Biddeford and Saco are two separate, neighboring cities in the Southern Maine Coast region. They are known as twin or sister cities because they border each other and share a rich history.
Biddeford Maine and Saco Maine were once thriving commercial mill centers and home to foundries and factories. Today, the mills, foundries, and factories have been shut down and repurposed as living spaces, galleries, shops, and technology centers.
Both cities have a bustling scene while preserving the natural beauty of Maine’s landscape. Visitors will find trendy, upscale restaurants and lively bar scenes downtown and miles of scenic trails, ocean beaches, rivers, and nature preserves just outside of the city centers.
About Biddeford & Saco Maine
Located in Southern Maine, Saco and Biddeford boast populations of nearly 21,000 residents. Located in York County, Biddeford Maine is approximately 30 square miles of land, and Saco Maine has approximately 38 square miles of land.
Biddeford and Saco each have unique dining, entertainment, and outdoor recreational options with bustling downtowns.
History of Biddeford & Saco
The history of Biddeford and Saco dates back to the early 1600s. Biddeford Maine was once a part of Saco Maine and broke off in the early 1700s to become its own established town. Both towns were initially farming, shipbuilding, and lumber communities and were incorporated as cities in the mid-1800s.
In the 19th century, Saco and Biddeford boomed as factories and mills were built, and industries such as cotton, cigar, machine, and iron foundries moved into the area. Many of the factories and mills closed in the mid-1950s.
Biddeford and Saco have both undergone revitalization over the last several years, transforming the old foundries, mills, and factories into relevant, modern spaces.
Saco & Biddeford Weather
The Southern Maine Coast experiences all four seasons, with cold, snowy winters, hot summers, and mild to cool weather in the spring and fall. Biddeford and Saco have a number of indoor and outdoor activities no matter the season, making the two cities ideal for year-round tourism.
Outdoor Things to Do in Biddeford & Saco Maine
There’s no shortage of outdoor space to explore in Saco and Biddeford Maine. From amusement and water parks to golfing to enjoying nature trails and bodies of water, these cities have a lot to offer all ages.
Funtown Splashtown USA | Saco
If you’re looking for something for the whole family to enjoy, spend the day at Funtown Splashtown USA. This amusement and water park has everything from rides for little kids to family-friendly classic rides to thrill rides for bigger kids and adults.
If it’s a hot day, head over to the Splashtown part of the park to cool off in the lazy river, pools, splash pads, and water slides. In typical amusement park style, Funtown has carnival-type games, food stands, locker rentals, and a gift shop too.
Biddeford Saco Country Club | Saco
Golf lovers will enjoy the 18-hole Donald Ross-style course at the Biddeford Saco Country Club. The golf course has been rated one of the top courses in Maine and has hosted many golf tournaments.
Beautiful, well-kept greens await your golf game. Also, there’s a driving range for those who don’t want to commit to a full-course golf game or just want to practice their swing. When it’s time to take a break from the greens, check out the farmhouse-style clubhouse.
Ferry Beach State Park | Saco
Ferry Beach State Park is a 117-acre park with something for everyone who loves being outdoors. The park features a white sand beach with lifeguards on duty in the summertime.
Walk through a scenic tree grove to get to the beach, picnic area, and nature center. The state park has nearly 2 miles of wooded trails that are open year-round for walking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Saco DaySails | Saco
There’s no better way to experience and enjoy Saco Bay than by boat. Saco DaySails offers two-hour sails around Saco Bay on a vintage, wooden sailing yacht.
The Captain is happy to answer any questions about Saco Maine and the history of the area. Sit back, relax, and let the Captain lead you on an unforgettable trip.
Saco Heath Preserve | Saco
The Saco Heath Preserve includes over 1,000 acres of self-guided hiking. The trail offers woodlands and a half-mile boardwalk, which is perfect for an easy, relaxing walk.
While any time is a great time to visit the preserve, spring is the most lively time of year with flowers and blueberry bushes blooming and birds chirping in the trees and sky.
A highlight of visiting the preserve is seeing the Atlantic white cedar, which is home to caterpillars that transform into Hessel’s hairstreak butterflies. If you’re lucky, you may see a moose, deer, or snowshoe hare.
