Category Archives: Winter Activities

Maine Beach Getaways in Winter

The true beauty of the southern Maine coast is you can walk the beach year round. Southern Maine is legendary for its long sandy stretches of pristine, picture perfect beaches, from York to Wells, Ogunquit to Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach to Portland! While everyone comes for a Maine beach vacation in the summer.

Spring, fall and winter on the Maine coast are undiscovered gems for long beach walks, finding smooth beach stones, sea glass and shells, even the occasional lobster pot after a storm out to sea. What’s especially enjoyable about the southern Maine coast is that the Atlantic Ocean provides warmth in colder weather, with the sea temperature averaging in the 40’s. So seaside towns are more temperate often than inland and toward the Maine mountains.

The other bonus of a winter Maine beach vacation is great off-season lodging rates at the best waterfront inns and hotels, not to mention free available parking by the beach.

Here are some great oceanfront resorts, steps to beaches  – ideal for a winter getaway:

York Harbor Inn  in York Maine – a romantic BnB walking distance to Harbor Beach, with a cozy Ships Cellar Pub for happy hour.
Ogunquit Resort Motel in Ogunquit – near Footbridge Beach and Town, affordable and friendly lodging.
Cliff House Resort and Spa– which just underwent a complete renovation in Cape Neddick near Ogunquit.
Misty Harbor Resort in Wells is a short walk to Wells Beach Maine – with suite lodging and an indoor pool and spa too!
Village by the Sea in Wells is not far from the beach, and has an indoor pool and condo style lodging!
Seaside Inn in Kennebunk is steps to the a beautiful sandy beach, with an outdoor ocean view hot tub,  and its a nice walk to Kennebunkport.
Breakwater Inn and Spa is right on the river with ocean views, a short walk to a beach, shops and restaurants,  and a pleasant stroll to President Bush’s Walkers Point home on scenic Ocean Ave in Kennebunkport. Stripers Waterfront Restaurant is on site with a great happy hour, sunsets and lobster specials!
Rhumb Line Resort in Kennebunkport has an indoor pool and spa, plus an outdoor hot tub, and is great for families, in Kennebunkport, a short drive to several sandy beaches.
Sea Cliff is located directly on 7-mile Old Orchard Beach, open in winters with great rates and the sound of waves from your suite at night.
Portland HeadlightIn Portland Maine, stay in town in the Old Port at Portland Regency and you’re a short drive to Portland Headlight and beaches, best of all you walk around Portland’s great boutiques and bars from the hotel.

So make plans for a Maine beach break – this winter! Stroll the beach, save on lodging with off season special, walk in to your favorite restaurants for lobster and enjoy local happy hour specials at some of Maine’s best restaurants…  it’s a shore cure for cabin fever and winter blues, and sure easier and less expensive than flying to a tropical island.

See more at Southern Maine Coast Lodging Guide , Visit Maine Lodging Directory, and Kennebunkport Maine Lodging Guide.

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Copyright SouthernMaineCoast.com.  Text and photos property of IMS-21.net.

What is there to do on the Southern Maine Coast in winter?

5seaside-inn-winterWhat is there to do on the Southern Maine Coast in winter? Plenty – walk the beach, shop, eat, drink, ski, sled, skate, surf, cozy up to a fire at a romantic seaside inn, eat lobster, snowshoe, paint, read, write…

You can walk the beach all year round. In winter, Ogunquit, Wells Beach, Kennebunk Beach and Old Orchard are all beautiful. You can watch the surfers ride the winter waves, walk your dog, take pictures of the snow and sand, and just enjoy an entirely different season on the beach, read: not wearing your bikini.

Cross country skiing or snowshoeing at nearby Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm on their 7 mile of beautiful trails or Harris Farm in Dayton makes for a great day, even an hour outside enjoying the snow and the scenery.

2dock-square-kbpt2For a more relaxing romantic endeavor, take a horse drawn carriage ride through Kennebunkport’s Docks Square, Ogunquit and Kennebunk both have beautiful outdoor ice skating rinks. Kennebunk’s Waterhouse Pavilion is a free public covered ice rink in downtown Kennebunk next to the Kennebunk Inn.

Sledding hills are peppered throughout the coast – Kennebunk’s Sea Road Dump, no longer a landfill, is very popular for sledding on the well-pitched hill. Munjoy Hill and the Eastern Prom in Portland have some good sledding spots too.

99love-kbpt-davidsAs for fun festivals, Kennebunkport celebrates Paint The Town Red and February is For Lovers with red and white lights, Ice Bar at David’s KPT, heart decorations and romantic specials on lodging at fabulous inns, happy hours, dining and shopping.  Ogunquit throws a Mardi Gras party in February 20 weekend with fir jugglers, a Masquerade Ball and a Hat and Mask Parade down Ogunquit’s Main Street. Let the good time roll in Ogunquit in winter.

