If you're looking for gorgeous, kid-friendly beaches with universal appeal, your best choice is Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Old Orchard Beach vacations are the ideal choice for a family looking to get away this summer, with wide stretches of safe beaches (low surf keeps things calm in the water, so your kids can go wild having as much fun as they want) and tons of choices to keep the whole family occupied on and off the water. Whether you're looking for relaxing Old Orchard Beach fishing or want to alternate your days between sunbathing and visiting amusement parks, there's something for everyone at Old Orchard Beach. And if you stay in Old Orchard Beach vacation rentals, you'll be perfectly situated to make the most of your Old Orchard Beach vacation. Do you have tips for our Old Orchard Beach travel guide? Share them with us.
At Old Orchard Beach, you can enjoy old favorites like swimming, sunbathing, and shelling – kids can play down the entire beach without worrying about crashing waves. Surfers and older teenagers looking for a wild time may be disappointed here, but everyone else will have too much fun to notice what they might be missing. Experienced and novice anglers will enjoy Old Orchard Beach fishing, too.
The boardwalk gives the entire beach an amusement park atmosphere. Walk along it with the family (you'll see tons of kids here) and you'll find snacks, games and even rides. And nightly entertainment like concerts and fireworks shows keep visitors active and happy at all hours. Old Orchard Beach summer rentals along the beach and boardwalk mean you can sit just outside your door and watch the fireworks go off.
Taking a break from the beach? On rainy days, cold days or just days when you need a little variety, fill your time with exciting activities from amusement parks to miniature golf, boat tours, state parks and lighthouses. You'll also have your choice of golf courses, museums and theaters.
- Palace Playland – Located actually in Old Orchard Beach itself, this amusement park prides itself as being New England's only beachfront amusement park, and it's perfectly located for a family visiting Old Orchard Beach. Admission is free and includes access to tons of attractions and arcade games. Outside of peak season, though, the park is only open on select days, so make sure you check the schedule if you're planning to visit outside of summer.
- Funtown/Splashtown USA – Northern New England's largest amusement park and water park. From kiddie rides to adrenaline-filled thrill rides, Funtown means a great time for every member of your family. There's even an arcade and more than 20 "games of skill" to test yourself against! Splashtown will keep you soaked and happy with 18 water slides and pools, plus the family-oriented Portland Pirate's Paradise that is a self-contained play area with more to do than even the most energetic family could squeeze into a day.
- Harmon Museum – If your family is full of history buffs, or you'd just like to know a little more about the area you're visiting, stop by this free museum and learn the colorful history of Old Orchard Beach. The museum includes the historical Harmon House (home to the Old Orchard Beach Historical Society) and is open select hours June through September and available year-round via appointments.
Old Orchard Beach vacations put you in the heart of lighthouse country. If you like the beauty of lighthouses and their views, check out the nearby Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse and Two Lights State Park, Portland Headlight and Museum, Goat Island Lighthouse and Wood Island Lighthouse.
Kid-friendly Old Orchard Beach offers the sort of shopping that your whole family will love, with candy shops and stores that specialize in games and puzzles. In case a rainy day strikes, it's smart to plan ahead by arming yourself with a board game – although Old Orchard Beach accommodations sometimes include toys and games, especially if you rent an Old Orchard Beach vacation home from an individual owner.
Old Orchard's Pier is a bustling center of shopping, playing and dining in the area, a 500-foot pier mixing games with stores and quick family food options. And no matter what Old Orchard Beach lodging you stay in, you'll be 30 minutes away from the always-open L. L. Bean store in Freeport, where you can also find a great outlet mall that will keep shopaholics busy for hours.
Old Orchard Beach offers dining choices for every meal and every style, from casual breakfast diners to family restaurants, even showcasing a handful of upscale cuisine choices. Old Orchard Beach vacations aren't complete without trying at least one lobster roll, so make sure you don't miss out on this local delicacy! Bailey's Lobster Pound is one place where you can find outstanding lobster rolls, or you can pick up precooked or uncooked seafood dishes here to bring home and heat up yourself. After all, if your Old Orchard Beach lodging has a full kitchen – and most Old Orchard Beach vacation rentals do – you can save money and gain convenience by eating right at home.
- Golden Rooster Restaurant – Located in nearby Saco, voted the area's best breakfast, which is served all day here. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu.
- The Captain's Galley – An all-day choice located directly in Old Orchard Beach, this restaurant serves a reasonably-priced breakfast menu and a fair lunch and dinner menu that includes local specialties for good prices. Don't miss out on their seafood stuffing. With a kid's menu (especially for breakfast), this one's a good family choice.
- Joseph's By The Sea – This truly unique upscale restaurant delivers a special romantic experience at breakfast or at dinner, combining French and American cuisine while emphasizing the very freshest locally-caught seafood. Breakfast is surprisingly affordable, and a child's menu for dinner means you can bring the little ones if you'd rather not find a babysitter.
Most people come to Old Orchard Beach for its pleasant summers, when you can cool off from hot summer days in the cool waves. You'll find the biggest crowds at this time, and the highest concentration of activities. Plan early and you'll be able to find the Old Orchard Beach summer rentals of your dreams. Don't write off year-round Old Orchard Beach vacations, though – even in the winter, you'll find activities and events going on that you won't want to miss. During the off season, you'll find much better deals, and you can even enjoy summer-like weather in spring or fall without paying full price. Old Orchard Beach lodging (especially Old Orchard Beach vacation rentals) is frequently heavily discounted during the off season, and you'll find specials all around the area.
Old Orchard Beach vacations will usually keep you entertained locally, but if you run out of things to do or are looking for more variety, Old Orchard Beach is centrally located near Scarborough, Biddeford and Saco, and a little farther north, you'll find Portland, Maine's largest city.
Old Orchard Beach vacations in the summer mean hours spent enjoying the sun and the sand, so pack your sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and swimsuits! Some Old Orchard Beach summer rentals even provide toys for the beach to help with sandcastle-building or keeping the kids entertained.
The local services you'll find when taking Old Orchard Beach vacations are basic, so don't expect the sort of elaborate concierge services you might find elsewhere. You can count on the basics (childcare, grocery stores), and sometimes owners of Old Orchard Beach lodging are willing to stock your Old Orchard Beach summer rental's kitchen before you arrive, if you ask politely.
If you can, fly into the Portland Jetport (an easy 13 mile drive from Old Orchard Beach). International travelers and visitors from far away may have to fly into Boston and make the drive, but traveling through New England is a shorter trip than you may expect. And local bus services give you a convenient way to move around town, whether you're staying in beachfront Old Orchard Beach accommodations or renting a cottage closer to the heart of town.
If you're looking for Old Orchard Beach lodging, consider Old Orchard Beach vacation rentals. Whether you rent a beachfront cottage or a cozy condo, you won't find better Old Orchard Beach accommodations in any hotel, motel or resort. Old Orchard Beach summer rentals pack in extras for smart summer visitors, so talk to the owners of properties you're considering; you never know what deals you might be able to find if you ask. Old Orchard Beach vacation rentals also let you fit more people than a hotel room, with more space to breathe, all at lower costs for an all-round unbeatable deal.