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Because the southernmost city on Maine’s seacoast, the city of Kittery Maine has loads to supply! Kittery may be finest recognized for its outlet buying, nevertheless it additionally has an interesting historical past courting again to 1647, making it Maine’s oldest city.
I’ve spent plenty of time in Kittery — sure, like many New Englanders, I went primarily for the retailers, although on a few of my many Portsmouth visits I’ve walked throughout the bridge into Kittery to take pleasure in extra of what this coastal city in Maine has to supply.
Kittery is house to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which was established in 1800. With top-of-the-line pure deepwater harbors on the earth, it’s the oldest regularly working shipyard in the US, constructing and repairing submarines for the US Navy.
Historical past and buying apart, the city has a small-town vibe and has quietly been turning into one of many cooler offbeat cities in Maine, stuffed with artwork galleries, native markets, and gourmand eateries serving locally-sourced meals.
Notable eating places to take a look at are Warren’s Lobster Home, which serves wonderful seafood with views of the river, and Robert’s Maine Grill, additionally serving nice seafood together with steak and rooster.
Being the southernmost city in Maine, part of the state that’s typically deemed “North Massachusetts” (although whether or not or not that’s a praise or an insult is dependent upon who’s saying it!), Kittery makes a wonderful cease on a Maine highway journey or a straightforward day journey from Boston.
Kittery winks on the world — it has a lot extra to supply than you assume.
This publish, printed in November 2023, was co-written by Adventurous Kate and Susan Stephens.
Greatest Issues To Do in Kittery, Maine
Store on the Kittery Premium Retailers
Many guests begin their day in Kittery with a visit to the Kittery Premium Retailers. This shopper’s paradise options greater than 100 shops, from Kate Spade to Banana Republic Manufacturing unit Retailer, Michael Kors to Carter’s, and from Coach to Adidas. The costs listed below are nicely well worth the go to!
If you end up feeling starvation pangs throughout your buying spree, you’ll uncover a spread of eating places accessible, together with just a few cheeky breweries.
One factor to bear in mind, although, is that Maine has 5.5% gross sales tax, in contrast to next-door neighbor New Hampshire, which has no gross sales tax. (Although if you happen to actually wish to max up the tax financial savings, you may wish to hit up the retailers in New Hampshire.)
Moreover, clothes is taxed in Maine, in contrast to Massachusetts, the place most clothes underneath $175 shouldn’t be taxed. Simply preserve this in thoughts earlier than you store so your expectations are stored in test.
The retailers couldn’t be simpler to get to, situated simply off I-95 on Route 1, and there’s loads of parking.
Should you haven’t had sufficient retail remedy on the retailers, Kittery Buying and selling Publish is one other nice buying cease, good for snagging your whole out of doors clothes and kit.
Fort McClary State Historic Website
Fort McClary is without doubt one of the finest locations to immerse your self within the historical past of southern Maine. In-built 1844 and situated at Kittery Level, the fort performed a vital function within the protection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard through the Conflict of 1812 and the Civil Conflict. Main McClary misplaced his life at Bunker Hill within the Revolutionary Conflict, and this fort safeguarded the area for a formidable 275 years.
The historical past of Kittery is mirrored within the fort’s structure. Utilizing native granite, the encircling wall stands proud as a testomony to the fort’s sturdiness. Over time, modifications have been made to maintain its authentic grandeur. Immediately, guests can discover the fort’s grounds, go to the museum, and luxuriate in gorgeous views of the Piscataqua River.
The fort is open for excursions from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, from 10:00 AM till sundown, except in any other case posted on the gate. Charges are $3 for Maine residents, $4 for non-residents, and $1 for all seniors, no matter residency.
Get pleasure from Kittery’s Seashores
Kittery is house to a number of lovely seashores that provide gorgeous landscapes and ample alternatives for enjoyable within the solar. You’ve received a few of Maine’s trademark rocky seashores, together with calmer sandy choices.
Seapoint Seashore is a smaller, extra secluded seaside situated on the outskirts of Kittery. Don’t be fooled by its rocky shores; the swimming is divine. Parking may be restricted, particularly throughout busy instances, however canines are welcome!
Alternatively, Fort Foster Park is a fantastic 45-acre park situated on Gerrish Island in Kittery Level. The park is only a brief drive from downtown, also called Kittery Foreside, providing gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean and a pleasant seaside space.
The park is house to a Civil Conflict-era fort and museum, a playground, picnic areas, and a ship launch. The park additionally gives swimming, fishing, and climbing trails. Know that canines are usually not allowed on this seaside.
