10 Best Things To Do In Kittery Maine | Karta

10 Best Things to Do in Kittery, Maine

Trip Ideas Jun 26, 2024

Kittery, Maine, a quaint coastal town, is a hidden gem in the northeastern United States. Known for its rich history and picturesque charm, Kittery appeals to both locals and tourists alike. The town's allure lies in its blend of historical significance and modern attractions, making it a must-visit destination.

Kittery, the oldest incorporated town in Maine, dates back to the early 17th century. This historical depth is evident in the town's well-preserved buildings and landmarks. Visitors can explore the Kittery Historical & Naval Museum, which offers a glimpse into the town's maritime past and its role in naval history. The museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Kittery's evolution from a colonial settlement to a bustling port town.

Guide to Kittery, Maine - New England
Source: Yankee Magazine

Kittery's proximity to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, adds another layer of appeal. The easy drive from Kittery Maine to Portsmouth NH allows visitors to explore both towns conveniently. Portsmouth, with its own historical sites and vibrant downtown, complements the Kittery experience. The connection between these two towns enriches the range of activities available to visitors, from historical tours to modern entertainment options.

The town of Kittery offers a variety of attractions for all interests. The kittery maine attractions include scenic drives, coastal walks, and visits to historical sites. Things to do in Kittery Maine are plentiful, from exploring the local shops to enjoying the natural beauty of the area. The town's blend of history, shopping, and natural beauty ensures that there is something for everyone.

1. Explore Fort McClary State Historic Site

Fort McClary State Historic Site is a hidden gem among the many attractions in Kittery, Maine. Its rich history and scenic views make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the area. The fort, named after Major Andrew McClary who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill, has played a significant role in the defense of the Maine coast for centuries.

Fort McClary State Historic Site - GoXplr
Source: GoXplr

The history of Fort McClary is deeply intertwined with the military history of the United States. The site has been used for defensive purposes since the late 17th century. The fort that stands today was built in the early 19th century, with modifications and updates made through the Civil War and beyond. It served as a coastal defense fortification during multiple conflicts, including the War of 1812 and World War II. Visitors can explore the various structures on-site, including the blockhouse, which is the centerpiece of the fort. This multi-story structure was used for both defense and as a barracks for soldiers. Walking through these historic buildings offers a glimpse into the past and the strategic importance of Kittery, Maine, in protecting the coastline.

Fort McClary is just one of the many attractions that make Kittery a great destination. Whether you are interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply enjoying a beautiful day by the sea, there are plenty of things to do in Kittery, Maine. The town’s proximity to other notable locations, such as the premium outlets and the nearby beaches, adds to its appeal. A trip to Fort McClary is not just a journey into the past but also an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty and vibrant culture of Kittery.

2. Visit the Kittery Outlets

If you're planning a trip to Kittery, Maine, make sure to carve out some time for a visit to the Kittery Outlets. Known as one of the premier shopping destinations in New England, the Kittery Outlets offer a diverse array of shopping options that cater to all tastes and preferences. Located conveniently along Route 1, the outlets are an easy drive from both Kittery Maine to Portsmouth NH, making it a perfect stop for anyone exploring the region.

Kittery Premium Outlets - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)
Source: Trip

The Kittery Outlets boast over 120 stores, featuring an impressive selection of premium brands and retailers. You’ll find popular stores such as Coach, Nike, and Ralph Lauren, where shoppers can score some incredible deals. These stores frequently offer discounts of up to 70% off retail prices, making it a haven for bargain hunters. Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion, outdoor gear, or household items, the variety of shops ensures that there’s something for everyone.

The Kittery Outlets are not just about shopping; they offer a complete experience with something for everyone. Whether you’re a dedicated shopper, a foodie, or someone looking to explore the local culture, this destination has it all. Make sure to include a visit to the Kittery Outlets in your list of things to do in Kittery Maine for an unforgettable trip. From fantastic deals to delicious dining options and nearby attractions, the Kittery Outlets are a highlight that should not be missed.