Schooner Mini Golf | Saco
Miniature golf has become synonymous with New England vacations. At Schooner Mini Golf, you’ll find the largest 18-hole mini golf course on the Southern Maine Coast. This mini-golf course has been around for over 30 years and features ’80s music while you putt and a stand with ice cream on-site.
Aquaboggan Water Park & The Saco Drive-In | Saco
Looking for something kid-friendly? Check out Maine’s original water park — Aquaboggan Water Park. This water park has everything from water slides to wave pools to bumper boats.
Not in the mood to get wet? The water park has mini golf and food options on-site too. The newest addition to the water park grounds, though, is The Saco Drive-In. Take a step back in time and enjoy a movie under the stars in your own car.
Cascade Falls | Saco
Cascade Falls is a gorgeous, scenic waterfall and a popular place to take pictures and admire the natural beauty of a waterfall. Just a short, easy walk from the parking area, the trail is about a half-mile loop.
A stop at Cascade Falls would make a nice addition to other plans in the area because it doesn’t take a full day to explore the waterfall area.
Fortunes Rocks Beach | Biddeford
A visit to Maine isn’t complete without a trip to the beach, no matter the season. Fortunes Rocks Beach is a 2-mile beach in Biddeford.
For warmer weather days, the beach is perfect for relaxing in the sun, swimming, surfing, and other water sports. On cooler weather days, a walk along the beach is a great way to unwind.
Bayview Beach | Saco
Bayview Beach is one of the more popular Saco beaches in the summertime. Equipped with lifeguards in the summer, it’s the perfect place to sunbathe and swim. The beach has bathroom facilities and beach wheelchairs to rent, making it one of the most accommodating beaches around.
Children will enjoy searching through the tide pools for marine treasures. Also, Bayview Beach is one of the few dog-friendly beaches in Maine.
Indoor Things to Do in Biddeford & Saco Maine
Weather in Maine can be unpredictable, so it’s always good to have a few indoor activities in mind for inclement weather days. Saco and Biddeford Maine have lots to keep everyone busy, from museums to live performances to shopping options.
Check out these local favorite options for some enjoyable indoor entertainment.
Saco Museum | Saco
Saco has a rich history that’s well documented and displayed in the Saco Museum. The museum has over 10,000 artifacts to explore, all focusing on the Saco Valley area’s history.
You’ll find paintings and sculptures by Maine artists, rare artifacts, and vintage decor and furniture. There’s even a taxidermy display of New England birds.
City Theater | Biddeford
Catch a show or performance at City Theater, Biddeford’s historic landmark opera house. The City Theater is open year-round and maintains the original charm from when it opened over 125 years ago. Shows range from opera to musicals to holiday performances and comedy shows.
Biddeford Ice Arena | Biddeford
The Biddeford Ice Arena is open to all ages and abilities for public ice skating. If you’ve never skated before, the arena holds Learn to Skate lessons. Those ready to take to the ice can rent figure skates or hockey skates at the arena or bring their own. Skate sharpening is available on-site.
After a fun time skating, stop by the bar and lounge in the arena. The arena is open year-round.
Way Way Store | Saco
A trip to the Biddeford-Saco Maine area is not complete without a stop at the Way Way Store. The Way Way Store has a nostalgic feel that will transport you back to the 1920s when it was originally built.
The Way Way Store has all of the trademarks of a country general store — complete with vintage signs, a penny candy counter, knick-knacks, a vintage gasoline pump, and Gifford’s ice cream. There’s so much to explore in this blast-from-the-past store.
Biddeford Mills Museum | Biddeford
The Biddeford Mills Museum offers tours run by former mill employees. The tour guides share how Biddeford went from a quiet town to a bustling industrial city to present-day Biddeford. Tours are run seasonally, but if you miss the tour season, you can still enjoy the museum.
The museum has mill and factory artifacts, historical displays, documents, and neat exhibits. The Biddeford Mills Museum is a must-see for those wanting to learn about the history of Biddeford Maine in an engaging way.