4dock-square-kbpt7Shopping is a four season sport, and Maine is no exception, especially with LL Bean open 365 24/7. Winter shopping in Maine means deals and sales – whether you are at Kittery Outlets, Freeport’s Outlets, or the many boutiques and shops in Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and the Old Port of Portland. You can also find bargains at Mardens and Reny’s  -two classic Maine shopping experiences – buy it if you see it – these Maine shopping institutions are never the same twice. The local people watching is a hoot to.

davids-serverMaine restaurants host Maine Restaurant Week March 1-16, 2016 – so it’s actually two weeks of great Maine dining deals at the best restaurants in southern Maine. Maine’s foodie scene as rocketed to top chef status, in fact Portland recently topped Boston as the coziest city in America – with the great dining spots as a number 1 reason.

Per capita, Portland Maine has more restaurants than any other city in the United States, and many are walkable and wonderful! Winter is a better time to tackle the Top Restaurants in Portland – less lines and less waiting for a table and better dining deals than peak summer. Don’t worry, lobster is always on the menu, clams too.

6captain-lord-mansion-kennebunkportLastly, cozy romantic lodging along the Southern Maine Coast in winter is a great deal. You can score a beautiful suite or a fireplace room in a BNB for less than spring, summer or fall, and you have the place to yourself. Many lodging properties like Seaside Inn and Captain Lord Mansion in K’port, and Ogunquit Resort Motel offer packages including wine and flowers, or dining certificates to local restaurants during your stay, even late check outs. Family resorts like Rhumb Line in Kennebunkport and Village by the Sea and Misty Harbor in Wells have indoor heated pools perfect for a family vacation.

love-kbpt-davids6See our Southern Maine Coast lodging guide and plan a winter getaway today – bring the kids, the dog to a pet friendly place, or just your sweetheart to a romantic inn in Maine.

Photos by Greg Burke, see more at Southern Maine Coast Lodging Guide , Visit Maine Lodging Directory, and Kennebunkport Maine Lodging Guide.

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Copyright SouthernMaineCoast.com.  Text and photos property of IMS-21.net.

Annual Events on the Southern Maine Coast

Jan 1 The Polar Plunge | Portland, Kennebunk, and Old Orchard Beach – swimmers start the New Year with a cold dip in the Atlantic at Maine beaches January 1 for a good cause benefiting various charities. Old Orchard Beach has a Lobster Dip.

Lobster Trap Christmas TreeFebruary is for Lovers | Kennebunkport -The seaside town of Kennebunkport will “Paint the Town Red.” Red tag sales in boutiques, red plates at the best restaurants, a red light ceremony, and carriage rides are highlights. Kennebunk-Kennebunkport offers the perfect winter destination, romantic lodging with ocean views, jacuzzis, and fires. Getaway packages include dining at cozy intimate restaurants, even spa treatments in a picturesque village setting.

Maine Maple Sunday – the third weekend in March Maine Sugar Shacks demonstrate syrup making and give maple candies and maple syrup samples.

Kennebunk May Day Parade and Festival – 1st weekend in May downtown Kennebunk hosts a hometown parade, live music, craft fair and farmers market and family fun.

Memorial Day Weekend Parade Kennebunkport and Kennebunk

wine_glass_corkJune 8-13, 2015: Kennebunkport Festival | Kennebunkport – a fine food, art and wine festival celebrates Kennebunkport’s artists, galleries, top chefs and fine restaurants. Award-winning chefs prepare extraordinary dinners paired with wine and art. Before and After parties, concerts, boat parties, Pop The Kennebunks, Grand Tastings, Brews and tunes, and  Grand Finale comprise this annual waterfront festival in Kennebunkport and Kennebunk. Kennebunkport Festival lodging packages are available at Kennebunkport historic bed and breakfast, inns, resorts and oceanfront hotels.

June 22-23, 2015: George H W Bush Celebrity Golf Classic  | Kennebunkport – A Cape Arundel Golf Club golf tournament with past presidents, pros and celebrities is followed by an evening gala at The Colony Hotel in a fundraiser for Gary’s House.

Tour de Cure | Wells Reserve, Wells –   June bicycle ride to benefit the American Diabetes Association offers one of five routes, 5K, 25K, 50K, 100K, or 100 Mile on Maine’s scenic coastline of Southern Maine with the start and finish at Wells Reserve in Wells.
Portland Headlight
Old Port Festival | Portland – A mid June-tradition for 40 years, Portland’s annual Old Port Festival is Maine’s largest one-day event with bands, a parade,  artists and craft fairs.

