If you ask a local in Kennebunk or Kennebunkport, “what’s the best way to see this coastal village,” they’ll tell you to get on a boat! They might even suggest you get wet… ‘cause locals are fresh and like to be funny.
Shore enough (I’m a local – forgive my Maine humah), the best scenery happens when you get aboard a boat – a kayak, Stand Up Paddleboard, or even better – a tour boat or sailboat leaving the Kennebunk River heading to the open seas.
Where the waves crash at Blowing Cave and Thunder Hole near President Bush’s summer home, Walkers Point, is spectacular. Granite cliffs meet gorgeous greenery along the coastline framed by sparkling blue waters.
Long stretches of sand beaches at Gooch’s, aka Kennebunk Beach, and Goose Rocks Beach beyond Cape Porpoise are stunning landmarks, as is Goat Island Light as you cruise by on a boat. From Kennebunkport, there are lots of ways to get out on the water.
Here are some of the best boat tours in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport departing daily in season, weather permitting of course, out of the Kennebunk River.
Lobster Boat Tours
A Lobster Boat Tour is fun, especially for families. Picture yourself on a 1-1/2 hour boat cruise up the Kennebunk River past the fishing wharves, the beautiful hotel grounds and grand seaside homes, and out the breakwater to the open Atlantic.
Your friendly Rugosa boat Captain and First Mate will take you on a pleasant boat ride past The President’s “Summer White House” at Walkers Point, inside the US Coast Guard markers, and as you head toward Cape Porpoise you will have wonderful views of Goat Island Light. You may even see a seal or porpoise popping their heads up out of the water.
Part of the Kennebunkport Lobster Boat tour is the hauling of a live lobster trap. If kids are on board, they will love the opportunity to see what they caught, a fresh lobster, even get to touch the crustacean and band their big crusher claw before putting the lobster back in the water – saved from the boiling pot for another day.
The Rugosa Boat Tour is affordable family fun on a 1961 classic 38′ wooden lobster boat, without committing to a full day out at sea. The pretty red-hulled lobster boat named for Maine’s native sea roses, The Rugosa departs from The Nonantum Resort and docks several times daily in season with up to 25 passengers.
Sail Boat Tours in Kennebunkport
Sailing is magical, with the wind powering you through the mighty sea, no motor noise – just the rustle of sails. If you have your sea legs and the love of full sails and the breeze in your hair, then The Pineapple Ketch is the best sailboat tour in the Kennebunks. Departing from The Nonantum you board this beautiful black-hulled wooden sailboat.
A tour of the River whets your appetite as you head beyond the breakwater and watch as the gorgeous blood-red sails are hoisted and filled. You can book a sailing trip aboard the Pineapple Ketch for two hours during the day or sign up for the sunset tour or arrange a private sailing charter – very popular for parties, intimate weddings, and small groups.
The Captain and crew might even let you hoist a sail or steer at the helm for a moment. Sailing on a schooner like The Pineapple Ketch should be on everyone’s Kennebunkport bucket list.
Paddling Tours in Kennebunkport
You can rent a kayak or canoe and paddle up and down the Kennebunk River, or try Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). The further upriver you go, under the Dock Square Bridge, for example, the more pristine and natural the surroundings, you can paddle past Cape Arundel Golf Course(where President Bush plays golf) all the way to Picnic Rocks, Doanes Bridge, and the Landing School.
Turning around and heading out the Kennebunk River, the closer you get to the breakwater and mouth of the river, the more you will encounter boat traffic, and a different kind of beauty as the outlying sea comes into view.
Just remember to stay out of the way of all boats including commercial fishing vessels, lobster boats, and pleasure boats in the main channel of the River.
For kayak and SUP rental, Kayak Excursions offers rentals and guided tours all along the Southern Maine Coast including Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. They’ll even deliver a kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard to the launch place of your choosing and pick you up after your day touring.
Maine Whale Watching Tours in Kennebunkport
Whale watching can be amazing, but it’s a long day at sea, and folks who get seasick should be warned about this. Whale Watch Tours departing from Kennebunkport, like Nick’s Chance, head out to sea for 4-1/2 hours in the open sea to Jeffrey’s Ledge where whale sightings are likely but not guaranteed.
If you don’t see a whale on your boat trip, the whale watch company will let you go again another day for free – kind of a rain check whale check.
Fishing Charters on the Kennebunk River
There are several fishing charter outfits on the Kennebunk River that will take you out sport fishing and deep sea fishing, for bass, tuna, swordfish, and striper. Our advice: pack lots of sunscreen, layers, and drinks, so even if you get skunked, you don’t get burned or parched.
If you don’t catch a fish, you can at least catch a buzz… that’s more local humah for ya. They say “Kennebunkport is a drinking village with a fishing problem.”
Explore Kennebunkport Boat Tours
See our list of boat tours, SUP, kayak and canoe rentals, boat charters, fishing and sailing adventures departing from the docks of Kennebunkport and Kennebunk’s Lower Village on the Kennebunk River. “Sea” ya on the river, enjoy your time in Kennebunkport.