If you’re looking for things to do in Kittery Maine, we have the top places to visit right here!
When you cross the Maine border from New Hampshire, one of the first towns you come across is Kittery. This beautiful coastal town has a 400-year-old history of European settlement and is known as being the oldest incorporated town in the state.
But, Kittery Maine isn’t lost in the past. In fact, it’s a wonderful spot to visit with a plethora of things to do.
About Kittery Maine
Kittery Maine is a charming seaside town located at the very southernmost tip of Maine. This lovely, historic town is a popular spot for tourists, drawn to the New England coast during the summer to enjoy the Atlantic breeze, small-town vibe, fresh seafood, and thriving art scene.
Maine’s Oldest Town
Kittery’s main claim to fame is its fascinating history, which dates back to 1623 as a fishery. Incorporated in 1647, the town is known as the oldest town in the state of Maine.
The nearly 400-year history is evident in many historical buildings, such as Fort McClary, which played a distinct role in five American wars from the Revolution to World War I.
A Shipping Town
During its centuries of European settlement, Kittery has become known as a shipping town. It’s now home to the Kittery Historical & Naval Museum, which details some of the most vital parts of local history with a particular spotlight on naval activity in the region.
Another point of interest is Kittery’s Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. This was founded in 1800 and continues to operate, making it the oldest continuously-used naval shipyard in the country.
The Hipster Scene
Today, Kittery is known for its charming small-town vibe, which has become a haven of the hipster scene. The area is full of art galleries, museums, local markets and boutiques, and gourmet eateries serving locally-sourced food.
Coastal Vacation Destination
Of course, no matter how much has changed over the centuries, the Atlantic Ocean remains a central part of Kittery’s identity. It continues to draw visitors looking for relaxation on the beach, adventures around local islands, and more.
The natural attractions around Kittery are also of note, with several state parks and an endless coastline to explore. Whether you’re looking for a beachside resort to relax, a fun and diverse community, or a place to explore nature, Kittery has offerings for all of your interests!
Things to Do in Kittery Maine
Explore Fort McClary State Historic Site
Fort McClary State Historic Site is a beautiful place that played an important role in Maine’s history. The site includes a fort that has stood for nearly 300 years, including housing for soldiers during five American wars.
Fort McClary, which stands at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, took its name from Major Andrew McClary, who died in combat during the Battle of Bunker Hill. Today, Fort McClary State Historic Site is one of the most popular places to camp, fish, hike, and enjoy nature and history in Southern Maine.
Chauncey Creek is a nice scenic drive near Pepperrel Cove where you can stop by a few restaurants off of Rt 103 after visiting the fort. The oldest continuously run family store in North America is located on Kittery Point too, Frisbees Market since 1828.
Cut a Rug at The Dance Hall
The Dance Hall is Kittery’s premier entertainment venue. This nonprofit-run building, founded in 2011, is the main place for arts and culture in the town, all centered around the hall’s maple wood dance floor.
During the weekend, you’ll find live musical performances of all kinds. During the week, the Hall offers dance classes for all ages. Though the offerings are new, the atmosphere is delightfully vintage thanks to the historic building, which was erected in 1928.
Get Some Culture at Just Us Chickens
Just Us Chickens is an artist cooperative in the heart of Kittery Maine. This gallery displays work from 30 local artists in every medium. You can enjoy looking at jewelry, paintings, sculptures, drawings, fiber works, basketry, and other unique forms of art.
Because JUC is an artist cooperative, it’s fully run and operated by the artists themselves. You might even get the chance to meet the creators! Also, you’ll find special exhibits, such as the featured artist of the month.
Reach New Heights at Take Flight Aerial Adventure Park
Take Flight Aerial Adventure Park is a high ROPES course and aerial park offering some of the most exciting and varied aerial activities in Southern Maine. The park draws visitors from all over New England every year, and it’s no wonder why!
It has more than 65 unique activities, all right alongside the Maine coast. Groups can challenge themselves to compete on a high ROPES course, six zip lines, fun obstacle courses, and more. After your visit, check out the breathtaking gardens.
