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Take A Day Trip To Kennebunkport, Maine - Only 3 Hours from the Upper Valley

Aug 11, 2022 01:31PM ● By Virginia Dean
What better way to spend your day than listening to the sounds of seagulls and savoring the taste of a boiled lobster with drawn melted butter? One of the worthiest destinations for a New England day trip is our friendly neighbor, Maine. Particularly popular is the town of Kennebunkport, home of political celebrities and some of the state’s best beaches. Leaving at the crack of dawn, the trip east to its most southern town of Kittery is roughly 3 hours from the Upper Valley, with Kennebunkport some 27 easy miles north via I-95.

Upon arrival, visitors can enjoy Gooch’s Beach, a wide beach with soft sand that provides a perfect daylong getaway with the kids. Visitors can stroll down the long shoreline hunting for sand dollars and building sandcastles. The beach is lifeguard protected and has portable restrooms and paid parking. Kennebunk Beach is actually a combination of three beaches stretching 1.5 miles along Beach Avenue. On one end is Gooch’s Beach, then Middle Beach, and finally Mother’s Beach ending at Lords Point. All three beaches are great for swimming and kayaking. Beach Avenue, Kennebunk, (207) 967-0857.

If the beach isn’t for you, there are a myriad of activities to explore and enjoy. The Seashore Trolley Museum encompasses a 330-acre living history park with numerous transportation exhibits and a visitor center featuring a History in Motion exhibit and museum store. 195 Log Cabin Road, (207) 967-2712. The First Families Kennebunkport Museum, operated by the Kennebunkport Historical Society, is in an 1853 Greek Revival home on Main Street in the village. The museum exhibits reflect 200 years of the town’s history, from wealthy shipbuilders of the past to George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. (207) 967-2751.

Visitors who have never been to the are will want to start at the Intown Trolley, which has been offering narrated sightseeing tours for more than 30 years. This is a great way to get an overview of Kennebunkport before diving into specific activities. Trolley docents deliver 300 years of history in 45 minutes. 21 Ocean Avenue, (207) 967-3686.

Visitors can also taste their way through Kennebunkport on a 2.5- to 3-hour walking tour beginning at Dock Square and crossing the bridge into the lower village. This leisurely tour allows guests to visit six different venues within a half-mile while learning the culinary history and current foodie scene from their guide. Visitors can speak with food artisans and shopkeepers and enjoy such locally sourced fare as Maine fish and clam chowder, crabmeat sandwiches, lobster, whoopie pies, and craft brews. (207) 233-7485.

The Parsons Way Trail is a leisurely 2-mile walking path along the coastline of Cape Arundel that passes by Spouting Rock and Blowing Cave and provides extraordinary views of the ocean. Most visitors can tackle this easy trail in an hour or less while accessing a few secret benches hidden along the way, perfect for relaxing while listening to the surf and basking in the sun. Visitors will also pass by St. Ann’s Church, a beautiful site, before finally ending at President Bush’s family summer home. 1 Parson Beach Road, Kennebunkport.

Another way to explore Kennebunkport is from the sea, and sailing along the rugged, rocky coastline of southern Maine on the Pineapple Ketch is an unforgettable experience. The classic 1970s Downeaster 38 has been restored to its original structure and sails morning, midday, and evening. 95 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, (207) 468-7262.

Captain Rich Woodman has been offering two-hour sailing trips aboard his classic schooner, Eleanor, for 25 years. Trips originate on the historic Kennebunk River and proceed along coastal Maine. Eleanor sails the coastline from Cape Arundel to Cape Porpoise, while guests learn about area maritime history. 43 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, (207) 967-8809.

Visitors can also enjoy whale watching and, although these sightings can’t be guaranteed, the captain and crew of First Chance are experienced seafarers who know where to go to see humpback, finback, and minke whales as well as chance sightings of the endangered right whale and the rare blue whale. Expect weekend trips to be available in May and June, while daily trips are available from July to early September. The modern boat has a galley and plenty of elbow room on the rails. 4 Western Avenue, Kennebunk, (207) 967-5507.

Visitors can jump aboard a vintage New England wooden lobster boat and take a 1.5-hour tour of the Kennebunk River with Rugosa Lobster Tours. Guests are welcome to join the crew and take their turn at hauling in a trap or two. 95 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, (207) 468-4095.

And don’t forget to visit St. Ann’s Church, W. Robert Paine Gallery, and the Wedding Cake House before departing the Pine Tree State, well-known for its jagged, rocky Atlantic Ocean coastlines, contoured mountains, picturesque waterways, forested interior, wild lowbush blueberries, seafood cuisine, and towering moose.

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