OLD ORCHARD BEACH — A tourist treasure for decades, Old Orchard Beach has a sand-pail full of sights and sea to explore.  Whether you’re on land or water, this historic town has everything for a beach getaway.

Make a beach day yours by enjoying what this town is about: the beach.  Relax on the wide expanse of sand or be adventurous and try parasailing or jet skiing.

If on land is where you want to be, the day is your oyster with all that Old Orchard Beach has to offer for activities, shopping and dining. Spending the day at the local theme park, Palace Playland or mini golfing at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is a good time for friends and families to enjoy together on a day to the beach.


Earliest records of Old Orchard Beach date back to 1653. In 1657, the first settler, Thomas Rogers, established what he named “Garden by the Sea.” The town was later named Old Orchard Beach in reference to an apple orchard Rogers planted, which was a landmark for sailors for many years.


Rogers was driven out of town by Native Americans in 1667. Patrick and Mary Googins became the first permanent settlers around 1737. Old Orchard Beach became independent of Saco in 1884.

With food stands, shops, carnival rides and miles of beach, OOB has long been a tourist destination. During the Big Band era of the 1920s and ʼ30s, famous performers such as Duke Ellington and Guy Lombardo played at The Pier Casino.


The Harmon Museum and Historical Society, 4 Portland Ave., features artifacts and exhibits about the townʼs rich past. A fire room chronicles some of the townʼs most devastating fires, and a transportation room features such displays as a former “dummy railroad” and Charles Lindberghʼs famous 1927 landing on the beach. (934-9319; harmonmuseum.org)


The name of the town is Old Orchard Beach, so you know it takes its beach-going seriously. A seven-mile stretch of sandy shore is the jewel of OOB, and provides a perfect getaway for people of all ages. Lifeguards are on duty every day during the summer, and there are carnival rides, games of chance and many food and retail shops within walking distance.



Old Orchard Beach Parasailing and Jet Ski takes adventure seekers of all ages 1,200 feet above the waters of Old Orchard Beach. Captains are Coast Guard-certified, and have many years of parasailing experience. Personal watercraft rentals are also available. (855-FLY-2SKY; oobparasail.com)


You canʼt visit Old Orchard Beach without checking out The Pier, an OOB icon since 1898. Stroll down the boardwalk that jets out over the ocean and visit souvenir shops, or stop for a bite to eat at one of the restaurants. Lindbergh Landing, at the end of The Pier, features dining with a view, live music and other entertainment. (oobpier.com)

The Temple at Ocean Park, 14 Temple Ave., features interdenominational Sunday services, music, education and other programming during the summer months. The Temple building, built in 1881, is on the National Register of Historic Places.



A number of events are held annually at The Pier, an iconic landmark located on the beach that stretches out into the Atlantic Ocean. Septemberʼs Bikefest draws motorcycle enthusiasts for a pig roast, a lobster feast and prizes. Also in September, you can watch custom hot rods and classic cars cruise through the downtown — or drive one yourself — during the annual Old Orchard Beach Car Show, held by the Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (oldorchardbeachmaine.com)


Palace Playland, located right on the beach in the heart of downtown, offers a large selection of rides, from classics like a carousel and a Ferris wheel to thrill rides like the brand new roller coaster, as well as an arcade. During peak season, rides open at 11 a.m. on weekends and noon on weekdays; there is no set closing time. (palaceplayland.com)

Pirateʼs Cove Adventure Golf, 70 First St., is a pirate-themed miniature golf playland with two 18-hole courses filled with caverns, waterfalls and other obstacles. (934-5086; piratescove.net)


Little Miss Paddleboards, 173 East Grand Ave., rents paddleboards up to mid- September. You get a free stand-up paddle board lesson with every rental. Little Miss also rents out yard games such as bocce, horseshoes and croquet. (934-5680; littlemisspaddleboards.com)



Take a stroll in the downtown and youʼll find a number of beach-themed and specialty shops selling clothing, souvenirs, gifts and novelty items.
The Grand Victorian building, 1 East Grand Ave., has a variety of shops including Laugh Lines, which features Life is Good products as well as beach accessories.

Cottage Décor, 57 Saco Ave., specializes in items suited for New England cottages. The store carries painted vintage furniture, accent pillows, historic photographs and other decorative pieces. (934-1700; cottagedecormaine.com)

For the young and young at heart, Dickinsonʼs Candy, 42 Old Orchard St., has a variety of items to satisfy any sweet tooth, including salt water taffy, fudge and nostalgia taffy. (934-7507)


Ocean Park Soda Fountain, 14 Temple Ave., serves premium ice cream, breakfast and lunch in a classic soda fountain setting. Their Lime Rickeys are a local favorite.


For many, a day at the beach isnʼt the same without a stop at Pier French Fries, 12 Old Orchard St. People have been flocking for its famous fries since 1932. Try them with ketchup or vinegar. (934-2328). Not in the mood for fries? There are a number of food stands nearby selling pizza by the slice (like Billʼs Pizza, next door to Pier French Fries), ice cream, hamburgers and other treats.

For upscale dining or a romantic dinner, try Josephʼs by the Sea, 55 West Grand Ave. Relax and enjoy seafood, steak or a variety of other items with a water view (934-5044;josephsbythesea.com); and The Landmark Restaurant, 28 East Grand Ave. (934-0156)


Old Orchard Beach offers a number of resort-style campgrounds, including Hidʼn Pines Family Campground, 8 Cascade Road, located half a mile away from downtown OOB. Amenities include WiFi, a pool, a playground and a recreation hall. (mainefamilycamping.com)
Wild Acres RV Resort, 179 Saco Ave., has 30 acres of undeveloped wilderness, trails and a zip line in addition to pools and playgrounds. Camp sites and rental units are available. (sunrvresorts.com)

-Complied by Staff Writer Angela Paolucci

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