Insider Tips for Visiting Ogunquit
While Ogunquit’s three-mile beach, oceanside inns, and nightlife are all worthy destinations, we wanted a local’s take on visiting this classic beachside resort town. Lauren and Matt Wickert, who own the Shore Road restaurant Northern Union, give their recommendations for how to enjoy their adopted hometown.
BE A TOURIST FOR A DAY
Most of us ended up in Ogunquit because we visited as tourists first. We like to remember what drew us to the town whenever we get stressed running the restaurant or need a moment of pause. Nothing calms us down faster than a stroll along the rocky shore of the Marginal Way as you head for that first rum punch at Barnacle Billy’s, the Ogunquit legend. Explore the shops around Perkins Cove, and watch the boats come and go. Pro tip: avoid the traffic jams in the cove and park anywhere you can find public parking along the access routes to Marginal Way, then walk into and out of the cove. We tend to take the Marginal Way in and walk back along Shore Road.
SEEK OUT SECLUDED BEACHES
Ogunquit Beach’s miles of sand backed by dunes and a lazy river are the top draw for visitors, but there are other, lesser-known beaches you should explore. There are several beaches that appear at low tide along the Marginal Way. Some even have lifeguards stationed there. The contrast of the sand and granite shore make a day at the beach extra special at these more private spots.
CHANNEL OGUNQUIT’S ARTISTIC ORIGINS
There is no better place to appreciate Ogunquit’s roots as an artist retreat than the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, the only museum in Maine dedicated specifically to the exhibition, preservation, and interpretation of American art. Founded in 1953, the museum is nestled on the rocky shore, a short stroll from Perkins Cove, with amazing views both inside and around the manicured grounds. In addition to the museum, check out other artist galleries tucked into Perkins Cove and along Shore Road.
TAKE TO THE SEA FOR HISTORY AND TRANQUILITY
After spending time enjoying the views of the ocean from the beach, Perkins Cove, and the Marginal Way, hop aboard a piece of history with a private sailing trip on the 42-foot sloop, The Silverlining. Built in 1939 of wood and bronze by legendary boatbuilder Henry R. Hinckley, the yacht was lovingly restored by its current owner and skipper. Tours run throughout the season, and this is one experience you don’t want to miss.
DRESS UP FOR A NIGHT ON THE TOWN
The T-shirts in the shops in town proclaim Ogunquit “A drinking town with a fishing problem.” And, yes, Ogunquit has some colorful and energetic nightlife, but there are also quieter places to dine and take a break from the frenzied pace of a summer vacation. The Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce’s Welcome Center is staffed with an amazing team who will surely point you in the right direction. While there, inquire about some of the themed weekends the Chamber organizes throughout the year. Our favorites are the Fourth of July fireworks, Ogunquitfest in the fall, and, of course, Christmas by the Sea.