York Beach Maine Vacation Guide
Between Kittery and Ogunquit – on the southern Maine coast – pristine sandy beaches await your visit to York Beach, Maine.
Founded as a fishing village, Maine’s oldest town became an important mercantile port in the 18th century, and in the 19th century served as a summer vacation spot for many of Boston’s wealthiest residents.
Today, in this quintessential beach town, home of one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world, Nubble Light (as the locals refer to it) much of the charm from yesteryear still remains.
And you will find that charm almost everywhere you go!
With all that makes York Beach, Maine special, it’s no wonder that in 2002, Money Magazine chose it as one of the “10 perfect places in North America to spend your summer holiday”.
And, according to the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce, Family Fun Magazine rated York Beach, Maine, the “best family vacation destination”!
Of course, they did. Besides providing great beaches and fun things to do in York Beach, Maine, residents and business owners alike go out of their way to make their special place feel like yours, also!
York Beach, Maine Beaches
Swimming along the coast of Maine, in the often chilly waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean, may not be your idea of fun…
…but York beaches can certainly be a great place for you and your family to unwind.
And, you’ll have your choice as to where to plant yourself in the sand…
Long Sands Beach
Vacationing families often love this beach on Coastal Route 1A. As the name implies, Long Sands is very long-running approximately two miles in length – leaving plenty of room to spread out for beach games!
Short Sands Beach
Located on Coastal Route 1A, Short Sands Beach is a mile north of Long Sands Beach. It is centrally located to many of the shops, restaurants, amusement parks, and other family activities.
Cape Neddick Beach (Passaconaway Beach)
On Shore Road, headed toward Ogunquit, Maine, is the secluded Cape Neddick Beach – a great location for tide pooling.
York Harbor Beach
Referred to as a “local’s beach”, York Harbor Beach has a secluded waterfront located directly across the Street from the historic York Harbor Inn.
York Beach, Maine Attractions
Although a vacation in York Beach will not be complete without spending time on one of its sparkling beaches, there is plenty more than salt air and sand to keep you busy.
- browse quaint artist galleries, unique craft, antique, and gift shops
- shop the Kittery Trading Post and the nearly 200 Kittery Outlets stores, just a few miles to the south
- entertain the family at York’s Wild Kingdom Zoo and amusement park
- visit the Old York Historical Society, and other museums, with over 300 years of stories to tell
- dine at casual eateries and award-winning restaurants
Or, enjoy a sightseeing trip that includes Cape Neddick’s Nubble Lighthouse in Sohier Park – a favorite to hundreds of photographers and artists, worldwide. While there, hope for clear weather, and a chance to see the Boon Island Light!
Because of its central location to dozens of vacation activities, York Beach, Maine is also easily accessible to other historic coastal towns and cities. How about a day trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire – a harbor town located on the Maine and New Hampshire border, and just a short drive from York.
In Portsmouth’s historic waterfront you can stroll along the streets and alleys, some with their original cobblestones, and browse through dozens of clothing boutiques, unique gift shops, art galleries, and museums, including the beautiful Strawberry Banke Museum.
Eat waterside overlooking the tugboats of Portsmouth Harbor, or dine in one of the many restaurants located in the city’s historic brick buildings.
Travel a few minutes south from York Beach and you will find the Kittery Outlet Mall, along with many restaurants and the always popular Kittery Trading Post.
Travel north from York Beach and in a few minutes, you will be in the picturesque town of Ogunquit, with Perkins Cove, shop-lined streets, oceanside dining, trolley rides, and over three miles of white sandy beach.
If you feel like driving a bit further, Portland, Maine, and Boston, Massachusetts are an easy day trip from York Beach, Maine.. One is just an hour to the north, the other a little over an hour south. If you have never visited the New England area before, both of these are cities that are well worth the visit.
And, there is plenty to see in between…
Both the Maine shoreline and the New Hampshire seacoast offer stunning views as you travel up and down Route 1A.
For other activities in York Beach, Maine and towns nearby, you will find plenty of golf, whale-watching, kayaking, lobster boat tours, and deep-sea fishing, and if you enjoy the arts, local playhouses and theaters offer special shows during the summer tourist season.
York Beach, Maine Lodging
When searching for lodging in York, ME, you will find a great selection of York Beach hotels, motels, inns, and B&Bs – most of which are family-owned, and privately owned and for rent by owner, York Beach, ME rental homes and cottages.
Roll into town in your camper or RV and you may find a wooded lot at the York Beach Camper Park, just a five-minute walk from the quaint shops and restaurants of York Beach.
Or, reserve an elegant room at the historic York Harbor Inn, which Country Living Magazine recently selected as “Inn of the Month”. Or, at the gorgeous, AAA Four Diamond, Stage Neck Inn, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in York Harbor.
Off the beaten track you might enjoy the Chapman Cottage Inn, winner of the Fodor’s Choice Award.
And, there are plenty of other motels and hotels in York Beach to choose from…
The Union Bluff Hotel has been watching over Short Sands Beach since 1868, the Anchorage Inn is just steps from Long Sands beach, the Cutty Sark Motel is where the “lawn meets the Atlantic” and the Sea Latch, with a choice of motel rooms, efficiencies, cottages, and apartments, is located across from Long Sands Beach.
For something away from the beach, nestled in the rustic Maine woods, and conveniently located to US Route 1, is the Faircrest Motel.
Or, choose from dozens of other places to stay in York Beach, Maine, many of which are open for either an extended season or year-round, to allow visitors to enjoy the enchantment of York Beach, without the crowds.
Restaurants York Beach, Maine
Casual family dining, along with award-winning fine dining, is easy to find in York Beach, Maine.
Kids, big and little, yes that means Mom and Dad too, would probably love a visit to The Goldenrod. a York Beach establishment since 1896.
Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the Goldenrod’s rustic dining room or at the old-fashioned marble soda fountain. While there, watch the world-famous saltwater taffy, Golden Rod Kisses, being made using the original recipe created over 100 years ago.
For something a bit more formal you may find yourself heading to the York Harbor Inn, to dine at the ocean view, “1637”, with a menu that has received recognition from Gourmet, Taste, and Food & Wine. Or, the fabulous Blue Sky on York Beach, occupying the second floor of the Atlantic House Hotel and Resort Residences. And, with its three stone fireplaces, the nearby Cape Neddick Inn Restaurant and Tavern, located at the corner of Coastal Route 1 and Route 1A, has been a landmark since 1926. Open year-round their American Grill Cuisine is available in both the dining room and the Tavern.
On Long Beach Avenue, in what appears to be a century-old white cottage, Italian cuisine is served in the homey atmosphere of Mimmo’s Fine Italian Restaurant.
But wherever your taste buds take you, be sure to treat yourself to at least one sampling of Maine seafood!
And it won’t be hard to find – not with Fox’s Lobster House, the Lobster Cove, the Dockside, and the Sun n’ Surf and the Lobster Barn restaurants, right down the road in York Beach, Maine!