When it comes to shopping, the choice is yours.
When it comes to shopping, the choice is yours.
First Stop, Kittery
A Nationally Recognized Shopping Destination
Most people know that Maine’s most fabulous shopping is right over the state line in Kittery. The first Factory Outlet stores opened in Kittery in 1980 ( a 20,000 square-ft mall housing a Lenox outlet store). While the concept was not new, the early outlet mall developers had captured lightning in a bottle because of the beach’s proximity and the incredible number of visitors headed north into Maine.
Today, the impact of outlet shopping in Kittery is unmistakable. With more than 120 stores spread along the first few miles of Maine’s US 1, the town is a nationally recognized destination for shoppers. On the flip side, Kittery offers some cute neighborhoods worth exploring for local treats and fashionable finds off US 1. Walkable areas like Kittery Foreside are building a reputation for exceeding the needs of their well-heeled residents, with shops furnishing some of the finest and most eclectic trends.
A Maine All-star
If the miles of outlet shopping at Kittery had an anchor store, there is no doubt it would be Kittery Trading Post. This is a must-stop for those who love the great outdoors and all the sporting opportunities offered with a visit to Maine. The Kittery Trading Post will make anglers of every kind drool with delight as they explore an ocean-size selection of tackle and find the gear a-lure-ing. Those who prefer shooting sports will be thrilled by the broadest selection in New England.
A Hidden Gem
Rarely is an entire slice of a community worthy of calling a hidden gem, but Kittery’s Wallingford Square is just such a place. Located at the intersection of Wentworth and Walker Streets, the square is just a couple blocks from the Naval Shipyard Visitors Center. It’s not “packed” with stores by any means, but still so worth the visit. Check out the many boutiques and shops that give this district its appeal.
Keeping it local, you can stay in Wallingford Square and track down great eats at any of the local joints in this delightful little community. Choices include a beloved Indian restaurant, an excellent new American cuisine restaurant that requires a reservation, and a wood-fired pizza joint that ticks all the boxes.
Ogunquit, a Beautiful Place to Shop
Ogunquit is a must-stop-to-shop destination that opens the door for those looking for beautifully hand-crafted gifts and eclectic works of art. For more than 120 years, this community has attracted and welcomed gifted artists and highly talented artisans, including painters, sculptors, and jewelers. In time, Ogunquit has become a well-known destination for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Ogunquit is one of New England’s most charming seaside villages; streets offer all the shopping, lodging, dining, and personal and cultural amenities a visitor to Maine might need.
While you are here, make the most of your time by visiting the locally-owned and operated shops that line Main Street and Shore Road near busy US1. Once you escape US1, you can stroll along side streets and find many lesser-known off-the-beaten-path places. Finally, you must make time in your day to visit Perkins Cove. This long-established and fabulous port-of-call is a shopping hub for visitors looking to find some of Maine’s best boutiques and specialty shops carrying the region’s finest self-care, home, and garden delights.
Best Bets for the Best Stuff
Take a walk along Main Street and Shore Road to find the small galleries and jewelry stores offering work by gifted local artists and jewelry makers who have captured the flow, rhythm, and light of this oceanside community; you will, without a doubt, find something to remember your trip. This is especially true if you make time to go down to Perkins Cove. Here you will find a plethora of small and welcoming shops with all kinds of treats, boutiques for the fashionable, and restaurants for the hungry! The boutiques and shops in Perkins Cove carry a range of contemporary clothing, jewelry, and accessories for everyone, offering shoppers the chance to add a summery splash of color and fun.
Next Up, Wells
The Bedrock of Maine’s Destination Antiques Trade
Thousands of vacationers pack into their cars each summer and head to the glorious white sandy beaches and deep blue Atlantic Ocean of Maine’s southern coast. Many of them know that Wells is well-known as an excellent destination for antiquing. Visitors unfamiliar with Wells’ reputation will be amazed by the extensive collections of the area’s shopkeepers. The value of the antique trade in this resort community is substantial, whether it be the thousands arriving every June for the Wells Antiques Show or the collectors on vacation who spend much of their time prowling the shops in search of a future treasured possession to bring home.
Antique and Craft Shows
With a broad selection of exhibitors and dealers numbering at or around 70, The Wells Show (as it is called) is held each June at the Historic Laudholm Farm. Every year, this show is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Part of this show’s allure is that it lies within a half-mile of the region’s finest antique and vintage shops.
The best of Maine Art & Craft also come together in Wells three times each year for (July, October, and November at Wells Junior High School) for a juried two-day show featuring more than 70 artists, artisans, and crafters.
Spotting a trend that has torn across the nation, the folks from a local donut empire have led the charge in Maine by opening New England's only food truck park. Congdon's After Dark offers a rotating carousel of food truck eats from all over the state. Now in its 5th year, this place is an attraction in its own right, offering unimaginable food combinations and a beer garden serving up a Maine-focused collection of brews.
Kennebunk and Kennebunkport
Explore Destination Shopping in the Kennebunks
Each community throughout The Maine Beaches offers visitors and tourists something worth visiting. But, when it comes to destination shopping for the things that truly speak to the Maine Beaches vibe, there is nothing like spending your days in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. These two distinct locales offer a rich collection of shops and places to dine, drink, and explore. For Kennebunk, it is the Downtown and The Lower Village, while visitors to Kennebunkport should spend some time exploring the stores and shops in and around Dock Square.