3. Stroll through Kittery Foreside

Exploring the charming downtown area of Kittery Foreside is a delightful way to experience the unique allure of this quaint Maine town. As you stroll through the heart of Kittery, you'll discover an array of unique shops, inviting cafes, and delicious restaurants that provide a perfect blend of local flavor and New England charm. The ambiance here is distinctly relaxing, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a laid-back yet engaging experience.

Things to Do in Kittery, Maine [A Local's Guide]
Source: Weathervane Seafood Restaurant

Downtown Kittery, known as Kittery Foreside, offers an eclectic mix of establishments that cater to various tastes and interests. From vintage boutiques to contemporary art galleries, the area is a haven for shoppers and art enthusiasts alike. One of the highlights of Kittery Foreside is its selection of unique shops that offer everything from handcrafted jewelry to vintage clothing. These stores, often run by local artisans, provide an opportunity to find one-of-a-kind items that you won't see anywhere else. This makes shopping in downtown Kittery a truly special experience, distinct from the more commercial offerings found at the Kittery Premium Outlets.

4. Take a Harbor Tour

Exploring Kittery, Maine, becomes a magical experience when you take a harbor tour. The charm of this coastal town is best appreciated from the water, offering a unique perspective on the area's scenic beauty and historic significance. Kittery, known for its maritime heritage, provides numerous boat tours that cater to various interests, making it one of the top things to do in Kittery Maine.

When you embark on a harbor tour, you're in for a treat. Several operators offer a range of tours, from short, relaxing cruises to more extensive explorations of the coastline. Some popular options include sunset cruises, narrated historical tours, and wildlife spotting excursions. Each tour provides an opportunity to see Kittery and its surroundings from a vantage point you won’t get from land.

The scenic views from the harbor are nothing short of breathtaking. As you glide through the waters, you'll be treated to panoramic views of the rugged Maine coastline, the historic forts, and the charming town of Kittery. Points of interest often highlighted on these tours include the iconic Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, Fort McClary State Historic Site, and the bustling Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The tours often pass by the scenic kittery foreside, giving you a glimpse of the quaint shops and eateries that dot the area.

5. Enjoy Kittery’s Beaches

When you think of things to do in Kittery, Maine, exploring its beautiful beaches should be at the top of your list. The serene and scenic spots like Seapoint Beach and Fort Foster offer perfect getaways for families and solo travelers alike. These beaches in Kittery, Maine, are not only picturesque but also packed with activities that promise a memorable experience.

Seapoint Beach, one of the finest Kittery beaches, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Its unspoiled shoreline stretches out invitingly, perfect for a day of swimming and sunbathing. The clear waters beckon swimmers, while the soft sands are ideal for those looking to soak up the sun. Beachcombing is another favorite activity here, with the beach’s rich array of shells and sea glass adding a touch of adventure to your visit. The beach’s natural beauty, combined with its tranquil atmosphere, makes it an excellent spot for relaxation and reflection.

Things To Do In Southern Maine Coast | Weekend Getaway
Source: Gateway Mavens

Fort Foster, another prominent Kittery beach, offers a blend of history and recreation. Located on Gerrish Island, this beach is part of Fort Foster Park, a former military fort turned public park. It’s an ideal spot for families, with plenty of activities to keep everyone engaged. Swimming is popular here, with the waters often calm enough for a leisurely dip.  

Visiting these beaches near Kittery, Maine, is more than just a day at the beach; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature and local history. The scenic views, coupled with the variety of activities, make Seapoint Beach and Fort Foster must-visit destinations for anyone exploring Kittery. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventurous outing, these beaches offer the perfect backdrop for your Kittery, Maine, experience.

In conclusion, the beaches in Kittery, Maine, especially Seapoint Beach and Fort Foster, provide a perfect mix of relaxation, adventure, and family fun. From swimming and sunbathing to exploring historical sites, there’s no shortage of things to do in Kittery, Maine.  

6. Dine at Local Seafood Restaurants

For those looking to truly immerse themselves in the local culture and flavors of Kittery, Maine, dining at one of the town's top seafood restaurants is an absolute must. This charming coastal town is renowned for its seafood, offering an array of eateries that serve the freshest locally caught dishes. From the casual to the upscale, Kittery has a seafood dining experience for every palate and preference, ensuring your visit to this picturesque town is as memorable as it is delicious.

