13 Best Things to Do in Kittery Maine, Pretty Coastal Town

13 Best Things to Do in Kittery Maine, Pretty Coastal Town

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As the southernmost city on Maine’s seacoast, the city of Kittery Maine has so much to supply! Kittery is likely to be finest identified for its outlet buying, nevertheless it additionally has an enchanting historical past courting again to 1647, making it Maine’s oldest city. 

I’ve spent loads of time in Kittery — sure, like many New Englanders, I went primarily for the retailers, although on a few of my many Portsmouth visits I’ve walked throughout the bridge into Kittery to get pleasure from extra of what this coastal city in Maine has to supply.

Kittery is dwelling to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which was established in 1800. With among the finest pure deepwater harbors on this planet, it’s the oldest regularly working shipyard within the United States, constructing and repairing submarines for the US Navy.

History and buying apart, the city has a small-town vibe and has quietly been changing into one of many cooler offbeat cities in Maine, filled with artwork galleries, native markets, and gourmand eateries serving locally-sourced meals.

Notable eating places to take a look at are Warren’s Lobster House, which serves superb seafood with views of the river, and Robert’s Maine Grill, additionally serving nice seafood together with steak and rooster.

Being the southernmost city in Maine, part of the state that’s typically deemed “North Massachusetts” (although whether or not or not that’s a praise or an insult will depend on who’s saying it!), Kittery makes a wonderful cease on a Maine street journey or a simple day journey from Boston.

Kittery winks on the world — it has a lot extra to supply than you assume.

This submit, revealed in November 2023, was co-written by Adventurous Kate and Susan Stephens.

The view of a small town in coastal Maine: fishing shacks covered with colorful buoys and small white boats perched on the edge of a pier, cottages on shore behind them.
This view of Kittery is quintessential Maine — through EB Adventure Photography on Shutterstock.

Best Things To Do in Kittery, Maine

Shop on the Kittery Premium Outlets

Many guests begin their day in Kittery with a visit to the Kittery Premium Outlets. This shopper’s paradise options greater than 100 shops, from Kate Spade to Banana Republic Factory Store, Michael Kors to Carter’s, and from Coach to Adidas. The costs listed here are effectively definitely worth the go to!

If you end up feeling starvation pangs throughout your buying spree, you’ll uncover a variety of eating places accessible, together with a couple of cheeky breweries.

One factor to remember, although, is that Maine has 5.5% gross sales tax, in contrast to next-door neighbor New Hampshire, which has no gross sales tax. (Though should you actually need to max up the tax financial savings, you would possibly need to hit up the retailers in New Hampshire.)

Additionally, clothes is taxed in Maine, in contrast to Massachusetts, the place most clothes beneath $175 will not be taxed. Just maintain this in thoughts earlier than you store so your expectations are stored in examine.

The retailers couldn’t be simpler to get to, situated simply off I-95 on Route 1, and there’s loads of parking.

If you haven’t had sufficient retail remedy on the retailers, Kittery Trading Post is one other nice buying cease, excellent for snagging all your out of doors clothes and equipment. 

An aerial view of the Maine coastline, with a big grassy area topped with a stone fort, surrounded by stone fences.
Isn’t Fort McClary in Kittery probably the most fantastically set fort you’ve seen? Via Shutterstock.

Fort McClary State Historic Site

Fort McClary is without doubt one of the finest locations to immerse your self within the historical past of southern Maine. Built in 1844 and situated at Kittery Point, the fort performed an important position within the protection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in the course of the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Major McClary misplaced his life at Bunker Hill within the Revolutionary War, and this fort safeguarded the area for a formidable 275 years.  

The historical past of Kittery is mirrored within the fort’s structure. Using native granite, the encircling wall stands proud as a testomony to the fort’s sturdiness. Over time, modifications have been made to maintain its unique grandeur. Today, guests can discover the fort’s grounds, go to the museum, and revel in beautiful views of the Piscataqua River. 

The fort is open for excursions from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, from 10:00 AM till sundown, until in any other case posted on the gate. Fees are $3 for Maine residents, $4 for non-residents, and $1 for all seniors, no matter residency.

