Welcome to Kennebunk & Kennebunkport
Located along the southern Maine coast, the Kennebunks offer visitors a world-famous vacation spot steeped in maritime history, arts and culture, and fine dining. Whether you’re looking for seafood, upscale shopping, museums, concerts, beaches or recreational activities the likes of golf, tennis, biking, fishing or surfing, the Kennebunks have it all.
1. In-Town Trolley Tours
This 45-minute narrated sightseeing tour is a great way to start exploring Kennebunkport. Points of interest along the way include the Bush Estate, the Franciscan Monastery and Spouting Rock and Blowing Cave. Adult tickets are $18, children’s tickets $8. Fares are good all day, so you can get off and back on at any of the stops along the route. Tours leave the Trolley Stop at 21 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (207–967–3686; intowntrolley.com)
2. Kennebunk Beach Classic 5K
Considered one of the best 5Ks in the region, this race starts Sunday, June 2, at 9 a.m. at the Senior Center at 175 Port Road, Kennebunk, and makes its way along the ocean, finishing on Route 9. Register day of, starting at 8 a.m. or in advance at seniorcenterkennebunk.org.
3. Kennebunk Beaches
A string of three beaches—Mother’s, Middle and Gooch’s—stretch along Beach Avenue (off Routes 9 and 35). Gooch’s is known for stellar surf, Mother’s Beach has a playground and Middle is—well, in the middle. Lifeguards aren’t on duty until July. Look for pay-to-park kiosks. Dogs are welcome on Kennebunk beaches anytime until June 15, then before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. for the rest of the summer. But, please, scoop their poop.
4. Launch! A Maritime Festival
With a river lights boat parade, captain’s cook-off, merchant treasure hunt, lobster bake, Sailors & Sirens 5K and Rock the Dock after-party, this third annual festival, June 12-16, celebrates the maritime history of the Kennebunks with free and ticketed events throughout Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel. (launchfestme.com)
5. St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery
On a 66-acre estate off Beach Avenue in Kennebunkport, this monastery established in 1947 has rolling lawns, riverside walking paths and English gardens open to the public sunrise to sunset. There’s a path through the woods out to the marshes with a view of the river. A walking tour brochure is available at the Franciscan Guest House front desk. A gift shop under the chapel is open from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday (and after Sunday Mass) and 1–4 p.m. daily. (framon.net)
6. The Clam Shack
This small but mighty seafood shack at 2 Western Avenue on the bridge between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport was the USA Today Maine pick for “50 Great Plates from 50 States.” The line may be long and a seat difficult to find, but this is one of Maine’s most beloved stops for fried seafood and lobster rolls on freshly baked buns from a local bakery. (207–967–3321; theclamshack.net)
7. Seashore Trolley Museum
The world’s oldest and largest museum of its kind—a place where streetcars are restored, operated and celebrated for their place in transit history—is tucked into the woods at 195 Log Cabin Road in Kennebunkport. There are 250 streetcars on the campus, and the highlight of any visit is riding one (or several) of the antique cars. A 1.5-mile demonstration trip departs every 45 minutes 10:05 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and is included with admission. The usual fleet of antique cars will be supplemented during 1 p.m. appearances of a rotation of more rare specimens not rugged enough to make daily runs. General admission is $12, with discounts for seniors and kids. The gift shop is worthy of browsing, even if you’re not a streetcar buff. (207–967–2712; trolleymuseum.org)
8. Nor’easter Deep Sea Fishing
This 42-foot commercial fishing boat takes up to 24 passengers out about 35 miles to Jeffrey’s Ledge, one of the richest fishing grounds in the area, to angle for cod, haddock and pollock. U.S. Coast Guard-licensed Capt. Mike Perkins supplies the rods, reels and all gear, including his own handmade jigs, and will show you how to use them. The mate will fillet your fish for you before you get off the boat (so get your fish fry recipe ready). $85 per person. The boat leaves from a marina in downtown Kennebunk promptly at 7:30 a.m. and returns about 4:30 p.m. every day in the summer, weather permitting. Call to make a reservation 207–450–1831. (noreasterfishing.com)
9. Edwin L. Smith Preserve
The Smith Preserve, part of the Kennebunkport Conservation Fund, this 1,100-acre preserve is filled with recreational trails set in a forested landscape. Keep an eye out for bobcats, deer and hare as you wind over river crossings and across ledges. Mountain biking allowed in non-muddy conditions; birdwatching always encouraged. To access the trails, turn left from the KCT parking lot onto Gravelly Brook Road. Follow to end and continue on Goose Rocks Road. After 0.5 mile, bear right onto Guinea Road and see parking area 0.1 mile on left. (kporttrust.org/edwin-l-smith-preserve.com)
10. Vinegar Hill Music Theatre
Vinegar Hill brings national, regional and local music, comedic and performance talent to the stage in a historic barn in the Kennebunks all summer, beginning with The Platters (June 14). The June lineup includes The Bobby Darin Show with Ron Gartner (June 15), Prince tribute band Dean Ford & The Beautiful Ones (June 21), comedian Justin McKinney (June 22), Miss Richfield 1981 (with a “Gender Fluids” show about finding non-binary answers in an increasingly complex world; June 27), Classic Rock Orchestra (June 28) and Rustic Overtones (June 29). The theater is at 53 Old Post Road, Arundel. (vinegarhillmusictheatre.com)