Tucked in between Kennebunkport and Ogunquit on Maine’s southern coast, Wells Maine is the third oldest town in Maine and is a paradise for anyone who visits.
Wells is home to an abundance of natural beauty, including several beaches that make it an ideal destination in warmer months. But it’s also home to historic theatres, antique shops, scenic views, and so much more that make it a cool place to visit any time of year.
So whether you love the natural beauty of beaches, forests, and wetlands, or you enjoy exploring the food and culture of Maine’s coastal towns, Wells Maine offers something for everyone.
Getting to Know Wells Maine
Wells was founded in 1643 and is the third oldest city in the state. The town was named after Wells, England, and became known as a resilient frontier during the colonization of the United States.
Over time, Wells transformed into a farming community and also became known for its fisheries and shipbuilding. With the arrival of railroads, Wells became, and still is, a popular tourist destination in southern Maine.
Wells is called the “Friendliest Town in Maine”, and also the Antique Capital. Visitors can find many things to do in Wells, from beaches and shopping along Route 1, to nature trails and dining at casual clam shacks and diners to gourmet restaurants.
Exploring the Best of Wells Maine
When you visit Wells, you’ll find a world of possibilities in front of you. From the beaches to restaurants to shops to being by the ocean taking in amazing views, fun awaits in Wells.
Some of Well’s top events include the Wells Chili fest and Wells Christmas Parade, plus Maine craft fairs that are offered all year round. Wells is located in between the towns of Kennebunkport and Ogunquit, which both offer great shopping, dining, and beaches for a fun-filled day trip.
Enjoy Wells Harbor
Wells Harbor is home to boats from lobster fishermen to pleasure yachts and fishing charters. Within Wells Harbor you can canoe or kayak up the Webhannet River, or paddleboard around the calm waters, or venture out to see through the Wells breakwater.
Here, you can find scenic sailing excursions, fishing adventures, or chartered boats for a private adventure.
Soak Up the Sun and Swim at the Beach
One of the biggest reasons Wells is a popular destination is because of its beaches.
So if you love swimming, sunning, and having fun by the water, you’re in luck! Wells has miles of beaches that are separated from the mainland by the Webhannet River and is made up of four different beaches: Wells Beach, Drakes Island Beach, Crescent Beach, and Moody Beach.
Wells Beach is one of the best family vacation attractions on the Southern Maine Coast. Wells hosts four beaches including Moody Beach, Crescent Beach, Wells Beach and Drake’s Island Beach. Wells Beaches stretch for miles, from soft sand dunes, to tidal inlets and marshes, all beautiful beaches in Wells.
The main stretch of Wells Beach offers over a mile and a half of continuous sand beach bordering Crescent Beach and extending to the Wells Beach Jetty to the north. Wells Beach is a wonderful, long, sandy stretch with sand dunes and sea grass.
Wells Beach is the best known of the beaches and is perfect for gazing out over Wells Harbor. From this vantage point, visitors can see boats coming and going from the river and see the hustle and bustle of the harbor.
Wells Beach is great for kids to explore the rocky section near the Mile Road entrance or walk the dog during regulated hours.
Free parking to Wells Beach is at the end of Mile Road where there is a snack bar, restroom facilities, gift shops, arcades, and a few restaurants.
Paid parking is available to Wells Beach at the end of Atlantic Avenue where there is a restroom and direct access to the Wells Beach Jetty, as well as, a boat launch into Wells Harbor.
Note: Beach Parking Passes are needed from the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend through the Monday of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The Wells Beach Jetty is a popular walkway for anglers and children to explore and hop the rocks. Beachgoers will find a small beach area adjoined to this parking lot, however, that offers little beach lounging during high tide.
I’ve been coming to Wells Beach for years. I love the dramatic high and low tides that either erase or grow the beach to be half a mile wide. We walk it at sunrise and sunset, depending on the tide. I live to search for sea glass and listen to the waves.Hodork via TripAdvisor
Drakes Island Beach
Drakes Island Beach is perfect for families as it has public parking, and an on-duty lifeguard, and is a perfect spot to see beautiful views of the Maine sunset.
Island Beach is popular for its great surf and kids will love a chance to try body boarding, skim boarding, and advanced swimming. You can also watch kayaks and yachts come out of the harbor and even explore tidal pools during low tide.
Moody Beach is a mile-long stretch of mostly private homes and the beach is private property up to the low tide markers. Moody Beach eventually connects to Ogunquit’s North Beach, then Footbridge Beach, and finally Ogunquit Beach.