Crescent Seashore is a well-liked spot in Kittery recognized for its calm waters and picturesque sandbar. It gives quite a lot of facilities, together with restrooms, showers, and a snack bar. Whereas there’s a massive car parking zone, it does refill throughout peak instances, so come early if you happen to’re visiting through the summer season.
Take Flight Aerial Journey Park
Should you’re on the lookout for a thrill, you gained’t wish to miss Take Flight Aerial Journey Park! With over 65 actions to select from at this enjoyable spot, you’ll embark on an aerial journey, navigating swinging tires, suspended platforms, swings, catwalks, and even an exciting zip line that may take a look at your nerves!
With programs for all ages and ability ranges, it’s a good way to get your adrenaline pumping and expertise the great thing about the Maine woods from a novel perspective. Don’t fear if you happen to’re a first-timer; you’ll obtain instruction, security pointers, and the chance to follow earlier than venturing out by yourself. The skilled employees at all times prioritizes security so you may benefit from the expertise with peace of thoughts.
The park is open weekends from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, April to October. A number of completely different packages can be found starting from $12-84, relying in your degree of curiosity. Select from an aerial problem course, zip line tour, tremendous swing, ski soar, and fast soar. Combo packages can be found from $118 per particular person.
Kittery Historic and Naval Museum
The preservation of Kittery Maine’s wealthy naval traditions is fantastically showcased on the iconic Kittery Historic & Naval Museum. It homes a formidable assortment of artifacts and reveals that spotlight the city’s function in shipbuilding, the Revolutionary Conflict, and the U.S. Navy.
Guests can even discover the museum’s historic buildings, together with the Seventeenth-century Sparhawk Home. Due to the devoted efforts of volunteers and beneficiant donations from far and vast, this distinctive historical past is preserved for generations to return.
Excursions on the museum are self-guided, and so they’re open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, from Could by way of November. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for youngsters, and $15 for households.
Catch a Efficiency on the Dance Corridor
The Dance Corridor is an excellent neighborhood gathering house in Kittery, Maine, designed to encourage younger and previous with the enjoyment of music and motion. With an awesome mixture of reside performances, patrons can’t assist however benefit from the ambiance within the historic 1928 constructing. The vibe is classic and the acoustics are spine-tinglingly good!
Must brush up in your dance strikes earlier than you are taking to the ground? The Dance Corridor gives a choice of dancing classes in its landmark artwork house. The corridor prides itself in selling culturally numerous programming with its reside occasions, artist residencies, and ongoing neighborhood tasks.
The ticket costs are very reasonably priced and the house is managed by a devoted non-profit group. It’s an awesome alternative to immerse your self within the native arts scene, placing cash into the pockets of Mainers dedicated to the humanities. Beer and wine can be found throughout performances. Reveals begin at $17 per particular person. See their web site for the dance lesson costs and scheduling.
Drop Into Simply Us Chickens
Uncover the whimsical creations of Simply Us Chickens artwork gallery. Since 2005, this artist cooperative of 18 native artisans has created an exquisite spot with which to showcase and promote their works.
Whether or not you’re looking for a novel reward, or a private memento, the gallery is the proper vacation spot. Right here, you’ll discover a variety of beautiful objects, together with glassware, nature-inspired artwork, ceramics, and fantastically crafted baskets.
What makes Simply Us Chickens even higher is that it’s run by the artists themselves. This not solely lends a private contact but in addition ensures that their work is introduced with the utmost care and fervour. As soon as once more — right here’s the place you may put funds direct into Maine artists’ pockets.
Go to Kittery’s Breweries
Very similar to the remainder of the U.S., the cities of Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire are house to a flourishing craft beer scene.
Tributary Brewing Firm is without doubt one of the oldest and hottest breweries in Kittery. The brewery was based in 2010 by two associates who’re captivated with craft beer.
They’re recognized for his or her vast number of beers, which vary from IPAs and stouts to extra experimental choices like bitter beers and barrel-aged beers. The brewery additionally has a preferred taproom the place you may pattern their beers and pair them with an pleasant meal.
One other nice possibility in Kittery is Woodland Farms Brewery. This brewery is a bit smaller than Tributary however they’ve an awesome choice of farmhouse ales and lagers. It is usually Maine’s first non-alcoholic brewery (sure, that’s a factor!), with beneficiant choices for non-drinkers, even non-alcoholic IPAs! Woodland Farms Brewery can also be recognized for its dedication to sustainability, and it makes use of eco-friendly practices each time attainable.
