If you’re looking for a “beautiful place by the sea,” look no further than Ogunquit Maine, which is exactly the meaning of the town’s name in the Algonquin tongue.
Just 20 minutes south of uber-popular Kennebunkport and north of Kittery, there are plenty of things to do in Ogunquit Maine. You’ll also find lighthouses, The Yorks, and a national wildlife refuge to explore nearby. Plus, boat rentals are available to take you wherever your inner sailor desires.
About Ogunquit Maine
Ogunquit (oh-GUN-quit) offers 3.5 miles of shoreline with unobstructed ocean views. It’s one of the newer towns in Maine, having been incorporated in 1980.
Despite that, the town doesn’t lack the history of other state communities because it was originally part of Wells Maine and has been home to a vibrant arts community since its inception.
Whether the sea beckoned fishing boats or artists looking for coastal inspiration, this community has always been diverse and inclusive.
Present-Day Unique Features
There are several distinct sections of this Southern Maine Coast community:
This downtown area’s proximity to the beach and vast array of restaurants, shops, and inns makes it a great central location for a wandering tourist.
Another central gathering point of the community, the cove offers more dining and shops in a rustic village setting just steps away from the water and one of the most amazing 1-mile trails you’ll ever walk.
This well-worn path hugs the rocky coastline with jaw-dropping ocean views and several benches along the way for soaking in the sights and salt air.
Three beaches fit into the town boundaries, with the larger Ogunquit Beach being one of the most popular beaches in the country — several years in a row, according to TripAdvisor.
Seasons & Weather
Ogunquit Maine experiences four distinct seasons with summers that are rarely intolerably hot and winters that can be brutal.
July is the hottest month with an average high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and January is the coldest month with an average low of 20 degrees. July is also the driest month of the year, while October is the wettest.
As a seaside community, the Atlantic Ocean’s warning effect reduces the potential snowfall, but that’s just by Maine’s standards. Ogunquit Maine gets an average of 4 feet between early November and mid-April, while some cities in the state get more than 9 feet of snow during the season.
Outdoor Things to Do in Ogunquit Maine
Ogunquit Maine is rich in outdoor activities by land, sand, and sea. This region brings the best of seaside options with rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. Beach Street is the dividing line with rocky views to the south and sandy shores to the north.
Beaches in Ogunquit
Ogunquit Beach is the largest and most popular beach in town. This stretch of sand runs 3.5 miles and comes with all the standard beach accessories, like chair and inflatable rentals.
You can beach like the locals by skipping the parking lot and crowds and walking over the pedestrian footbridge to Footbridge Beach, a smaller slice of beach heaven.
BEFORE YOU GO: Knowing the tide schedules is critical in Ogunquit because it’s directly connected to flooding risks, beach space, and fishing activity.
As you walk this unique trail, more than 1 mile of rocky coastline is at your feet. Thirty-nine benches line the way for soaking in the scenery. This is a walk-only trail, so bicycles are not allowed. It’s open in the winter but isn’t maintained, so watch your footing on snowy and icy days.
Can I distribute ashes off of the Marginal Way?
There is no “scattering ashes policy” in any state to ensure proper etiquette, permits, or permission are obtained and used. We recommend that you utilize one of the many boat services in Perkins Cove to accommodate your request. They are all very familiar with this request.– Marginal Way FAQ
One of the unique traits of Ogunquit Maine is the wide open ocean in front of it, offering great opportunities for smooth sailing and various boat adventures. You can even explore other parts of the coastline without having to sit in traffic or search for a parking spot.
Finestkind Scenic Cruises operates all Ogunquit-based tours from Perkins Cove. Examples of its boat tour options include:
- Breakfast Cruises
- Sunset Cruises
- Cocktail Cruises
- Sailing Cruises
- Nubble Lighthouse Cruises
- Lobster Trapping Cruises
NOTE: Anglers need a fishing license from the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Shellfish permits are sold at the Ogunquit Town Clerk’s office, and the clamming season runs from early November to late March.
The Village & Perkins Cove
Downtown Ogunquit is more commonly known as The Village. The heart of it all is at Main Street and Beach Street.
