On stifling weekends in July and August, the Pine Tree State’s southern coast swarms with wilted urbanites looking to forgo sticky cab seats and rank curbside fumes in favor of breezy salt air and quiet, winding roads. Quaint seaside towns like Ogunquit, Wells, Kittery, the Yorks, the Kennebunks, and Old Orchard Beach offer a refreshing array of sun-drenched activities, from whale watching to deep-sea fishing and sea kayaking to huckleberry picking, beachcombing, and lobster eating. But many go just for drives along the spectacular shoreline—dotted with seals and puffins, schooner-filled harbors, working lighthouses, and lobster pounds that could put even Mary’s Fish Camp to shame.
Deal of the Week
Kennebunkport’s Beach House Inn is a gem of a secret: The White Barn inn’s stylish sister property offers lots of wicker and rattan, comfy beds, and gorgeous views of Maine’s rugged coast. New York readers get 20 percent off the rack rate through August 31 (from $255; 207-967-3850 or beachhseinn.com).
Not up for a road trip? Consider exploring Maine’s scenic coast by boat: The Maine Windjammer Association’s fleet of antique wooden tall ships dates back to the nineteenth century. The fourteen stunning vessels accommodate between 6 and 40 passengers, and are available for multi-day charters (from $350 for three days; 800-807-wind or sailmainecoast.com).
Sleeping Around: Top Inns On Maine’s Southern Coast
•Kennebunkport’s charming 1802 House is a relaxing seaside retreat (800-932-5632; 1802inn.com; from $129).
•Stay near the Kittery outlets at The Portsmouth Harbor Inn & Spa (207-439-4040; innatportsmouth.com; from $139).
•The Rockmere Lodge in Ogunquit offers breathtaking ocean views (207-646-2985; rockmere.com; from $135).
•Book a quaint fireplace room at Kennebunkport’s Captain Fairfield Inn (800-322-1928; captainfairfield.com; from $150).
•Explore gorgeous cliffs and sleepy beaches near the Inn at Tanglewood Hall (207-351-1075; tanglewoodhall.com; from $145).
IF YOU’RE GOING TO …
Prague Opening next month near the city’s top sites—Prague Castle, the Royal Gardens, Old Town Square—is the 52-room Aria. Henry Kallan’s (of New York’s Hotel Giraffe and Library Hotel) first European property features bathrooms with heated floors and a quirky music theme throughout (from $225; 212-201-1155 or ariahotel.net).
Santa Monica Soon, weary shoppers will be able to soothe sore shoulders (those heavy shopping bags!) and toes (those Manolos!) at a Fred Segal spa, located inside the beloved store. Expect the usual pampering, plus treatments like laser hair removal and Botox (310-451-5155).
Orlando The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando has just opened a stunning Greg Norman– designed golf course. Bonus: All players get a caddie-concierge, who provides traditional caddie services and serves drinks (407-393-4900 or grandelakes.com).
Napa Valley The folks behind the Morrell Wine Bar & Café in Rockefeller Center have launched a travel outfit, Morrell Wine Travel Experience. First up: a seven-day eating-and-drinking extravaganza, hitting places like Opus One and Cakebread Cellars and including such treats as a hot-air-balloon ride and champagne brunch ($6,995 per person; 800-992-2005, ext. 252, or travcoa.com).