Visitors to Kennebunk and nearby Kennebunkport, Maine, quickly discover what New Englanders have known for ages: This coastal community is one of the most charming year-round travel destinations, with a rich history, scenic landscape and fascinating attractions that make it an ideal spot for a quintessential family vacation.
Speaking of families, it wouldn’t make much sense to write about Kennebunk without mentioning the First Family – Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush, whose family compound can be found on Walker’s Point. While the collection of building is not open to the public – it remains the family’s summer home, and has been host to numerous dignitaries and heads of state – you can catch a glimpse and take a great picture of the promontory from Ocean Avenue.
There are several different types of tour that you can check out in Kennebunk. For example:
- Coastal Maine Kayak offers guided tours to the nearby Cape Porpoise Lighthouse, the Kennebunk River, Mousam River and Casco Bay. The tours – led by a licensed Maine Guide – are approximately three hours in length.
- With Rugosa Lobster Tours, you can ride a classic New England wooden lobster boat for a memorable Maine experience. In a fun-filled 60- to 90-minute trip aboard the Rugosa, you’ll take a tour of the Kennebunk River, enjoy a scenic tour of the beautiful coastline and watch the crew haul its lobster traps. You can sit back and relax, or roll up your sleeves and join in the fun.
- For a more relaxing adventure, visit Schooner Eleanor Sailing Tours. A two-hour trip aboard the Eleanor will take you down the historic Kennebunk River and along the scenic coastline. Enjoy the peace and quiet of cruising under sail. Learn a little local maritime history, help work the sails or just sit back, relax and take in the fresh salt air. You can also sail on the Pineapple Ketch, where the local captain and crew explain points of interest. Visitors are welcome to help haul line, set sail or even take a turn at the helm.
- Intown Trolley continues an early tradition of trolleys in the Kennebunks. The narrated sightseeing tour provides local narrative, describing the area’s 300-year history, from the native Americans, early settlers, the shipbuilding era, tourist and summer resort and, more recently, the Presidential summer home. When you see the area via trolley, you can learn about the town while enjoying the fabulous view along the coast of Maine.
If instead, you prepare to explore at your own pace and on your own schedule, there is much to see and do. Here are a few suggestions to get the full New England experience:
- St. Anne’s Episcopal Church – A historic seaside Chapel that offers the opportunity for summer worship, fellowship, and outreach on the coast of southern Maine. Located in Kennebunkport, the picturesque chapel was built in 1887 to serve the communities of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, and Cape Porpoise. People of all faiths join residents and visitors to the region for Sunday worship, special services and quiet meditation in the park setting overlooking the Kennebunk River and the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, the stone chapel, lush gardens and outdoor chapel are open to the public from sunrise to sunset throughout the summer and early autumn months.
- Seashore Trolley Museum – The nation’s largest and oldest museum of mass transit, where you get to relive history and follow in the footsteps of generations past. Founded in 1939, the Seashore Trolley Museum has grown into the largest electric railway museum in the world, with a collection representing almost every major American city that had a streetcar system. See the beginning of mass transportation from the omnibus to the development of the electric streetcar, and follow the progress to today’s buses, light rail vehicles and rapid transit cars.
- Shopping – The area is dotted with an enticing assortment of specialty and gift shops. For instance, at Maine-ly Drizzle, products are hand selected by the owners to offer a première collection of fresh, unique extra virgin olive oils and fused and infused oils as well as naturally flavored specialty, aged and white balsamic vinegars. Scalawags is a one-of-a-kind pet boutique offering dog toys, dog treats, dog collars, harnesses, and leashes, dog clothes and accessories, dog and cat supplies, pet lover gifts and so much more. They offer many USA and New England-made products, as well as nautically-inspired items for your pet and your home. And farm + table features gifts from small batch makers and creators, from a big red barn in Cape Porpoise.
- Wedding Cake House – Called the “most photographed house in the state” of Maine, this historic home was built in 1825 by shipbuilder George W. Bourne, who later built a frame barn which he connected to the main house with a carriage house. In 1852, the barn caught fire and the carriage house was demolished to keep the fire from spreading to the house. Bourne, who during a European tour had been impressed by the Gothic beauty of the cathedral at Milan, rebuilt the carriage house and barn in what later came to be known as Carpenter Gothic style. In the fall of 2005, the home was opened to the public for the first time by current owner Jimmy Barker as a fund-raiser for Hurricane Katrina relief.
There are many more avenues for recreation in Kennebunk, including art galleries, beaches, walking areas, golf and bike tours (for even more ideas, check out the video below). To plan a trip to Kennebunk, or to any of our terrific travel destinations, give us a call at (888) 269-0182, Mon to Fri 9am to 5 pm.