Should you’re prepared to take a brief drive, there are much more breweries to take a look at in close by Portsmouth, NH, and the encircling Seacoast area.
Get Out within the Water with Seafari Charters
I really feel like all good journeys to Maine require a ship trip sooner or later, and one firm gives quite a lot of methods to expertise the good outside of Southern Maine and the New Hampshire Seacoast. With an skilled group of Coast Guard-licensed captains, Seafari Charters supplies excursions, fishing journeys, and scuba diving adventures that will let you create lasting reminiscences within the water.
Need to do some whale watching? Ebook a tour and get the prospect to look at humpback, fin, and minke whales whereas cruising previous the Isles of Shoals in New Hampshire and Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine.
Deep sea journeys with Seafari Charters cater to anglers of all ability ranges, and their skilled captains can assist you land quite a lot of species together with cod, pollack, haddock, wolf fish, halibut, and extra.
Diving charters might sound nuts in Maine — the water up right here shouldn’t be precisely Caribbean heat — however scuba diving right here is exclusive. Off the coast of Maine, you may discover the various marine lifetime of the area’s rocky ledges, kelp forests, and shipwrecks, providing a novel view into the underwater world.
Half-day and day journeys can be found, relying on the tour you select. Should you’re seeking to develop into an authorized scuba diver, they’ve packages for freshmen.
Go to Badger’s Island
A cute little island situated between Kittery and Portsmouth, NH, Badger’s Island is the proper place to flee the hustle and bustle of on a regular basis life and benefit from the pure fantastic thing about Maine. It’s additionally a pleasant cease when strolling into Portsmouth.
Should you’re feeling lively, you may calm down in certainly one of a number of parks or take a ship trip from the marina. Like Kittery, it’s additionally a historic location the place a number of exceptional boats have been constructed again within the 1700s. You’ll additionally discover three eating places on Badger’s Island: Ore Nell’s BBQ, Badger’s Island Pizza, and Buoy Shack. The latter gives seafood and breathtaking views of the harbor.
Attending to Badger Island is straightforward. Merely take the Portsmouth-Newmarket Bridge and comply with the indicators. It’s a straightforward stroll if you happen to’re coming from both Kittery or downtown Portsmouth.
Go to Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth, New Hampshire is certainly one of my favourite locations in New England — an inviting coastal city actually throughout the bridge to the south of Kittery. With its wealthy historical past, vibrant tradition, and exquisite surroundings, Portsmouth and Kittery are two sides of the identical coin.
Additionally house to plenty of historic websites, amongst them, you’ll discover the Strawbery Banke Museum, a dwelling historical past museum that tells the story of the city’s early settlers. Different notable websites embrace the John Paul Jones Home, the place the well-known Revolutionary Conflict naval hero as soon as lived, and the downtown space right here is without doubt one of the prettiest in New Hampshire.
You’ll discover plenty of galleries, theaters, and music venues. Throughout the summer season, don’t miss the Prescott Park Arts Pageant. Among the extra well-known Portsmouth eating places to take a look at are The Oar Home, which serves recent seafood with a view of the river, and The Portsmouth Brewery, which gives quite a lot of craft beers and pub fare.
Learn Extra: Greatest Issues to Do in Portsmouth, NH
Go to Ogunquit, Maine
Should you’re on the lookout for a enjoyable and funky seaside city, simply north of Kittery you’ll discover Ogunquit. This city has all of it — superior seashores, a vibrant queer neighborhood, lovely strolling trails, cute little outlets and galleries, and a bar the place you may sing out present tunes.
One of many highlights right here is strolling Marginal Method. This scenic strolling path winds alongside the rocky shoreline, providing incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s additionally an awesome spot for whale watching. Should you can tear your self away from the seaside, that’s!
Should you’re craving a little bit of efficiency artwork, the historic Ogunquit Playhouse has been presenting Broadway musicals and different reside performances for over 80 years. That is the place you’ll wish to be to catch a present and luxuriate in an evening out in town. Alternatively, hit up The Entrance Porch, a enjoyable bar and restaurant, for dinner and present tunes!
However one of many nicest issues about Ogunquit is simply strolling across the downtown space and having fun with an ice cream, or heading over to Perkins Cove to take quintessentially colourful images of coastal Maine.
Learn Extra: 17 Enjoyable Issues to Do in Ogunquit, Maine
Go to York, Maine
Situated between Ogunquit and Kittery, York, Maine is a fantastic city. It’s recognized for its gorgeous seashores, historic landmarks, and basic New England ambiance. York is a really family-friendly city, with tons of actions for teenagers, however even adults can have a blast right here.