Popular Restaurants in Biddeford & Saco Maine
Biddeford and Saco have seen many new restaurants in the last decade. Trendy, eclectic, and modern restaurant spaces offering locally sourced ingredients and delectable dishes have taken up shop in both downtown areas.
The options for dining in Saco and Biddeford Maine now rival those of bigger cities. Here are a few choices for your next visit to the area.
Traditions Italian Ristorante | Saco
Traditions Italian Ristorante is located on historic Main Street. The Italian restaurant specializes in favorites like veal, eggplant or chicken parmesan, and marsala. The menu also includes pasta dishes like lasagna, ziti, primavera, and, of course, spaghetti.
For those looking for something non-Italian, the restaurant has char-broiled steak, chicken, and seafood dishes too. A full-service bar that includes special Italian wines is available. Plus, Traditions offers an intimate setting for date nights and a lively bar area for meeting up with friends.
Pacifico | Saco
The ultra-trendy spot Pacifico has quickly become a local favorite. It serves all locally-sourced food with a Latin-style flair to each dish.
The menu features small dishes to share, such as fruit guacamole, yuca cheese puffs, pork belly ceviche, and tuna nikkei. Large dishes include New York strip churrasco with chimichurri salsa, seafood stew, whole-fried fish with coconut rice, and many other unique dishes.
The full-service bar menu features cocktails, beers, wines, shots, and mocktails. Alternative drink choices like Maine ginger beer, grapefruit juice, and pineapple juice are also available.
Palace Diner | Biddeford
The Palace Diner is a great spot to enjoy breakfast or a light lunch. Breakfast is served all day and includes popular egg dishes, French toast, and pancakes. For lunch, the menu includes sandwiches, a cheeseburger, fries, and fried chicken.
While the menu is small, it includes the Palace’s specialties, so every dish is delicious and fresh. Additionally, the staff is known for being attentive and friendly. The seating area is small, so takeout is also an option for those in a hurry.
Fish & Whistle | Biddeford
A trip to Maine isn’t complete without indulging in some Maine-caught seafood. The Fish & Whistle has a delectable seafood menu featuring fish and chips, a fish sandwich or squidwich, fish chowder, fish dip, scallops, and cole slaw.
There are a few non-seafood options as well, such as a chicken sandwich, salad, tempeh, and soft-serve ice cream.
Lucky Loggers | Saco
It’s hard to find a place that has something that will satisfy everyone in the group. Lucky Loggers has a menu that is sure to please.
Breakfast items include pancakes, home fries, omelets, eggs, French toast, waffles, blintzes, and crepes. For lunch, the menu has sandwiches and burgers that you can customize to your taste.
Logger melts are a very popular choice with locals and include veal, fish, tuna, ham, pastrami, and chicken parm. Rounding out the menu are sandwiches, salads, appetizers, steak, turkey, haddock, meatloaf, and Italian dishes.
A smaller-portions kid’s and senior’s menu features traditional favorites — pancakes, French toast, hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, chicken tenders, and spaghetti. Dessert options like pie, strawberry shortcake, grape nut custard, and ice cream are on the menu as well.
Sea Salt Lobster | Saco
Maine is known for its lobster, and the Sea Salt Lobster serves the best in the area. All of the seafood dishes at this restaurant are from the local shores of Maine, so you’re getting the freshest catch every visit.
The menu features favorites like mussels, calamari, clam cakes, steamed clams, and crab dishes. For lobster specialties, try the lobster roll, which can be made five different ways — from traditional to BLT style to a roll with cilantro lime aioli.
For non-seafood eaters, there are burgers, salads, sandwiches, tacos, and vegetarian options.
Banded Brewing Co. | Biddeford
The Southern Maine Coast has many local breweries with taprooms to visit. One of the favorites in Biddeford is Banded Brewing Co., which is located at one of the historical Pepperell Mills.
As Biddeford’s very first brewery, it has a taproom with plenty of seating, including outdoor seating in colder weather. Unlike some breweries, this one offers a full food menu, so you aren’t indulging in brews on an empty stomach.
The brewery’s flagship beers include IPAs made with Citra, Chinook, and Azacca hops. It has seasonal, occasional, and perennial beers with a rotating taproom menu too.
