Total Driving Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Distance Covered: 85.4 miles
Take This Trip If: You want to bask in the sun like a quality Kennedy or Bush family member would.
Originally settled in 1610, Kennebunkport was a small fishing village that experienced an economic boom during the shipbuilding era. But it wasn’t until after the Civil War that Kennebunkport became what it is today: a summer retreat for wealthy families. In fact, former President George W. Bush’s great-grandfather’s compound, Walker’s Point, is located in Kennebunkport, and both he and his father (also former President Bush) have hosted foreign dignitaries at the summer home. What, you may ask, attracts the elite crowds to this Northeastern haven during the summer months? The private-feeling beaches are the area’s main draw and activities such as kayaking, whale-watching, golfing, and fishing are also popular pastimes.
If you’re looking for a cozy hotel that’s also spot-on chic, The Tides Beach Club is the perfect choice. Fully renovated in 2011, the hotel’s vibe is South Beach-esque and trendy while maintaining a quaint New England feel. Two suites designed by Jonathan Adler, spectacular ocean views, and a contemporary restaurant with a sophisticated menu are just some of the upgrades that came with the renovation. For a more budget-conscious option, stay at The Colony Hotel. This historic hotel has a welcoming attitude to both kids and dogs, attracting families with its heated saltwater swimming pool and private sandy beach.
Top Driving Tip: Don’t forget about all the neighboring areas: Kennebunkport is a great launching point for visiting nearby towns like Ogunquit — known for its long sandy beaches and as being Maine’s biggest LGBT destination — or York, to see the famous Neddick Lighthouse.