Standout Places to Stay
Beach House Inn (211 Beach Ave., Kennebunkport; 207/967-3850; beachhseinn.com; doubles from $250, including breakfast and afternoon tea), in a fantastic setting across the street from Kennebunk Beach, is the most stylish of K’port’s seaside inns. Its 34 rooms, done in shades of ivory and decorated with black-and-white photographs, are also among the area’s more expensive, suited for families willing to pay a premium for hotel-grade comfort and service. And that’s what the Beach House unfailingly delivers—no surprise, considering it’s run by the owners of the White Barn Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property just up the road.
Yachtsman Lodge & Marina (57 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport; 207/967-2511; yachtsmanlodge.com; doubles from $299) is another swish property from the White Barn team—this one a tastefully converted motel set smack on the Kennebunk River, which also functions as the town marina. (George Bush Sr. keeps his cigarette boat moored right outside.) Light-flooded rooms have bead-board paneling, cathedral ceilings, and semiprivate patios, where you can sit and watch the yachts—and the occasional ex-president—motor by.
A full-blown resort, Stage Neck Inn (8 Stage Neck Rd., York Harbor; 800/222-3238 or 207/363-3850; stageneck.com; doubles from $275) is packed with two pools, tennis courts, a spa, and two restaurants. There’s also a small beach, and the modern, slightly anodyne rooms—all of which have balconies or patios—offer lovely views.
A more intimate choice, the Dockside Guest Quarters (Harris Island, York; 207/363-2868; docksidegq.com; doubles from $198) occupies a seven-acre, maple-and-pine-shaded island reachable by a causeway from York proper. The white clapboard main house has five guest rooms plus a wraparound porch and a croquet lawn; there are also six apartments with decks right on the water. Plan on heading out to sea—the inn will lend you a rowboat or rent you a Boston whaler.
The Lobster Awards
It’s pronounced lawb-stuh, and it is, of course, the big red reason you’re here. Learning to "shuck a bug" is a mandatory rite of passage for New England children. Hone your skills—steady with that nutcracker!—at these spots. And be sure to sample Maine’s other specialty, the lobster roll.
Best Plain-and-Simple Lobster
Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier (16 Chauncey Creek Rd., Kittery Point; 207/439-1030; lobsters for four $52) is far enough off the tourist path to feel like a cookout in someone’s photogenic backyard. Pick your catch from the bubbling tank and the staff will deliver it to your picnic table. B.Y.O. mosquito repellent.
Best Lobster with a View
Hold out for a seat on the harborside deck at Barnacle Billy’s (50–70 Perkins Cove Rd., Ogunquit; 207/646-5575; barnbilly.com; lobsters for four $80)—and almost touch the boats drifting by. Boiled lobsters are the thing to get, but if the shell game proves too taxing, try the luscious lobster rolls and chowder.
Best Upmarket Lobster
A short walk from Billy’s, MC Perkins Cove (111 Perkins Cove Rd., Ogunquit; 207/646-6263; mcperkinscove.com; dinner for four $120) is a high-end seafood shack. Still, it’s casual enough for kids, who will love the crab cakes, pork dumplings (one of several winning Asian dishes here), and thick-wedge fries.