Nestled 90 miles north of the bustling streets of Boston is the quaint coastal town of Kennebunkport. Zoom up Interstate 95 for a quick route to relaxation or enjoy a leisurely drive along the coast to take in the sights. Indulge in fresh Maine lobster. Sample the local craft brews in Portsmouth. Visit New England’s iconic lighthouses. Satisfy the burning hole in your pocket with some retail therapy at the Kittery Outlets. Here’s a guide for your Boston to Kennebunkport road trip. Made it to the Kennebunks? Access our exclusive Vacation Guide for the best restaurants, art galleries, outdoor recreation, and more!
Everything You Need to Know About Road Tripping From Boston to Kennebunkport
Essex Street Pedestrian Mall
Right outside of the congested Bean Town streets is Essex Street Pedestrian Mall. You’ll find the open air market 20 minutes off of I-95 towards Salem. Start at the Peabody Essex Museum and discover art from the 1700s to the present day. Cruise down the tree-lined streets, meet with local vendors, learn about the rich history of Salem, and grab a bite to eat at one of the mall’s unique restaurants.
Cape Ann Museum and Gloucester Harbor
Slightly off the beaten path lies the sleepy fishing town of Gloucester, Mass. The Cape Ann Museum downtown blends art and history allowing visitors to dive into its coastal culture. The museum features exhibits from local artists, as well as a large collection of 19th-century local artist Fitz Henry Lane’s paintings and lithographs. Spend the day viewing the beaches of New England from an artist’s-eye view and then experience them for yourself!
Take a stroll through Gloucester Harbor. The working port is busy, but it’s truly a unique experience. Visit the Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial or sit on the shore and enjoy whale watching off the choppy coast. Plug in your earbuds and enjoy a walk through history with Gloucester’s self-guided harbor walk.
The coastal town of Portsmouth is buzzing with activities. Stretch your legs with a stroll along the waterfront, have lunch or dinner at one of the many craft restaurants, or plan accordingly to catch a show on your way up north. Here are a few suggestions on planning your stop in Portsmouth when heading to Kennebunkport.
Great Rhythm Brewing Company
Great Rhythm is the perfect quick stop before dinner. It boasts an airy taproom and several seasonal brews available for on-site tastings. The Hi-Fi and Sticky brews are two local favorites. There’s not an overwhelming list, so choose your favorite and then take a few cans with you to enjoy in the Kennebunks.
The Music Hall
The Music Hall downtown has been entertaining Portsmouth since 1878. The venue hosts theatre shows, concerts, on-screen performances, and comedy programs. With performances nearly nightly, they’re likely to have something going on when you come through. Check their calendar of events for the latest information.
Isles of Shoals
If time allows, plan a day trip to the Isles of Shoals. Isles of Shoals Steamship Company provides daily cruises through the island chain. Listen to the stories about Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. Arr along pirate tales about Blackbeard and Scottish sailor turned pirate, Captain Kidd. White Island is the home to Isles of Shoals’ Lighthouse, so don’t forget your camera for this trip.
Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier
The quaint Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier is located just over the New Hampshire-Maine state line. The restaurant has operated out of Kittery Point, Maine since 1948. Locals adore the dive because of their BYOB policy and the boat access along the Chauncey Creek River. We love it because it provides some of the freshest boiled lobsters in the region.
The concept at Chauncey’s is simple—order the main, bring everything else. They have two menus, fried and lobster. Grab an order of fish bites if you’re hungry enough, but save room for lobster. This is a laid back spot so show up in flip flops, pick one of their brightly painted tables, uncork a bottle of wine, and bask in the Atlantic sun.
The Kittery Outlets
Curb your shopping addiction with a stop at Kittery Outlets. Just an hour outside of Boston, the outlets offer over 120 brand names with unbeatable prices. It’s the perfect place to find some new beach gear. Grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee at one of their five on-site restaurants before hopping back on the road.
If you’re searching for Instagrammable photos on your voyage north, you’ll want to stop at Nubble Lighthouse in York. The iconic light is considered the most photographed lighthouse on the East Coast, and for a good reason—Cape Neddick is classic New England. The crashing Atlantic waves on the rocky coast, the Victorian-style, red-roofed light keeper’s house, and the vividly green grass covering the hills of the island combine for a stunning welcome into coastal Maine.
Take U.S. Route 1
Once you make it through Portsmouth, it’s smooth sailing to your home away from home in the Kennebunks. So what’s the rush? After all, this is a vacation to unwind. Get off noisy I-95 and onto the A1A of New England.
U.S. Route 1 parallels I-95 the entire drive from Boston, so hop on whenever you’re ready to get away from the fast-paced flow. There’s no need to get rerouted when you travel north on Route 1—the two-lane highway whizzes past most of the coast’s iconic sights, including picturesque New England lighthouses and bustling lobstermen at work. Quiet Kennebunkport is just a short eight miles off of Route 1.
End Your Road Trip at The Inn at English Meadows
Unpack your bags at The Inn at English Meadows after your long Boston to Kennebunkport trip. For the ultimate in spacious comfort, choose our king-size Serenity Room, or one of our King Suites with your own private living room. Grab a freshly baked cookie and a cup of tea, or enjoy a glass of wine or a local craft beer on our lovely brick patio before venturing out to dinner at one of the many nearby restaurants within a short walk of the inn.
At night, cozy up by a gas fireplace underneath your down duvet. Each morning, enjoy the inn’s exclusively brewed coffee and indulge in a decadent three-course, chef-inspired breakfast. All entrees are prepared with the freshest, seasonal produce and are made in-house. Our inn provides your picture-perfect New England escape in Kennebunk.
Get on the road and start planning your trip to Coastal Maine. Check our availability today!