An Aerial view of a gray sand beach curving around bright blue water, with wetlands on the other side.
Seapoint Beach, Kittery, Maine

Enjoy Kittery’s Beaches

Kittery is dwelling to a number of lovely seashores that provide beautiful landscapes and ample alternatives for enjoyable within the solar. You’ve acquired a few of Maine’s trademark rocky seashores, together with calmer sandy choices.

Seapoint Beach is a smaller, extra secluded seaside situated on the outskirts of Kittery. Don’t be fooled by its rocky shores; the swimming is divine. Parking will be restricted, particularly throughout busy instances, however canines are welcome! 

Alternatively, Fort Foster Park is a ravishing 45-acre park situated on Gerrish Island in Kittery Point. The park is only a quick drive from downtown, also called Kittery Foreside, providing beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and a pleasant seaside space.

The park is dwelling to a Civil War-era fort and museum, a playground, picnic areas, and a ship launch. The park additionally affords swimming, fishing, and mountaineering trails. Know that canines usually are not allowed on this seaside. 

Crescent Beach is a well-liked spot in Kittery identified for its calm waters and picturesque sandbar. It affords a wide range of facilities, together with restrooms, showers, and a snack bar. While there’s a giant parking zone, it does refill throughout peak instances, so come early should you’re visiting in the course of the summer season.

Take Flight Aerial Adventure Park

If you’re searching for a thrill, you gained’t need to miss Take Flight Aerial Adventure Park! With over 65 actions to select from at this enjoyable spot, you’ll embark on an aerial journey, navigating swinging tires, suspended platforms, swings, catwalks, and even an exhilarating zip line that can check your nerves!

With programs for all ages and ability ranges, it’s a good way to get your adrenaline pumping and expertise the fantastic thing about the Maine woods from a singular perspective. Don’t fear should you’re a first-timer; you’ll obtain instruction, security tips, and the chance to apply earlier than venturing out by yourself. The skilled workers all the time prioritizes security so you may benefit from the expertise with peace of thoughts.

The park is open weekends from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, April to October. Several completely different packages can be found starting from $12-84, relying in your stage of curiosity. Choose from an aerial problem course, zip line tour, tremendous swing, ski bounce, and fast bounce. Combo packages can be found from $118 per particular person.

A small blue cottage with a sign reading Kittery Historical & Navy Museum, with patriotic red white and blue paper banners hanging above the door.
Don’t miss one of many museums of Kittery Maine.

Kittery Historical and Naval Museum

The preservation of Kittery Maine’s wealthy naval traditions is fantastically showcased on the iconic Kittery Historical & Naval Museum. It homes a formidable assortment of artifacts and reveals that spotlight the city’s position in shipbuilding, the Revolutionary War, and the U.S. Navy. 

Visitors may also discover the museum’s historic buildings, together with the Seventeenth-century Sparhawk House. Thanks to the devoted efforts of volunteers and beneficiant donations from far and huge, this distinctive historical past is preserved for generations to return.

Tours on the museum are self-guided, they usually’re open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, from May by means of November. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for kids, and $15 for households. 

Catch a Performance on the Dance Hall

The Dance Hall is a superb neighborhood gathering house in Kittery, Maine, designed to encourage younger and previous with the enjoyment of music and motion. With an important mixture of reside performances, patrons can’t assist however benefit from the ambiance within the historic 1928 constructing. The vibe is classic and the acoustics are spine-tinglingly good!

Need to brush up in your dance strikes earlier than you are taking to the ground? The Dance Hall affords a collection of dancing classes in its landmark artwork house. The corridor prides itself in selling culturally numerous programming with its reside occasions, artist residencies, and ongoing neighborhood initiatives. 

The ticket costs are very reasonably priced and the house is managed by a devoted non-profit group. It’s an important alternative to immerse your self within the native arts scene, placing cash into the pockets of Mainers dedicated to the humanities. Beer and wine can be found throughout performances. Shows begin at $17 per particular person. See their web site for the dance lesson costs and scheduling. 

