A jewel along the southern Maine coast, the village of Ogunquit is a delight to visit. The Algonquin Indians named it Ogunquit, or "beautiful place by the sea." for good reason -- with a stunning coastal walk, wonderful beach, saltwater taffy, lobstering cruises, and lots of unpretentious wholesome fun, this is the perfect family getaway.
Stroll by the Sea
One of the most picturesque coastal walks in New England, the 1.25-mile Marginal Way is a seaside path that stretches along the granite shoreline of Ogunquit. It's paved, mostly flat, and stroller-friendly (although skateboards, bikes, and rollerblades are banned). This walk offers more breathtaking vistas than any other trail you’ll find on the southern Maine coast, and there are benches, coves, and (at low tide) tiny beaches along the way where you can stop to admire the view or explore. The path begins in downtown Ogunquit and ends at lively Perkins Cove.
Consult the Tide Chart
Beachgoers plan their day by the tides in Ogunquit, which can rise and fall nine feet on average in a single day. At high tide, Ogunquit Beach can look like no more than a picturesque spit of rocks jutting into the sea. But come low tide, an enormous stretch of clean, hardpacked sand appears and families take to the beach with their towels, umbrellas, boogie boards, and sand toys.
Learn a Lot About Lobster
Sailing out of Perkins Cove, Finestkind Cruises offers several different boat excursions, from breakfast cruises to cocktail cruises to lighthouse cruises. But the most fun for kids is the 50-minute lobstering trip, where you get to watch as lobstermen haul in their lobster pots and learn everything you ever wanted to know about lobster.
Stock up on Saltwater Taffy
You can get delicious, homemade saltwater taffy in a dozen flavors at Perkins Cove Candies, an adorable shop that also makes to-die-for salted caramels and sells penny candy to delight kids of all ages.
Sample a Few Lobster Rolls
Debating the best lobster roll in any given town is a serious sport in Maine, but the gourmet nod goes to MC Perkins Cove, where James Beard award-winning chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier serve their signature lobster roll dressed in housemade mayo, fresh lemon juice, butter, kosher salt, and a sprinkling of freshly chopped tarragon, chervil, chives, and parsley.
Kayaking is a staple of a Maine summer vacation. World Within Kayak Rentals has an ideal location in the heart of the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge on the Ogunquit/Wells border. You'll paddle at high tide on the safe, quiet, beautiful Ogunquit River and its maze-like estuaries that lead through Ogunquit down to the Atlantic Ocean.
Scream for Ice Cream
Every great beach town needs a great ice cream shop, and tiny Sweet Pea's Ice Cream is the real deal in Ogunquit. Choose among more than two dozen flavors of ice cream, fro-yo, sherbet, and sorbet.
See a Musical
One of the last remaining New England summer stock theaters still producing live musical theater, the historic Ogunquit Playhouse offers Broadway shows aimed at adults and family fare through its impressive children's theater.
Learn to Surf or Paddleboard
Does your kid want to learn to catch a wave? Liquid Dreams offers three- and five-day camps for kids age 5 and up that teach the fundamentals of surfing and paddleboarding. If you're short on time, you can also opt for a private lesson or two.
Perched on a bluff overlooking Perkins Cove, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art houses over 2,000 works of American art, including works by renowned artists such as Robert Henri, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Rockwell Kent, and Mark Tobey.