Along Maine's rugged and erratic 3,500-mile Atlantic Coast, you'll find hotels and resorts that offer extraordinary ocean views and quintessentially Maine experiences. The best of these coastal properties are steeped in tradition yet feature modern amenities. They're hotels that have weathered setbacks and storms and have welcomed generations of travelers. As you're planning your trip along the Maine coastline, consider staying at one or more of these top seaside retreats.
Built in 1872, Cliff House—which underwent an ownership change and $40 million renovation from 2014 to 2016—still has location as its number one selling point. Luxury seekers will find this enchanting property atop Bald Head Cliff lacks nothing. It has indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, a spa, yoga studio, 24-hour fitness center, sauna, movie theater, gift shop, art gallery, coffee shop, ocean-view restaurant, lobster shack, and in the winter, an ice skating rink. There's so much to do in nearby Ogunquit, but why would you ever leave?
With an oceanfront heated pool, pool bar, and 193 recently renovated rooms (nearly all with water views), this is your place to feel immersed in Downeast Maine's coastal rhythms. Acadia National Park is, of course, what brings most visitors to Bar Harbor—but there's more to this cruise port than most first-timers realize. Here, you'll find museums, whale watch cruises, excellent dining, and lobster ice cream. Stay overnight, and you'll have use of the historic Bar Harbor Club's tennis courts, fitness center, spa, and outdoor heated pool.
No Maine hotel has shown more constant respect for its coastal location than Inn by the Sea, where environmental best practices have been the norm since long before "green" became trendy. Initiatives here go far beyond energy-efficient lighting and bamboo towels in the spa. Along the boardwalk that leads to Crescent Beach, you'll see the native landscaping that allows wildlife to thrive. Dine at Sea Glass, and you'll have the chance to taste fish that is sustainable and fresh-plucked from the Gulf of Maine.
Luxuriously secluded, yet minutes from Portland, Inn by the Sea is also known for accommodating dogs for free—and spoiling them with a host of add-ons, including in-room spa services and a gourmet pet menu. Dogs are allowed on the beach from October through March.
A destination since 1889, this 230-acre oceanfront resort feels secluded, yet it's close to all of the shopping, arts attractions, and other enticements Camden and Rockland have to offer. Recently remodeled rooms are spacious and nautically styled, with private balconies or terraces for enjoying Maine's fresh, cool air. There are multiple dining options-on site, including the Splash Pool Bar, which offers a full-service menu of drinks and summery fare. De-stress at the spa, take a fitness class, or play a round at the remarkably scenic 18-hole golf course. For a quintessential Maine experience, make your way to the strip of beach at the property's edge. From there, you can walk the granite wall out to Rockland Breakwater Light.
Seaside Inn beckons to ocean-goers on a budget, with rates that may surprise you considering popular Kennebunk Beach is right next door. It's not just a hotel: It's America's oldest family business, run by the same family for nine generations now. With perks like complimentary continental breakfast and the sounds of the sea to lull you to sleep, you'll find a stay here restorative even in deep winter. There are 22 rooms, and even if you don't book one with an ocean view, you'll be able to gaze out over the Atlantic from the hot tub on the second-floor deck.
Rituals like weekly lobster bakes and dancing on the lawn, Sunday Suppahs, and game nights in the recreation center keep families returning year after year to this 450-acre Midcoast Maine resort. Established in 1930, it's a place where simple joys still prevail. Days are filled with outdoor recreation: golf, tennis, fishing, kayaking, and swimming in the saltwater pool, which is surrounded on three sides by Casco Bay.
At night, everyone heads to the recreation center for candlepin bowling, ping-pong, pinball, air hockey and other old-school games. For accommodation, you have your pick of options: Choose a main lodge room, a water-view suite, a private cottage, or even one of 10 rooms in the property's signature lighthouse.
The only hotel overlooking Kennebunkport's wild and scenic Goose Rocks Beach, The Tides Beach Club has Victorian bones but a contemporary, beach-chic vibe. Open seasonally, the hotel has 21 distinctly decorated guest rooms, including two oceanfront suites. You'll love waking up here, just as guests have since 1899. You might have bumped into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Theodore Roosevelt if you'd been a guest last century, and who knows who you'll meet this year. The best part? There are two miles of beach waiting for you across the street.
Nab a chair on the lawn at this landmark hotel—rebuilt in 1989 after a fire and styled to resemble the 1868 original—and you'll realize that nothing on YouTube compares to watching tall waves pummel rocks, challenge surfers, and entrance young children. Union Bluff Hotel welcomes guests year-round, but nothing beats summer in York Beach, when shops, restaurants, the Fun-O-Rama arcade, candlepin bowling, and a famous saltwater taffy maker are all just outside your hotel room door.