On the water

Miles of coastline, rivers, estuaries, and lakes await adventure.

unlimited ocean access

There’s nothing like having unlimited access to the Atlantic Ocean, and a Maine Beaches vacation gives you that. From the moment you step out onto the sand, the ocean’s vast beauty fixes your gaze on the distant horizon.

Whether sea kayaking in our highly protected coastal estuaries, stand-up paddleboarding at the dawn’s first light, or charting your course for relaxation aboard a sailboat—you’ll find more to do on the water than you ever thought possible in The Maine Beaches.

Long Sandy Beaches

Spending time at the beach is a treat for anyone at any age, from the childlike joy that comes from riding on swells to swimming and body surfing. Even the simple act of walking along the beach as the tide recedes can change your whole outlook. If constant action is what you are looking for, add a surf, skim, or boogie board to the mix or head to a waterpark and put the fun on repeat.

As for boating, our waters are world-renowned, favored by luxury yachts, vintage sloops, and one-design racers flitting along in packs. Experienced sailors can charter a boat of their own, or novices can hire a captain and enjoy the views. 

Set Sail

Numerous sightseeing tour boats are available for the many kinds of on-the-water pleasure trips to enjoy here. Maybe you’d like to hoist the mainsail for an authentic nautical adventure? Charter a six-person catamaran from the Camp Ellis Pier for a special day out?  Hop aboard a sloop, sailboat, or schooner for a scenic cruise? 

Those who seek something with a more local feel might choose to spend time aboard a working lobster boat. Along the way, the skipper will regale you with legends of the sea while demonstrating lobstering skills, including pulling up traps bursting with our state’s favorite crustacean and other creatures like starfish and crabs.

Take a whale watch out of Kennebunk for a chance to spot huge finbacks, minkes, or humpbacks, or look for harbor and gray seals on an eco-tour. While you are out to sea, take a moment to cast your gaze inland for a new perspective on our historic seaside villages, lined with the restored sea captains’ homes, architectural masterworks, and coastal estates like the Bush family compound at Walker’s Point.

Grab a Paddle

Sea kayaking is a great way to poke along the coast. Check out the Maine Island Trail, which connects an endless number of barrier islands. Make a day trip of it and relax in a cooling breeze on a hot summer day. Venture into the many marshes and estuaries in the area, many of which are protected reserves or conservation land.

Try either the Mousam River or the Kennebunk River for paddlers looking to get inland. Each of these tidal rivers gives you a different view of the region. Keep your eyes skyward for migrating coastal seabirds, eagles, egrets, and other beautiful birds of prey. 

For a bit more excitement, step into a high-speed RIB boat in Kennebunk for an eco-adventure. Those into kite surfing should take a ride to Ferry Beach, with jet skiing and parasailing services available in Old Orchard Beach.

Stand-up paddleboarding (aka SUP) is easy to learn and offers a great workout (without feeling like it). With its exploding popularity, visitors can take SUP tours, lessons or rent a board to use while they are here.

Go Fishing

If deep-sea angling is your thing, book a charter. The offshore waters offer plenty of striped bass, bluefish, mackerel, or haddock. Last summer, a couple of teenagers hauled in a 750-lb tuna just off the coast. Many outfits even offer family trips—making it easy to gear up while catching sight of friendly porpoise diving among the waves. Try your hand at surfcasting from shore or jetty; saltwater fishing does not require a license but plan to bring some bait and tackle.

The Maine Beaches’ inland areas show off a more natural, almost untamed side of the region and are well worth exploring. Drop a line for the excitement of family bass fishing on our ideally situated ponds. Then once winter comes, these same lakes, like Great East Lake and Shapleigh’s Square Pond, offer up southern Maine’s best ice fishing with trophy-size togue and lake trout.

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