Long Sands Beach - York Maine

The ULTIMATE Guide to York Maine: Things to Do in YORK, YORK BEACH, & YORK HARBOR

Are you interested in the best things to do in York Maine? This town has a lot to offer, so if you are planning on visiting, or if you are already a resident, York is one of the most relaxing places in Maine to be.

York is known for its delicious restaurants, gorgeous beaches, and the Nubble Lighthouse. Situated on I-95, just a short distance from Portsmouth, it is very easy to navigate and has plenty of attractions for people of all ages!

The area is home to numerous young professionals, families, and retired couples, but it is a community dedicated to diversity and inclusion. If you are looking for unique experiences, delicious food, and friendly people, look no further than York Maine.

York Maine

All About York Maine

York Maine is one of the oldest settlements in North America. The area was originally settled by Europeans in 1624, but Native Americans lived in the area long before the Europeans arrived. It was first called Agamenticus, but the name was changed to Bristol after the settlers’ home city in England.

Growth in York

During the next 100 years, York grew into a massive trading center on the East Coast. It was filled with wharves and warehouses, serving as a center of commerce between New England and the West Indies.

The town mainly focused on trading lumber and agricultural products, but it was at the center of the sugar and molasses trade too. In the early 19th century, though, the United States passed the Embargo Act, which crippled trade in York. And, the town didn’t prosper again until after the Civil War.

Expansion for Tourism

When York began to flourish again, it expanded as a tourist destination, and it still is today. The town has done an exceptional job of preserving its history, providing a window into what life was like in the early days of New England. And, people visit the town to escape the heat and traffic in major cities.

York's Wild Kingdom-Kittery-
York’s Wild Kingdom | photo via mainely.momma

York Maine Outdoor Things to Do

As a popular summer resort, York Maine is known for its beautiful scenery. Here are some of the most popular outdoor things to do in York Maine.

Mount Agamenticus

If you want a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean, you need to check out Mount Agamenticus.

The mountain is only 692 feet tall, but there are several beautiful hiking trails scattered across the mountain. The pathways range significantly in difficulty, so there is something appropriate for people of all experience levels.

Mount Agamenticus used to be a ski area, but today, it is more popular among horseback riders and ATV riders. You can even bring your vehicle to the top of the summit if you want the perfect photo shot. Take a picnic basket because you might want a bite to eat when you reach the top.

Hartley Mason Reserve

For a long time, the Hartley Mason Reserve was a private seaside residence. Now, it is open to the public, and the grounds are perfectly manicured.

When you visit, you will be treated to some gorgeous views, anchored by the mouth of the York River. You might want to take a picnic basket if you want to relax on the grounds, but there are also a few benches where you can kick back and rest.

You can find the reserve across the street from the York Harbor Inn. If you are looking for a beautiful place to have your wedding, you might want to host your ceremony there.

The Ledges Golf Club-York
The Ledges Golf Club | photo via zackdeblois

The Ledges Golf Club

Do you love to golf? If so, you should test your skills at The Ledges Golf Club. This golf course has championship greens, and the course itself is of moderate difficulty. It is particularly popular during the summer, so you may have to book your tee time well in advance.

If you are a bit rusty, you might want to sign up for lessons with one of the local golf pros. There are even special packages that allow you to play a few rounds when you book a stay at select nearby hotels.

Nubble Lighthouse & Sohier Park

When you are in York Maine, you have to visit the Nubble Lighthouse, which is also known as the Cape Neddick light.

The tower is located in Sohier Park and is one of the most popular postcard pictures in the country. You may also want to visit during Christmas or July to see the lighthouse glowing in lights.

When you visit the park, don’t forget to point your eyes toward the ocean. You have a good chance of seeing a variety of animals, including harbor seals, herring gulls, and black-backed gulls.

Nubble Lighthouse - York, Maine
Nubble Lighthouse – York, Maine

York’s Wild Kingdom

If you want to see more animals, this charming town is home to York’s Wild Kingdom. It is the only location in the New England area that serves as both a zoo and an amusement park.

The park is just a short distance from Short Sands Beach, so it is the perfect item to add to your itinerary when the sun is shining outside.

There are dozens of animal species to explore, ranging from butterflies and birds to lions and ostriches. In addition, there are several amusement park rides, so you will definitely get your adrenaline rush. You might even want to test your skills on the miniature golf course.

Long Sands Beach

If you are looking for beautiful, white sand that looks like it stretches forever, you need to explore Long Sands Beach. It is located along Route 1A and is known for its varied scenery. While it has plenty of white sand, it also has some interesting tide pools and rock formations.

This beach is also handicapped accessible. You can find some ramps near the boathouse, and it is a popular location for swimming and sunbathing throughout the year. The scenery can change with the tide as well, so you might want to visit twice to get a different view.

