Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in York, ME

  • Published 2022/08/05

If you are tired of everyday life, York is the place you have to be.

Located in Maine’s York County, this town is a hotspot for tourists who are on the lookout for a laid-back summer by the beach.

With a population of under 15,000, the small town is a famous spot that attracts a massive number of domestic and international tourists every year.

Its location beside the Gulf of Maine makes it a suitable destination for a summer retreat with family, friends, or one’s significant other.

Apart from the wonderful climatic conditions, York is also historically significant and boasts a rich heritage.

You can never run out of things to see and experience in this charming town.

Here are the best things to do in York, Maine:

Go Hiking at Mount Agamenticus

Scenic view from Mount Agamenticus

khallyimages /

The 692-foot-high Mount Agamenticus is referred to as “Big A.”

When visiting York, one of the activities that you cannot miss is taking a hike to Mount Agamenticus’ summit.

The hike is a beautiful experience and is suitable for all sorts of hikers.

The 360-degree view from the top will be one of the best sights you will lay your eyes on.

The authorities have placed ample directions and information about the sights to make it easier for climbers.

Apart from hiking, biking activities are also permitted on the premises.

Groups and individuals are welcome to experience the beauty of nature at this site.

They also have free parking.

However, do take note that they close by sundown, and there are no provisions for overnight camping here.

So, the best time to start your trek up Mount Agamenticus would be in the early morning.

Sunbathe at the Beautiful Long Sands Beach

Tourist playing in Long Sands beach

James Kirkikis /

This white sand beach is a major center of attraction for tourists.

Long Sands Beach has been recorded to receive up to 5,000 tourists a day during the busy seasons in June and July.

It is located in between two villages, York Harbor and York Beach.

This beach is the perfect destination to spend a relaxed day with your family.

A surf shop at Long Sands Beach

Felix Mizioznikov /

You can go for a swim, go surfing, or just lay on the beach for a long sunbathing session.

Metered parking is available along Long Beach Avenue, and you need a permit for that.

A public restroom is also present on the beach.

Take your kids to build sandcastles or start a volleyball game with your group of friends!

People enjoying the sun at Long Sands Beach

James Kirkikis /

Visit the Picturesque Cape Neddick Lighthouse

Daytime view of Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse

Andrea LG Ferguson /

Lighthouses are some of the most admirable places to visit when exploring a new destination.

Built in 1879, the Cape Neddick Lighthouse has a rich historical background.

The lighthouse is found on Nubble Island, just off Cape Neddick—hence, it is also known as the Nubble Lighthouse.

It was only recently, during the end of the century, that it was made open to the public.

Although the rest of Nubble Island is not accessible to the public, you can enjoy a wonderful day by the sea with other fun activities.

Aerial view of Cape Neddick Lighthouse

Joseph Sohm /

They have a large parking space which allows you to visit with groups.

You can set up a picnic or go scuba diving.

They also arrange weddings and memorials.

It is also a pet-friendly place, but dogs are required to be put on their leashes at all times.

On your way out, don’t forget to shop for souvenirs at their gift shop.

Glowing lamp of Cape Neddick Lighthouse

ChristopherRM /

Explore the John Hancock Warehouse

Exterior of John Hancock Warehouse

Firefly_NewEngland /

Located to the south of Lindsay Road, the John Hancock Warehouse is of historical and political importance.

It has been transformed into a fascinating museum with crates and containers of goods that were kept inside the warehouse.

The outlook and design of the structure and interior take you back to the 1700s, when it was an active base for the traders of the area.

The John Hancock Warehouse will provide you with the most authentic experience of local history.

There are no entry fees, and the warehouse is open to the public every day except for Sunday.

Spend a Day at York’s Wild Kingdom

The fence of Wild Kingdom Amusement Park

Jay Yuan /

York’s Wild Kingdom is possibly the best place in York to take your kids to.

Plan a day filled with fun for your family at this amusement park and zoo.

Located near York Beach, York’s Wild Kingdom is a privately-owned zoo that opens to the public seasonally.

A peacock at York's Wild Kingdom

Kerrie W /

Apart from the wonderful animal exhibits that will interest your little ones, they also have rides for guests of all ages.

Several food stalls and ice cream trucks are also present on the premises to cater to the needs and cravings of the guests.

York’s Wild Kingdom Amusement Park has a big family of animals that include an African lion, red kangaroo, green wing macaw, and fallow deer, to name a few.