Drop Into Just Us Chickens

Discover the whimsical creations of Just Us Chickens artwork gallery. Since 2005, this artist cooperative of 18 native artisans has created a beautiful spot with which to showcase and promote their works. 

Whether you’re searching for a singular reward, or a private memento, the gallery is the proper vacation spot. Here, you’ll discover a variety of beautiful objects, together with glassware, nature-inspired artwork, ceramics, and fantastically crafted baskets. 

What makes Just Us Chickens even higher is that it’s run by the artists themselves. This not solely lends a private contact but additionally ensures that their work is offered with the utmost care and keenness. Once once more — right here’s the place you may put funds direct into Maine artists’ pockets.

A man pouring a beer from a big steel tank at a brewery.
Kittery is dwelling to among the extra distinctive breweries in Maine. Via Shutterstock.

Visit Kittery’s Breweries

Much like the remainder of the U.S., the cities of Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire are dwelling to a flourishing craft beer scene. 

Tributary Brewing Company is without doubt one of the oldest and hottest breweries in Kittery. The brewery was based in 2010 by two associates who’re enthusiastic about craft beer.

They are identified for his or her huge number of beers, which vary from IPAs and stouts to extra experimental choices like bitter beers and barrel-aged beers. The brewery additionally has a well-liked taproom the place you may pattern their beers and pair them with an satisfying meal.

Another nice possibility in Kittery is Woodland Farms Brewery. This brewery is a bit smaller than Tributary however they’ve an important collection of farmhouse ales and lagers. It can also be Maine’s first non-alcoholic brewery (sure, that’s a factor!), with beneficiant choices for non-drinkers, even non-alcoholic IPAs! Woodland Farms Brewery can also be identified for its dedication to sustainability, and it makes use of eco-friendly practices each time doable.

If you’re keen to take a brief drive, there are much more breweries to take a look at in close by Portsmouth, NH, and the encircling Seacoast area

A park on the edge of the river, several sailboats in the water behind it.
Kittery is even higher from a ship. Via Shutterstock.

Get Out within the Water with Seafari Charters

I really feel like all good journeys to Maine require a ship journey sooner or later, and one firm affords a wide range of methods to expertise the nice open air of Southern Maine and the New Hampshire Seacoast. With an skilled crew of Coast Guard-licensed captains, Seafari Charters supplies excursions, fishing journeys, and scuba diving adventures that permit you to create lasting reminiscences within the water.

Want to do some whale watching? Book a tour and get the prospect to look at humpback, fin, and minke whales whereas cruising previous the Isles of Shoals in New Hampshire and Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine.

Deep sea journeys with Seafari Charters cater to anglers of all ability ranges, and their skilled captains might help you land a wide range of species together with cod, pollack, haddock, wolf fish, halibut, and extra. 

Diving charters may appear nuts in Maine — the water up right here will not be precisely Caribbean heat — however scuba diving right here is exclusive. Off the coast of Maine, you may discover the various marine lifetime of the area’s rocky ledges, kelp forests, and shipwrecks, providing a singular view into the underwater world.

Half-day and day journeys can be found, relying on the tour you select. If you’re seeking to turn out to be a licensed scuba diver, they’ve packages for newbies.

A small Maine island dotted with fishing shacks and piers, underneath a purple and yellow sunrise.
Badger’s Island is without doubt one of the most picaresque spots in Kittery Maine, through Shutterstock.

Visit Badger’s Island

A cute little island situated between Kittery and Portsmouth, NH, Badger’s Island is the proper place to flee the hustle and bustle of on a regular basis life and benefit from the pure fantastic thing about Maine. It’s additionally a pleasant cease when strolling into Portsmouth.

If you’re feeling energetic, you may chill out in considered one of a number of parks or take a ship journey from the marina. Like Kittery, it’s additionally a historic location the place a number of outstanding boats had been constructed again within the 1700s. You’ll additionally discover three eating places on Badger’s Island: Ore Nell’s BBQ, Badger’s Island Pizza, and Buoy Shack. The latter affords seafood and breathtaking views of the harbor.