Wiggly Bridge

The Wiggly Bridge was built in the 1930s and offers a uniquely bouncy but safe walk across Barrells Millpond. A gorgeous wooden deck stretches across the water and is connected by two towers. As you walk across the bridge, you can feel it flex and bounce back and forth.

You can see the steel towers from Route 103. The bridge is open to the public all year with no admission fee and leads to trails through a natural area on the other side.


Fun Indoor Things To Do in York

As you arrive in York Maine, one of the first things that you might notice is that the town has numerous historical buildings, which have some beautiful architecture. Among them, there are some awesome indoor things to do.

Museums of Old York

Do you want to learn more about what life was like for the first Europeans who arrived in York Maine? You should visit the Museums of Old York. Maine is one of the oldest colonial communities in the country, and the museum has done a fantastic job of preserving some of its oldest artifacts.

You should start by taking a closer look at the Old York Museum Center. A variety of educational programs are held here throughout the year, and you can explore some buildings that were built during the mid-1700s. Examples include the York Corner Schoolhouse and the Jefferds Tavern.

The Shops at Cape Neddick

If you want to shop until you drop, you should explore The Shops at Cape Neddick. The complex is laid out in a barn that is more than 5,000 square feet. It will look like an old-style Main Street, and you can choose from a variety of stores.

For example, you might be interested in some jewelry, or you might be looking for some new clothes. If you want to buy some gifts for your friends and family members back home, you can certainly find them here.

The Goldenrod-York
The Goldenrod | photo via geoffreyfrose

The Goldenrod

If you have a sweet tooth, you should visit The Goldenrod. It is the perfect opportunity to learn how saltwater taffy is made. The shop has been open since 1896, which has given it plenty of time to hone its craft and produce the perfect saltwater taffy.

The Goldenrod itself is home to the Goldenrod Kiss, which is more than 100 years old. There is an antique marble soda fountain that still plays an integral role in making hot fudge sundaes and ice cream sodas. With more than 130 flavors of ice cream, everyone can find something they like.

Wiggly Bridge Distillery

If you are of age, consider swinging by the Wiggly Bridge Distillery. Located in a barn that was built in the 1880s, the distillery makes small-batch spirits that each have a unique flavor.

You can sign up for a tasting, a tour, or both. Or, you can always take a seat at the bar and ask for a flight. If you want to learn more about how the distillery produces such delicious spirits, you should sign up for a tour. You might even be treated to a sample of a spirit that hasn’t been released yet.

Fun O Rama | photo via mandii_monoxide


Even if it is raining outside, you can still head to the beach. Fun-O-Rama is very close to Short Sands Beach, and it treats you to arcade games for the entire family. The building is more than 10,000 square feet, and you can choose from more than 200 arcade and video games.

This establishment has everything from new games to old ones, so it is perfect for kids and adults alike. Once you run out of quarters, you can head out to the beach and relax.

An Additional Attraction Near York Maine

One of the top attractions near York Maine is the Take Flight Aerial Adventure Course. This fun ropes course has a variety of challenges. It is perfect for team-building activities or for families who are looking for a fun afternoon with the kids.

If you don’t feel like challenging yourself on the ropes course, you can always go zip lining instead. There is nothing more fun than zipping through the trees, and you will be treated to some gorgeous views of the surrounding area.

You can even spend an entire day at the center on both the ropes course and the zip lines!

Fox’s Lobster House-York
Fox’s Lobster House | photo via whats.caroline.cookin

Top Restaurants in York Maine

You will need energy if you want to check out all the things to do in York Maine, and that means you need to get a bite to eat. The town has plenty of amazing restaurants, so here are some of the top options that you might want to explore.

York Casual Restaurants

If you are searching for a quick bite to eat for the whole family, York has plenty of casual restaurants to try. Below are some delicious options to add to your trip itinerary.


If you are in the mood for pizza, visit YORK54 for the best pizza in town. It has plenty of classic and specialty options and can even make gluten-free pizza for you.

Wild Willy’s Burgers

When you really want to fill up, you should bite into the burgers at Wild Willy’s. It uses local ingredients in all of the burgers and offers plenty of sides as well.

Union Bluff Pub

If you visit the Union Bluff Hotel, check out the Union Bluff Pub. It has plenty of sandwiches and salads that you can customize to meet your needs.

Clay Hill Farm-York
Clay Hill Farm | photo via gus.zapata

Upscale Restaurants in York

If you are looking for a fine-dining experience in York, there are plenty of restaurants that fit the description. The Union Bluff Grillis directly across from the Union Bluff Pub. Chef James Ott prepares all of the dishes, and you can even pair your meal with delicious beer or wine.

If seafood is what you are looking for, you can take advantage of fresh, local fish at Fox’s Lobster House, which is very close to Nubble Lighthouse. You can even enjoy some fine dining and an outdoor setting if you swing by Clay Hill Farm, which has a rotating menu depending on the time of year.

