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Maine Lighthouse Road Trip: Ogunquit & Cape Neddick | Nubble Lighthouse

This past May, I went on a solo road trip through the coast of Maine in search of the prettiest coastline views and beautiful lighthouses. I covered a lot of ground, and if you'd like to catch up on some of my other destinations, I'd love for you to follow these links:



As excited as I am to talk about Ogunquit, I'm so sad that this is my last post from my Maine road trip. Even though this adventure replaced what would have been my very first trip to Europe, this was honestly so memorable, and really reminded me how amazing it is to live close to New England. Maine is a very special state, and I can never get enough of it when I visit. And since I love it so much, almost everyone I've ever talked to about it has said that I had to go to Ogunquit, so I made sure to squeeze it into this itinerary. I was only here for about 24 hours, but man, I definitely fell hard for it. 




During my time in Ogunquit, I couldn't help but think to myself, "I know I'm in Maine, but I feel like I'm on the Cape." Those famous Maine landscapes that are synonymous with the state aren't as prominent here. Instead, you get a huge, sandy beach, a charming town center filled with restaurants, beautiful shops and tourist souvenirs, and houses covered in weathered shingles and hydrangeas. So clearly, I was a fan. 


WHERE TO STAY IN OGUNQUIT 

Before I even think about mentioning places to stay, I can't stress to you enough that you absolutely must stay in town somewhere with parking. So guys, I thought popular towns on the Cape were hard to park in during peak season - Ogunquit gives them a run for their money. My arrival was actually kind of stressful. I stayed here in mid-May and thought it would be lively, but not packed. Once I drove into town in search of my hotel, the sidewalks were absolutely mobbed with people and no parking spots in site. I was never so thankful to be headed to a hotel with parking included in my life.

That said, I stayed at Terrace By The Sea and the location was absolutely perfect. From the front lawn of the hotel, you can see the ocean, parking and breakfast are included, and you can walk everywhere, including to the beach, saving you on beach parking costs. The hotel also has a huge, beautiful wrap-around covered porch, and since it rained around the time I wanted to eat dinner (and was still eating outside because of COVID, even though I was vaccinated), I got takeout and a bottle wine and ate on the porch. I really recommend this place. 

The footbridge in front of Terrace by the Sea, which takes you to Ogunquit Beach.

View from the front porch of Terrace by the Sea.



WHAT TO DO IN OGUNQUIT

My absolute favorite thing in Ogunquit was Marginal Way. I loved it so much that I walked the whole thing three times, and would have done it again if I'd had the time. 

See the walking path in the bottom right? That's Marginal Way.



Marginal Way is a coastal walking path that starts in town and ends in Perkins Cove, an adorable little harbor with shops, restaurants and a very quaint feel. But more on Perkins Cove in a moment. If you do one thing in Ogunquit, be sure to walk the entire Marginal Way path (just over a mile one-way). It offers such stunning views of the coastline, plenty of benches to stop and take it all in along the way and even a few small beaches that almost look like a postcard from Europe. 

Just after sunrise on Marginal Way.


To start the walk on Marginal Way from town, you'll want to find the Shore Rd and Obeds Ln intersection, right by the Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort. It's very close to the main town area. Look for a pedestrian crosswalk on Shore Rd by that intersection, and you'll see a little path with a sign that says "Marginal Way." You'll walk down the path toward the ocean, and you're well on your way to starting the walk.


I never regret waking up for sunrise. 




This was a few minutes before a storm rolled in, but I was distracted by the crashing waves to notice.



Ogunquit Beach is why most people flock to the town during the summer months, and now I totally see why. Most beaches in Maine are rocky, but Ogunquit Beach is a three-mile long stretch of soft sand and endless views of the ocean. Even in mid-May, it was rather busy, so I can't even imagine how busy it must be in July and August. It's so big, though, that I can't see how it could feel crowded, even at peak times.







The main town area of Ogunquit had charm at every corner. Adorable little grocery markets with baked goods and pre-made foods and deli counters, ice cream shacks, casual and upscale restaurants, some really nice shops to explore - it had it all. It's pretty small and manageable, and I walked the whole thing in a couple of hours at a leisurely pace, popping in and out of stores. 