Perkins Cove is another entertainment district surrounding the cove and is an active port. It’s known for its family-friendly atmosphere. In any case, both of these areas are open-air districts with charming and rustic locally-owned businesses along the way.
Indoor Things to Do in Ogunquit Maine
Whether you’re looking for rainy-day activities or just want to spend some time in air conditioning, Ogunquit has you covered with history, art, and entertainment.
This local museum is housed in an 18th-century home — the Captain James Winn House — with woods and pathways surrounding it. Displays include fishing history, local architecture, cultural history, and early artwork. It’s open from June through October.
For almost a century, this theatre has been entertaining the masses. It started as a small theatre company out of a garage and grew into the performance art destination it is today with a robust 25-week schedule of classics like “Singin’ in the Rain” and modern shows like “The DaVinci Code.” Shows run from May through October.
The OMAA holds more than 3,000 works of art with new exhibits and events each season, which runs from May through October. The 3-acre property includes 18 gardens with sculptures along the way. And, don’t miss the stunning rocky shoreline views.
More Ogunquit Art Galleries & Spaces
As a vibrant art community since its founding, you’ll find plenty of smaller galleries to explore. May through October is known as Gallery Season.
- The Barn Gallery is home to the Ogunquit Art Association, which was established in 1928.
- The Abacus Gallery has practical art, like jewelry and home goods, with a well-known local following of the Abacus Calendar.
- The TaleSpin Studio offers scheduled tours of a working art studio and gallery, or you can just stop by to see if it’s open.
Ogunquit Maine Annual Events & Festivals
It’s not just the places of Ogunquit Maine that attract people to the town. It hosts several big events throughout the year too.
After a long, cold Maine winter, this kick-off to warmer weather is an Ogunquit staple. Fair warning, it’s also held during the notorious Maine Mud Season.
This June celebration lands on the anniversary of Ogunquit Maine with concerts, a circus, an art walk, and fireworks.
This late October event is the last chance of each year to enjoy the town before some of the businesses close up for the season. It includes classic car shows, Halloween activities, and the High Heel Dash for charity.
Despite the high season of summer travels and some businesses boarding up by the end of October, Ogunquit Maine is the North Pole of Maine for its Christmas By the Sea celebration. Even long after the festival, Travel & Leisure magazine ranks Ogunquit as No. 2 among the Best Christmas Towns in the USA.
HO HO HOLD ON, THERE’S MORE: If you plan your trip to Ogunquit perfectly, you can pair it with a visit to Kennebunkport for the Christmas Prelude.
Additional Attractions Near Ogunquit Maine
Ogunquit Maine offers its own great town amenities while still being close to other major coastal communities in both directions. So while you’re here, you can check out some other things to do nearby.
Just 15 minutes north of Ogunquit, you’ll find this preserved natural land spanning more than 2,250 acres with marshes, beaches, and trails. The reserve is open year-round, and guided tours (walking and kayaking) are regularly scheduled if you’d prefer to be led through the ecosystems.
Since Ogunquit Maine was originally part of Wells, the two are connected in the Wells-based museum. There are eight galleries to explore, with interactive and unique exhibits showcasing these coastal communities’ history and artistic vibe.
The summer home of the Bush family is just one of many reasons people love Kennebunkport. The town is built along the Kennebunk River, which flows into the ocean.
Expect higher prices and fewer parking spots in this haven for the wealthy. It’s a wonderful town to visit and explore, but you’ll be glad you can head back to the more laid-back Ogunquit.
Named for the “nub” of rocky land it sits on, this York Maine lighthouse isn’t open for tours but is still one of the most photographed in all of Maine from the nearby Soheir Park.
You’ll find a large outlet mall just 20 minutes south of Ogunquit on Route 1 in Kittery Maine. It’s home to major name brands. If you need vacation clothing or recreational staples, you’ll get better bargains here than in smaller stores along the coast.
Great Restaurants in Ogunquit Maine
Ogunquit cuisine ranges from big breakfast platters to fresh seafood to Asian influences and everything in between. Here are several delicious eateries for every appetite and mood.
