Top Things to do in York Maine
York Maine is not just one of the oldest cities in the US, it's also still one of the most quaint, noncommercial, and inviting in the country and Maine. Like most of Maine's small towns, York features the small town atmosphere with just the right balance of inns and great restaurants, allowing the coastal landscape to expose its scenic beauty. York is the place to slow down and enjoy the view, stroll the sandy beaches, and explore the many attractions in the coastal vacation town. So grab your beach towel, pack your bags and visit York.
Once a seaside ski area, Mount Agamenticus reigns commanding views of the Atlantic Ocean, the White Mountains to the west and even distant traces of Boston to the south. Despite its small size, standing at 692', Mount Agamenticus offers an engaging trail system allowing easy pathways to the summit within a half hour hike, as well as more difficult trails for avid hikers and mountain bikers. Visitors can even drive their vehicle to the summit for pure panoramic views and picnicking, there are even restroom facilities outside of the Conservation Office.
For a spectacular setting, take your book, walking shoes or picnic basket to Sohier Park, home to Nubble Lighthouse in Cape Neddick. This park and Nubble Light are among the most photographed landmarks in the US. Sohier Park is a favorite spot to visit at Christmastime and in July for the Lighting of the Nubble. You can't actually enter the Nubble lighthouse - it's on an island just a few yards from main shore, which makes it so stunning for lighthouse photographs.
Hartley Mason Reserve
Once a private seaside estate, now this beautiful oceanfront park is open to the public. The beautiful grounds of the Hartley Mason Park, across the street from the York Harbor Inn, offer spectacular views of the Atlantic and the mouth of the York River. Of note, this is also a popular wedding spot in York, often part of York Harbor Inn wedding ceremonies - can't blame the bride for picking such a picturesque location
Museums of Old York
Museums of Old York offers real-life insight into York's rich and storied past as one of the oldest colonial communities in the country. Old York's living history museum allows you to walk into Colonial times, even enter one of the country's oldest jails. This National Historic Landmark is a carefully restored early American settlement in the heart of York Village. You can visit the 1750 Jefferd's Tavern, the Old Schoolhouse, the 1742 Emerson Wilcox House and the Old Gaol. Year round, visitors to Old York can literally step into York's colonial period and hear stories and tales of old, fun for young minds and old historians alike.
York's Wild Animal Kingdom
The kids won't be complaining of boredom at York's Wild Animal Kingdom which is home to Maine's largest zoo, plus park rides, arcade games and mini golf. Only minutes away from York's beautiful beaches and beachside shops and restaurants, this is an easy stop on your Maine vacation itinerary for some family fun at York's Wild Kingdom.
Do you know how saltwater taffy is made? As you walk through York Beach village, be sure to stop at The Goldenrod candy shop and watch the making of saltwater taffy. Having been in business since 1896, Goldenrod has crafted its sweet taffy to perfection. This is home the century old Goldenrod Kiss, and there's a classic soda fountain serving floats and sundaes too You can watch the taffy being stretched in the Goldenrod shop windows, if your feet are too sandy from the beach - York Short Sands Beach is just steps away.
Just steps from York's Short Sands Beach is the Fun-O-Rama. Like its name implies, this beachside amusement arcade in the heart of York Beach is fun for the family. Video and arcades games line the seaside pavilion and hearken back to the olden days of seaside arcades with a honky-tonk circus atmosphere, much like Old Orchard Beach amusements. The kids will love it, and the beach is nearby when you've had your fill (or if you run out of quarters).
York Harbor Beach
York's Harbor Beach is very special, not very big but incredibly scenic, this crescent shaped cove is protected and picturesque. Located at the mouth of the York River, near the York Harbor Inn, Stage Neck Inn, and The Hartley Mason Reserve, this small beach is off the beaten path and pleasant for families because of its gentle surf.
Long Sands Beach
Like it sounds, Long Sands Beach is a mile and a half stretch of soft sand, with super convenient parking along Route 1A just steps to the sand. Long Sands is a great place for sun bathing in summer, swimming in the surf, beach strolls year-round, and even kite flying. In prime summer there are lifeguards on duty, Bathhouses with restrooms, and you can walk to food stands and generals stores along the strip that give this beach scene an animated vacation-y feel.
Short Sands Beach
Short Sand Beach at York reminds us of short attention span. This short sand beach is bustling with activity from gentle surf and soft sand to the carnival-like atmosphere at the Fun-O-Rama just steps away and the proximity to York Beach's cafes, t-shirt and craft shops, candy stores and ice cream parlors. Young families will enjoy Short Sands Beach at York.
The York River is a lovely meandering 13 mile long river ideal for boating, especially kayak and canoes. As it flows out to the Atlantic, its tidal so twice daily the salt water floods up half its length towards York Pond in Eliot. The York River was originally named by the Abenakis as Agamenticus River - which means beyond-the-hill-little-cove. Some of the neat spots along the York River are York Harbor where boats dock and moor and then Wiggly Bridge - the smallest suspension bridge in the world. The Dockside Inn is a beautiful spot for lunch or dinner on Harris Island with a commanding view of York Harbor. Stage Neck Inn is another spectacular point.
Mt Agamenticus offer visitors to York a great hiking, biking and horseback riding area with miles of trails, plus an auto-road to the top for the less outdoorsy. The Fletcher Trail, Blueberry Bluff, Sweet Fern and Vultures View are a few of the trails at the scenic summit where you can enjoy commanding views of the Atlantic, while the Ring Trail, Goosefoot and Wintergreen Trail are trails emanating from the base of Mt A.
York has several great golf courses including Cape Neddick Country Club, The Ledges Golf Club and York Golf and Tennis Club.
Lighting of Nubble Light
York's most photographic and fun events has to be the Lighting of the Nubble, which is done before Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving, and also during Christmas in July in midsummer. The entire lighthouse and lighthouse keepers station is decorate in brilliant white lights and lit up to look stunning for all to see. The Lighting of the Nubble is among Maine's holiday events not to be missed- make sure your camera is handy!
York Days are held each August on Short Sand Beach, with fireworks, craft fairs and festivities for all to enjoy, free of charge and family oriented.
One of Maine's best fall festivals is York Harvestfest held mid October on Short Sands Beach. Farmers markets, live entertainment, local Maine food and craft vendors, carriage rides and games are a few of the fun events that celebrate the arrival of fall foliage season and the harvest in Maine. A bean hole dinner is the highlight of Harvest Fest in York, now in its 30th year held the weekend after Columbus Day