June 28 Paddle Battle at Nonantum Resort l Kennebunkport – Annual race of canoes, paddleboards and kayaks on the Kennebunk River.

Southern Maine Fireworks DisplayJuly 4  Fireworks | Maine Beach Towns including York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk Old Orchard Beach, Portland

Aug 29, 2015: Wells Annual Chilifest | Wells – Wells Harbor becomes a Mexican fiesta as Wells best restaurants compete for the best chili title, last weekend in August.

Laudholm Summer Solstice Nature Crafts Festival | Wells – 1st Weekend after Labor Day 100 artisans, jewelers,  and crafts people display at Laudholm Farm.

Lobsterman Triathlon | South Freeport – the most popular triathlons of lobstermen that swim across Casco bay, bike and run  in Freeport mid September.

Maine Open Lighthouse Day – September weekendMaine’s lighthouses are open to the public and free of charge

Wells Beach signOct 17, 2015: York Harvestfest | York Beach – York’s annual celebration of Maine food and culture, music and crafts on York Beach, Maine.

October 2015: OgunquitFest | Ogunquit – last weekend of October is filled with fall fun, pumpkin decorating, costume parade, classic car show, craft show,  high heel race, bed race, wagon rides, and a scarecrow contest.

Oct 2015: Harvest on the Harbor | Portland Maine’s top chefs serve local food and wines on Portland’s waterfront for the title Maine Lobster Chef of the year

October 30, 2015 Nonantum Phantom l Kennebunkport annual Halloween Bash for adults with costumes and live music at this historic, haunted Kennebunkport inn.

Oct 31 “Trick or Treat” Halloween Night in the Kennebunks | the Kennebunks’ local merchants hand out goodies to costumed kids in the late afternoon.

Nov 28, 2015 Festival of Lights | Kennebunk –  the largest Christmas Tree in downtown Kennebunk is lit up the weekend following Thanksgiving! Caroling, horse-drawn carriage rides, and ice skating at Kennebunk’s Waterhouse Pavilion.

nubble-light-southern-maine-coast.jpgNov 28, 2015: Lighting of the Nubble | Sohier Park, York – In Sohier Park, the Nubble Lighthouse is illuminated and Santa makes an appearance.

Dec 3 – 13, 2015: Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude | Kennebunkport – seasonal seaside celebration with  tree lighting , shopping, craft fairs, caroling, and Santa in a lobster boat! Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude is the first two weeks in December.

Freeport Sparkle Weekend | Freeport – 1st weekend of Dec. Freeport  has a Parade of Lights down Main Street, Holiday Movie Marathon, Tuba Christmas Concert, Visits with Santa, Horse Drawn Wagons, Musical Holiday Light Shows, Holiday crafts, Complimentary Gift Wrapping and more!

Dec  5, 2015: Festival of Lights | York – Christmas fun includes the Polar Express, Breakfast with Santa, Festival of Ginger-bread Houses, Festival of Trees, the Lighting of York Village, and a Festival of Lights Parade.

Snow TreesDec  11-13, 2015: Christmas By the Sea Ogunquit | Christmas celebration with a parade, holiday decorations, caroling, Ogunquit shopping, and craft fairs.

2nd Saturday of Dec: Christmas Boat Parade of Lights | Portland Harbor –  Casco Bay Lines Boat Parade of Lights fills Portland harbor with decorated lighted boats and fireworks.

Dec 13, 2015: Southern Maine Christmas Parade | Wells – an annual holiday parade of floats, decorated vehicles, mascots and marching bands Wells Plaza at 2pm to the Wells Junior High School.

For lodging on the Southern Maine Coast during any of these fun annual events, see our Maine Lodging Guide and we hope to “sea” you soon!

Winter in Maine – Southern Coast Events

Snow TreesWinter in Maine brings snow and a sparkling blue color on the ocean. The best way to enjoy Maine winters is to get outdoors – snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling, etc. Southern Maine hosts a profusion of winter recreation and events from holiday festivals and shopping to sleigh rides, skating and cross country skiing. The Southern Maine  region embraces the spirit of the holidays in the winter months, but you can still walk the beach all year round.

Lobster Trap Christmas Tree: Saturday after Thanksgiving: York, ME, Lighting of the Nubble For some York locals, the Holiday Season doesn’t start until the annual Lighting of the iconic Nubble Lighthouse. In Sohier Park, there can be music, hot cocoa, cookies and while Santa makes an appearance. At dusk, the Nubble will be illuminated as testament of the coming Holidays.