Inside Goods in Ogunquit, one of my favorite stores.



Perkins Cove is one of those little areas that feels like a summer Hallmark movie set. From what I understand, the harbor is part of Ogunquit, but it has its own distinct town feel and its own, well, harbor, obviously. There are a few really nice little shops here (actually, it had my favorite housewares/little-bit-of-everything shop in all of Ogunquit - Blue Whale Trading Co.), a cafe, a seafood shack, a restaurant and an ice cream place. My favorite thing about it was the beautiful little bridge that connects the residential part of the area with the town. I didn't even know that this place existed, so finding it after my first walk down Marginal Way was such a treat, and a great way to end my trip. When you're all done exploring Perkins Cove (and you don't need too much time unless you stop to eat because it's very small), you can head right back to Marginal Way, and take another gorgeous walk back to Ogunquit. The whole experience is just lovely.














Cape Neddick and Nubble Lighthouse are only about a 20 min drive from Ogunquit, heading south toward York, and are definitely worth a little stop. Nubble Light is on its own little island, so you can't walk up to it, but there is a parking area and lookout right across the water, which offers perfect views. I actually thought I would have to zoom in really far on my camera lens to get a decent shot of the lighthouse, but it's surprisingly close. It was fairly busy when I went (a Saturday late morning), but found a parking spot easily. Most people seemed to only park for a few minutes to see the lighthouse and snap a few photos, and then went back to their cars to leave, so parking really didn't seem to be an issue even though the lot isn't huge. 




I decided to drive through Cape Neddick on my way back to Ogunquit just to see if there was anything of interest, and immediately pulled over to snap some photos of this beautiful buoy wall. There was one other guy there when I arrived, and I think he worked at the nearby restaurant. He was telling me how this is a big photo spot, and a lot of locals have their Christmas card photos taken here, so be sure to swing by if you're in the area. Look for Cape Neddick Lobster Pound (or type that into your GPS), and pull into the parking lot. Just be respectful of the fact that the parking lot is for the restaurant, so if it's busy, it may not be a good idea to take up the spot just for photos. I was there in the morning before the restaurant opened, so the gentleman I was talking to told me to take my time and snap away.






WHERE TO EAT IN OGUNQUIT

Since I was here for just a short time (24 hours), I didn't have the opportunity to taste test as much as I would have liked, especially because my hotel includes breakfast. Here are a few places I didn't check out, but were highly rated:

- Love Shack Juicery for smoothies and acai bowls (there was always a line out the door whenever I walked by here)

- Lobster Shack in Perkins Cove (reeeeeeeally wish I had gone here. I'm having major FOMO)

- Ogunquit Beach Lobster House (right on the water)

Honestly, most of the restaurants in the area are well-rated online. It seems you can't go wrong.





For a quick snack on the go while exploring the town, I grabbed some pre-made things at Ogunquit Food Market. I actually really loved this little place. I got a veggie sandwich, a salad and some baked goods for the road, and everything was delicious, and it has that adorable little small town market feel that's fun to just wander around and see what they have. 

For my dinner that night, I went to La Pizzeria and treated myself to lobster ravioli to celebrate a very successful road trip. This is the dinner I ate while it lightly rained on the covered porch of my hotel, with a bottle of wine. All to myself. My food was delicious, and their pizzas are supposed to be really good as well. 

I also got some ice cream once it stopped raining (duh), and ended up at Sweet Pea's, which was just around the corner from my hotel. It's not homemade ice cream (they serve Richardson's, which is made in Massachusetts), but it was still delicious. They also had a large selection of flavors and generous portions. 

And that, my friends, is a wrap on my solo coastal lighthouse road trip through Maine. If you've never been to Maine, I encourage you to plan a visit. While summer is peak season here (July/August), I'm especially fond of Maine in the spring and fall when crowds are fewer and the weather is a bit moodier and chillier. There's just something about that kind of weather that makes me love Maine even more. I hope this helps anyone out there looking to plan a Maine getaway or adventure. If you do find it helpful, or inspirational, please be sure to let me know. Thanks so much for following along.













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