The village of York Beach consists of two sections of beautiful sand beaches inside the historic town of York in southeastern Maine. These beaches are immensely popular during the summer for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The town also offers excellent seafood restaurants, fascinating museums, interesting sights, fun family attractions and relaxing walking trails. York Days is a week-long annual summer event that includes sports tournaments, a craft fair, sandcastle building, concerts, and a lavish fireworks display. Book a vacation rental in York Beach to be near all the festivities and check out 9 of our favorite York Beach rental locations.
1. York Beach/Long Sands Beach
The Long Sands Beach section of York Beach is a one and a half mile stretch of clean white sand south of Cape Neddick. This popular area has shops and eating establishments within easy walking distance. You can swim, sunbathe, play beach volleyball, paddle board, and try your hand at surfcasting. There’s a spot to launch your kayak for some offshore paddling. It’s also a great location for surfing.
2. York Beach/Short Sands Beach
Short Sands Beach lies north of Cape Neddick in Ellis Park, and although its area is smaller, it’s no less popular. Nearby facilities include outside showers, a playground, basketball courts, and relaxing benches on the boardwalk. The park gazebo hosts regularly scheduled free concerts and other entertainment during the summer. A short walk from the beach is York’s the Wild Kingdom, an immense zoo and amusement park. Among its extensive animal collection are Bengal tigers, lions, zebras, and many other exotic mammals, birds, and reptiles. It also has a large exhibit of butterflies called the Butterfly Kingdom. The amusement park section has rides such as a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, go-karts, bumper cars, and many others. Also of interest near Short Sands Beach is the Goldenrod, a candy store where you can observe workers making salt water taffy.
3. Cape Neddick
Cape Neddick juts out into the Atlantic Ocean between Long Sands Beach and Short Sands Beach. Just off the tip of the cape is a small island that houses famous Cape Neddick Light, also known as the Nubble, a lighthouse constructed in 1879 that is still in active use. Opposite the island, Sohier Park includes a visitor center, gift shops, and a telescope. You can climb on the seaside rocks and observe harbor seals, cormorants, and seagulls. Scuba divers enjoy exploring the nearby waters.
4. York Harbor
The community of York Harbor lies south of York Beach at the mouth of the York River. York Harbor Beach is a beautiful crescent of white sand where the whole family can relax, swim, and play. The area has several lovely walking trails. Fisherman’s Walk leads from the beach along the water’s edge to Sewall’s Bridge. Another path begins on the seaside at Hartley Mason Reserve and winds along the tops of cliffs above the ocean. For a unique experience, take the mini-suspension bridge called Wiggly Bridge across Barrell Millpond to Steedman Woods.
5. York Village
Vacation rentals in York Village provide convenient access to the fascinating complex of buildings known as the Museums of Old York. This extensive property includes a visitor’s center in a historic barn, a genealogy library, and a contemporary art gallery. It also has an old schoolhouse, a colonial tavern, and a jail built in the early 18th century. The York Golf and Tennis Club is a spacious facility that offers a beautiful 18-hole course and six tennis courts.
6. York Cliffs
The village of York Cliffs lies northeast of York Beach across Cape Neddick Harbor. Nearby is the Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region, featuring a high coastal mountain with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding countryside. A visitor’s center introduces you to this protected area, and a picnic area allows you to relax at the summit. Numerous trails for hiking and mountain biking take you around the summit area and through stands of oak, hemlock, birch, and white pine.
7. Bald Head
Bald Head is a village that is just north of York Cliffs along the rugged Atlantic Coast. It features an incomparable panoramic vista from Bald Head Cliff. Among the amenities at Cliff House are the Gallery at Bald Head Cliff, which has rotating exhibits of local art work, and a spa that offers comprehensive wellness and beauty therapies. The Cape Neddick Country Club offers 18 holes in a magnificent setting overlooking the Atlantic.
The town of Ogunquit, which means Beautiful Place by the Sea, lies about six miles north of York Beach. It features over three miles of white sand beach where you can swim, fly kites, build sand castles, collect seashells, and play water sports. The town is renowned for its boutiques, galleries, gift stores, candy shops, and seafood restaurants. Numerous walking trails take you along the beaches and harbor front. Among its fascinating museums are the Ogunquit Museum of Modern Art, the Ogunquit Heritage Museum, and the Ogunquit Fire Company Fire Museum. Don’t miss a trip to Perkin’s Cove, a charming little historic fishing village just south of town.
The lovely town of Kittery is just south of York Harbor near the New Hampshire border. It’s famous for its outlet shopping, which includes over 120 stores along about a mile stretch of highway. Fort McClary State Historic Site features a museum and a beautiful park where you can relax by the sea and have a picnic. Nearby Fort Foster Park on Gerrish Island has three beaches along with walking and cycling trails.