by Suzanne Bair
Summertime is meant for beach exploring and taking a break from long hot days by cooling off in the water. Named by the local Abenaki Indians, Ogunquit is a “beautiful place by the sea” that truly lives up to its name and is perfect for an accessible coastal getaway.
Without a doubt, visitors come to Ogunquit for its incredible beach. With 3.5 miles of pristine, soft sand beach to explore how can you not fall in love? For out of towners there’s no need to crowd the car with beach gear. Daily and weekly rentals are available for boogie boards, beach chairs and cadies, umbrellas, coolers, and other beach items – all you have to pack is your swim suit! Daily rentals are available at the main beach and weekly rentals can be conveniently delivered and picked up from your hotel or resort. Wide accessible ramps lead from several parking lot entrances to the beach which is mostly compacted sand. A number of beach wheelchairs are available at the main beach or Fire Station.
Ogunquit Beach Accessibility Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars
- Accessible Parking
- Accessible Restrooms and Changing Areas
- Accessible Ramps to Beach
- Beach Wheelchairs
Lacking: Mobi-Mat or similar for small sections of loose sand areas.
Visitors looking to explore the coast beyond the waters edge will find plenty of ways to do that. Finestkind, a local tour company, offers a variety of options including scenic cruises to Nubble Lighthouse, lobstering trips to learn everything about the local aqua-culture, and intimate sailing opportunities upon their smaller wooden lobster boat. Tours leave from the picture-perfect village of Perkins Cove.
Speaking of Perkins Cove, this charming little seaside jewel is full of shops, waterfront restaurants, and places to poke in and out of to explore until your heart’s content. Arrive in the early morning to watch fisherman of all ages leaving from the footbridge or hop aboard for some deep-sea fishing of your own. Charters are available through Salty Lewer Charter Fishing and Bunny Clark Deep Sea Fishing throughout the season. Boats may not be accessible for wheelchair users who cannot self-transfer. Be sure to call ahead for individual access and lavatory needs. It is important to note, small vessels may not have lavatories on board.
Between the Land and Sea
No trip to Ogunquit is complete without taking a stroll along the Marginal Way. Thanks to a donation to the town in 1925 the Marginal Way offers a stunning 1.25 mile coastal walk between Perkins Cove and the Ogunquit beach. Benches dot the fully paved trail hugging the cliff and dipping close to the shore allowing visitors to breath in the salty air and take in the breathtaking panoramic views. Parking is available at either Perkins Cove or Obed’s Lane Lot.
Shopping and Entertainment
Downtown in Ogunquit’s Village you’ll find more shopping, great bistros and restaurants, along with a surprisingly thriving nightlife for a small seaside community. Over the years Ogunquit has become known for being one of the best LGBTQ vacation areas in the Northeast. The MaineStreet offers live entertainment and dancing well into the wee hours or for a slightly different atmosphere you can check out the Front Porch and sing along at the Piano Bar.
Arts and Culture
For those seeking a little bit of art and culture you won’t be disappointed. Ogunquit is full of small galleries and artist studios. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is open May through October each year housing both a 3000 piece permanent collection of modern art and rotating exhibits of both contemporary and modern American Art. The museum also has a three-acre sculpture garden overlooking the water. The Ogunquit Playhouse offers year-round access to some of the top Broadway shows and for those interested in taking a peek behind the curtain the playhouse offers a 60 or 90 minute “Behind the Scenes Tour” or “Stage Door Tour” to learn the history of the playhouse and see all of the inter-workings of performances.
Whether you’re visiting the area for a day trip or planning a longer stay, Ogunquit is one of the best coastal getaways offering big city amenities with the best small town hospitality you likely ever find. Please note, that many shops and restaurants in both Perkins Cove and the village have stairs or transitions. While many places will be accessible, many will not be. Even though there may be inevitable barriers at some locations, with so much to see and do in this vibrant southern Maine coastal community, Ogunquit, Maine should definitely be on your bucket list.
A special thank you to Visit Maine for inviting me to explore Maine’s beautiful southern coast. Although this trip was partially hosted, all opinions are honest and entirely my own.
Suzanne Bair is a disabled multi-genre writer, photographer, and community advocate. She is the founder and lead writer of Accessible Family Travel. Her previous work can be seen in Tiny Tim Literary Review, Bellingham Alive!, North Sound Life, and North End Metro magazines encompassing a variety of literary, editorial, and photography content. Suzanne has also been a volunteer and community advocate working with local school districts, and national organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, the YMCA, Head Start/Ecap, and the Center for Independence focusing on education and disability inclusion for over 20 years.