Kittery is a town in York County, Maine, and is the southernmost town in the state.
It is the first town one encounters just over the border and the bridge from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Kittery was the first incorporated town in Maine, dating back from 1647, with history from 1623 when it was settled and then established as a fishery.
The town encompasses the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey’s Island; Badger’s Island; Kittery Point, the seaside district; and a section of the Isles of Shoals.
Indeed, Kittery was once primarily known for its shipbuilding, a site where a newly independent United States constructed ships to defend the country from its enemies.
People say the town’s name comes from choral composer William Billings’ anthem ‘Kittery,’ but this is still debated since the song was printed after the town’s incorporation.
Kittery is a peninsula and a waterfront town dotted with lovely seaside spots and attractive homes worthy of a sightseeing stop.
It now has a population of 9,490 people and is very well-known as a fantastic place to visit for delicious food, excellent shopping, large outlet stores and malls, boutique and craft places, and beautiful views.
Read on if you are eager for the attractions that the town of Kittery holds for you.
Discover Fort McClary State Park
Fort McClary State Park is a unique historic site, formerly a defensive fortification of the military along the southern coast of Kittery.
It has stood for over 275 years protecting the mouth of the Piscataqua River at the entrance to Kittery.
It was named for Andrew McClary, a major who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill at the Battle for Independence during the Revolutionary War.
At this site, there are buildings representing various construction periods when the fort was undergoing upgrades and modifications to adapt to the defensive needs of the times.
Fort McClary was active during five wars and stands as one of Maine’s most historic forts, preserving the footprints of military history and military technology and architecture.
See cannons, old buildings, markers on the fort’s history, a blockhouse, an old gunpowder store, and more, along with beautiful views of lighthouses and the sea.
Have a small history lesson as you visit this significant centuries-old landmark, an important part of Maine’s history.
Buy Sweets at Yummies Candies and Nuts
Yummies Candy and Nuts is packed with pounds of candy and nuts and has been serving satisfied customers since 1986.
It has all varieties of candy confection imaginable, and you will love strolling down memory lane with the different candy bars, gum, novelty sweets, mints, and hard candy from the past.
Your kids will have a feast with the different gums, jellies, licorice, chocolates, fudge, and other sugar-high treats.
There are also characteristically Maine sweets such as saltwater taffy, maple candy, and other treats like candy pebbles, chocolate rocks, and gummi lobsters.
And for anyone looking for organic options, nuts, mixes, seeds, and dried fruits are also available.
This is a must-see store in Kittery for anyone who finds themselves wanting to indulge in a sweet tooth.
Stretch and Relax at Yoga East
Yoga East is a yoga studio on the Seacoast established in 1999 and specializes in Ashtanga yoga as it is taught in Mysore, India, by Sri. K Pattabhi Jois.
The place’s mission and the Ashtanga yoga tradition is to promote consciousness in people through a commitment to spiritual practice, support of the community, and connection to serving the divinity found in everybody and everything.
Their classes include Ashtanga vinyasa, yin, restorative, and meditation practices; these explore the personal practice and the hidden meaning of yoga in the aspects of an individual’s life.
Discover the connections of breath and movement, view the body from a different perspective, synergize your emotions with exercise, and reconnect with your body and mind as you embark on the everyday practices at this studio.
If you’re already practicing yoga regularly, you should fit right in at Yoga East, and if you’re just starting, this is your chance to discover the healing, growth, and inner peace it can convey.
Explore Kittery Historical & Naval Museum
In this museum, you will find that Kittery’s naval traditions are well-maintained.
As Maine’s oldest town, Kittery holds a lot of history, being incorporated in 1647 with settlers who plied the ocean, fished the waters, and built naval vessels.
Kittery was renowned for shipbuilding during Colonial times and was the site of the first ship to fly a US flag in battle, and during World War 1.
Since its opening in 1977, Kittery Historical and Naval Museum has been a treasure cache of local history, packed with the town’s rich past and artifacts from Kittery’s maritime and military heritage.
The museum focuses on days gone by, gathering exhibits over the years, where you will learn about the colonial past, shipbuilding, and regional conflicts.
Here, there is a separate navy museum and the Andrews-Mitchell garrison house, a farmstead that protected the people from raids during the Colonial days.
Discover the stories of Kittery’s past as you study and explore at this museum.
Chow on Pizza at When Pigs Fly Pizzeria
Grab a yummy bite to eat downtown at When Pigs Fly Pizzeria.
When you have a craving for good pizza complemented by drinks after a long day, stop by this pizzeria with its screened-in farmer’s porch, back deck, and beer and wine bar.
