Old Orchard Beach, also known as OOB, is a classic Maine getaway, combining the best of the old and new. Old Orchard Beach is one of the last remaining oceanfront amusement parks in the country complete with a pier and an oldfashioned carousel, rides and fair food. Consistently voted Maine’s Best Beach by the readers of Maine’s largest newspaper, Old Orchard Beach’s 7-mile long stretch of beautiful sandy shores offers something for every beachgoer. Old Orchard Beach is also the best Maine beach for families. Kids will enjoy building sandcastles, splashing in the waves or swimming in the gentle surf.
For livelier beach activity, we suggest settling near the Pier, with easy access to great food, drinks and games. Most beachgoers congregate near The Pier, head to either end of the beach for a quieter and more peaceful day during the summer. If you decided to pack light—not to worry—there are plenty of local places to rent beach gear, many of which will even deliver!
Old Orchard Beach offers activities for every taste and age. A leisurely 15-minute walk on the beach or West Grand Avenue brings you to the famous Pier plus adjoining amusement parks, shops, pubs, restaurants, and fast-food outlets. Two water parks and three eighteen-hole golf courses are just 10 minutes away. On rainy days, explore and adventure to the 160 indoor stores of the Maine Mall in Portland or the famous LL Bean in Freeport. Jump on the nearby Amtrak Downeaster train and experience Boston for the day.
The famous Old Orchard Beach Pier is in the center of the beach, with lots of exciting activities for all ages. Extending 500 feet into the Atlantic, The Pier features many seafood dives and restaurants, with delicious food and drinks and great ocean views. At night, the Pier becomes a hotspot for nightlife and live entertainment. Venues offer comedy, karaoke and live DJs playing the best music for your dancing pleasure. Young adult visitors will enjoy one of the best bar scenes on the Southern Maine Coast, with lively music, dance parties and drink specials.
The Pier also hosts fireworks every Thursday night during the summer. The shopping in Old Orchard Beach ranges from t-shirt shops, swimsuit and surf boutiques, henna and tattoo parlors and Maine craft shop near The Pier. The best restaurants in Old Orchard Beach line the Main Street and the beachfront. This resort town is famous for its fresh pizza, Pier Fries, lobster rolls and fried clams, but you can also find fine dining in sit down restaurants with freshly prepared seafood, steak, even Chinese, Greek and Italian cuisine.
Things to do in Old Orchard Beach
A great way to explore Old Orchard Beach is by boat. There are several boat companies that charter rafting tours, lobster tours, fishing tours and more! Beginner and expert anglers will enjoy a chartered fishing trip from Pine Point or Camp Ellis with experienced captains, who will ensure that you have a successful fishing trip. Don’t be surprised if you end up catching a striped bass, bluefish or mackerel, since they all inhabit the Saco River, a prime fishing spot. Some charters even offer kid-friendly tours that also include viewing sea creatures like crabs and starfish. Lobster boat tours are a fun way to experience the daily life of a lobsterman by watching them pull traps and learning all about Maine lobsters.
If you are feeling adventurous, there are also many canoe and kayak tours and rentals that explore the Saco River and nearby Scarborough salt marsh, where visitors may encounter some unexpected wildlife sightings. Bird watchers will love the extensive Scarborough Marsh that is habitat for a vast array of aquatic and Maine bird species.
Kids will love a visit to Palace Playland, New England’s only beachfront amusement park with over 25 rides and attractions. Palace Playland offers a giant arcade room, beautiful classic carousel and Kiddie-land rides for our smaller visitors. The famous Ferris Wheel, called the Sun Wheel, will bring you high above the strip for spectacular views of the beach, the Pier and town. The Galaxi Coaster has been named one of the top 5 roller coasters in the country.
Aside from thrilling rides, Palace Playland also offers favorite park food like fried dough, pizza and famous Pier Fries. There are classic midway games, gift shops and more, and there is free admission to Palace Playland you only pay for the rides and games you choose a great deal for families! For more amusement fun, Old Orchard Beach is also located close to Funtown-Splashtown USA and Scarborough’s Indoor Karting Track, both fun for the whole family. Find more ideas on things to do Maine.
Golfers should not miss the chance to stay at Old Orchard Beach when travelling to Maine. Old Orchard Beach is home to over ten 18-hole courses within a half hour of the beach, making it an ideal place to play a few rounds and still have time to relax on the beach. There are also several driving ranges, as well as miniature golf courses for the kids.
Even though it is a beachside community, there is still fun to be had year-round. Kick off the Christmas season with Old Orchard Beach’s annual Christmas by the Sea celebration, including a tree lighting, horse-drawn wagon rides, entertainment and food. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on a fire engine to join in the celebration and festive fun.
The annual Lobster Dip in Old Orchard Beach is held on New Year’s Day, a tradition that has been around for over 20 years to benefit the Special Olympics of Maine. Over 300 participants jump into the freezing ocean water observers can watch from the beach or participate if you’re feeling brave! Summer is all about outdoor fun, including a Memorial Day Parade, several 5k memorial road races, a family sand sculpture contest, A Beerfest on the Pier, Beach Olympics and fireworks every week. An Antique Auto Show and Vintage Car Parade takes place in September along the Strip of Old Orchard Beach’s Maine Street.
Old Orchard Beach’s central location on the Southern Maine Coast puts it near other charming seaside towns and beaches or the city atmosphere of nearby Portland. There are also many lighthouses that are just a short drive away, including Two Lights, Portland Headlight and Goat Island Lighthouse. It is also close to outlet malls in Freeport to the north and Kittery to the south, several movie theaters and state parks. Old Orchard Beach is also very easy to get to, as the Amtrak Downeaster now stops at the Old Orchard Beach Train station several times per day and is located just steps from the beach and the Welcome Center.
A visit to Old Orchard Beach truly has something for every generation. Whether you choose to hang out on the Pier at night for lively excitement or relax on the beach with the family from sunrise to sunset, your Old Orchard Beach vacation will be unforgettable.