A Day in Ogunquit

The many overlapping layers of culture across this oceanfront resort town have made it a magnet for vacationing families, art connoisseurs, the LGBTQ+ community, and nature lovers. That glorious human mix means that, no matter who you are, you’ll rarely long for something stimulating to jump into around Ogunquit.

The iconic Ogunquit Playhouse.


Visual artists and performers started discovering Ogunquit in the late 1800s, and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art’s collection starts then and runs to modern day—all of it showing the important role Ogunquit has had in shaping the nation’s art. This summer, look for I’ll Bring the Luck with Me: Hunting and Fishing with Henry Strater, an exhibition spotlighting the local adventurer and artist. Currently in its 90th year, the iconic Ogunquit Playhouse rolls out five musicals and plays each summer. This season’s include musical versions of Mr. Holland’s Opus and The Nutty Professor. Around here, hotels double as art museums, exemplified in Cliff House Maine’s formidable collection of 50 pieces by local artists in multiple mediums, curated by Chris Caraviello of the nearby Van Ward Gallery.


Kids love the hop-on, hop-off Ogunquit Trolley—a convenient (it runs every 15 minutes) way to navigate downtown Ogunquit’s crowded streets. Ride it to Harbor Candy Shop, full of charm and handmade sweets, and score big with the kids. (Bonus points if you go to the back of the shop and watch candy being made.) When the sea beckons, head for the middle section of the aforementioned Ogunquit Beach, known as Footbridge Beach—a favorite for tykes thanks to an abundance of tide pools, changing rooms, and concessions. One of the most family-friendly spots to stay is Anchorage by the Sea, run by the Ramsey family since 1978. Its recently renovated restaurant, Surf Point 360, has French toast piled with chocolate chips for kids and 360-degree views of the Atlantic for grown-ups.


Nature couldn’t be easier to access from downtown Ogunquit. Some of Maine’s most stunning views are found along the Marginal Way, a 1.25-mile paved path running along the cliff parallel to town. (The 40 or so benches along the path provide respites for meditating on the crashing Atlantic waves.) Meanwhile, Ogunquit Beach is a 3.5-mile-long stretch of soft sand, gentle surf, and tide pools. Nearby Wells Reserve at Laudholm harbors loads of wildlife, upland fields, forests, and freshwater and estuarine wetlands on its protected 2,250 acres of coastal habitat.


Known globally as a gay destination, Ogunquit embraces the full rainbow coalition of LGBTQ+ locals and visitors all about town, and everyone is welcome. When you’re craving some piano bar sing-alongs with your bang bang shrimp, hit the Front Porch Piano Bar and Restaurant for dinner—and don’t bypass the fish tacos with lime tequila slaw, either. There’s a nightly party over at Mainestreet, with drag performances, disco bear tea dances, and ’80s prom nights. Plays and comedy acts figure in as well, and the outdoor deck is the place to be after a long day on the beach.

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