Top Hotels in Biddeford & Saco Maine & Other Lodging
There are many family-owned, quaint lodging choices in the Biddeford-Saco Maine area. While there are some chain hotel options, locally owned and operated hotels, motels, and campgrounds give visitors a true friendly local Maine experience.
Whether you’re looking for an upscale boutique, economical accommodations for one, a scenic campsite, or a budget-friendly motel, there’s a place for you to rest and recharge in Saco and Biddeford Maine.
The Lincoln Hotel | Biddeford
The Lincoln Hotel is located in downtown Biddeford, giving you the perfect location for exploring the city. This boutique hotel has just 33 guest rooms, all fashionably decorated with historical details. The rooms have exposed brick walls, high ceilings, massive windows, and high-end fixtures.
On-site guests can use the fitness center, enjoy the art gallery, and have a drink at the lobby bar. Check out the coffee shop and restaurants available on-site as well.
Homestead by the River Family Campground | Biddeford
If you’re looking for a campground to enjoy the natural beauty of Maine, check out Homestead by the River Family Campground. This campground is a true traditional campground experience and not for those looking for a resort or glamping. The sites are spacious and can be booked for RVs or tents.
There are no planned activities like you would find at a resort, but Homestead by the River is not short on fun things to do. The campground offers a play area, farmstands, bike riding paths, a swimming and fishing area, canoes and tubes for rent, basketball courts, and horseshoe pits.
Dallaire’s Motel and Cottages | Biddeford
Dallaire’s Motel and Cottages is perfect for those looking for economical accommodations. The motel rooms are basic and clean and include amenities like a small refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker.
The cottages offer larger living spaces for bigger groups, with living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms for added privacy. All of the rooms have cable TV, Wi-Fi, and air conditioning.
For on-site activities, the motel and cottages have a seasonal swimming pool, basketball hoop, billiards, bocce ball, playground, and barbeque area.
Saco Motel | Saco
The Saco Motel is another economical option in the area. The Saco Motel boasts 1950s-style nostalgic rooms with modern conveniences. The rooms are available with one or two beds and are best suited for solo or couple travelers.
All of the rooms have heating and air conditioning, cable TV, and Wi-Fi. Located right outside the rooms is a seasonal pool with a patio for visitors to enjoy.
FAQs About Biddeford & Saco Maine
What are Biddeford and Saco Maine known for?
Once industrial giants, Saco and Biddeford Maine are known for their mills and foundry history. Now, those once-booming mills and factories have been transformed into new living spaces, museums, galleries, and shops.
The cities are also known for their natural beauty near the Saco River and the Atlantic Ocean.
Are Biddeford and Saco Maine walkable?
The downtown areas of Saco and Biddeford Maine are walkable. Visitors can walk the main streets to restaurants and lodging. However, visitors will need a vehicle to get to the nature preserves, trails, and bodies of water.
Where is the nearest airport to Saco and Biddeford Maine?
The nearest major airport to Biddeford and Saco Maine is the Portland International Jetport (PWM), which is about 15 miles or a 20-minute drive away.
Are Biddeford and Saco Maine child friendly?
Yes, both Saco and Biddeford Maine have many activities for children to enjoy, including indoor play places. Families will find that many restaurants offer children’s menus. Outdoor recreational activities, such as the beach and nature trails, are perfect for young families as well.
Is there an active nightlife in Biddeford and Saco Maine?
Yes, visitors will find many lively bars, breweries, and restaurants in Saco and Biddeford Maine. On the weekends, you’re likely to find that bars have sports games playing on TV, live music, and trivia.
Plan Your Visit to Biddeford & Saco Maine
Saco and Biddeford have so much to offer year-round, especially when the tourist season hits in the summertime. With many affordable lodging options, a trip to these cities is a wonderful trip without breaking the bank.
Biddeford and Saco offer visitors the perks of a city with amazing, trendy restaurants mixed with a friendly, small-town feel. The location can’t be beaten because they are just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and miles of nature reserves and trails.
Whether you’re interested in learning about Maine’s history or looking for a getaway to unwind and be one with nature, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Saco and Biddeford Maine.