by Stephen Jermanok
North of Portland, the long stretches of sandy beach found in southern Maine is gone, replaced by rocky shores, grooved and roughened by the endless battering of surf and wind. This is the rugged Maine coast that has lured fishermen, shipbuilders and artists to its shores for centuries. As soon as you pull off Route 1 onto one of those peninsulas that jut into the Atlantic like fingers on a glove, surrounded by the salty sea, you realize you’re in for a treat.
This is certainly true when you drive up to Sebasco Harbor Resort, perfectly set at the end of one of those peninsulas, overlooking the great expanse of ocean. The 600-acre retreat is truly a large playground for families. The reason why you meet people from all over North America who return to Sebasco year after year to get their dose of New England tranquility topped with a good dose of lobster and chowder. The view alone is worth the price of admission, looking out over the rocky shores past lobstermen in boats picking up their traps to pine-studded islands and then the wide open Atlantic. Yet, it’s the following category, family activities, that truly separates Sebasco from the rest of the pack.
Our Editor Loves
- Great ocean locale
- Vast array of family-themed activities
- Traditional New England clambake
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The mix of accommodations at Sebasco include houses along the shore, ideally suited for family reunions, cottages in the woods, rooms in the Main Lodge and the two-story Harbor Village, even rooms in the black-and-white Light House. The Harbor Village is newer than the Main Lodge rooms, with a balcony overlooking the wildflower garden and the harbor in the distance.
The spacious two-room suite had a large king-sized bed for the parents and a pullout queen-size bed in the second room. Each room had their own bathroom. The master bedroom had a shower, Jacuzzi tub and tiled floors. The bathroom in the kids room had a second shower. The second room also had a kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, toaster and coffee maker, great for having breakfast in the room or on the balcony each morning. Each room also had flatscreen TVs, a fireplace and desks with free WiFi. The warm tones of the room were welcoming and the breeze coming off the water was all we needed for air conditioning.
This was our fourth visit to Sebasco Harbor Resort, this was the first visit without our kids and it was just as great. This is the place to unplug and dive into a saltwater pool, kayak/paddle board around the islands, take a harbor cruise, play a round of golf, eat lobster, have a massage, candle pin bowl, and watch a sunset. We were lucky enough to explore Harbor Island and Malaga Reserve where we saw not one but two bald eagles, discovered a hidden beach and had an amazing dinner in Holbrooks accessible by boat or a bit of a drive. If your looking for the Maine escape where kids have just as much fun as you, and activities are all there at the resort, I recommend looking into the cabins by the lighthouse.
Sebasco is a classic Maine seaside resort updated for the modern traveler. I travel a lot and the suite was on par with anything I've stayed in. The bed was comfortable and the location quiet and restful. The cheerful and thoughtful staff were truly the highlight of the stay, however, and they made an impression from the moment I drove onto the property. I can't wait to return and explore more of this hidden gem.
Pool and Water Sports
Many hours are spent in the large saltwater swimming pool, surrounded by the ocean and the moored sailing and fishing boats. Pool hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and there's an attendant on hand to pass out towels. Nearby the Sebasco Kayaking Center offers a number of guided paddles each day, led by a naturalist who will paddle you in the right direction to see harbor seals and ospreys.
From Monday to Friday, Camp Merritt will lead children over five on daily excursions throughout the property. This includes making tie-dyed shirts, heading to the ice cream stand for Moose Tracks or Maine Blueberry ice cream, and visiting the indoor Quaterdeck Recreation Center to go candlestick bowling and play pool, air hockey and pinball.
If you want to spend the day together, there are also a slew of options. Children can play golf with their parents on the nine-hole resort course or the three-hole lake course, or take a lesson from the instructor at the Pro Shop. There are also tennis courts to practice your forehand.
A pirate cruise with Captain Cornelius is one of two boating options. The other is a cruise to the many small villages surrounding the resort in Casco Bay, learning about the long history of lobstering and fishing in the region. At night, don't miss the campfire singalong and S'mores, a tradition at Sebasco.
It will be hard to venture off-property, but you'll be rewarded if you make the effort. Popham Beach is a rare spit of sand in these parts, nestled between the rocky shores. Come at low tide and you can walk out to an island covered in mussel shells, the remains of a seagull feast. Kids swim in the tidal pools while parents watch three-masted schooners and fishing boats motor by. Afterwards, head to Fort Popham, a Civil War-era fort. Trails snake along the beach to a semi-circular stone structure that once held cannons. Then stroll along the docks where lobster traps are stocked high, the perfect family photo op.
Enjoy dinner at the resort's Pilot House as the sun is setting over the island and ribbons of orange, yellow, and red light up the sky. The food only served to enhance the ambience. Things like the traditional New England clambake and chowder, a light and tasty mix of clams, broth and potatoes, are available on the menu. Then get ready to put on the bibs because Maine famous crustacean doesn't disappoint. The lobster meat was tender and easy to get out of the shell, obviously caught that morning. It was served with corn on the cob. Things like fish and chips and mac and cheese are available for younger kids. And save room for dessert because the blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream a la mode is sublime.
For casual dining on property, catch the breeze and harbor, as well as the same fresh, delicious seafood found in the Pilot House at the resort's pub-style restaurant. Micro-brewed ales and spirits are par for the course, and a great place to grab a cold one once the kids are tucked in.
Sea Chest Cafe
If you are looking for a light snack, warm latte or delicious baked good, stop by Sea Chest Cafe for a treat.
Meal Plan Option
Families can choose to add the meal plan option to their stay. The meal plan includes breakfast and dinner and kids 12 and under eat free off of the children's menu when adults purchase the meal plan.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
There are harborside lobster bakes and poolside blueberry pancake breakfasts offered in the summer.
There is a health club located in a building across from the golf Pro Shop that has weight machines and cardio equipment.
The Art of Smart Timing
Sebasco opens on May 17, with high peak season reserved for the months of July and August. Arrive in June or September, when the weather is still relatively warm (c'mon, we're talking about Maine), and you'll receive more affordable pricing.
From Portland, take I-295 North, transferring to Route 1 in Brunswick. In Bath, bear right on Route 209. Follow 209 for 11 miles to Sebasco Road. Follow Sebasco Road for 1.3 miles to Sebasco Harbor Resort.
A vehicle is needed when staying at this resort.
For Mom & Dad
Grab the Sea Breeze Spa Suite and have a couple's massage, play a round of golf by your lonesome, or go sea kayaking with a naturalist. With Camp Merritt, it's easy to leave the little ones in good hands and have some quiet time together. Sea stone massages and blueberries and cream manis and pedis are a sampling of options available at the Spa.