Both Kennebunk and Kennebunkport offer an eye-dazzling array of window shopping, especially with the vibrant blend of smaller boutiques and galleries filled with the work of many talented local artists. There are also trendy and tasteful decor and home furnishings in and among the historic storefront shops along the Kennebunk River.
While Dock Square and the Lower Village have tremendous appeal, don’t skip out on a trip through the brick-lined walk through Maine history that is Downtown Kennebunk. Whether it be a day out for shopping or a few stolen moments of shopping bliss while the kids are off to the beach, these locally-owned stores offer everything from furniture by local craftspeople to a finely curated wine collection. This place is the prescription for the shopper who loves to wander.
If it's destination shopping, then we should also point you in the direction of some destination dining; admit it, food in Maine—or better yet, Maine food made by Maine people—is one of the reasons why this is so many visitor's favorite places in the world. Kennebunk and Kennebunkport offer unfettered access to locally-caught lobster, clams, scallops, and oysters. Dive in! Dine on as much seafood as you can during your stay, and let your taste buds guide you to every meal; you are guaranteed to find something extraordinary (all price points).
Head to Biddeford+Saco
Biddeford + Saco
One thing that can be said of this pair of towns is that they are both home to new and long-standing shops, boutiques, and stores offering our state’s unique take on comfortable fashion for all, nature-inspired beauty and self-care products culminating in what might be described as the place to find the absolute perfect gift from Maine. Store after store has a curated collection of jewelry, gifts, pottery, bags, cards, specialty foods, treats, and toys for our favorite four-legged friends.
Between the two communities, the best way we can come to describe shopping in Biddeford + Saco is that it is an unexpected trove of delights.
An Indescribable Appeal
Biddeford+Saco has deep roots as a Maine mill town community powered by the ever-tumbling waters of the Saco River. From a gritty and hard-working history has recently emerged with a newer, younger, and hipper feel. Boutiques, shops, restaurants and bars line Main Street and spill over onto the side streets that run the mile that make up these sister towns’ downtown areas.
Maine's Youngest Downtown
Biddeford is on the march to also become one of the region’s best small shopping destinations. The first stop on anyone’s visit should be the sprawling Pepperell Mill Campus. This destination shopping adventure offers a well-curated blend of over 100 retailers and restaurants alongside professional spaces, apartments, a couple of breweries, and a working glass studio and store. Spend the day here, and you won’t go anywhere else.
If not for the mile long strip that runs from one end of Biddeford across the river and into Saco, the success of Pepperell Mills may never have come to fruition. From the fun to the funky, this is a place to shop for things off the beaten path. And that small-business vibe just keeps on growing. The town is home to a green revolution of sorts (at least in the stores), from an adorable plant and home decor shop to Maine’s top plant-based clothing boutiques and even a plant-based vegan restaurant or two; the is the place to head for all your sustainable needs.
In Biddeford, look for trendy shops like Suger, Woven, Trillium, and Biddeford Vintage Market, while in Saco, you should include a visit to Whimsical ME. In 2022, a brewpub called Sacred Profane opened, featuring Czech-style premium pilsners and a tasty menu. Meanwhile, the team at Batson River Brewing has opened the luxurious Lincoln Hotel in the historic Lincoln Mill building.
Old Orchard Beach
Discover a Special Kind of Beach Magic
Some places cement summertime memories for us all. Almost anyone with the good sense to spend summers in Maine knows about Old Orchard Beach. This place was summertime central for those lucky enough to spend time on Old Orchard Street. It’s the center of the universe for anything and everything you’d ever want at the beach. OOB still creates unforgettable childhood memories, while it becomes a time machine for the young at heart.
Best Bets for the Best Stuff
As one of Maine’s perfect summertime playgrounds, shopping in OOB is built for vacationers looking for ways to let the folks back home know that your summer vacation was better than theirs. Whether browsing for a comfy OOB hoodie or hat or grabbing a new pair of shades or flip-flops, shopping in Old Orchard Beach can run the gamut, so browse around.
At the south end of West Grand Avenue is a delightful neighborhood called Ocean Park. It’s the quieter side of Old Orchard Beach, with its own story. Check out the unassuming but truly delightful stores here offering an off-the-beaten-path alternative to other souvenir and gift shops in town. Or grab some scoops at the old-timey soda fountain there.
A Snack-a-licious Destination
If all this shopping has you craving a deliciously sweet treat, you are sure to find something right in the middle of all this shopping. It’s a world; no, it’s a galaxy or maybe even a universe of candy meant for the sweetest of sweet tooths. If we had our way, every place on the Maine coast would have a 5,000 square foot candy store like Dickinsons Candy Factory. Hundreds of bins. Hundreds of varieties. And hundreds of thousands of sugary smiles.
OOB is a grab-and-go kind of town, especially when you have been on the beach and are looking for something salty or sweet to satisfy those hunger cravings. A pizza slice, wings, and tacos might hit the spot. But, a trip to Old Orchard Beach will only be complete with the salty-crispy-oh-so-delicious taste of french fries while walking along the world-famous pier or browsing for the perfect summer t-shirt. And while there are many spots to grab some fries, there is no better homage to the potato than one served golden brown in a tidy blue and white box right near the OOB Pier; these are the best crinkle-cut fries you have ever had.