If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some sun, food and fun, head out to Old Orchard Beach Pier on the coast of Maine, about a half hour from Portland. With plenty of boutique shops, restaurants and activities, this cute beach town is perfect for a quick getaway. Bring your significant other, friends, family or come solo, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!
Read on for my fun adventures in Old Orchard Beach and the Pier to get some inspiration for your own getaway!
In this blog, I share…
- Old Orchard Beach Pier History
- Things to do in Old Orchard Beach
- Restaurants in Old Orchard Beach
- How to get to Old Orchard Beach
- Where to stay in Old Orchard Beach
[Originally posted May 2022, Last updated February 2023]
The History of Old Orchard Beach Pier
I haven’t met a Maine beach or seaport town that I didn’t like. But, there’s something especially charming about Old Orchard Beach, a town its first settlers called, “The Garden by the Sea”. Perhaps it’s the history that gives it character.
Since the 1630s, tourists from all over have been enjoying this beach spot. The town gets its name from its first settler, Thomas Rogers, who named Old Orchard Beach after his abandoned apple orchard.
In 1842, when the railroad from Boston to Portland opened, tourists would flock to the beach. For just $1.50, they could stay at a nearby farm.
Then came the addition of Old Orchard Beach Pier in 1898. The newly built casino and live shows gave people even more of a reason to come out, hosting acts like Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.
In 1927, Old Orchard Beach got a visit from world famous American aviator Charles Lindbergh when he missed his intended stop while flying his plane, “Spirit of St. Louis” on a cross country tour.
Today, you won’t see the casino. It was part of the old pier which experienced many catastrophes. Despite many attempts at restoring it over the course of 80 years, the town could not save it. The pier had finally seen its last storm in 1978. Read on for “the new pier”.
A Summer Adventure at Old Orchard Beach Maine
As a Mainer who knows the pangs of Winter all too well, I was all too eager to take advantage of the first sunny day we’d had in a while. So, I packed my bathing suit, got in the car, and took a drive down to Old Orchard Beach with my beau in tow. Somehow, my family ended up crashing our date but, we went with it and ended up having a great time! 🙂
I wasn’t sure what to expect as it was my first time at Old Orchard Beach. All I knew was that there had to be food somewhere! That’s always the first thing on my mind anywhere I go.
Well, they did not disappoint. But, as it turns out food is just a small part of Old Orchard Beach! There’s so much to do. The town was even cuter than photos I’d seen on the feeds!
Things to do in Old Orchard Beach Maine
You can easily spend the entire day at the beach or strolling the pier for a yummy foodie spot. No matter what you do, you’ll have a great day!
- Old Orchard Beach Pier
You can’t miss going to the pier! It’ll bring back some of your favorite childhood memories. Think carnival food and rides, arcade games, and the beach!
As I mentioned earlier, the original Old Orchard Beach pier went through a lot of destruction before finally being taken down by a storm in 1978. The pier you see today was built to replace it in 1980.
While you won’t see a casino or Frank Sinatra, you can still find yourself a bite to eat at one of the various restaurants and food vendors, do a little shopping or play an arcade game. You can also listen to live entertainment like concerts, comedy shows or enjoy the nightclub scene at the end of the pier.
- Palace Playland
If you’re a ride junkie like me, you’re in luck! Old Orchard Beach is home to Palace Playland, New England’s only oceanfront amusement park and one of the last few still standing in the US. Here, you can choose from over 28 different rides!
The ferris wheel had nice views overlooking the ocean. It made for a very romantic ride. Go at night to see the Electra Wheel light up!
For a more adult-like atmosphere, leave the kids in the hotel with grandma and head out for some drinks, nightlife, and adult fun.
- The Beach
It wouldn’t be Old Orchard Beach without the beach! After eating our hearts out, we headed to the beach which was a short walk from the pier. The first thing I did was jump into this giant hole someone had carved out of the sand.
Then, we took a swim! The water was surprisingly warm.. must have been because it was so hot that day. Usually, I’m the last one to go into the water but I was super excited to swim in the ocean this time.
You can even go fishing at the beach! Was scared that the people were going to attract sharks.. tried to stay away from the boats. Then, I became a fisherman myself and unexpectedly caught a cute little fish. I ended up throwing it back in the ocean.
It was a great day other than getting bit by sea lice which made me super red and itchy all over. Had to change out of my clothes and into one of those touristy hoodies I found at a local gift shop.
Don’t forget to wear sunblock! Some of us were badly burned.
Restaurants & Foodie Spots in Old Orchard Beach
After “snacking”, we grabbed some seafood and drinks at a couple different foodie finds in town.
I’m not ashamed to admit that we pretty much spent the entire day eating. We went on a major foodie scavenger hunt all around town, on and off the pier. You can’t escape it… There is literally food everywhere you look, even gluten free options for donuts and corn dogs!
All over Old Orchard Beach Pier, I held up the group hunting for my favorite childhood carnival foods. Yes… I ate it all!!!!! Some were better than others..
Where to Eat in Old Orchard Beach:
- Pier Patio Pub
- Mainely Lobster Café
Lobster roll, Crab roll, Ahi tuna
- The Original Pier French Fries
- The Pier
- Gluten Free Mini Donuts & Crepes
- Palace Playland
Corn dog, Poutine
You can find more dining options here.
Where to Eat in Portland
After a fun day at Old Orchard Beach & Pier, we snuck over to Portland for a tasty lobster dinner. If you find yourself in Portland (half hour from Old Orchard Beach), grab yourself a taste of Maine lobster! Here are a couple of my favorites…
Honestly, anything with lobster on their menu is delicious. Get the lobster roll, lobster salad, lobster club sandwich, lobster & swiss melt…
Their lobster dinner is phenomenal.
How to Get to Old Orchard Beach
We drove into town, but you can also take the Amtrak Downeaster right into Old Orchard Beach’s station. It’s a great option especially if you’re on a trip from out of town because then you can hop on and off, going to as many places in Maine as you’d like.
Amtrak Tickets & Info
Where to stay in Old Orchard Beach Maine
In a small beach town like Old Orchard Beach, you’re more likely to find a family motel, beach cottage, Inn, or Airbnb.
As I live only 1.5 hr. from Old Orchard Beach, I didn’t stay at any of the local accommodations and therefore can’t speak for any of them. However, I can give you some options I found online with good reviews. Hopefully, it’ll save you some time researching places to stay. The accommodations listed below have very good ratings of 8 or higher.
Best Reviewed Hotels in Old Orchard Beach
14 min. walk to the pier, outdoor pool, close to beach
1 min. walk to Old Orchard Beach, 7 min. walk to the pier, pool, sauna, hot tub
On the beach, 8 min. walk to the pier,
On the beach, 2 bedrooms, kitchen, 19 min. walk to the pier
That’s a Wrap!
I hope you enjoyed my blog about what to do in Old Orchard Beach this Summer! I had a lot of fun sharing my adventures. Would you stay in Old Orchard Beach? What would you do there? Comment below!
Thank you so much for your continued love and support! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. If you found this blog useful, share it on Pinterest and subscribe to the blog! I promise not to spam you. 😉
Old Orchard Beach Style
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