See how life should be in Ogunquit, Maine


White waves, refreshing salt air and just the right amount of luxury: this part of southern Maine has all the ingredients for the perfect summer vacation.

Water as far as the eye can see: a view of Ogunquit Beach. / Photo by Olegalbinsky/Getty Images

They can being only 160 miles away, but a long weekend in southern Maine has a completely different vibe than a long weekend in Cape Town. On the one hand, there is the coastline, which is mostly rugged and rocky, with gentle waves crashing against the shore. Then there’s fashion: less Lilly, more Bean. But there’s also something intangible, as you leave Maine’s turnpike and begin your journey to the rocky cliffs of Ogunquit, which you have to feel for yourself to fully grasp. Time seems to pass more slowly; the sun shines a little stronger on the water; and the slogan “The way life should be” is starting to, you know, make a lot of sense.

Of course, the water is always front and center in this area, especially if you book a beachfront room or suite at cliff house, where you can watch the sun rise from your balcony with a hot cup of coffee, then take a leisurely stroll along the walking path that hugs the rocky shoreline. If it’s warm enough to swim, slip on a bathing suit and dip into the resort’s infinity pools overlooking the ocean, or take a quick drive to downtown Ogunquit, where smoothie bowls Loveshack Juice– and a perfect beach day on the wonderfully smooth sands of Ogunquit Beach – await. (It’ll cost you $35 on the weekends to park your car in the adjacent parking lot, but the proximity is worth it, especially if you’re hauling a family-size wagon of gear.)

If a crisp Maine breeze is blowing during your visit, simply throw on a sweatshirt and head to the charming shopping and dining area known as Anse Perkinswhere you can get a handmade peanut butter cup Perkins Cove Candy (or a lobster roll soaked in butter from the Lobster Gateway stand) before embarking on the breathtaking hike along Marginal way, a quarter-mile-long cliff walk that epitomizes all that is beautiful about this part of Maine. Stop by the Cliff House for a siesta and perhaps a detoxifying sea mud massage at the spa before going to dinner. Bar, the resort’s on-site restaurant, offers the best views and creative American cuisine (don’t miss the dipping scallops with lobster fried rice). Nearby Maine Walkersmeanwhile, the folks behind beloved Arrows restaurant invite diners to gather around the fire pit for wood-fired duck, homemade pasta and a warm, uniquely Maine experience.

From there, hop on the iconic white and green Ogunquit Gambling House for a show—playing this month is The mad professor, a musical based on the 1963 film with music by Marvin Hamlisch. You could head to This place in Ogunquit afterwards for a rum punch or sweet honey tea, or simply return to your room and enjoy a nightcap. After all, another sunrise awaits tomorrow.

A well-appointed room at the nearby Cliff House. /Photo courtesy of Cliff House

Getting There

Avoid going at rush hour on Fridays and you’ll enjoy a pleasant 1.5-hour ride up to 95 by car.

Stay here

Just a seven minute drive from the center of Ogunquit, the newly renovated cliff house Nearby Cape Neddick has it all: clean, modern beachfront rooms, a stunning spa, and a restaurant with jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic.

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