New England beach holidays

New England idyll, image via Jean-François Renaud

Maine's Southern Coast is one of New England's classic summertime vacation destinations. The blend of rural beauty, water sports, history and low-key sophistication makes this one of the most attractive destinations in the region. The warm summer weather and cool breezes from the ocean provide the perfect climate for a relaxing weekend or a weeklong family vacation. No matter what time of year it is, imagining June or July in places like Kennebunkport can make you feel warm and comfortable. It's no wonder that many famous people, including President Bush (both Junior and Senior), spend as much time as they can in the Kennebunkport area each summer.

Maine summertime vacation ideas

Historic shoreline, image via Peter Bond

Kennebunkport can be reached easily by train, bus or car. Portland is the nearest Maine city. It sits about 30 miles from Kennebunkport. The hub of Boston is within driving distance, with a trip that lasts about 90 minutes. Bus service and train service are available. Depending on where you stay, a car may or may not be necessary. Good resorts like Hidden Pond, which we will tell you more about later, offer shuttle service to the major shopping centers and beaches. Resorts will also provide bicycles to help you get around. Kennebunkport and neighboring Kennebunk can easily be navigated on foot or by bike, though traffic can be heavy on summer weekends. There are trolley rides at the Trolley Museum in town, but the trip is for fun and is not really useful for getting around.

Maine vacation attractions

Trolley, Kennebunkport, image via Rene Schwietzke

Restaurants in the area are often quite casual and most menus showcase fresh seafood. The The White Barn Inn Restaurant, considered one of the best restaurants in the state, serves up a fixed-price, multi-course meal (for a hefty fee). Many people consider this one of the finest eateries north of New York City. Places like Stripers Waterside Restaurant and Pier 77 Restaurant sit right on the waterfront. They feature great views to go along with good menus. There are a few places to get a drink, the best of which is the Kennebunkport Brewery. It offers tours of its facilities in addition to fresh microbrews. Shops and art galleries are located on and around Maine Street and Ocean Avenue. Visit on weekdays to avoid the heaviest crowds. The highest concentration of shopping and restaurants is in Dock Square.

Maine luxury hotels

Kennebunkport, image via fiftynightshades

The shoreline is beautiful here. Kennebunk Beach and Goose Rocks Beach both offer sandy stretches, grassy dunes and calm waters. Good resorts offer shuttles that go directly to these beaches. With restaurants, shopping and bars nearby, you can easily spend an entire day and evening at these popular spots. At the same time, it is easy to find an uncrowded stretch of sand to sit and soak in the New England idyll. The Kennebunkport History Center and the Seashore Trolley Museum are popular attractions, especially if you run into a rainy day. If it’s sunny, a non-beach, non-shopping option is to take a cruise on a whale-watching boat. Daily tours are offered by outfits like First Chance Whalewatch.

Maine luxury inns

Inn in rural Maine, image via Estate Weddings and Events

Each June, the Kennebunkport Festival celebrates the best food, wine and art in the area. Lasting for an entire week, this fest brings chefs, artists and musicians to town from all over the East Coast. Some of the most-popular events are sold out well in advance. A Labor Day craft festival brings a fun end to the summer travel season, while Kennebunkport celebrates the 4th of July with fireworks and concerts.

Hotels in Maine

The Barn at Hidden Pond, image via Estate Weddings and Events

We've already mentioned the Hidden Pond resort. This classic rural New England inn features cabins spaced out in between groves of birch and fir trees. The 60-acre property puts guests right in the middle of the beautiful nature that they have come to Maine to see. Evening bonfires, a relaxing lounge and an award-winning restaurant give Hidden Pond that elusive balance between warm, welcoming atmosphere and a sophisticated holiday experience. With shuttle service to the center of Kennebunkport and to the beaches, you can see everything during your stay here, even if you arrived by train or bus.

Maine resorts

Summer bonfire, image via Estate Weddings and EventsYour turn...

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