Crescent Beach is nestled between Moody Beach and Wells Beach and is a rockier section of Wells Beach best accessed at low tide. There are nearby restaurants and stores by the parking lot near Gold Ribbon Drive.
Crescent Beach is just a half mile south of Wells Beach and is a great spot to go searching for crabs and other sea creatures during low tide.
Dine on Some Delicious Maine Seafood
You can’t visit Maine and not have seafood. Being right on the water, Wells has some of the freshest seafood around and there are plenty of options available depending on what you’re craving.
Chow down on some freshly caught lobsters, fish, and clams at one of the many restaurants that are sure to fit any budget, from affordable like Mike’s Clam Shack to fancy at Joshua’s.
- Fisherman’s Catch — If you came to Maine for seafood, this is a great place to get it. The menu includes several varieties of lobster rolls, hot lobster dinners, feasts, and even bowls of fresh chowder. There’s also live music so you can soak up the beach vibes while you eat.
- Billy’s Chowder House — No trip here is complete without a bowl of Billy’s famous clam chowder, but you can also delight your tastebuds with seafood stew, lobster stew, and haddock chowder.
- Maine Diner — This eatery has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and for good reason. The menu is huge and you can find just about anything you’d ever want to eat. You can treat yourself to a seafood lunch or dinner, go with an American favorite, or get meals that remind you of home.
- Scoop Deck — The perfect place for sweet treats! More than 50 flavors of ice cream are offered here as well as frozen yogurt, popsicles, and more. There are all your favorite flavors as well as fun ones like City Water, Sea is for Cookie, and Monkey Business.
- Congdon’s — This is a Wells institution that’s been slinging donuts and other breakfast food since 1955. Take your pick of donuts — there are seven chocolate offerings alone — or choose from bagels, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and even whoopie pies.
Dining out in Wells is something not to be missed, as many of its popular restaurants have been featured on hit TV shows and in top culinary magazines as the best of the best. Wells is also home to some delicious seafood dives and family-friendly restaurants.
A few other Wells restaurants worth checking out are:
- Seacoast Pizza and Pasta
- Mike’s Clam Shack
- The Steakhouse
- Stutesy’s Pub and Grille
- Mekhong Thai Wells
Kids will also love the many ice cream stand options like Scoop Deck or Big Daddy’s Ice Cream, with unique and local flavors like blueberry, pumpkin, or Maine Moose Tracks.
Wells has something to satisfy every palate, from steak at The Steakhouse to Irish cuisine at Féile Restaurant and Pub or Wells’ many pizza places – your stomach will leave Maine full and satisfied.
Take Time to Go Antiquing
Believe it or not, Wells Maine is known as the Antique Capital of Maine and it’s not hard to see why. Whether you’re on the hunt for used books, antique furniture, or fun tchotchkes, you can find plenty in one of at least a dozen Wells antique stores.
Some of the most well-known Wells antique stores include:
- Reed’s Antiques and Collectibles
- Anytime Antiques
- R. Jorgensen Antiques
- The Farm Antiques
- Cattail Farm Antiques
- Bo-Mar Hall Antiques and Collectibles
With over 25 antique shops conveniently located directly on Route 1, shoppers will love the historic treasures they might find, including everything from jewelry, artwork, and furniture to sculptures, rare books, and exquisite period furniture.
Visit the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, located on the border of Kennebunk and Wells, works with the State of Maine to preserve salt marshes and estuaries for migrating birds. The refuge preserves approximately 50 miles of coastline between York and Cumberland counties.
The wildlife refuge was created in 1966 to protect the estuaries and salt marshes for migratory birds in Maine.
Today, the refuge stretches more than 9,000 acres across 50 miles of coastline in Maine’s Cumberland in York counties. The refuge features many types of habitat, including meadows, tidal marshes, and beaches.
The location in Wells offers walking trails and information on the preservation efforts. If you visit the refuge, be sure to hike the mile-long Rachel Carson Trail. It’s an easy stroll that takes visitors through a forest to the edge of a salt marsh.
Lookout points along the way provide opportunities to see quite an array of wildlife, including migratory birds and protected species of animals.
Experience a Maine Tide at Coast Encounters
Whether you’re a native Mainer or you’re just visiting for a spell, Coast Encounters is a great way to experience Maine’s famed rocky coast.
This experience for those aged 7 and up invites visitors to roll their sleeves up and learn about Maine’s diverse ecosystem that’s right beneath their feet.
The best part is, you don’t have to leave the shore for this experience. This is a fun and educational activity that’s a great way for young kids to learn about sea creatures.