They have over fifteen pizza selections, distinct appetizer plates, salads, desserts, and others.
Their pizzas are handcrafted from natural ingredients and made in the Neapolitan style, and their wood-fired ovens convey a smoky and chewy flavor to the crust.
They use only the freshest ingredients, including mozzarella cheese, which they make fresh every day.
The pizzeria also has a company store called When Pigs Fly Bakery that features over 25 varieties of natural bread, jams, jellies, and other products.
Treat yourself to outstanding Kittery food at this pizzeria.
Seek Thrills at Take Flight Aerial Adventure Park
If you’re chasing that adrenaline rush, Take Flight Aerial Adventure Park has precisely the adventure courses that you crave!
At this place is Maine’s biggest Aerial Adventure Course, challenging Zip Line Tours that will bring you soaring through the trees, and Team Building Programs that are sure to get your blood pumping for a while.
There are over 65 activities and elements that will have you climbing, hanging, and coursing into suspended platforms, swinging tires, swings, and catwalks, as well as vines and nets that are sure to challenge your climbing skills.
Choose how high and far to go across different levels on the Aerial Courses, encounter three climbing elements and six zip lines on the Zip Line Tours, and build up your skills via learning and action during Team Building.
Adventure-seeking has never been more fun than at this attraction.
Stop by Maine Visitor Information Center
Start your Kittery trip by seeking knowledge at the Maine Visitor Information Center.
It resembles a ski chalet and is found to the north of the Piscataqua River Bridge, a lovely welcome center and a great stopover after a long trip.
The state of Maine puts a major priority on providing tourists with literature, and this center carries a plethora of information, references, guides, and maps for each visitor.
At this place, there are helpful brochures and detailed information on distinct regions of Maine, from the coast to the mountains.
The guides are friendly and helpful and will assist you with resources in planning your itinerary.
The center is warm and welcoming, surrounded by a cozy wooded area and a recommended first stop on your venture into Kittery.
Taste Beer at Tributary Brewing Company
Why not have a taste of delicious local beer while you’re at Kittery?
Tributary Brewing Company is run by Tod Mott, a master brewer for over 20 years who has worked at some of the most renowned breweries in the area.
At the tasting room, enjoy the ever-revolving taste of brews: a flight, a 4-ounce taste of the beers on tap, or a 12-ounce glass of your choice of drink.
It is a welcoming place holding a communal table for groups, with the bar overlooking gleaming stainless tanks of the brewhouse and an open deck available for outdoor seating in the latter half of the year.
Check out the beers on tap such as light and refreshing pale ale, tart and crisp Münster Altbier, rich chocolate Baltic Porter, slightly sweet full-bodied Tmavý Ležák, sweet and bitter hazy Double Wit, and many others.
Relish the flavor of southern Maine as you down your unique glass of Tributary beer.
Pick Up Your Shopping Bags at Kittery Premium Outlets
Good news for the avid mallrat: you’re in for a serious shopping spree at Kittery Premium Outlets.
Kittery is quite well known for its outlet shopping destinations, and at this place, there is a host of shops for some of the most popular brands around.
Seek out about 60 designer and name brand outlets and try to drop by the customer service office for a complimentary coupon book packed with special deals and discounts.
At this place, the outlet shops are spread out in different plazas across the street from each other, so you’ll probably stretch your legs quite a bit or drop off your purchases in the car before heading to the next destination.
So have a pick of chic footwear, on-trend clothing, renowned cosmetics, fashionable styles, evocative accessories, handmade crafts, cool brands, and others at Kittery Premium Outlets.
Find Outdoor Necessities at Kittery Trading Post
At Kittery Trading Post, you’re sure to spot outdoor apparel and equipment that is comfortable, durable, and necessary for each season.
You might come across hunting gear such as airguns, pellets, holsters, cameras, decoys, knives, tools, and lighting.
Spot sleeping bags, mattresses, drinkware, trekking poles, and climbing gear if you’re going camping.
See fishing equipment such as rods, reels, tackles, baits, jigs and rigs, watercraft, and waders.
Search through kayaks, dinghies, canoes, paddles, and life jackets if you’re going on a paddling adventure.
Find winter equipment like goggles, snowshoes, helmets, sleds, ice skates, and toboggans.
And you will spy all manner of clothing and footwear: hoodies, sweaters, hats, gloves, accessories, slippers, moccasins, hiking boots, and others.
No matter what you’re searching for, Kittery Trading Post is always ready to suit you up with the essentials for your outdoor Maine vacation.
