This oppressive heat makes us want to head north to cooler climates. Our regular blogger, Kara Williams, has escaped the heat with a family trip to Maine! Lucky her!
Ogunquit Beach is consistently named among New England’s top beaches for good reason. The 3.5-mile coastal stretch – predominantly a giant sandbar, separated from the “mainland” by the Ogunquit River – is ideal for families. The beach is so expansive there’s plenty of room for everybody to mark their spots with colorful blankets, umbrellas, chairs and coolers. (Just move away from the footbridges for less congestion.) Gentle waves beckon boogie boarders and even surfers. Powdery sand – and few rocks – invite long strolls on the beach and sandcastle building. There are no sudden drop offs into the ocean, so youngest visitors can wade safely.
Spending time on roomy, flat Ogunquit Beach is one “must do” for families who visit this coastal vacation destination. Here are my other suggestions:
Walk Marginal Way: This 1.75-mile paved trail hugs the cliff between Perkins Cove (a touristy area filled with shops and seafood restaurants) and the center of Ogunquit. It’s a popular walk; you’ll see plenty of parents pushing strollers, kids scampering ahead, older couples strolling hand in hand… For a quiet moment, step off the trail and rest on a bench to admire the rugged rocks, crashing waves and vast blue sea.
Eat Breakfast at Café Amore: This homey breakfast spot is one part diner (black and white checked floors) and one part cottage (a mix of different wooden and metal tables and chairs, plus a few church pew benches). The food is excellent – from unique French toast combos (I had battered cranberry lemon sourdough) to salmon eggs benedict to blueberry Belgian waffles. Bring a slice of heaven home with Café Amore’s jars of sweet strawberry almond or blueberry jam.
Rent Kayaks from World Within: Just north of Ogunquit at Wells Beach, World Within Sea Kayaking rents single and tandem kayaks out of a garage in the Driftwinds Motel. Sounds a little sketchy, but we found owner Andy French delightfully friendly and accommodating, and we had a ball kayaking for two hours in calm ocean swells about a half mile from shore. We paddled to rocks where seals hang out!
We stayed at the Cliff House Resort & Spa, about two miles from Ogunquit’s downtown. With its outdoor family pool (adults only at the infinity pool) and indoor pool (great for an inclement weather day), this property welcomes families. Parents appreciate the on-site spa and the blueberry microbrew on tap at the Ocean Terrace bar. A regularly scheduled shuttle into town costs $1.
I’d also consider staying at in-town resorts such as the Beachmere Inn, with direct access to Marginal Way and a small sandy/rocky beach. Rooms at this historic property have kitchenettes, free wireless (always a huge plus in my book) and it’s only a 10-minute walk to shops and restaurants in Perkins Cove and the downtown core.
Freelance writer Kara Williams blogs about family travel, as well as romantic escapes and girlfriend getaways, at TheVacationGals.com.