Getting to Badger Island is simple. Simply take the Portsmouth-Newmarket Bridge and comply with the indicators. It is a simple stroll should you’re coming from both Kittery or downtown Portsmouth. 

Downtown Portsmouth New Hampshire, with a small town square featuring a tall white steepled church, and a brick building with a mural of Italy on it.
You will LOVE Portsmouth — it’s considered one of my favourite locations.

Visit Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth, New Hampshire is considered one of my favourite locations in New England — an inviting coastal city actually throughout the bridge to the south of Kittery. With its wealthy historical past, vibrant tradition, and delightful surroundings, Portsmouth and Kittery are two sides of the identical coin.

Also dwelling to numerous historic websites, amongst them, you’ll discover the Strawbery Banke Museum, a dwelling historical past museum that tells the story of the city’s early settlers. Other notable websites embrace the John Paul Jones House, the place the well-known Revolutionary War naval hero as soon as lived, and the downtown space right here is without doubt one of the prettiest in New Hampshire.

You’ll discover numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues. During the summer season, don’t miss the Prescott Park Arts Festival. Some of the extra well-known Portsmouth eating places to take a look at are The Oar House, which serves contemporary seafood with a view of the river, and The Portsmouth Brewery, which affords a wide range of craft beers and pub fare.

Read More: Best Things to Do in Portsmouth, NH

People relaxing on a long rocky beach leading to teal water.
Ogunquit is a seaside city with all of it! Via Shutterstock.

Visit Ogunquit, Maine

If you’re searching for a enjoyable and funky seaside city, simply north of Kittery you’ll discover Ogunquit. This city has all of it — superior seashores, a vibrant queer neighborhood, lovely strolling trails, cute little retailers and galleries, and a bar the place you may sing out present tunes.

One of the highlights right here is strolling Marginal Way. This scenic strolling path winds alongside the rocky shoreline, providing implausible views of the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s additionally an important spot for whale watching. If you may tear your self away from the seaside, that’s!

If you’re craving a little bit of efficiency artwork, the historic Ogunquit Playhouse has been presenting Broadway musicals and different reside performances for over 80 years. This is the place you’ll need to be to catch a present and revel in an evening out in town. Alternatively, hit up The Front Porch, a enjoyable bar and restaurant, for dinner and present tunes!

But one of many nicest issues about Ogunquit is simply strolling across the downtown space and having fun with an ice cream, or heading over to Perkins Cove to take quintessentially colourful images of coastal Maine.

Read More: 17 Fun Things to Do in Ogunquit, Maine

A lighthouse perched on a rocky island, surrounded by crashing waves.
Nubble Lighthouse in York is without doubt one of the most well-known lighthouses in Maine. Via Shutterstock.

Visit York, Maine

Located between Ogunquit and Kittery, York, Maine is a ravishing city. It is thought for its beautiful seashores, historic landmarks, and traditional New England ambiance. York is a really family-friendly city, with tons of actions for youths, however even adults can have a blast right here.

The seashores listed here are among the nicest within the space, together with Short Sands Beach and Long Sands Beach. You’ll discover arcades and sweet shops that really feel virtually frozen in time.

The city is dwelling to a number of locally-owned retailers and cafes and boasts a vibrant arts scene. It additionally hosts a number of festivals and occasions all year long, such because the York Harvestfest.

And in fact, you may’t overlook concerning the meals! You’ll discover among the finest fine-dining seafood eating places in Maine; the whole lot from lobster rolls to contemporary oysters. 

Read More: 15 Fun Things to Do in York, Maine

An aerial view of downtown Kittery Maine, with several buildings surrounded by woods and a river in the distance.
You’ll discover loads of choices for Kittery Maine inns. Via Wangkun Jia on Shutterstock.

Where to Stay in Kittery Maine

It’s not a nasty thought to have a look lodging at Portsmouth, NH first — it’s simply throughout the bridge from Kittery and the town is dwelling to a pleasant collection of inns. However, listed here are my prime picks if you wish to keep proper in Kittery:

Luxury: Water Street Inn, nestled within the historic district, boasts beautiful views of the Piscataqua River. The meticulously restored 1812 mansion affords 8 elegant rooms, every with its distinct character and luxurious facilities. Guests can chill out on a secluded riverside patio, collect for afternoon tea within the Great Room, or discover Kittery’s boutique galleries, retailers, and eating places.

