Cape Neddick York Maine Lighthouse from Shore SS

Things to Do in York and York Harbor Maine

York and York Harbor, Maine 

York, Maine is one of the nation’s oldest cities, originally settled in 1624 by the Abenaki who called the town “Agamenticus”, a term they used to refer to the York River. Incorporated in 1642, York became the second oldest town in Maine (after Kittery).

York’s rich history, beautiful beaches, shopping and restaurants make it one of the top vacation destinations in Maine every year. There is much to see: York Beach, York Village, York Harbor and Cape Neddick.

York has a great location on the Southern Maine Coast and is one of the first towns in Maine off interstate 95. It is just over an hour north of Boston and five hours north of New York City, making it the perfect drive to a New England getaway. There so many things to do in York, you should stay a week. See our top York Maine Hotels and Lodging.

York Harbor Beach
Credit: Greg & Heather Burke

York Beach

Beach goers will love York’s beaches. Long Sands is best known for its 2 mile stretch of white sand and good surfing action, while Short Sands Beach is popular for its amusement park atmosphere with a carousel, playground and arcade plus restaurants, shops and the Golden Rod candy shop that you can walk to and watch them make salt water taffy (since 1896). 

York Harbor

In York Harbor, you will find seaside inns and resorts, plus York Harbor Beach with a gentle surf and views of the Atlantic along with the comings and goings of the boats out of the harbor to York River. Walks across York’s Wiggly Bridge on York River or along the Cliff Walk are great ways to explore York’s waterfront and coastline.

Cape Neddick

Cape Neddick is a must visit in York. The 1879 Nubble Light is the focal point of Cape Neddick, the most photographed lighthouse in the country arguably. A visit to Sohier Park puts you in close proximity to the island Lighthouse, and also gives you views of Boon Island Light.

So you can’t actually go in the lighthouse, it is an island just off shore. The Nubble’s Park, which features benches for relaxing and reading and picnicing, is a favorite of residents and visitors alike.

Cape Neddick York


York also draws a large golfing crowd each year, with top Maine golf courses like the 18-Hole The Ledges Golf Club or York Golf and Tennis Club. York’s Wild Kingdom will keep the kids entertained with Maine’s largest zoo and an amusement park full of rides, games and mini-golf. Kayakers will enjoy rowing down York River, 13-miles of smooth sailing that flows directly into the Atlantic Ocean

Mount Agamenticus

Nature lovers will enjoy Mount Agamenticus, the tallest mountain on the Southern Maine Coast at 692’ above sea level. This was once a ski area called Big A. Now, Mount Agamenticus is enjoyed by hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and picnickers, making the short hike to the summit for views as far as Boston, Cape Elizabeth and Mount Washington.  You can hike up Mt A or drive for a picnic with a view.

Museums of Old York

York is incredibly historic, as the nation’s first chartered city in 1641 and the first incorporated city in 1642. History comes to life here and kids and adults alike will all enjoy the Museums of Old York. Here you can step back in time to New England colonial life 300 years ago. The Old York Historical Society operates several museums consisting of nine historic buildings. These buildings include the Old Gaol, which is the nation’s oldest royal prison. Visitors can also tour the Old Schoolhouse and Jefferds’ Tavern. The museums include historical New England artwork, original architecture and antiques dating back to the 1600s.

Nubble Light

Events in York Maine

York has become a year-round vacation destination – regardless of season, a visit to York will is a truly memorable and fun experience. In winter, watch the Lighting of the Nubble at Christmas time for a festive start to the season. In summer, visitors can enjoy York Days, an annual festival filled with food and fun for all ages.

York’s Harvestfest in the Fall is a great way to see the foliage and changing colors by the ocean and engage in some seasonal activities like pumpkin carving.

Lodging in York Maine

Visitors have many different lodging options in York, York Beach and York HarborSeaside inns are grand yet still intimate and romantic. Larger resorts and hotels are perfect for family fun with large pools and recreational facilities.

Beachside motels are affordable with scenic ocean views and easy access to all that York has to offer. See our Top 10 York hotels, inns and resorts.



York is a great foodie destination, as it is home to some of the best seafood restaurants on the Southern Maine Coast. Some of Maine’s top lobster pounds and seafood restaurants are located in York.

The York Harbor Inn, located on the waterfront, is famous for its Sunday brunches and wine dinners. Pub fare served in the Ship’s Cellar Pub and delicious seafood served daily.

Many York shops also offer Maine made gourmet foods, such as When Pgis Fly and Stonewall Kitchen – which has its flagship store and Stonewall Cooking School in York. Stonewall Kitchen is famous for its homemade jams, preserves, and Maine gift baskets.

York also has several lobster pounds where you can buy Maine lobster to go, or fresh steamed for you to enjoy.

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