Some things are sacred. Like a late-summer trip to spend a few days lying on the beaches of Southern Maine. I just got back from my annual girls-trip to the coast with my friend Amanda.
I’ve been going to Wells, Maine for these beach trips since I was a fetus* (for some TMI, find that * at the bottom of this post…). I used to get upset when things changed. I expected time to stand still here, but it doesn’t really work that way. Now, as a mature (hahaha) adult (who totally rode the carousel horse at the arcade a few days ago), I enjoy finding new places to mix in with the old traditions.
Fox’s Lobster House for their decadent pina coladas. We discovered these a few summers back, and basically that’s what we talk about 11.5 months of the year, coming to get another one. The vegan black bean burger is amazing, and I can recommend the blueberry pie as well.
Beaches (ranked in order of my preference!)
Footbridge Beach in Ogunquit. Parking is on Ocean Avenue, off of Route 1 to the north of Ogunquit in what was known as Moody when I was younger. Parking in high season varies from 20-30$.
Drakes Island Beach in Wells. Across from the Wells Harbor, there is a smaller beach next to the bathrooms at low tide. Follow the blue carpet at the east end of the parking lot to get to the main, oceanfront beach. Parking is metered and varies from 18-20$ for a full day, and is 12$ from noon- 5 pm.
Laudholm Beach in Wells. This would probably be my favourite if it wasn’t for the sentimental attachment to the first two. This beach is never crowded, mainly because you do have to go for a walk in the woods to get there. As part of the Laudholm Farm/Wells Reserve Park, the beach is accessed by parking at Laudholm Farm and walking 10-15 minutes through the woods to the beach. Parking is free, but there is an admission fee of 5$ per person to the park. While there aren’t any facilities or lifeguards, this beach is amazing. No houses, no streets, no crowds. It is the closest you’ll find in the area to the wilder beaches of the West Coast. If you walk far enough down Drakes Island Beach to the North, you get to Laudholm Beach. There is a river mouth that isn’t always easy to cross, though.
Long Sands Beach in York. This is great for short days, since the parking is metered. The water is often a smidgeon less glacial here than Wells and Ogunquit, which is a bonus. You’re also near those pina coladas I mentioned, and the Cape Neddick lighthouse.
Las Olas Taquiera. This is one of the newer places around. It’s kind of like Chipotle, but not. Mostly local ingredients, organic, good vegetarian options. They do serve alcohol, as well.
Brewed Awakenings on Route 1 near Drakes Island. The best coffee I’ve found in the area, and decently priced. The antique truck outside is hard to miss, in its turquoise glory, so look for that if you can’t find the place. The Maine Made bagel is amazing, full of blueberry. If you want a good, strong coffee (or require it, like I do) get the red eye special.
Scoop Deck has the best decor and a crazy amount of flavours. They also, most of the time, have a crazy line up.
If you want to skip that and take a break from the crowds during high season, take the 9 to Sanford to…
Shain’s of Maine. Get the root beer float. You can also take a picture with a giant hot dog sculpture, as an added bonus.
Beaches with free parking
If you get to Wells Beach before everyone else, there are about 20 free oceanfront spots. If not, head down the road a mile or so to Crescent Beach. There’s a free lot on XXX Street; there aren’t flush toilets or lifeguards here, but it’s a quick walk to Wells Beach where you have both.
Parsons Beach in Kennebunk has free parking, but it is extremely limited. A gorgeous, less crowded beach, but again be aware there aren’t lifeguards or a flush toilet.
Others that don’t get their own category
Perkins Cove Candies: Perkins Cove is super touristy, but it’s also super cute. The candy store is amazing. Just trust me on this one.
Marginal Way is a walking path that runs along the ocean from Ogunquit to Perkins Cove. It’s an easy walk, paved, and about 2km long one way. If you don’t feel like walking back, you can always hop on a trolley.
Goldenrod in York has the best saltwater taffy around. Depending on when you’re there, you can see it being made. They also have a pretty kitsch neon sign that I like.
Seriously, campgrounds in this area are nothing to blog about. They tend to be overpriced due to their beach proximity, fairly old/sometimes dirty, overcrowded, lacking trees and privacy…. as a general rule, don’t come here to camp. Just view camping as a means to an end.
*my parents always insisted I was conceived on one of these trips. Thanks for the image, mom and dad!