A fallow deer at York's Wild Kingdom

Kerrie W /

Visit the George Marshall Store Gallery

Originally established in 1860 as a store for merchandise, the George Marshall Store Gallery is one of the unique things that belong to York.

The gallery has a range of items that have been curated over the years.

They are exhibited for visitors to enjoy.

Entry is free for children below the age of 12, and there are student discounts available as well.

Paintings, sculptures, and other forms of artwork are regularly exhibited in the gallery, some of which are also open to sale.

It is a wonderful space to get to know local artists and their art.

The best thing about the gallery is that they have maintained its historical significance while giving new and upcoming artists a space for their artworks.

Take the Steedman Woods and Wiggly Bridge Trail

The Steedman Woods and Wiggly Bridge Trail is one of the most famous trails that you can opt for once you are in York, Maine.

The trail is 2.3 kilometers long and is easy to traverse.

So, in case you are a beginner, there is no need to worry.

You can also take your furry friends along with you, but don’t forget that you must always keep them leashed.

The main attraction of the trail is the river and its scenic beauty.

The best time to visit is from April to September.

The Wiggly Bridge leads one to the woods.

As its name suggests, the bridge is rather an adventure, especially for the kids.

Visit the Old York Historical Society

Exterior of Old York Historical Society

Elisa Rolle, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are fascinated by history and love exploring historic attractions on your travels, this is the place you have to visit when you’re in York.

The area and establishment date back to 1834.

The Old York Historical Society has preserved several buildings and places of importance around York.

Apart from conservation, it also aims to educate the population about the area’s rich historical past.

They also hold many events all year round, which are both informative and engaging for the guests.

Check Out the Old Gaol

Exterior of the Old Gaol York

Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What comes to your mind when you think of a prison?

Especially one that was operational in the 1700s?

Located on Lindsay Road, the Old Gaol is a colonial prison in York that is sure to capture your attention.

Not only is it one of the oldest structures in Maine, but it is also one of the oldest prisons in the entire country.

Information board of the Old Gaol

Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1968, it was named a National Historic Landmark.

It is considered to be a royal prison whose oldest building was constructed in 1720.

As a part of the conservation procedure, it has been transformed into a museum.

The walls of the prison have information about the prisoners that it once held and will surely make visitors feel as though they’ve stepped into a time machine.

Go Kayaking on York River

The waters of York River

Thomas Kloc /

What is a vacation without some good old kayaking?

Maine offers a wide range of options for taking a kayaking trip, whether you’re interested in going on a quick session or a lengthy adventure.

You can take your kids along with you, or you can enjoy some quiet time by yourself.

However, the best way to experience it is to take your partner out on a kayaking date.

It guarantees seclusion from the crowd, it’s romantic, and it also allows you to be in the company of the two most beautiful things in the world: nature and the person you love.

There are several travel companies who can help you arrange a kayaking trip on York River.

You can either book your kayaking adventure online, over a call, or simply plan for it on the spot.

Join an Exciting Brewery Tour and Taste York’s Best Craft Beers

York is a wonderful place and has something for everyone.

If you are a fan of beer, Granite State Growler Tours offers the one trip that you cannot miss at any cost.

On this bus tour, Greta the Growler Getta will take you around the seacoast to taste beer from different local breweries.

The buses usually accommodate a total of 14 guests, which means that if you are traveling solo, you get to bond with new people while sampling some of the best beer available in York.

You can also book personal tours with them.

If you like a particular beer from a specific brewery, you can make a purchase, and they will keep it chilled for you until the end of the tour.

Eat at The Central Restaurant & Bar

York has some fantastic restaurants and eateries that you must try out in order to learn more about the local cuisine.

Central Restaurant and Bar serves some of the best food York has to offer.

You can choose to dine in with your family after a day of sightseeing around the town.

The restaurant serves some classic American dishes, as well as food that you would typically expect in a coastal location.

Their menu is diverse, and you will have a wide range of options to choose from, ranging from continental to seafood and East Asian cuisine.

However, their must-try dishes would have to be their pork dumplings and Korean BBQ sirloin steak strips.

They also serve alcohol, so don’t forget to try their special cocktails.

Shop for York’s Local Crafts and Souvenirs

Shopping is an essential part of any trip.

It is important not only for the souvenirs that you are going to bring home for your close friends and family but also to find out more about what your destination has to offer.

Some of the best places to shop in York include The Little Bull for jewelry, Cottage Home for furniture and other home decor items, and Vintage Maine Impressions for really unique souvenirs.

You should also visit the beach stores to find locally handcrafted goods that you can keep in remembrance of your visit to York.