Attend One of Wells Summer Solstice Craft Shows
Twice during the summer, Wells hosts its annual Summer Solstice Craft Shows, which draw craft enthusiasts as well as many vendors. Additionally, there’s a League of Maine craft show in November.
All the shows are free and parking is free too. These craft fairs happen rain or shine, so come ready to explore.
So come and enjoy shows that draw more than 70 vendors with more than plenty of homemade goods. Visitors will find soaps, candles, pottery, photography, traditional art, and so much more.
Experience the Wonder of Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm
Wells is a nature lover’s paradise, apart from the beautiful beaches. Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farms, a National Estuarine Research Reserve, has seven miles of walking trails that lead to salt water marshlands and bird sanctuaries.
The Laudholm Trust grounds offer guided nature walks for visitors to learn more about the Wells coast and estuaries with the hope of protecting and preserving the natural ecosystems in Southern Maine.
If you love the outdoors, this place can be your outdoor paradise any time of the year. This wonderland is just a half mile off of Route 1, located just a short drive from Portsmouth and Portland.
Admission is just $1 for kids aged 6-16 and $6 for visitors over 16. Admission allows access to trails, beaches, parking, and the visitor center.
The trails at Wells Reserve are open year-round, making them perfect for hiking and walking in the spring and summer, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Wells Reserve is also an ideal spot for kayaking and guided walks are offered as well.
Signs along the nature trails help visitors find their way and also help identify plants and animals. There are several popular trails that take visitors over hills, through orchards, along the beach, and through forests.
Wells Reserve is also a beautiful spot for a wedding or summer function in their beautiful restored barn and carriage house, a centerpiece to the Laudholm Farm property. Wells Reserve hosts festivals, craft fairs, and concerts throughout the season on their beautiful pastoral grounds.
More Things to Do in Wells Maine
Wells is also home to Maine farms and weekly farmers’ markets. You can pick your own strawberries or apples in season at Spiller Farm or Chase Farms.
There are so many things to do in Wells that you’ll find yourself quite busy during your vacation. Rental bikes, kayaks, surfboards, and skateboards are available in Wells.
Try your hand at golf, at one of the many 18-hole golf courses or driving ranges in the area including Old Marsh Country Club or Merriland Farms. Kids will enjoy the many mini-golf courses throughout Wells, including the large Wonder Mountain Golf Course.
Wells is also home to the classic Reny’s store where bargains are featured daily, nearby all the major stores like Rite Aid, CVS, and Hannaford for your necessities.
Lodging in Wells Maine
Waterfront resorts offer all-inclusive rates with full-service amenities for a luxurious and relaxing vacation.
Wells coastal hotels and motels are great for an affordable family getaway with easy access to beaches, shopping, and dining. Another popular lodging option in Wells is seaside cottages or house rentals, which line a good portion of Wells Beach and offer private beach access.
Private vacation home rentals are ideal for families or larger groups and come with fully-equipped kitchens, living rooms, multiple bedrooms, and bathrooms. Some may even include private patios or porches with great ocean views. Private home rentals can be very affordable and also save money on dining out and other hotel expenses.
For campers, another option is to stay at a Wells campground facility. Most Wells campgrounds provide full hookups, a General Store for camping supplies, groceries, wood, and souvenirs, and recreational facilities like a swimming pool, mini-golf course, playground, basketball courts, recreation room, and more.
Campgrounds in Wells are conveniently located near major roadways for easy access and within close proximity to beaches, shopping, movie theatres, and dining in the area.
Wells Maine FAQs
Q: How do I get to Wells?
A: Wells is just 12 minutes south of Kennebunkport via State Rte 9 W. and just 15 minutes north of Ogunquit via US-1. It’s also just 90 minutes from Boston, so it makes for a good day trip too.
Q: Are Wells Maine beaches nice?
A: Of course. Wells has four beautiful beaches that stretch for miles across soft sand to marshes and inlets. It’s a popular spot to visit along Maine’s southern coast and offers plenty of magnificent views.
Q: When is Laudholm Farms Open?
Laudholm Farms at Wells Reserve is open from 7 a.m. to sunset every day.
Start Planning Your Trip To Wells Today
With stunning views, delicious food, access to sandy beaches, and fun activities, Wells has all the ingredients you need for a coastal adventure, including lodging options for any budget.
There are plenty of activities for kids, shops for adults, and plenty of chances to have fun right by the ocean. With plenty of small-town charm, you’ll find lots of things to enjoy about Wells, so plan your trip today!