When you follow U.S. Route 1 in the state of Maine, it’s not hard to find waterfront fun at nearly every pull off. That said though, you’d probably waste a lot of a gas if you did really stop at every waterfront you found. Instead, build your Route 1 cruise around the following Maine waterfronts to save time and maximize fun.
Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick
The site of more than a million engagement photoshoots, the stark white stalk of Nubble lighthouse and its accompanying footbridge create the quaintest image of Southern coastal Maine there is. Make like the crowds around you and snap some family photos, or whip out a sketchbook and get your drawing on. Whatever the Nubble inspires, the vista and nautical vibes are well worth a stop.
The Marginal Way, Ogunquit
This coastal walking path will evoke thoughts of Scotland for any who have been across the pond. While the United States still lacks a right to roam law, Ogunquit’s Marginal Way might make up for it to some degree –– the paved and sinuous trail winds through the bustling town, along the resort-studded cliffs to the south, and ends at the sandy expanse of Ogunquit Beach. While we’re totally biased because Ogunquit is our home, Marginal Way might just be the absolute best example of waterfront fun in Maine.
Casco Bay promenades, Portland
For a burgeoning art and industry city like Portland, the waterfront oases provided by the promenades on either end of Casco Bay are real gems. You could brewery hop anywhere on the East Coast, but only in Portland can you brewery hop and end the day with a picnic on a grassy waterfront park. Also great for biking, running, and blading, the promenades are clearly contributing to Portland’s armies of fit and friendly people.
The Wells National Estuary, Wells
Probably the most immediately stunning and quietest of all the waterfronts in Maine that we’ve included on this list, the Wells Reserve earns its physical place next to the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge. When you pull up to the Laudhold Farm parking lot, you’ll feel as if you have entered the Maine of many years past. If you stop here, pack snacks and make sure you’ve got ample room in your schedule –– the trails and the expansive estuary demand a slow pace.
Harraseeket River, Freeport
If you’re a yacht person, the Freeport harbor will tickle your fancy. If you’re not, you can look around all the gleaming white and platinum to take in the majesty of the harraseeket tidal river as it meets Casco Bay before hitting the Atlantic Ocean. We highly suggest seizing the ritzy Freeport moment and sitting down for a chilled glass of Chardonnay.