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Welcome to Scarborough

Scarborough, with miles of beaches, the largest saltwater marsh in the state and a variety of walking and biking trails and nature preserves, is a great destination for sunbathers, bird watchers and surfers. But Scarborough isn’t just for nature lovers—this area also boasts the Winslow Homer Studio, some of the best local seafood restaurants, Maine-made ice cream shops, a candy shop with a life-size chocolate moose, and a donut shop that draws people from all over. Scarborough has New England’s fastest half-mile track for live harness racing and a 20-lane candlepin bowling center.

 

1. Eastern Trail

Eastern Trail. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

This mostly off-road walking and biking trail runs 65 miles from Kittery to Bug Light Park in South Portland, but some of the most scenic sections run through the Scarborough Marsh. This portion of the trail can be accessed off Pine Point Road/Route 9. The Scarborough section of the trail is also a favorite with birders. See the website for trail details, including a free, downloadable trail guide: easterntrail.org.

2. Scarborough Downs

Scarborough Downs Harness Race Track is New England’s fastest half-mile track for live harness racing, with live races through Dec. 3 and simulcast 363 days a year, seven days a week. Parking and admission are free (betting, obviously, is not). Scarborough Downs is off exit 42, north or south. After the toll plaza, turn left onto Payne Road. At the first set of lights, take a right into the track and follow for about a half mile until you see the grandstand and clubhouse buildings on your left. For more information (including how to wager): scarboroughdowns.com.

3. The Big 20 Bowling Center

If you’re looking for candlepin bowling, a sport unique to New England, you’ll love the small-town vibe at this 20-lane center at 382 Route 1 in Scarborough. They’ve got a snack bar and full-service bar, and there’s a Rock-N-Glow Bowl on Friday and Saturday nights. (207–883–2131; big20bowling.com)

4. Pleasant Hill Disc Golf

Disc golf is exactly what it sounds like, except instead of a golf ball there’s a flying disc and instead of a hole, there’s a “pole hole,” usually an elevated metal basket. Check it out at Pleasant Hill Disc Golf at 38 Chamberlain Road, an 18-hole course on 40 acres. The course has wide-open throwing areas as well as densely wooded shots and a few water hazards. (207–883–8387; philldiscgolf.com)

5. Willowdale Golf Club

If regular golf is more your thing, check out this par-70 course off Route 1 in Scarborough with rivers bordering both the front and back nine holes. (207–883–9351; willowdalegolf.com)

6. Maine Indoor Karting

Got a need for speed? You won’t have to worry about the weather cooperating when you head to Maine Indoor Karting, but you’ll want to wear long pants and closed-toed shoes before you head to 23 Washington Ave., Scarborough. (They do have shoes for rent, too.) This is a race track, and you will have to sign a waiver for yourself or any kiddos; find the forms at maineindoorkarting.com.

7. The Garage BBQ

In the Pine Point Beach neighborhood, there’s garage that once used to be a livery stable—and now it’s a popular BBQ joint. They serve barbecue, seafood and small plates in a trendy but historic atmosphere. It’s between Pine Point Beach and Old Orchard Beach at 3 West Grand Ave., Scarborough. They’re open through October, with an outdoor patio and fire pit for cooler evenings. (207–808–RIBB; thegaragebbq.com)

8. Len Libby

At this delightful candy shop at 419 Route 1 in Scarborough you can set eyes on a 1,700-pound life-size chocolate moose. Len Libby’s has been making candy in Scarborough since 1926. They’ve got terrific hand-dipped chocolate, taffy, fudge, ice-cream and touristy gifts. Local candy favorites include Needhams and Bangor Taffy. (lenlibby.com)

9. The Holy Donut

The Holy Donut. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

The Holy Donut serves 20 flavor options each morning, with each donut hand cut and made with the high-quality ingredients, like Maine potatoes, local butter, dark chocolate and fresh-squeezed citrus, everything all-natural. The Scarborough location is at 398 Route 1 (there are two locations in Portland as well) and opens at 6 a.m. daily and closes when the last donut is sold. (theholydonut.com)

10. Winslow Homer Studio

Winslow Homer Studio. Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

The Winslow Homer Studio, one of the most significant locations in the history of American art, is where the great American artist Winslow Homer (1836–1910) lived and painted many of his masterpieces from 1884 until his death. The Winslow Homer Studio on Prouts Neck in Scarborough has the sweeping ocean views depicted in much of Homer’s work. The Portland Museum of Art, which owns the studio, offers tours through Oct. 31 for visitors ages 8 and up. Guests leave the studio with not only a fuller appreciation of Homer the artist but with a deeper understanding of Homer the man: how he saw the world, lived his life and found his inspiration. All tours leave from the Portland Museum of Art. Each tour lasts about 2.5 hours. (207–775–6148 or portlandmuseum.org/homer)