St. Joe’s Coffee -York
St. Joe’s Coffee | photo via lucythelucifer

York Coffee & Ice Cream Shops

If you are looking for a quick cup of coffee or some delicious ice cream, York has plenty of options. One of the most popular bakeries in York Maine, Anthony’s Food Shop is the perfect place to go for a homemade cup of coffee in the morning.

When you want to relax with a cup of coffee and enjoy the view, the unique creations at St. Joe’s Coffee offer the perfect opportunity to do so.

The York River Landing is a beautiful waterfront restaurant that also happens to have one of the best ice cream shops in York Maine. Relax with a cup of ice cream while you take in the river views.

Tributary Brewing Company-Kittery
Tributary Brewing Company | photo via beers4maine

Wineries & Breweries in York

If you want to enjoy a nice glass of wine or a fresh beer in York, there are a lot of options in the area. Here are a few top choices.

Some Brewing Company

This small brewery offers tasty, local beer in the York area. It rolls out new beers from time to time, so don’t hesitate to ask if anything is brewing that you can try.

Tributary Brewing Co.

Although it’s where the original Harpoon IPA comes from, Tributary Brewing Co. is known for so much more than just its IPAs. The brewery is also a fun place for live music during the summer.

Eagle Earth Brewings

This brewery has a variety of fresh ales on tap. Made using local ingredients, most of the beers are Belgian-style brews.

The Stage Neck Inn-York
The Stage Neck Inn | photo via kegu2

Hotels in York Maine & Other Lodging

During your visit to York Maine, you might be looking for the best place to stay. You have plenty of options, and you simply need to decide what suits your style. Below are some of the most popular local lodging options.

Dockside Guest Quarters

If you are looking for a local bed and breakfast, Dockside Guest Quarters is the place to go. It is situated on the York River, which means that you will be treated to some amazing views. There are plenty of comfortable rooms and suites, and each has modern amenities despite the historic feel.

Furthermore, you have multiple dining options available. If you are looking for a fine dining opportunity, you may want to check out the Dockside Restaurant. Or, if you are looking for something more casual, you can dine at The Deck.

The Stage Neck Inn

The Stage Neck Inn is located in York Harbor, a census-designated area in York Maine. You will have some unparalleled views of the water, and the inn itself treats you to some colonial-style, intimate rooms.

This inn is more of a resort because you will have access to a variety of features to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Also, it has a dining room where you can enjoy some local meals. You can even indulge in local craft beers, amazing cocktails, and a curated wine list too.

Cliff House Maine

If what you are after is a true luxury experience, you could stay at the Cliff House Maine in the Cape Neddick area of York Maine. As the name suggests, it is located on the cliffs that overlook the Southern Maine Coast, and it is a popular destination for weddings, weekend getaways, and luxury spa stays.

The property is more than 70 acres in size, and it will provide a breathtaking view of Nubble Lighthouse. Even though it is a luxury location, the prices vary significantly depending on the room you want. There are plenty of special packages as well if you really want to pamper yourself during your stay.

Steedman Woods Wiggly Bridge-York
Steedman Woods & Wiggly Bridge | photo via midimyers

FAQs About Things to Do in York Maine

What is the weather like in York Maine?

York Maine is relatively cool throughout the year. The temperature can drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit during the winter, and it rarely gets over 90 degrees during the summer.

What is York Maine known for?

York Maine is known for its beautiful beaches, historic lighthouse, and numerous hiking opportunities.

How old is York Maine?

The first settlers arrived in the York Maine area in 1624, and the town was incorporated in 1642.

York River - York Harbor

Take Advantage of Everything York Maine Has to Offer

Even though York Maine is one of the oldest towns in the United States, let alone the Southern Maine Coast, the town is a cosmopolitan location with a variety of attractions that are perfect for people of all ages.

This town still holds onto its colonial-era status as a major trading post, but it has also embraced its role as a major tourist attraction in the New England area.

For example, you can always check out some local museums if you want to learn more about the history of the town. Plus, you can take advantage of some fantastic restaurants and breweries that have served as the heartbeat of the town for years.

Regardless of whether you are looking for a vacation or a new place to call home, York Maine has more than enough to keep you busy. Consider checking out some of the fun attractions on this list, and don’t forget to find the best place to stay during your visit.

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  1. I am surprised there is no mention of the Stonewall Kitchen show place. Or did I miss it? It is beautiful and full n to browse through.

  2. I was raised in York Maine. Went thru elementary, middle school and high school. Graduated high school with a total class of 83 in 1977….all before York really grabbed the attention of those from Massachusetts, New York and other large cities in Northern New England. The early 80s saw a rapid influx of year round population…along with property taxes that have made it difficult for older natives to live there. Very sad to witness. The change may be good for the upwardly mobile, but not so much for those who can’t afford to live in their hometown.

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