Learn at the Kittery Historical & Naval Museum
Shipping is a vital part of Kittery’s history, so it should come as no surprise that the town is home to a naval museum. The exhibits here showcase the history of Kittery from its European incorporation in 1647 to the present day.
The museum might be small, but it’s brimming with fascinating artifacts, including parts of the Andrews-Mitchell Garrison House, an important colonial site dating from the American Revolution. Tours at the museum are self-guided.
Explore Fort Foster Park
Fort Foster Park is another great Kittery sight and is home to three small beaches, including Whaleback Beach and Rocky Beach.
The park is located on Gerrish Island and easily accessible by car. Its proximity to the harbor offers nice views of Whaleback Light, Portsmouth Harbor Light, and Fort Constitution. You can spend an entire day walking or biking the trail system, picnicking, and exploring remnants of military fortifications.
Hit Seapoint Beach
Kittery is home to Seapoint Beach, and it’s well worth a visit if you happen to be in Southern Maine. This rugged beach offers a quintessential Maine experience.
With a rocky shore that’s full of tidal pools to explore and parallel to a small expanse of sand, the beach is safe to swim in for a few months of the year. But, you’ll still find locals enjoying the shore whenever the sun shines, even bringing their dogs along.
Shop Local at Kittery Premium Outlets
Kittery Maine is known far and wide as a premium place to enjoy local shopping. The best place to do this is at Kittery Premium Outlets. Here, you can find high-end brand names and nationwide chains, as well as locally-sourced goods of all kinds.
Whether you want to find a designer purse or browse through local art pieces, this quaint seaside town is the perfect place for it. You’ll find the shops bustling throughout the year, especially during mild summers!
The most famous shop, though, is Kittery Trading Post, a three-story shopping experience for outdoor enthusiasts with everything from camping, hunting, and fishing supplies to skiing, snowboarding, and kayaking equipment.
More Things to Do Near Kittery Maine
Explore Badger’s Island
Badger’s Island is located on the Piscataqua River between Kittery and PortsmouthNew Hampshire. The island is the perfect spot for a day trip, offering an impressive array of parks, museums, arts attractions, restaurants, and more. Like Kittery, it’s also home to many interesting historical sites and buildings.
Watch History Come to Life at the Strawberry Banke Museum
The Strawberry Banke Museum is a living history museum located on Badger’s Island. Here, you can see historic properties and actors portraying what life was like there. Exhibits reach back 300 years, showcasing different fascinating points in the area’s history, both indigenous and colonial.
Tour the Waters Seafari Charters
It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of things to do in Kittery Maine on the water. One popular attraction is Seafari Charters. Many of these tours offer day trips for groups, giving you the chance to see the sights, learn about the history of the area, go deep-sea fishing, or even snorkel and scuba dive.
A tour of Portsmouth Harbor and the Piscataqua River is the best way to see this southern-most Maine shoreline, including Pepperrell Cove, Kittery Point, and Whaleback Light that guards the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor. You can take a ferry to tour the harbor out of Kittery or Portsmouth.
Discover at the Seacoast Science Center
The Seacoast Science Center is located a short distance from Kittery in Rye, New Hampshire. Here, you can tour fascinating exhibits that are all about the marine creatures that live right at your feet. The exhibits focus on marine life and ocean phenomena in the Gulf of Maine.
Lodging Near Kittery Maine
Dockside Guest Quarters isn’t located right in Kittery, Maine, but is in nearby York. This charming waterfront bed and breakfast is easy to reach from the town, making it a top spot to stay when visiting the area.
For more than 60 years, Dockside Guest Quarters has offered what the owners call “the real Maine,” a vacation that manages to capture the essence of the state while providing a luxurious home away from home. Guests get to relax in the historic rooms while enjoying stunning views of nearby York Harbor.
If you love camping, you’ll want to snag a spot at Camp Eaton. This seasonal RV resort has been a seaside campground for nearly 100 years.