Tour York on a Retro Trolley

If you are a sucker for experiences that take you back in time, this one’s for you.

York Trolley Company, which first started in 2003, offers one of the best adventures that you shouldn’t miss out on.

They offer trolley tours and private trolley rentals.

If you book a tour, you just have to hop onto this classy trolley bus, which will make you feel like you’re back in the ’80s, and they will take you around the area on a guided tour.

One of the many perks is that the tour includes some of York’s hidden gems and exclusive entries as well.

If you want to get married in York, you can rent one of these vintage-looking trolleys for your wedding entourage as well.

Rejuvenate Your Mind and Body with Yoga on York

Yoga is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind while on vacation.

It relaxes you, relieves your stress, helps you with anxiety, and leads you to a better state of mind.

Yoga on York has been around since 2002 and is quite famous, not only in York but all over the country.

They offer several workshops and organize a number of events throughout the year.

Their summer outdoor yoga sessions are a favorite among visitors.

They also have kids’ yoga and personal or private group sessions that can be arranged ahead of time.

Spend the Noon Playing Golf at Ledges Golf Club

The Ledges Golf Club provides the best public golfing experience while surrounding you with ledge boulders, championship greens, and nature.

The Ledges Golf Club features a steep landscape with some of the fairways practically cut out of the rock.

They positioned several greens and tees on elevation positions where you can enjoy sweeping panoramas of the lovely New England countryside for miles, taking full advantage of their terrain’s ups and downs, as Brad Booth designed.

Additionally, he produced swift, wavy greens that may test your short game to the fullest.

After a long day of swinging and playing, Ledges Golf Club has collaborated with nearby establishments to provide accommodations for you to stay.

Have a Picnic at Hartley Mason Reserve

A wonderful park called Hartley Mason Reserve is located next to York Harbor Beach.

It provides an amazing view of the sun rising and setting over the water.

It has tables spread about for a wonderful picnic with the family under covered trees and a paved footpath that’s great for a stroll.

The York Fisherman’s Memorial is one of the park’s additional elements.

It is devoted to those who perished at sea.

There are benches with memorials for the deceased and Pleasure Ground, a miniature sculpture portraying boys having fun in the park.

Locals frequently choose Hartley Mason Reserve as a pleasant daytime destination with their dogs.

Spend Quality Time with your Kids at Fun-O-Rama

Spending the day at an arcade with more than 250 games is another opportunity for a fun family outing.

Older people grew up playing at arcades like Fun-O-Rama.

Don’t forget to tell your children how you dominated air hockey when you were their age or how your Skeeball score reached the top.

Win game after game, then gather your tickets to exchange for your prize.

A quick picnic will round out your vacation, which is better because it is situated in front of Short Beach.

Fun-O-Rama is an unforgettable family outing thanks to its retro ambiance and fantastic setting.

Join a Tour at Wiggly Bridge Distillery

Repeal Day marked the establishment of Wiggly Bridge Distillery in 2013, and since then, the distillery has racked up a plethora of national honors.

It takes a lot of work, passion, and persistent attention to producing small batch distillates.

Utilizing their copper pot still, they distill their spirits using sour mash recipes in small quantities.

Additionally, they conduct their tours at the Wiggly Bridge Distillery Barn.

It is their newest facility, which was converted from a barn built in the 1880s to create their prize-winning distilled spirits.

Purchase Items at Stonewall Kitchen York Company Store

Daytime view of Stonewall Kitchen York Company Store

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stonewall Kitchen made its debut at the neighborhood farmers market in 1991 with a modest stand and a few dozen goods.

From its headquarters in York, Maine, they develop fresh, innovative concepts and goods while remaining steadfast in its dedication to excellence.

One of Maine’s most popular tourist spots is now the Stonewall Kitchen headquarters and company store.

Exterior of Stonewall Kitchen York Company Store

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every year, they receive over 500,000 visits.

With a collection comprising jams, mustards, baking mixes, and more, they are pleased to be one of the nation’s most celebrated specialty food companies today.

The Specialty Food Association has given them 29 outstanding accolades, notably three Outstanding Product Line Honors.

Final Thoughts

York, Maine, has a bunch of indoor and outdoor adventures to offer.

Whether traveling alone or with your family, you can explore magnificent landscapes and picturesque views of a lighthouse, gourmet cuisine excursions, wellness spas, and golf clubs.

This small town’s history and underlying charm, together with the seemingly infinite list of things to do, bring travelers to the area.

To build your own York, Maine experience, check out these activities!

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