Kennebunkport is truly a year-round vacation destination, with visitors enjoying lots of fun in every season. There is so much to do and see that visitors often come back throughout the year to enjoy every aspect that Kennebunkport has to offer. From gorgeous beaches and scenic lighthouses to boat tours and unique shopping boutiques, and the best restaurants in Southern Maine, there is something for everyone!
Colony Beach, a 150-foot stretch of sand located at the mouth of the Kennebunk River, is named for its location in front of the grand old Colony Hotel, usually offering small waves along its rocky sand. Visitors can walk on the breakwater rocks to view boats in the harbor. It is also a popular place for locals to fish for stripers. Goose Rocks Beach is arguably the most scenic beach in Kennebunkport, located a few miles from the center of town in a more secluded and residential area beyond Cape Porpoise. The soft, flat sand of Goose Rocks is ideal for walking or relaxing and enjoy the beautiful views of nearby Timber Island and the coast.
Things to do in Kennebunkport
History buffs will love viewing the historic sea captain mansions that line Summer street, local museums including the First Family exhibit on the Bush family with a tribute to the Presidential Bush comoun, amid the splendid summer cottages that grace Ocean Ave. A wonderful collection of historical artifacts are kept at the Brick Store Museum and the Nott House, while train enthusiasts will love the world famous Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport.
There are many opportunities for boating adventures, located directly in town. Whale watching tours are popular attractions in Kennebunkport for visitors who hope to catch a glimpse of one of these large and magnificent creatures out at sea. Whale watch trips from Kennebunkport travel about 17 miles to Jeffrey's Ledge to spot whales. Other tour boats take guests on hour to two hour fishing or lobstering excursions, where you can experience the life of a fisherman first-hand and get a close up view of Walkers Point where President Bush resides and even pull up a Lobster Trap. Kennebunkport also offers scenic sailing cruises, such as on a beautiful Maine Schooner or Windjammer, that travel along the coastline for a relaxing day trip or sunset sail. There are also several rental places in town which allow visitors to rent kayaks, canoes, boats, bikes and even scooters - for a few hours or the whole day!
Dock Square, the center of town in Kennebunkport, is known for its quaint boutiques and local craft shops, selling everything from souvenir shirts to hand crafted jewelry. Dock Square is also home to many highly rated restaurants including Striper's where the Bush family dines and the Clam Shack which has appeared on the Food Network for its famous lobster roll, fried clams, and mouth watering seafood. Local favorites include Alissons in the heart of Dock Square and Old Vines Wine Bar. Kennebunkport is also home to fancier, special event dining that is definitely worth the extra spending. The White Barn in Kennebunk is New England's only five star, five diamond restaurant, a truly unique and unrivaled culinary experience with a five course price fixed menu.
The Kennebunks are rapidly becoming known as a mecca for art lovers. Artists have flocked to the shores of Kennebunkport for years for its scenic beauty and now the town is loaded with shops, galleries and studios featuring paintings, photography, wind sculptures and more. See more about the Kennebunks vibrant art scene
A visit to Kennebunkport should also include a visit to Cape Porpoise and its harbor. From the pier, visitors can view Goat Island Light just a few miles off shore, established in the 1800s. The light is still currently active, which can be seen at night or in cloudier weather. The Cape Porpoise Pier is part of a working harbor, where fishermen and lobstermen actively travel in and out of the harbor with their catch of the day. If you can stand the fishy smell, it is interesting to view the various lobster traps and bait barrels located by the pier. The pier has recently become a hotspot for delicious dining, and visitors can choose to dine casually on the pier with take out style seafood from the Cape Porpoise Chowder House, or fresh seafood and delicious burgers at the Ramp, or try the more upscale dining at Pier 77. Cape Porpoise is also a popular destination for kayaking tours, which travel around the harbor and by Goat Island and its surrounding islands Trott and Stage Harbor.
Kennebunkport is great to visit year-round, with something new to do in every season at the many annual events. Kick the summer off with Kennebunkport's annual Memorial Day Parade, where George and Barbara Bush were known to make appearances and speeches. The Kennebunkport Festival is an early summer, week-long festival filled with fine local food, art and wine celebrating the creativity and hospitality of Kennebunkport and Southern Maine artists, chefs, restaurants, inns and hotels. The fall brings beautiful changing colors and foliage and festive activities for the whole family. On Halloween, Trick or Treat in the Kennebunks gives kids the opportunity to dress up as ghosts as ghouls and head to local merchants for treats and goodies. Kennebunk's Harvest Fest brings out Zombie Walks and Scarecrows and Kennebunkport haunted house tours are popular Halloween events in the Kennebunks. Nearby towns also hold fall festivals, including hayrides, haunted houses and pumpkin picking.
In the winter, Kennebunkport's Christmas Prelude kicks off the Christmas season with the annual tree lighting in town, caroling at the Franciscan Monastery, and a weekend filled with local craft fairs, shopping and entertainment - Santa even makes an appearance, arriving on a lobster boat! They say that February is for Lovers here in Kennebunkport, and it is the perfect time for that romantic getaway. Several local inns, resorts and bed and breakfasts offer special packages at this time to fit your budget, candlelight dinners and chocolate fests add something extra special to your Valentine's getaway to Kennebunkport. Winter in the Port is quiet and relaxing, a great time to browse through quaint shops and art galleries like Morning Walk and the Hive, or enjoy an intimate and romantic dinner at a Kennebunkport cafe or Wine Bar.
There are plenty of lodging opportunities for your Kennebunkport visit, including waterfront resorts that offer all-inclusive packages and are located right on or nearby the beach. Downtown Kennebunkport has many old and charming Bed and Breakfasts and beautiful historic Maine Inns that are exquisitely decorated and offer first-class service, including gourmet home-cooked breakfasts each morning. Local motels and hotels offer great low rates, specials and discounts that can make a Maine vacation affordable for any budget. Private home and cottage rentals in Kennebunkport are also a popular choice, especially for families and large groups, who may choose to rent in town for easy access to shops and dining or in more secluded areas by the Goose Rocks Beach area.
Kennebunkport was also the summer home of former President George H.W. Bush, and his family continues to reside at Walkers Point. Locals refered to him affectionately as 41, and George W as #43. The Bush family has a private estate on Walker's Point, built in the early 1900s. The property juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, and visitors can climb on nearby rocks for photographs and scenic views. You can also visit the Anchor to Windward, a beautiful monument donated to President Bush, a favorite Kennebunkport resident from the townspeople. On your way out Ocean Avenue, a very scenic drive, you will pass Ganny's Garden, located on the green in front of the Captain Lord Mansion. This garden was dedicated to former First Lady Barbara Bush for her service to the community of Kennebunkport, complete with a tribute to Barbara Bush's passion for mismatched Ked sneakers and books, of course. Barbara Bush was an avid celebrity guest reader at Kennebunkport's Graves Library, and did extensive charitable work for the town and the nearby hospitals.
Whatever the season, whatever the reason, there is truly no bad time to visit Kennebunkport!