The seashores listed below are a number of the nicest within the space, together with Quick Sands Seashore and Lengthy Sands Seashore. You’ll discover arcades and sweet shops that really feel virtually frozen in time.
The city is house to a number of locally-owned outlets and cafes and boasts a vibrant arts scene. It additionally hosts a number of festivals and occasions all year long, such because the York Harvestfest.
And naturally, you may’t overlook concerning the meals! You’ll discover a number of the finest fine-dining seafood eating places in Maine; every part from lobster rolls to recent oysters.
Learn Extra: 15 Enjoyable Issues to Do in York, Maine
The place to Keep in Kittery Maine
It’s not a nasty concept to have a look lodging at Portsmouth, NH first — it’s simply throughout the bridge from Kittery and town is house to a pleasant choice of inns. Nevertheless, listed below are my high picks if you wish to keep proper in Kittery:
Luxurious: Water Avenue Inn, nestled within the historic district, boasts gorgeous views of the Piscataqua River. The meticulously restored 1812 mansion gives 8 elegant rooms, every with its distinct character and luxurious facilities. Company can calm down on a secluded riverside patio, collect for afternoon tea within the Nice Room, or discover Kittery’s boutique galleries, outlets, and eating places.
Mid-Vary: Hampton Inn & Suites Kittery, located in north Kittery close to Interstate 95, gives a snug keep for vacationers looking for comfort. The lodge’s modern rooms present trendy facilities and ample house for households and enterprise vacationers. Company can begin the day with a complimentary breakfast, unwind with a swim within the indoor pool, or work out within the health middle.
Price range: Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portsmouth is a pleasant budget-friendly possibility for visitors and is simply throughout the river from Kittery. Their comfy visitor rooms are outfitted with facilities equivalent to a TV, espresso maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi. For added consolation, benefit from their on-site breakfast and health middle.
Greatest Time to Go to Kittery, Maine
No shock, you’ll expertise the most effective climate in Kittery in the summertime, however the reputation of the retailers retains Kittery hopping year-round.
Should you’re on the lookout for the most effective summer season climate, your finest bets are July, August, and even early September. June tends to be a bit riskier with rain in New England.
Shoulder season is a beautiful time to go to with much less crowds. Traditionally, you’ll expertise higher climate in fall than in spring (although foliage season, which peaks in early to mid-October, may be each lovely and really busy, particularly on Columbus Day weekend).
The winter months are quiet alongside the Maine coast, with most points of interest closed for the season. That stated, a winter journey to Maine is a good way to get to know the locals reside right here year-round!
The way to Get to Kittery Maine
By far, the easiest way to get right here is by automobile. A lot of small-town New England isn’t accessible by public transportation, and with a automobile, you’ll have loads of freedom to discover the encircling areas.
Should you’re flying into Kittery, the closest airport is in Portland, Maine, adopted by Boston, Mass. Logan Airport in Boston is a extra handy possibility for worldwide flights.
If coming by practice, Amtrak’s nearest cease is in Dover, NH on the Downeaster line from Boston to Portland. Native buses come from Portsmouth and cease in Kittery (simply north throughout the river).
Uber does exist in Kittery and Portsmouth, which is a good way to get round if you happen to don’t have entry to a automobile, or if you wish to hit up the bars and don’t have a chosen driver.
How A lot Time to Spend in Kittery Maine
Sooner or later is sufficient for the primary sights of Kittery. Should you keep longer than that, you’ll be capable of see every part that the city has to supply. However if you happen to’re planning a mixed journey to Kittery and Portsmouth, I believe three days gives you time to see quite a bit in these two vibrant coastal cities.
Kittery additionally makes a wonderful base for exploring Southern Maine and the encircling area. You may completely use Kittery as a base as you drive up and down the coast, discovering loads of treasures (and eat ALL the lobster rolls!).
Is Kittery Price It?
I completely love the southern coast of Maine — in addition to its sibling, the New Hampshire Seacoast. Whether or not you’re visiting on a day journey from Boston or spending a full two weeks exploring the area in depth, I believe it’s a incredible place to discover.
Kittery is only one city amongst many on this area. And whereas I don’t assume it’s one of many very best cities — for me, that may be Portsmouth or Ogunquit — Kittery is completely value not less than a half day go to. You gained’t remorse spending just a few hours right here.
I hope you’ve gotten the most effective time in Kittery, Maine!
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Have you ever been to Kittery Maine? What’s your favourite factor to do? Share away!