Eat Seafood at Robert’s Maine Grill
Since you’re in Kittery, you must have a taste of that famous Maine seafood!
Robert’s Maine Grill is an iconic spot in the heart of Kittery, offering locally sourced Maine cuisine to citizens and visitors alike.
The restaurant opened in 2006 with the intent of making a fresh spin on farm-to-table cuisine not just with their classics but with the inclusion of New American elements twined with seasonal local ingredients.
Their goal is to put an innovative spotlight on the tastiest food that Maine has to offer, paying tribute to Maine classics, such as clam chowder, fried seafood dishes, and lobster rolls, and complementing them with craft brews and a raw bar.
Robert’s Maine Grill is now a Maine institution, upholding the culinary background of the state and intent on serving fresh, innovative, and delicious food to everybody.
See the Art at Just Us Chickens Gallery
This distinct little gallery opened in 2005, with eighteen artists exhibiting their works, from furniture to paintings to jewelry.
Today its roster has grown to about 30 artists, and it is a lovely little shop holding beautifully handcrafted art, basketry, woodcraft, candles, fiber, ceramics, nature art, glass pieces, mixed media, and lots more.
The gallery is an art cooperative where members share responsibilities in watching the shop, paying dues, and decision-making.
It also offers levels of participation for anyone who wants to exhibit their art.
The gallery has unique and beautiful pieces waiting to be discovered, fine and worthy handmade items that you can buy as gifts.
Here, you may find unique items such as metal-bead-sea glass combination jewelry, glass suncatchers, handpainted pottery bowls, driftwood and seashell artwork, multicolored ceramics, specially-made doll clothes, and many others.
Come by the gallery to look for lovingly-made items for yourself or someone you love.
Stroll on Seapoint Beach
When you’re on the coast, you might as well hit the beach and hang out by the ocean.
Seapoint Beach is a strip of shale-gray shoreline with a long tidal slope scattered with pebble, rocks, and seaweed and a wide view of the blue Atlantic Ocean.
Come down the beach if you seek a quiet place for some alone time or want to walk your dog and let it frolic in the ocean waves.
Go people-watching in a scenic spot as you bask under the warm sunshine and take pictures of the flying seagulls, the rocky islands, and the softly rolling waves on the shore.
For a bit of beachcombing, go seeking sea glass, driftwood, and seashells scattered on the shore.
If you don’t mind a secluded spot for a bit of contemplation, Seapoint Beach is an ideal location for you.
Go Adventuring With Seafari Charters
For anyone in Kittery who wants to experience Maine as a true adventure haven, Seafari Charters is here to give you what you need.
Seafari Charters offers deep sea fishing trips for bass or bluefish inshore or halibut, pollock, cod, or haddock when venturing further out.
They even do catch-and-release fishing for those who are simply interested in the sport of it all.
They can arrange ultra-marathon and long-distance trips for a memorable deep sea fishing experience.
Seafari Charters likewise offers whale watching and coastal cruising services.
Observe humpback, finback, and minke whales closely and consult the library and videotapes on board for more information on these creatures.
They will bring you on a day cruise where you can take your loved ones and breathe in the salt air as you travel great distances to spot wildlife and pretty scenery.
Another Seafari Charters offering is scuba diving, where they will sail you to different dive sites in and around the island to view the underwater world and fascinating marine life.
Every dive area is unique in composition of aquatic and marine life, and you are sure to have an unforgettable experience visiting each.
Seafari Charters has it all when it comes to giving you many days of great memories while cruising the rivers and the coast.
Show Your Moves at The Dance Hall
Forget your troubles as you dance the night away at The Dance Hall, the premier venue on the coast, for an intimate music and dance experience.
It is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 with a mission of stirring up folks of every age to experience the enjoyment of music, dance, and movement.
The Hall is an authentic and fun space with fantastic acoustics and wonderful performances, and everyone is encouraged to show off their moves on the maple wood dance floor.
You can come here to listen and groove to wonderful music; get friendly with the local musicians; and enjoy the themed nights such as salsa night, polka night, and bongo night, to name a few.
Experience a well-selected lineup of top-tier music, dance performances, and dance classes, all with a fun and authentically vintage vibe.
Take your friends or a date out for a great and charming evening out at The Dance Hall.
Kittery is a fun-filled waterfront town that is a lot more than it appears at first glance.
Bring this list along if you ever plan to visit so you won’t miss any of the attractions around the corner.
Mark Kittery as a stop for the scenic views, avid shopping, coastal dining, and ocean atmosphere, and enjoy all that this little town holds.