Robert's Maine Grill – Robert's Maine Grill
Source: Robert's Maine Grill

Begin your culinary adventure at Robert's Maine Grill, a beloved local institution known for its commitment to serving high-quality, sustainably sourced seafood. Located in the heart of downtown Kittery, Robert's offers a welcoming atmosphere with a touch of coastal elegance. The menu features an array of dishes made from locally caught seafood, including the ever-popular lobster rolls, clam chowder, and fresh oysters. Each bite is a testament to the rich maritime heritage of Kittery, making it a favorite among both locals and visitors.

For a more laid-back dining experience, Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier is a must-visit. This rustic seafood spot offers a quintessential Maine dining experience right by the water. Imagine savoring a steamed lobster or a basket of fried clams while enjoying the serene views of Chauncey Creek.  

If you're seeking a blend of history and culinary delight, Warren's Lobster House is the place to be. Established in 1940, this iconic restaurant not only offers a fantastic menu but also a glimpse into Kittery's storied past. Located near the Kittery Historical & Naval Museum, Warren's boasts a menu brimming with locally caught seafood, including their famous seafood chowder and lobster stew. The warm, inviting atmosphere makes it a great spot for family dinners or a romantic evening out.

7. Visit the Kittery Historical and Naval Museum

The Kittery Historical and Naval Museum is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike, offering a fascinating glimpse into Kittery’s rich maritime heritage. This museum, a must-see among Kittery Maine attractions, is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the town's long-standing relationship with the sea and its significant naval history. As you explore the museum, you’ll encounter an array of exhibits and collections that highlight Kittery’s pivotal role in maritime history.

Kittery Historical & Naval Museum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go  (2024)
Source: Trip

Walking through the museum, visitors can admire an impressive collection of maritime artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the story of Kittery’s shipbuilding past. The museum's exhibits feature detailed models of ships constructed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which has been a cornerstone of Kittery’s economy for centuries. Among the standout exhibits is the extensive collection of naval uniforms and memorabilia, offering a personal connection to the sailors who served in various capacities throughout history.

8. Explore the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is a stunning sanctuary along the southern coast of Maine, established in 1966 to protect valuable salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. Spanning over 9,000 acres across 11 divisions, it is a vital haven for wildlife, especially for birdwatching enthusiasts and nature lovers. Named after the famed environmentalist Rachel Carson, whose work highlighted the need for conservation, this refuge stands as a testament to her legacy.

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (Wells, ME) – Hiking in Maine
Source: Hiking In Maine

Birdwatching at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is a rewarding experience, drawing both novice and experienced birders. The refuge is home to a diverse array of bird species, including the iconic snowy egret, great blue heron, and the secretive clapper rail. During migration seasons, the variety and number of birds increase dramatically, providing unparalleled opportunities for sightings. Binoculars and a bird guidebook are essential companions as you traverse the refuge’s well-maintained trails.

Speaking of trails, the refuge offers several walking paths that provide immersive experiences in nature. The most popular is the Carson Trail, a 1-mile loop that winds through pine forests and salt marshes. This trail is accessible year-round and offers stunning views of the tidal estuary, where you can spot birds, mammals, and other wildlife. Another notable path is the Timber Point Trail, which is slightly longer and provides a serene walk through diverse habitats, including woods, fields, and rocky shorelines. Each trail is designed to offer visitors a glimpse into the rich ecosystems preserved within the refuge.

9. Check Out the Wood Island Life Saving Station

Exploring the Wood Island Life Saving Station in Kittery, Maine, offers a blend of rich history, architectural uniqueness, and stunning views, making it a must-see destination. This historic site, perched on Wood Island at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, has been a beacon of maritime heritage since its establishment in the early 1900s. Its significance extends beyond its picturesque location, capturing the essence of Kittery’s maritime past and the community's efforts to preserve it.

Wood Island Live Saving Station, Kittery Point — Maine Preservation
Source: Maine Preservation

The history of the Wood Island Life Saving Station is a testament to the bravery and dedication of the men who served there. Built in 1908, it was part of the United States Life-Saving Service, which later merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the U.S. Coast Guard. The station played a crucial role in rescuing sailors and saving ships from perilous conditions. Over the years, it witnessed numerous heroic rescues, contributing significantly to the safety and security of the maritime activities in the region. However, after its decommissioning in the mid-20th century, the station fell into disrepair, its future uncertain.