Lobster Trap Christmas Tree1st two weeks of December: Kennebunkport, ME  HGTV noted Kennebunkport as the nation’s 2nd most spirited Christmas Town with respect to its holiday inspired events, tree lightings, entertainment, shopping, craft fairs, caroling, a Fire and Ice Bar at The Nonantum Resort on the River, and Santa in a lobster boat in its Annual Christmas Prelude Celebration.

1st two weeks of December: Ogunquit, ME Enjoy Ogunquit’s Annual Christmas By the Sea Celebration with  holiday decorations, caroling,  parade, races, shopping, craft fairs and more!

December 14: Watch holiday-themed characters, ornamented vehicles, and marching bands in the Southern Maine Christmas Parade in Wells.

January 1: Daring individuals take the Polar Plunge in Portland, Old Orchard and Kennebunk Beach to start the New Year with a dip in the cold Atlantic water annually at Maine beaches benefiting various charities. Old Orchard Beach hosts the annual Lobster Dip – same concept.

Winter BeachFebruary is For Lovers in Kennebunkport: All month the seaside town of Kennebunkport Paints The Town Red with lights, a lobster trap shaped heart, horse drawn carriage rides and romantic red tag sales and red plates dinner specials. Book a lodging package with chocolates, Champagne and flowers and see why Kennebunkport is New England’s most romantic town.

Whether you’re visiting Southern Maine for the holidays on a winter vacation or family gathering, you’re welcome to indulge in our winter festivals!

Sledding Hill in SoMe–Weeeee!

Snow TreesThe hot spots for sledding in Maine are a lot like the beaches. Locals generally don’t like to disclose where the best hills are for sledding. That’s ok, because usually the best spots are public–the only downside is, they could be busy. In my years growing up in Maine, I’ve never had a problem with overcrowding when sledding; then again I’ve always liked making new friends, even if the friendship only lasted for the duration of a few hours of sledding.

Here’s your list of the best sledding spots in Southern Maine: Continue reading Sledding Hill in SoMe–Weeeee!

Things to do in Southern Maine: Winter Events

Winter in Maine brings snow and a sparkling blue color on the ocean. The best way to enjoy Maine winters is to get outdoors – snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling, etc. Southern Maine hosts a profusion of winter recreation and events from holiday festivals and shopping to sleigh rides, skating and cross country skiing. The Southern Maine  region embraces the spirit of the holidays in the winter months, but you can still walk the beach all year round. Continue reading Things to do in Southern Maine: Winter Events

Things to do in Southern Maine During the Winter

snowshoeAnyone living in Maine knows that winter on the Southern Maine Coast can be milder – the sea tempers the cold, and the snow on the coast is magical. For those traveling from a warmer area to Southern Maine for vacation, consider yourselves lucky, and just enjoy beautiful Maine’s winter wonderland! Vacationing in Southern Maine during the winter means you get to enjoy the best of winter – snowy seascapes, ice skating and cross country skiing, sleigh rides and firesides, with the warmth of a fireplace at your inn at day’s end, and a cup of steaming clam chowder or lobster stew. For those escaping to the Southern Maine region during the winter, likely you’re looking to get some action in the great outdoors to get away from it all, without “getting away from it all”. Why not get some ideas on things to do in Southern Maine during the winter from a local? Continue reading Things to do in Southern Maine During the Winter

Walking in a Winter Wonderland: In Kennebunk!

Living within 40 minutes of the coast in Southern Maine, the beach is one of my favorite hot spots to visit especially Wells Beach, Ogunquit Beach and Long Beach in York. Last weekend, Kennebunk Beach was calling for me. With my scarf, gloves and hat I took to the Maine coast on a chilly December day.

Winter Surfing in MaineFor those living out of range for a day trip to the beach, you may be surprised that off season, the beach is a popular spot for a walk outside. I like to call it walking in a winter wonderland, that is, without the snow. During Maine’s off-season, many locals take their dogs on a walk along the beach where dog prohibits are lifted. You’ll even see winter surfers taking advantage of the waves like these guys here (right). Burr! Continue reading Walking in a Winter Wonderland: In Kennebunk!

Ice Skating in Southern Maine

Anyone who owns property on a lake or pond knows skating on your own private property is a lot of work. Clearing a space for ice skating can take HOURS of shoveling snow. If the ice is thick enough, you can take a snow plow out on the ice to clear an area for pond hockey or ice skating. Still, by the time you’ve finished, you’ll want nothing more than to sit and relax or take a nap.

We recommend public skating areas, they are safe and someone else does the shoveling and resurfacing to provide you the best ice.  Also public ice rinks are more social and typically will lit with benches and sometimes even bonfires. Continue reading Ice Skating in Southern Maine