Welcome to Biddeford,
Saco & Old Orchard Beach
The twin cities of Biddeford and Saco are steeped in history dating back to the early 1600s, but the area is probably most noted as a birthplace of industrialization. Cotton and woolen mills were erected along the Saco River, where a 40-foot waterfall was harnessed to power machinery. The region is rich in Franco-American tradition as French-Canadians immigrated for good-paying jobs in the mills. Today, you can see those buildings repurposed into commercial, residential and retail space. Beaches and galleries abound, and plenty of family-friendly restaurants cater to hungry vacationers. The town of Old Orchard Beach—often referred to as OOB—is a popular summer destination with a 7-mile beach, iconic pier and touristy downtown. It’s nearly a ghost town by late October, but if you hit a warm patch of weather, it’s a peaceful time for a walk on the beach. Dress warmly!
1. ‘Swingtime Canteen’ at Biddeford City Theater
It’s London, 1944. Join MGM star Marian Ames and her all-girl band from the Hollywood Canteen for the rip-roaringest canteen show of them all, running through Oct. 7 at Biddeford City Theater. Laughs, tears, emotional reworks, air raids and a celebration of women during the war punctuate this hilarious and heart-warming story. Songs include: I’ll Be Seeing You, I Don’t Want to Walk without You, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Sentimental Journey, Apple Blossom Time and many more. Book by Linda Thorsen Bond, William Repicci and Charles Busch. Tickets are $20. The historic theatre is at 205 Main St., Biddeford. (citytheatre.org)
2. Saco Bay Trails
Saco Bay Trails offers a wide variety of trails in Saco, Biddeford and Old Orchard Beach. See sacobaytrails.org for more information on the trails available, like the one at Cascade Falls in Saco. This historic area has been popular since the late 1800s for picnicking, fishing, hiking and viewing the falls. The trailhead is located on Cascade Road, about one-quarter mile from the intersection with Route 1.
3. Biddeford-Saco Country Club
Since the early 1920s, the Biddeford-Saco Country Club has offered some of the area’s best golfing. The 18-hole course was designed by Donald Ross and features a clubhouse in a refurbished farmhouse. Located at 101 Old Orchard Road in Saco, the club is open to the public. For more information or to schedule a tee time: 207–282–5883 or biddefordsacocountryclub.com.
4. Monkey Trunks
Check out the zipline tour and adventure course—over 2,300 feet of ziplines—at Monkey Trunks, five minutes from Old Orchard Beach off Route 1 in Saco in the woods surrounding Cascade Falls (98 Waterfall Road, Saco). Experienced instructors use an advanced auto-locking smart belay system, so you’ll be safe while monkeying around. Get more information and make a reservation at 603–367–4427 or monkeytrunks.com.
5. Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf
Putt your way through mountain caves, over footbridges and under cascading waterfalls. Pirate’s Cove mini golf is open through mid-October, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The adventure is at 70 First St. in Old Orchard Beach. (207–934–5086; piratescove.net/old-orchard-beach)
6. Pick Your Own Pumpkins at Harris Farm
When the leaves change color and the air turns crisp, Harris Farm at 280 Buzzell Road in Dayton is the place to go for fall stuff, whether you’re looking for a just few gourds, a pumpkin for a pie, Indian corn and cornstalks for your front door, or the perfect jack-o-lantern. Hayrides to the one-acre pumpkin patch are available on select days in October. We offer hayrides to our one-acre pumpkin patch on select days in October. (207–499–2678; harrisfarm.com)
7. Ferry Beach State Park
stand of tupelo (black gum) trees, rare at this latitude, can be seen at the 100-acre area, which has sweeping views of white sand beaches between the Saco River and Pine Point. In the days before highways, beaches were transportation routes, which is how Ferry Beach got its name. Ferry Beach State Park in Saco has a beautiful sand beach and woodland trails with access to Saco Bay. A picnic area, nature trails, guided nature programs and changing room are available. It’s open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Entrance to the park is at 95 Bayview Road. Dogs are allowed after Sept. 30. (207–283–0067)
8. Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Come on down to Main Street in Saco on Saturday, Oct. 20 from noon from 4 p.m. for fun and games for kids, a Trunk or Treat area, costume contest, donut and pie-eating contests, face painting, horse-drawn wagon rides and Main Street bed races. (sacomainstreet.wixsite.com/pumpkin)
9. Saco Drive-In
This historic drive-in is “where movies and nostalgia” meet—which is, apparently—969 Portland Road in Saco. The drive-in has been open every summer since 1939 and movies continue into the first weeks of October. Rates are $15 for a carload of up to three people and $20 for a carload of four people or more, show start at dusk. There’s an affordable snack shack in the middle of the lot. Don’t forget to dress warm or bring a blanket. For current showings: 207–286–3200; thesacodrivein.com.
10. Ferry Beach Art Auction
An annual art auction on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 5–8 p.m. will benefit the Ferry Beach Park Association’s general funding for building maintenance. Tickets are $35 each or two for $60. (ferrybeach.org/ferry-beach-art.html)