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Old Orchard Beach: Maine’s Best Beach for Family Summer Fun and Relaxation

Busy Summer Day on Old Orchard Beach
Old Orchard Beach, Maine's premier family summer destination, offers a perfect blend of history, coastal charm, and endless fun for all ages. Discover insider tips and must-see attractions in this Maine beachfront family vacation spot.

Soak Up the Sun and Fun at Old Orchard Beach: Maine’s Ultimate Family Vacation Spot

Are you looking for the perfect family-friendly beach destination in Maine? Look no further than Old Orchard Beach! This charming coastal town has been a beloved summer getaway for generations, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement for all ages.

Beach-goers on Old Orchard Beach in summer


The History of Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach has a rich history dating back to the early 1600s when it was first settled by Europeans. The area was named for its abundance of wild apple trees, which were said to be planted by French explorer Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts.

In the mid-19th century, the arrival of the railroad transformed Old Orchard Beach into a bustling tourist destination. The first oceanfront hotel, the Old Orchard House, was built in 1837, marking the beginning of the town’s tourism industry. As more hotels and attractions were added, Old Orchard Beach quickly became known as a premier summer resort.

Old Orchard Beach circa 1878

Throughout the 20th century, Old Orchard Beach continued to evolve and grow, with the addition of iconic landmarks like the Old Orchard Beach Pier and Palace Playland Amusement Park. Today, the town welcomes thousands of visitors each summer, drawn to its beautiful beach, family-friendly atmosphere, and timeless charm.


The Beach

Old Orchard Beach boasts a stunning seven-mile stretch of soft, golden sand, making it the longest beach in Maine. The gentle slope of the beach and the relatively calm waters make it ideal for swimming, especially for young children. Thrill-seekers can enjoy activities like surfing and boogie boarding, while those looking to unwind can simply soak up the sun or take a leisurely stroll along the shore.

Strolling Old Orchard Beach in summer

The beach is well-maintained and offers plenty of amenities, including restrooms, showers, and lifeguards on duty during the summer months. The iconic Old Orchard Beach Pier is a must-visit attraction, with its shops, restaurants, and amusement park rides.


Insider Tips for Finding the Perfect Spot on the Beach

During peak summer season, Old Orchard Beach can get quite crowded. However, with a little insider knowledge, you can still find the perfect spot to enjoy your day in the sun.

Surf Beach in Old Orchard Beach Maine

  • Arrive early: Get to the beach before 10 AM to secure a prime location and avoid the midday crowds.
  • Walk further down the beach: The further you go from the pier, the less crowded the beach tends to be.
  • Visit during low tide: Check the tide schedules and plan your beach day during low tide when there’s more space to spread out.
  • Bring your own shade: Pop-up tents, umbrellas, and beach canopies can provide much-needed shade and help you establish your own personal space on the sand.
  • Be respectful of others: Make sure to leave enough space between you and other beachgoers, and always clean up after yourself to keep the beach beautiful for everyone.


Family-Friendly Activities

No visit to Old Orchard Beach is complete without experiencing the excitement of Palace Playland Amusement Park. Located right on the beach, this classic park has been delighting families since 1902. With over 25 rides, including the historic Electra Wheel and the thrilling Sea Viper roller coaster, there’s something for everyone.

Palace Playland Amusement Park in Old Orchard Beach at night

Just a short drive from Old Orchard Beach, Aquaboggan Water Park is a perfect day trip for families looking to cool off and have some fun. The park features a variety of water slides, pools, and even a mini-golf course. Little ones will love the Splash & Play area, while older kids and adults can take on the more adventurous slides.

Giant Wave Pool at Aquaboggan Water Park in Saco, Maine

For a fun-filled evening activity, challenge your family to a round of miniature golf at one of Old Orchard Beach’s themed courses. Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf takes you on a swashbuckling journey, while Schooner Miniature Golf offers a nautical-themed experience.

Aerial of Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf in Old Orchard Beach, Maine


Outdoor Adventures

If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors, Old Orchard Beach has plenty to offer. Rent bikes and pedal along the Eastern Trail, go on a fishing charter to catch your own dinner, or visit nearby nature preserves and state parks for hiking and wildlife spotting.

Ferry Beach State Park Beach Entrance in Saco, Maine


Dining and Treats

After a day of sun and fun, indulge in some of Old Orchard Beach’s iconic treats and delicious dining options. Grab a bucket of the famous Pier Fries or enjoy a beachfront meal at Surf 6. Satisfy your sweet tooth at one of the many candy shops or ice cream parlors along the strip.

Classic Pier French Fries in Old Orchard Beach, Maine



Old Orchard Beach offers a range of accommodations to suit every family’s needs and budget. Stay right on the beach at the Edgewater Motel or the Alouette Beach Resort, where you can wake up to stunning ocean views. For a more spacious and private option, consider renting a cottage or apartment through a local rental agency.

