker Point.
This resort town is gay friendly. Several publications list it as one of the more popular GLTB resorts. The town is classy, laid back and features many GLBT friendly accommodations and an active gay nightlife. In the early 1900s, artists were drawn to the beauty of this small fishing village. Their openness, and tolerance set the stage for the gay presence in town today. The art scene in Ogunquit is flourishing with several art galleries.
Ogunquit is a great place to go to go for a few days or longer. The town truly lives up to the meaning of it's name: “beautiful place by the sea"
All photos by the author except where noted
- Ogunquit Hotels: Compare 37 Hotels in Ogunquit, with 4,781 Reviews | TripAdvisor
Ogunquit Hotels on TripAdvisor: Find 4,781 traveler reviews, 3,158 candid photos, and prices for 37 hotels in Ogunquit, Maine.
- Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce