Sanford, Maine

Arian
Sanford, Maine

Beaches

Wells includes several sand beaches, only 15 miles away. The water is swimmable and refreshing. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer season. The main beaches have public bathrooms, outdoor showers and paid parking. The Wells Harbor has an oceanside playground and boat access. This is where you can rent kayaks and SUP (stand up paddle boards). My children's favorite parts are climbing around on the jetty and exploring tidal pools for crabs!
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Wells Beach
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Wells includes several sand beaches, only 15 miles away. The water is swimmable and refreshing. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer season. The main beaches have public bathrooms, outdoor showers and paid parking. The Wells Harbor has an oceanside playground and boat access. This is where you can rent kayaks and SUP (stand up paddle boards). My children's favorite parts are climbing around on the jetty and exploring tidal pools for crabs!
Old Orchard Beach is about 25 miles away (a 40 minute drive). You can enjoy the boardwalk, visit the pier- food such as fried dough, pier fries, and drinks; or shop above the waves. Palace Play land is a seaside amusement park with rides and arcade games- definitely a favorite for families with kids! There are also jet ski rentals & mini golf here.
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Old Orchard Beach
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Old Orchard Beach is about 25 miles away (a 40 minute drive). You can enjoy the boardwalk, visit the pier- food such as fried dough, pier fries, and drinks; or shop above the waves. Palace Play land is a seaside amusement park with rides and arcade games- definitely a favorite for families with kids! There are also jet ski rentals & mini golf here.
Lower Mousam Lake has a quaint freshwater beach located at 50 Shapleigh Corner Road in Shapleigh. It’s less than a 15 minute drive (about 6 miles). If you just want to go for a dip, take a ride to Mousam! Free parking across the street. The boat launch is a mile or so before the beach. You could also canoe, kayak or SUP here. Try Southern Maine Kayaks- they have free delivery!
Lower Mousam Lake Boat Launch
130 Emery Mills Road
Lower Mousam Lake has a quaint freshwater beach located at 50 Shapleigh Corner Road in Shapleigh. It’s less than a 15 minute drive (about 6 miles). If you just want to go for a dip, take a ride to Mousam! Free parking across the street. The boat launch is a mile or so before the beach. You could also canoe, kayak or SUP here. Try Southern Maine Kayaks- they have free delivery!

Breweries & Distilleries

This unique and tasty brewery is only 11 miles away. They have live music, outdoor yoga and other fun events. This is a top priority for beer and nature lovers!
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Funky Bow Brewery & Beer Company
21 Ledgewood Lane
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This unique and tasty brewery is only 11 miles away. They have live music, outdoor yoga and other fun events. This is a top priority for beer and nature lovers!
Batson River tasting rooms offer delicious drink and food menus, with an amazing ambience. They have several locations including Kennebunk, Portland, and one less than a mile from Wells Beach. Highly recommend their guava IPA! In the winter months, reserve a fish shack- it’s worth it!
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Batson River Tasting Room
12 Western Ave
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Batson River tasting rooms offer delicious drink and food menus, with an amazing ambience. They have several locations including Kennebunk, Portland, and one less than a mile from Wells Beach. Highly recommend their guava IPA! In the winter months, reserve a fish shack- it’s worth it!
This is a brand new distillery only 20 minutes from the house! Locally sourced ingredients, outdoor seating, food trucks and a neat atmosphere. This hot spot is on the top of my list for summer drinks!
Wild Bevy Distilling
596 North Berwick Road
This is a brand new distillery only 20 minutes from the house! Locally sourced ingredients, outdoor seating, food trucks and a neat atmosphere. This hot spot is on the top of my list for summer drinks!

Nearby attractions by town

A favorite Sanford event for locals and a must-see is the Maine Attraction Water Ski Show! We usually bring camp chairs and snacks. The summer shows are free and amazing! Tuesday night trivia at Mill Towne Tavern is a great time (and within walking distance). During the summer months, you can also walk over to Goodall Park to see the Sanford Mainers baseball team play. Mousam Lake is about 6 miles away and has a fresh water beach for swimming and also boat access!
Sanford
A favorite Sanford event for locals and a must-see is the Maine Attraction Water Ski Show! We usually bring camp chairs and snacks. The summer shows are free and amazing! Tuesday night trivia at Mill Towne Tavern is a great time (and within walking distance). During the summer months, you can also walk over to Goodall Park to see the Sanford Mainers baseball team play. Mousam Lake is about 6 miles away and has a fresh water beach for swimming and also boat access!
Ogunquit is a thirty minute drive; and is a beautiful, popular, coastal town that also has a large beach. Marginal Way is one of the most gorgeous oceanside walks you'll ever take (and one of my all-time favorite spots). After a mile along the paved path, you'll find yourself in the heart of downtown Ogunquit, near shops, local bars and restaurants. You also don't want to miss the Ogunquit Playhouse. Their shows are phenomenal.
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Ogunquit
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Ogunquit is a thirty minute drive; and is a beautiful, popular, coastal town that also has a large beach. Marginal Way is one of the most gorgeous oceanside walks you'll ever take (and one of my all-time favorite spots). After a mile along the paved path, you'll find yourself in the heart of downtown Ogunquit, near shops, local bars and restaurants. You also don't want to miss the Ogunquit Playhouse. Their shows are phenomenal.
Kennebunkport is a half hour drive away with several beaches, gorgeous coastline, restaurants, bars and downtown shops. In December, you don’t want to miss Christmas Prelude! A great family beach is Mother’s Beach, with a playground directly on the sand. There are restrooms and paid parking. Kennebunkport is an amazing spot to bicycle and bike rentals are available in town.
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Kennebunkport
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Kennebunkport is a half hour drive away with several beaches, gorgeous coastline, restaurants, bars and downtown shops. In December, you don’t want to miss Christmas Prelude! A great family beach is Mother’s Beach, with a playground directly on the sand. There are restrooms and paid parking. Kennebunkport is an amazing spot to bicycle and bike rentals are available in town.
Portland is a 45 minute drive from the house. There are tons of award winning restaurants and popular breweries here. There are also beautiful lighthouses and forts in this area. Portland Headlight and Fort Williams are highly recommended to check out if you head that way! Thompson’s Point is also a favorite spot with the best brewery- Bissell Brothers! They also have a great outdoor ice skating rink in the colder months and you can rent skates and get food right there.
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Portland
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Portland is a 45 minute drive from the house. There are tons of award winning restaurants and popular breweries here. There are also beautiful lighthouses and forts in this area. Portland Headlight and Fort Williams are highly recommended to check out if you head that way! Thompson’s Point is also a favorite spot with the best brewery- Bissell Brothers! They also have a great outdoor ice skating rink in the colder months and you can rent skates and get food right there.

Food scene- walkable

Backstreet is only a 7 minute walk from the house. Good food and drinks. Check their hours before you head out; they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Back Street Sanford
16 School Street
Backstreet is only a 7 minute walk from the house. Good food and drinks. Check their hours before you head out; they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Mill Towne Tavern is less than a ten minute walk from the house. Super fun! Food, drinks, live music, karaoke, corn hole and Tuesday night trivia!
Mill Towne Tavern
898 Main Street
Mill Towne Tavern is less than a ten minute walk from the house. Super fun! Food, drinks, live music, karaoke, corn hole and Tuesday night trivia!
Local remodeled diner with food & drink menus. Less than a ten minute walk from the house. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all day!
Third Alarm Diner
47 Washington St
Local remodeled diner with food & drink menus. Less than a ten minute walk from the house. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all day!

Food scene- drivable

The York River Landing is one of my favorite date night spots. It’s a half hour drive from the house. They have great beer options and delicious food. You can never go wrong with the salmon!
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The York River Landing
150 U.S. 1
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The York River Landing is one of my favorite date night spots. It’s a half hour drive from the house. They have great beer options and delicious food. You can never go wrong with the salmon!
Varano’s offers upscale Italian dishes, including several seafood options. The drive is a little under half an hour from the house. A sunset walk on the beach is less than a mile away from this eatery!
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Varano's Italian Restaurant
60 Mile Rd
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Varano’s offers upscale Italian dishes, including several seafood options. The drive is a little under half an hour from the house. A sunset walk on the beach is less than a mile away from this eatery!
The Bitter End is the perfect restaurant & bar for parties that need something for everyone! With an extensive wine list, local beers, cocktails, seafood, pulled pork, or burgers- you can have it all. The outdoor space is large while cozy. Bitter End is close to Wells beaches & other attractions, as well as open year round!
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Bitter End
2118 Post Rd
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The Bitter End is the perfect restaurant & bar for parties that need something for everyone! With an extensive wine list, local beers, cocktails, seafood, pulled pork, or burgers- you can have it all. The outdoor space is large while cozy. Bitter End is close to Wells beaches & other attractions, as well as open year round!
Shain’s is open year round and has great prices- even on seafood. My parents go out of their way to visit this spot when here on vacation- lobster rolls and chowder are their go-tos! It’s located on the main drag so it’s easy to get to and less than 3 miles from the house.
Shain's of Maine Ice Cream
1491 Main Street
Shain’s is open year round and has great prices- even on seafood. My parents go out of their way to visit this spot when here on vacation- lobster rolls and chowder are their go-tos! It’s located on the main drag so it’s easy to get to and less than 3 miles from the house.

Family fun

Raptor Falls is one of the area’s newest mini golf courses and is a little under a half hour drive away. It has animatronic dinosaurs throughout and is one of my kids’ favorite courses.
Raptor Falls Mini Golf & Ice Cream
1912 Portland Road
Raptor Falls is one of the area’s newest mini golf courses and is a little under a half hour drive away. It has animatronic dinosaurs throughout and is one of my kids’ favorite courses.
Wonder Mountain is one of the best mini golf courses with waterfalls, caves, and two courses to play through so there’s less waiting. They also have go-karts and a human maze. It’s on Route 1 in Wells, so easy to find and close to restaurants, bars, and the beach. In fact, if you play here, you should definitely head over to Big Daddy’s in Ogunquit for dessert! Best homemade ice cream you’ll ever eat!
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Wonder Mountain Fun Park
270 Post Road
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Wonder Mountain is one of the best mini golf courses with waterfalls, caves, and two courses to play through so there’s less waiting. They also have go-karts and a human maze. It’s on Route 1 in Wells, so easy to find and close to restaurants, bars, and the beach. In fact, if you play here, you should definitely head over to Big Daddy’s in Ogunquit for dessert! Best homemade ice cream you’ll ever eat!
Funtown Splashtown is a small amusement park alongside water park attractions. You can buy tickets for the rides, the waterpark, or both. It is located about half an hour from the house, near a variety of restaurants and ice cream options. It’s the perfect size for a day trip, and includes classics like the log ride, roller coasters, antique cars, and water slides that will satisfy thrill seekers.
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Funtown Splashtown USA
774 Portland Road
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Funtown Splashtown is a small amusement park alongside water park attractions. You can buy tickets for the rides, the waterpark, or both. It is located about half an hour from the house, near a variety of restaurants and ice cream options. It’s the perfect size for a day trip, and includes classics like the log ride, roller coasters, antique cars, and water slides that will satisfy thrill seekers.
Aquaboggan is a super fun family water park. It’s about a half an hour drive from the house. They have food, picnic areas (so you can also pack your own lunch/coolers), public restrooms and changing areas. It’s not too big and there are water slides for all ages (and for the spectrum of bravery!) There is also a large wave pool, smaller play area for toddlers, bumper boats, go karts, and a small mini golf course. We like taking the younger kids here as it’s not as busy as some New England water parks, and it’s typically a little cheaper.
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Aquaboggan Water Park
980 Portland Road
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Aquaboggan is a super fun family water park. It’s about a half an hour drive from the house. They have food, picnic areas (so you can also pack your own lunch/coolers), public restrooms and changing areas. It’s not too big and there are water slides for all ages (and for the spectrum of bravery!) There is also a large wave pool, smaller play area for toddlers, bumper boats, go karts, and a small mini golf course. We like taking the younger kids here as it’s not as busy as some New England water parks, and it’s typically a little cheaper.
Unexpected rain day on your vacation? No problem because at Smitty’s, just a couple minutes away from the house, you’ll find bowling, a huge arcade, a sports bar, and movie theater! My kids LOVE this place!
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Smitty's Cinema Sanford
1327 Main St
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Unexpected rain day on your vacation? No problem because at Smitty’s, just a couple minutes away from the house, you’ll find bowling, a huge arcade, a sports bar, and movie theater! My kids LOVE this place!
This is one of my favorite places to visit with kids. It's just under an hour's drive from the house- quaint and just the right size for a day trip. You will see Maine wildlife like bobcats, moose, black bears, deer, porcupines, and bald eagles. One summer we were able to see a baby moose fed with a bottle! There are picnic tables here so you can pack lunch & the parking lot is close so you can easily just go get the coolers at lunchtime. They also have a small concession stand, gift shop, and a few buildings where kids can feel animal pelts and learn more about the creatures we share the woods with!
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Maine Wildlife Park
56 Game Farm Rd
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This is one of my favorite places to visit with kids. It's just under an hour's drive from the house- quaint and just the right size for a day trip. You will see Maine wildlife like bobcats, moose, black bears, deer, porcupines, and bald eagles. One summer we were able to see a baby moose fed with a bottle! There are picnic tables here so you can pack lunch & the parking lot is close so you can easily just go get the coolers at lunchtime. They also have a small concession stand, gift shop, and a few buildings where kids can feel animal pelts and learn more about the creatures we share the woods with!

Fresh air

Mount Agamenticus in York is a great hike for any level and about a half hour drive. There is a paved trail around the top for those who can’t make the climb. There are also trails from the bottom to the peak, ranging from beginner to moderate difficulty. I’ve hiked up a few times, always with kids. The views at the top are beautiful in any season. There’s also an educational building at the peak where you can learn more about the area’s wildlife through hands on activities. You may want to stop at the Center for Wildlife, which is located near Mt. A and focuses on conservation and education in regards to local injured animals. They have some live animals there too!
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Mount Agamenticus
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Mount Agamenticus in York is a great hike for any level and about a half hour drive. There is a paved trail around the top for those who can’t make the climb. There are also trails from the bottom to the peak, ranging from beginner to moderate difficulty. I’ve hiked up a few times, always with kids. The views at the top are beautiful in any season. There’s also an educational building at the peak where you can learn more about the area’s wildlife through hands on activities. You may want to stop at the Center for Wildlife, which is located near Mt. A and focuses on conservation and education in regards to local injured animals. They have some live animals there too!
These walking trails are magical for your health and well being (and about a 30 minute drive). There is a boardwalk through the woods down to the salt marsh and then the Atlantic Ocean. My kids and I frequent the Wells Reserve often. There is a small fee at the entrance. You can take a variety of trails around the fields, woods and ocean. Depending on the season, you may want bug spray. There is often also a story walk set up on one of the trails. The last one incorporated yoga poses throughout the story pages :)
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Wells Reserve at Laudholm
342 Laudholm Farm Rd
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These walking trails are magical for your health and well being (and about a 30 minute drive). There is a boardwalk through the woods down to the salt marsh and then the Atlantic Ocean. My kids and I frequent the Wells Reserve often. There is a small fee at the entrance. You can take a variety of trails around the fields, woods and ocean. Depending on the season, you may want bug spray. There is often also a story walk set up on one of the trails. The last one incorporated yoga poses throughout the story pages :)
This local orchard is not far from the house, in Springvale. The tree swing and corn hole boards are the first thing you'll see before you pass through the barn with baskets of harvested produce (and freshly made donut holes for sale), then out to the orchards & gardens. This is a picturesque spot to go picking in season. They had restrooms and picnic tables available for visitors too.
McDougal Orchards
201 Hanson Ridge Rd
This local orchard is not far from the house, in Springvale. The tree swing and corn hole boards are the first thing you'll see before you pass through the barn with baskets of harvested produce (and freshly made donut holes for sale), then out to the orchards & gardens. This is a picturesque spot to go picking in season. They had restrooms and picnic tables available for visitors too.
This is a two mile moderate hike- quiet and peaceful, with beautiful views. The trailhead/parking is only 3.5 miles away from our location and free. For additional info, check out Maine Trail finder at https://www.mainetrailfinder.com/trails/trail/bauneg-beg-mountain-conservation-area
Bauneg Beg Mountain Conservation Area
279 Fox Farm Hill Road
This is a two mile moderate hike- quiet and peaceful, with beautiful views. The trailhead/parking is only 3.5 miles away from our location and free. For additional info, check out Maine Trail finder at https://www.mainetrailfinder.com/trails/trail/bauneg-beg-mountain-conservation-area