Although it was once a place for pitching a tent, Camp Eaton has now grown into an RV park, where you can enjoy all the modern comforts of camping in the 21st century.
The campground is truly a seasonal community with plenty of amenities, including a playground, restrooms and showers, event spaces, and outdoor game areas. Pets are also welcome at Camp Eaton!
York Harbor Inn is the premier luxury seaside resort located a short drive from Kittery in nearby York Harbor, Maine. This stunning resort is actually a series of seven inns along the Maine coast. Every inn offers a different experience in each of its luxury rooms and suites.
What is consistent, however, is the quality of the amenities — and the always-constant view of York Harbor. The comfortable cottage-style accommodations, many of which include oceanview decks, are popular with tourists throughout the year.
Kittery Inn & Suites is a stunning restored 1950s inn hidden in the forested land in Kittery, Maine. Here, you enjoy a taste of mid-century coastal Maine and all the modern amenities you expect in a luxury inn.
Rooms, cottages, and suites are available, so you can choose the exact experience you’re looking for. Before going out for the day, enjoy a continental breakfast, or take a dip in the outdoor saltwater pool.
If you prefer to find a vacation rental, there are many options in Kittery. You’ll find everything from modern condos downtown to beachside family cabins.
This Coastal Cottage vacation rental is ideal for up to six people. With the entire home at your disposal, you can truly relax and enjoy the harbor view from the farmer’s porch. When you want to explore, downtown Kettering restaurants and shops are just around the corner.
There are even more Kittery Maine hotels and lodging options to experience.
Dining Near Kittery Maine
When Pigs Fly Pizzeria is a part of the larger When Pigs Fly Bread Company, which distributes its products around the state. But, the pizzeria is unique to Kittery Maine, and it’s well worth a visit.
The small menu prioritizes quality over quantity for wood-fired pizzas, so you can bank on getting a truly delicious pie. The mozzarella is made fresh every day for the Neapolitan-style pizzas. You can order a glass of beer or wine to enjoy with your pizza too!
Pepperrell Cove is so much more than just a restaurant. In fact, it’s multiple restaurants, as well as a general store, ski club, and high-end event space. You can choose between three dining options.
The bistro serves locally-sourced, delicious light meals in view of the Atlantic Ocean. Frisbee’s Wharf is the place to enjoy fresh lobster and seafood on the beach. Pepperrell Cove also has an ice cream shop open seasonally for homemade ice cream and sorbet.
There’s nowhere like Maine to get fresh lobster, and in Kittery Maine, Warren’s Lobster House should be your first choice. The restaurant opened as a beachside shack in 1940. Today, the restaurant seats more than 350 guests between its dining room and outdoor patio.
Warren’s is known far and wide for not only its delicious fresh seafood but also its excellent salad bar. The truth is that there’s something for everyone here, no matter what you enjoy.
When you hear the word brewery, you probably think of beer first. But at Blue Current Brewery in Kittery, they do things a little differently. The drink of choice here isn’t beer but sake!
The sake is made in small batches and has won many awards for its quality. Though you won’t find a restaurant at Blue Current, the brewery offers regular tastings and other events with food and a variety of sake flavors.
Kittery Maine might be known for its seafood options, but at Henry VIII Carvery, it’s the meat that has center stage. This humble sandwich shop is known for its decadent and delicious roast beef sandwiches.
The menu includes specials like the Henry VIII topped with creamy horseradish sauce and the Regent with Boursin cheese and roasted red peppers. If beef isn’t your thing, there are many vegetarian sandwiches, as well as soups and other items.
Whether you hanker for a clam or lobster roll at the roadside shack Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier or bistro fare at a trendy cafe like Anneke Jans, there’s a restaurant for every craving in Kittery Maine.
Experience the Best Things to Do in Kittery Maine
If you’re looking for a quiet coastal vacation, Kittery is the perfect spot. There are points of interest for everyone, a thriving community, and of course, plenty of excellent places to eat and relax. What more could you ask for from Maine’s oldest town right on the Atlantic coast?