Mid-Range: Hampton Inn & Suites Kittery, located in north Kittery close to Interstate 95, affords a cushty keep for vacationers searching for comfort. The resort’s modern rooms present trendy facilities and ample house for households and enterprise vacationers. Guests can begin the day with a complimentary breakfast, unwind with a swim within the indoor pool, or work out within the health heart. 

Budget: Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portsmouth is a pleasant budget-friendly possibility for friends and is simply throughout the river from Kittery. Their comfy visitor rooms are outfitted with facilities reminiscent of a TV, espresso maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi. For added consolation, reap the benefits of their on-site breakfast and health heart. 

A small seaside village in Maine, cottages on shore, wooden docks leading out to the water.
Pepperell Cove in Kittery on a stunning fall day, through Shutterstock.

Best Time to Visit Kittery, Maine

No shock, you’ll expertise one of the best climate in Kittery in the summertime, however the recognition of the retailers retains Kittery hopping year-round.

If you’re searching for one of the best summer season climate, your finest bets are July, August, and even early September. June tends to be a bit riskier with rain in New England.

Shoulder season is a beautiful time to go to with much less crowds. Historically, you’ll expertise higher climate in fall than in spring (although foliage season, which peaks in early to mid-October, will be each lovely and really busy, particularly on Columbus Day weekend).

The winter months are quiet alongside the Maine coast, with most sights closed for the season. That mentioned, a winter journey to Maine is a good way to get to know the locals reside right here year-round!

The Kittery Trading Post, a building with a giant bullseye painted on it, with lots of cars parked in front.
The Kittery Trading Post is a well-liked spot on the town! Via Wangkun Jia on Shutterstock.

How to Get to Kittery Maine

By far, the easiest way to get right here is by automobile. Much of small-town New England isn’t accessible by public transportation, and with a automobile, you’ll have loads of freedom to discover the encircling areas.

If you’re flying into Kittery, the closest airport is in Portland, Maine, adopted by Boston, Mass. Logan Airport in Boston is a extra handy possibility for worldwide flights.

If coming by practice, Amtrak’s nearest cease is in Dover, NH on the Downeaster line from Boston to Portland. Local buses come from Portsmouth and cease in Kittery (simply north throughout the river).

Uber does exist in Kittery and Portsmouth, which is a good way to get round should you don’t have entry to a automobile, or if you wish to hit up the bars and don’t have a chosen driver.

A wooden pier leading into the water in Maine, underneath a pink and purple sunset.
You can all the time time your Kittery journey to sundown! Via Shutterstock.

How Much Time to Spend in Kittery Maine

One day is sufficient for the primary sights of Kittery. If you keep longer than that, you’ll have the ability to see the whole lot that the city has to supply. But should you’re planning a mixed journey to Kittery and Portsmouth, I believe three days will provide you with time to see quite a bit in these two vibrant coastal cities.

Kittery additionally makes a wonderful base for exploring Southern Maine and the encircling area. You can completely use Kittery as a base as you drive up and down the coast, discovering loads of treasures (and eat ALL the lobster rolls!).

A steel suspension bridge connecting two sides of a curvy blue river.
The Piscataqua River Bridge, and the various bridges connecting Kittery and Portsmouth.

Is Kittery Worth It?

I completely love the southern coast of Maine — in addition to its sibling, the New Hampshire Seacoast. Whether you’re visiting on a day journey from Boston or spending a full two weeks exploring the area in depth, I believe it’s a implausible place to discover.

Kittery is only one city amongst many on this area. And whereas I don’t assume it’s one of many very best cities — for me, that may be Portsmouth or Ogunquit — Kittery is totally value a minimum of a half day go to. You gained’t remorse spending a couple of hours right here.

I hope you will have one of the best time in Kittery, Maine!

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Have you been to Kittery Maine? What’s your favourite factor to do? Share away!


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