Casual & Family Restaurants
If you go to Maine and don’t have a lobster roll, did you even really go to Maine? Feed that fix with a lobster roll, steamed oysters, or other seafood mixed with American fare on an affordable menu at the Lobster Shack. If the lines are long or the restaurant is closed, you could try Foot Bridge Lobster next door.
Barnacle Billy’s is a New England staple and so popular that even Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, has been spotted here. Watch lobster boats pull in while trying the amazing chowder and sipping a potent rum punch known as “the best this side of Key West.”
Go to BeachFire Bar & Grille for the great food, and stay for the fire pit that is ablaze during every season. It’s open for lunch, dinner, and late-night bites on weekends, with regular hours Tuesday through Thursday.
Upscale, Intimate, & Romantic Spots
While technically in Cape Neddick — 3 miles from Ogunquit — the sweeping ocean views and cliffs at The Tiller at Cliff House feel like they are a course of the meal. During winter, warmed dining igloos are set up for even better views and a more intimate dining experience.
That Place in Ogunquit is touted as casually elegant with a fun bar and lounge. The menu features inventive appetizers, creative seafood, and steaks.
For unlimited meat portions sliced table-side and an extensive wine list from the family winery, head to Bonissoni Steakhouse. If that’s not enough, this steakhouse also serves breakfast.
Coffee & Ice Cream Shops
Whether you want a pick-me-up or a sweet treat, there are a few stand-out spots in Ogunquit Maine. Mornings in Paris is open year-round and offers a winter menu and #SaveMaineLobstermen blend for purchase to take back to the room or home with you.
Serving BARD coffee, Backyard Coffeehouse & Eatery is a seasonal coffeehouse with gluten-free and Vegan options on its menu. To enjoy breakfast anytime with your favorite cup of cold or hot brew, visit Congdon’s Doughnuts. Sit inside, on the patio, or drive through on your way to the beach.
Ogunquit Wineries & Breweries
For an adult sip while you’re visiting Ogunquit Maine, check out some of the area’s wineries and breweries. Bringing California Wine Country to New England, Coastal Wine is a wine tasting room and restaurant with more than 100 options and locally-made, hand-carved wine boxes for sale or online ordering.
Brickyard Hollow is a Maine-based brewery with several locations, but its Ogunquit location specializes in craft beers and pizza.
Despite the 8-mile drive, Wild Bevy is well worth the drive. It’s a craft distillery specializing in botanical gin, vodka, and whiskey. Plus, it offers tours with a special guest, Hazel, being the center of attention.
Fabulous Hangouts & Nightlife
If you’re just looking for a fun time in the evening, there are a couple of ideal spots in Ogunquit. The Front Porch is a popular location known for its piano bar and entertainment year-round. It has a bar and lounge for mingling, as well as intimate tables for romantic dinners.
Get your dance shoes ready for Mainestreet, a gay nightclub with two dance floors, three bars, and two outside decks. Weekly events — from drag shows to comedy acts to karaoke — bring people to let loose throughout the year. This space includes a 110-seat theater too.
Top Hotels in Ogunquit Maine
One wonderful part of Ogunquit is the authentic overnight experience, with no chain hotels on the main highway, beach, or village. Ogunquit Maine hotel and lodging options range from beachfront to cliffside to village-facing to highway locations.
NOTE: Rental scams are growing in Maine, with almost $500,000 being lost in 2021. Before you book, please review the Rental Scams section on the state Attorney General’s website. You can also read the warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
One company runs three resorts within a 10-minute walk of each other. You can’t search rates for all three simultaneously, but you can easily book rooms through each resort’s webpage:
- Aspinquid Resort is a pet-friendly resort perfect for those who want to be close to the beach and The Village.
- Norseman Resort has unparalleled beachfront views just steps from the sand. Expect a walk to The Village to take just 10 to 15 minutes.
- Located in the heart of The Village, Seacastles Resort is within walking distance of the beach (about 15 minutes carrying your beach gear). This resort is ideal for off-season travelers and anyone wanting to spend more time shopping and dining than beachcombing.
If staying near the rocky shoreline instead of sandy beaches is important to you, this large resort could be a perfect choice. Amenities include membership privileges with the Cape Neddick Country Club, an on-premise spa, and snowshoes for winter walks. Kitchenettes are included in each room.