10. Attend Local Events and Festivals

If you're looking for a vibrant community experience in Kittery, Maine, attending local events and festivals is a must. The town offers a rich tapestry of activities that highlight its unique culture and foster community engagement. One standout event is the annual Kittery Block Party, which transforms the town into a bustling hub of activity. This festival typically features live music, art exhibits, and delicious food from local vendors. It's an excellent opportunity to mingle with residents and get a genuine feel for the town's friendly atmosphere.

Source: Kittery Block Party

Seasonal activities abound in Kittery, ensuring there's always something exciting to do regardless of the time of year. During the summer months, farmers markets are a prominent feature, offering fresh produce, artisanal goods, and handcrafted items. These markets not only support local farmers and artisans but also provide a delightful experience for visitors and locals alike. The markets are perfect for those looking to enjoy the outdoors and sample some of the best local flavors.

In autumn, the town's scenic beauty takes center stage with foliage tours and harvest festivals. These events celebrate the season's bounty with activities like apple picking, pumpkin patches, and hayrides. Participating in these events is a great way to experience the charm of Kittery while enjoying the crisp fall air.


Kittery, Maine is a delightful blend of historical charm, natural beauty, and modern attractions, offering a wide array of activities that cater to every kind of traveler. From its rich maritime history to the serene coastal views and vibrant shopping scene, Kittery promises a memorable experience for visitors.

For those planning a trip to Kittery, the town's diverse attractions ensure there's something for everyone. Whether you're interested in history, nature, shopping, or dining, Kittery has it all. The town's unique blend of past and present, along with its scenic coastal beauty, makes it a perfect destination for a getaway.

In conclusion, Kittery, Maine, stands out as a destination that beautifully balances its historical roots with modern-day attractions. The range of activities available—from exploring the Kittery Historical & Naval Museum to relaxing on Kittery beaches and indulging in retail therapy at the Kittery Premium Outlets—ensures a fulfilling experience. Whether you're planning a short visit or an extended stay, Kittery promises an engaging and enriching experience that captures the essence of coastal New England.

So, pack your bags and plan a visit to Kittery to discover all the charm and excitement this delightful town has to offer. Do not also forget to check amazing deals on Kittery Vacation Rentals from Karta.


1. What is the weather like in Kittery, Maine throughout the year?

Kittery experiences a coastal climate with warm, pleasant summers perfect for beach days and outdoor activities. Winters are cold and can be snowy, ideal for cozy indoor activities. Spring and fall offer mild temperatures and beautiful scenery, making it perfect for exploring the outdoors.

2. How would you describe the local culture in Kittery, Maine?

Kittery boasts a rich maritime heritage with a vibrant arts scene and a strong sense of community. The town is known for its historic architecture, charming shops, and excellent seafood restaurants. Local festivals and farmers' markets highlight the community's commitment to preserving its unique cultural identity.

3. What can visitors expect when exploring Kittery Foreside?

Kittery Foreside is a bustling area filled with boutique shops, artisan studios, and trendy eateries. It's a hotspot for both locals and tourists looking to enjoy unique shopping experiences, delicious food, and the charming atmosphere of this historic district by the waterfront.

4. How far is Kittery, Maine from Portsmouth, NH, and what’s the best way to get there?

Kittery is just a short drive from Portsmouth, NH, approximately 5 miles away. The best route is via Route 1, which offers scenic views of the Piscataqua River and quick access to both downtown areas, making it easy to explore the attractions of both towns.

5. What are the best routes to explore Kittery, Maine?

The most convenient route to Kittery is via Interstate 95, providing direct access to the town. For a scenic drive, take Route 1 along the coast, offering beautiful ocean views and access to local attractions. Both routes make it easy to navigate and explore the charming town of Kittery.


Emily Carter

With over 10 years of experience, Emily is a seasoned expert in planning bespoke tours across the United States and Canada, with a specialization in eco-tourism and adventure travel.