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Where to Stay, Eat, Shop and What to do in Kennebunkport, Maine

The petite harbor town, just one mile down the Kennebunk River from the Atlantic Ocean, has long been a favorite summer colony for its cooling Atlantic breezes, New England charm and subtle refinement. Unlike other northeastern summer resorts that have morphed into international hot spots, Kennebunkport still remains very low-key and laid-back, but it does have a handful of lovely shops, a few truly excellent restaurants and luxurious retreats.  The emphasis here is on savoring a slower pace of life, feasting on freshly hauled lobster and embracing the peaceful nexus of  Maine woodlands and coastline.

Contact Indagare for help planning a trip to Kennebunkport, Maine. Our travel specialists can match you with the best hotels and plan great meals and activities.

Stay in Kennebunkport

  • In town: Grace White Barn Inn. This charming Relais & Chateaux inn a few minutes from Kennebunkport town offers elegant accommodations: a 19th-century barn has been transformed into an atmospheric dining room and a swimming pool and spa.
  • By the beach: Tides Beach Club. Situated across the street from Goose Rocks beach, the Kennebunks’ prettiest stretch of sand, the Tides Beach Club has a hip yet cozy beach house vibe, along with Jonathan Adler-designed suites and a buzzing restaurant. 
  • In the woods: Hidden Pond. Just a mile from the coast in the woods, Hidden Pond has one- and two-bedroom luxury bungalows that are perfect for romantics and families alike, with two pools, a spa and an excellent restaurant.
  • Off the beaten path: Cliff House. This freshly reimagined and pampering resort, located about a 35-minute drive south of Kennebunkport, occupies a stunning cliffside perch and a wide array of amenities.

Related: First Look: Cliff House

Eat in Kennebunkport

  • Big Night Out: Grace White Barn. The fine-dining restaurant at the inn serves a sophisticated and imaginative tasting menu inside an atmospheric, 19th-century barn with cathedral ceilings,  double-height windows and tables adorned with long candlesticks. The adjacent wood-paneled bistro serves equally excellent, but more straightforward fare.
  • Wine and Dine: Old Vines Wine Bar. This casual eatery has a menu of tapas-style small plates ranging from beef carpaccio to tom yum prawn and “sharing boards” of charcuterie, veggies and artisan cheese, in addition to its extensive wine list and sophisticated craft cocktails. Grab a table in the upstairs dining room, ground-floor bar or outdoor patio for al fresco dining on warm nights (during the summer, the restaurant also hosts live music performances on the terrace).
  • Hot Spot: TBC at the Tides Beach Club is a favorite hotspot for the Kennebunkport set, who start with drinks on the porch or lawn, and then move inside to the restaurant or the comfy living room for a dinner of classic seafood dishes.
  • Foodie Favorite: Earth. Located at Hidden Pond, Earth creates a rustic-chic atmosphere with woodland accents and a roaring fireplace as well as alfresco seating overlooking the property’s pond. The food is Mediterranean-inspired, from wood-fired pizzas to lobster and pan-roasted fish.
  • Quick Break: Clam Shack. There’s often a long line at this unassuming beach shack in the center of town, which is beloved for its famous lobster rolls and seafood specialties. (2 Western Ave, 207-967-3321)
  • Dessert: Rococo Ice Cream. This artisanal ice cream shop turns out imaginative and delicious flavors like Moroccan mint sorbet, creamy whoopie pie and goat cheese blueberry chambord. (6 Spring St, 207-251-6866)
  • Sweet Treat: Satellite Donuts. For a sweet fix, stop at this tiny donut shop and its colorful selection of mini cake donuts dusted with cinnamon-sugar, topped with frosting and sprinkles or filled with Nutella or cream. (4 Spring St.)

Shop in Kennebunkport

  • Hurlbutt Design: This portside sliver of a shop has antiques and elegant nautical-inspired furnishings on display. (53 Western Ave, 207-967-4110)
  • Daytrip Society: In the center of town, Daytrip Society offers a chic curation of wares, from beach bags fashioned out of sails and fine jewelry to chic knick knacks for the home. (4 Dock Square, 207-967-4440)
  • Daytrip Jr.: A beautiful children’s shop and the little sister to Daytrip Society around the corner, Jr. brims with lovely children’s books, knitted animals, adorable clothes and wooden fairy treehouses. (9 Ocean Avenue, 207-967-8345)
  • Local Color: This cute shop stocks a selection of summery caftans, printed linens and vibrant pillowcase covers and beach towels. (30 Dock Square, 207-204-0704)
  • Spaces: A breezy boutique, Spaces carries beach-ready wear from brands like Roberta Roller Rabbit, as well as chic homewares, John Robshaw quilts and nautical furnishings. (127 Ocean Ave, 207-967-0040)
  • Snug Harbor Farm:  This charming barn sells farm-inspired products such as handmade soaps, rustic-chic homewares and flowy linen dresses. (87 Western Ave, 207-967-2414)
  • Farm + Table: Situated in nearby Cape Porpoise, this converted farmhouse sells a well-edited array of kitchen products, homewares and specially prepared jellies and jams. (8 Langsford Rd, Cape Porpoise, 207-604-8029)
  • Found: On Kennebunk’s main drag, this shop carries unique accessories, baby gifts, jewelry, and housewares, all made by Maine artists and craftsmen.  (42 Main St, Kennebunk, (207) 604-5009)

See and Do in Kennebunkport

  • Goose Rocks Beach and Gooch’s: Although the Atlantic waters that lap against Maine’s coastline can be icy, the beaches are picturesque stretches of sand, perfect for long walks or combing for shells. The protected cove of Goose Rocks is the prettiest beach and is located a few miles north of Kennebunkport town, while Gooch’s is a quick drive from town and has breaks strong enough for surfing.
  • Ogunquit Museum of American Art: This wonderful, intimate museum displays the works of Winslow Homer, John Marin and Marsden Hartley and has a sculpture garden that extends along an oceanfront bluff (543 Shore Rd).

– Kira Reinke on July 25, 2018

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