For those looking for a more intimate setting, the Rockmere offers eight distinct rooms set in a quiet neighborhood about midway on the Marginal Way and within walking distance to The Village. Each day, a full breakfast is offered.
Never worry about your hotel neighbors making noise in this cottage resort. With a mix of unique guest rooms and cottages, it’s more secluded than most resorts. This isn’t a cookie-cutter resort, as each room is individually styled. And, you can take rowboats to Ogunquit Beach, or walk there at low tide.
Adult Only Hotels & Inns
Whether you’re searching for an adult-only hotel, Ogunquit Maine has several options. Most are conveniently located but specifically designed for privacy and seclusion for intimate moments or special occasions.
Built into a tree-lined property in an 1847 farmhouse, Gazebo Inn offers a year-round saltwater hot tub, massages, two community spaces (a bar and a great room), and private car service.
2 Village Square (2VS) is an 1886 renovated inn that looks big but still keeps an intimate atmosphere with stunning ocean views from the pool. Featuring a truly intimate setting with 16 rooms split between an upper and lower house, Hartwell House Inn awaits with great access to The Village or Perkins Cove.
“Adults-Only” generally means that a location only allows children 16 and older, with all adults welcomed.
FAQs About Ogunquit Maine
Is Ogunquit Maine a year-round destination?
Many Maine cities close up in the winter because there aren’t enough tourists to keep businesses afloat. Since Ogunquit Maine has a strong following, especially in the LBGTQIA+ community, and a central location, you’ll find more places open here than in some other cities.
Anyone visiting from late October through mid-April should check the schedules of attractions, restaurants, and shops that they want to visit. The Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce is a helpful resource.
Do I need a car to get around Ogunquit Maine?
You’ll need a car, rideshare, or shuttle to get you to Ogunquit Maine, but once you arrive, it’s a very walkable town.
One bonus is that you don’t need to go through a permit process for parking. Paid parking is available for residents and visitors at the beach, village, and cove areas. You can find space and pay for it using the newly launched Passport Parking app.
York County offers several trolley routes, including a trolley service in Ogunquit. The trolleys run during high season, but check the schedule before you make plans for your trip itinerary.
Is Ogunquit Maine a gay town?
Ogunquit is Maine’s footprint for the LGBTQIA+ community, rivaling Provincetown on Outer Cape Cod. The town has many local gay-owned businesses with an inclusive spirit for families, couples, and solo travelers of all ages. While downtown is known as the more LGBTQIA+ part of the community, everyone is welcome.
Can I get married in Ogunquit Maine?
Yes! Ogunquit Maine caters to couples and newlyweds looking to exchange vows, with a more specific focus on gay marriages than you’ll find anywhere else in Maine. Residents and visitors can get wedding licenses at any municipal office.
Are there sharks in Ogunquit’s waters?
Yes, sharks are in the waters and are well tracked. In fact, two of them are such frequent visitors that they have been given the names Charlotte and Freya.
It’s not an impending disaster risk, but you can take some precautions. For instance, follow the Ogunquit Police Department’s Facebook page for shark sighting reports, and stay out of the water if a purple flag is present at the beach.
How can I get emergency alerts in Ogunquit Maine?
Does Ogunquit Maine get hurricanes?
Maine faces a double whammy with either hurricanes or Nor’easters possible nearly every month of the year. Hurricane season runs from June through November, and you can track the tropics through the National Hurricane Center.
Just as hurricane season winds down, Nor’easter season kicks off from October through April, and those storms can be just as devastating. All storms come with plenty of warnings and safety steps.
Explore All of Ogunquit & More of the Southern Coast of Maine
Ogunquit Maine has a mix of rocky shorelines with sandy beaches and a vibrant community that is just as modern as it is historic.
The town is also one of the more diverse communities in Maine, with the most LGBTQIA+ inclusive atmosphere this side of Provincetown Massachusetts. At the same time, it’s still a welcoming place for families, solo travelers, and groups.
On top of that, it’s in a nice central location between The Yorks and Kennebunkport. So, there are plenty more things to do and explore along this Southern Coast of Maine.