Alouette Beach Resort in Old Orchard Beach, Maine


Events and Festivals

Throughout the summer, Old Orchard Beach comes alive with a variety of events and festivals. Don’t miss the spectacular Fourth of July Fireworks display over the beach, or participate in the fun-filled Beach Olympics. Car enthusiasts will enjoy the classic car shows, while music lovers can attend live concerts at the beachfront bandstand.

fireworks at a Maine Festival


Tips for Planning Your Trip

For the best family vacation experience, plan your visit to Old Orchard Beach during the peak summer months of June through August. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreens, beach towels, and sand toys for the kids. To save money, consider packing picnic lunches and snacks to enjoy on the beach.

Old Orchard Beach is easily accessible by car, with ample parking available near the beach and throughout the town. If you’re flying in, the Portland International Jetport is just a short 30-minute drive away.

Old Orchard Beach Pier in Old Orchard Beach, Maine


Escape to Old Orchard Beach: A Timeless Family Summer Destination in Maine

With its stunning beach, family-friendly attractions, delicious dining options, and exciting events, it’s no wonder that Old Orchard Beach has been a beloved summer destination for over a century. This iconic Maine beach town truly offers something for everyone, making it the perfect place to create lifelong memories with your loved ones.

Entrance to Old Orchard Beach

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Old Orchard Beach family vacation today and discover why generations of visitors have fallen in love with this quintessential Maine getaway. Trust me, as someone who has experienced the magic of Old Orchard Beach firsthand, you won’t be disappointed. Get ready to soak up the sun, have some fun, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this cherished corner of Maine’s stunning coastline.


Frequently Asked Questions about Old Orchard Beach

The following are answers to some common queries about Old Orchard Beach.

What is the best time of year to visit Old Orchard Beach?

The best time to visit Old Orchard Beach is during the peak summer months of June through August when the weather is warm and sunny, and all attractions and activities are open.

How long is the beach at Old Orchard Beach, and what activities are available?

Old Orchard Beach stretches for seven miles, making it the longest beach in Maine. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, surfing, boogie boarding, and beachcombing. The iconic Old Orchard Beach Pier also offers shops, restaurants, and amusement park rides.

Are there any family-friendly attractions or amusement parks in Old Orchard Beach?

Yes, Palace Playland Amusement Park is located right on the beach and offers over 25 rides, including a historic Ferris wheel and a thrilling roller coaster. Aquaboggan Water Park, just a short drive away, features water slides, pools, and a mini-golf course.

What are some popular dining options and must-try local treats in Old Orchard Beach?

Old Orchard Beach is known for its iconic Pier Fries, which can be enjoyed at Pier French Fries. Other popular dining options include Surf 6 for beachfront meals and JJ’s Eatery Too for classic American fare. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in sweet treats from the many candy shops and ice cream parlors along the strip.

What types of accommodations are available in Old Orchard Beach, and which ones are best for families?

Old Orchard Beach offers a variety of accommodations, including beachfront hotels like the Old Orchard Beach Inn and the Alouette Beach Resort, as well as vacation rentals and cottages. For families, renting a cottage or apartment can provide more space and privacy.

How easy is it to get to Old Orchard Beach, and what are the parking options near the beach?

Old Orchard Beach is easily accessible by car, with ample parking available near the beach and throughout the town. If flying in, the Portland International Jetport is just a 30-minute drive away. Visitors can also take advantage of the town’s trolley service, which runs along the beach and to various attractions.


Picture of Mark Beale - Author Bio

Mark Beale - Author Bio

Mark has an extensive background in the Maine Hospitality Industry, having owned the Ledges By The Bay, a boutique oceanfront hotel property, in Rockport Maine, for 40 years. He sold the property in 2016 but remains well-versed in the Maine Tourism industry and has written a number of Maine travel-related articles for various blogs and publications over the years.

Mark founded the TakeMe2 Travel Guides platform, an online travel guide initiative, designed to promote tourism in Maine, New England and in other key states – by providing in depth, unbiased information to potential tourists and travel consumers. TakeMe2 currently features the website.

Mark is also currently a stakeholder in VONT, a digital marketing agency in Westbrook, Maine, where he leads VONT's search engine optimization (SEO) practice.

Mark is versed in a number of digital information technologies including web design and development, digital video, electronic design and digital imaging technologies as well as internet marketing tactics such as blogs, web properties, and other smart media such as AI chatbots for content, image and video enhancement. One of his primary tasks at VONT is to find the successful application of these new information platforms in marketing and then teach VONT's marketers how to use them to create marketing campaigns more efficiently, creatively and cost effectively.



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