Cape Elizabeth is a small town nestled on the sea just south of Portland. It is most notably recognized as the home of Portland Head Light, Maine’s oldest lighthouse and one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country. While a day trip to Cape Elizabeth is totally doable, especially if you are staying in or around Portland, I have found that there’s so much to do that it’s worth spending a couple of days. We were lucky enough to have friends getting married at the Inn by the Sea, so decided to make a weekend of it! Cape Elizabeth is the perfect destination for families and couples or friends who are seeking a quiet summer escape.
Day 1: Friday
We started our weekend trip to Cape Elizabeth at The Cookie Jar. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so any time I can finagle something sweet for breakfast I’m all in. Luckily donuts are a socially acceptable form of breakfast sugar, and The Cookie Jar does donuts exceptionally well. In fact, they are my favorite donuts in Maine (and you can read about my other favorites here). From sugar coated to glazed, sprinkled to filled, the donut options are no-frills and timeless. My preference? The glazed pumpkin, and lucky for me it is not just a seasonal offering!
Once we grabbed donuts and coffee, we continued down Shore Road just a few minutes to Fort Williams State Park. In my opinion, it is best to visit earlier in the morning when tourist crowds haven’t arrived yet. It’s so peaceful to walk around the trails and along the ocean as the summer sun is rising. After enjoying our sweet breakfast on a bench overlooking the Atlantic, we strolled around for about an hour, checking out the historic forts along the way.
Around mid-morning we were off to Maxwell’s Farm, which is open every mid to late June/early July for pick-your-own strawberries. It is located just ten minutes away on Bowery Beach Road (note that they also have a field on Two Lights Road—be sure to check their Facebook page on where and when they are offering picking). Strawberries are by far my favorite locally grown produce and it’s not surprising if I pick five or six times within the short season. After picking a large tray, we drove to nearby Kettle Cove to soak in the sunshine and enjoy a late morning snack. While the beach area is a bit small, I prefer to hike over to the “secret beach” where there tends to be fewer people. (Follow the trails north and you will eventually find it!)
Pro Tip: Kettle Cove Creamery is one of my favorite ice cream spots! I would have stopped if we were not on our way to lunch 🙂
After lounging at the secret beach for a little over an hour we decided to stop by The Good Table for lunch. The Good Table has been a staple in Cape Elizabeth since 1986. We grabbed a table on their beautiful outdoor covered porch and could not have been happier! There were also several picnic tables available in their blooming flower garden.
The staff was extremely friendly and helpful as we made decisions on what to order from their mouth-watering menu. We ordered the Turkey Club (house roasted turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on toasted bread) and the Lobster Roll, which both came with french fries. Our sandwiches were fresh and flavorful. While our bellies said otherwise, we ended up ordering dessert because who can pass up cheesecake with local strawberries? I’m so glad we indulged because it was 100% worth it!
After lunch we drove just two minutes down the road to check in to our room at the Inn by the Sea. There are not many hotels, resorts, or bed and breakfasts in Cape Elizabeth, but the Inn by the Sea is oceanfront luxury at its finest! There are also many AirBnBs or VRBOs if you are looking for more space, privacy, or a budget-friendly option.
The beautiful grounds paired with coastal-inspired room decor make this resort a haven for couples, honeymooners, families, and even your pets! While the resort is on the smaller side, there is no shortage of resort amenities. From Sea Glass (the restaurant), to the fire pit with complementary s’mores, pool with beautiful ocean views, lawn games, private beach access, walk-up ice cream window, there truly is something for everyone and plenty to keep you busy if you choose not to venture out during your stay.
The wedding festivities kept us busy from late afternoon well into the evening. We’d highly recommend this venue to any couple looking for breathtaking, oceanside views with a staff that pays attention to every detail!
Day 2: Saturday
After enjoying breakfast with the newlyweds and other guests, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day. A trip to Cape Elizabeth isn’t complete without a day spent at the beach!
A local recommended we drive out to Hank’s (technically in Scarborough) to pick up lunch for our day at the beach. Even though Hank’s was a few minutes out of the way we were assured we would not be disappointed. (Spoiler alert: we were definitely not!) Hank’s is a refined sandwich shop with a takeout counter, dining room, patio seating, and refrigerators full of delicious prepared foods to go. We ordered a Turkey & Fig Jam sandwich (oven-roasted turkey, herb whipped goat cheese, balsamic fig jam, greens, pickled shallots, light vinaigrette on a demi baguette), which came with a pasta salad side. There were huge chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven as I arrived, so I tossed one of those in as well. With lunch in hand, we were off to Crescent Beach State Park to meet friends for the day.
Crescent Beach State Park is one of my favorites in Maine. I absolutely love the private, shaded grilling areas in the woods with picnic tables and have fond memories of picnicking there as a kid. There’s also a swing set, kayaks and paddle boards for rent, and a bath house with showers and changing rooms.
After plenty of fun in the sun, we decided to try Tacos Y Tequila for dinner. This newer restaurant in Cape Elizabeth serves up some of the best Mexican food I’ve had–and that’s no lie! We ordered the Al Pastor Street Tacos and Enchiladas Enmolades along with a strawberry margarita. Everything was fresh, flavorful, and so so yummy!
Following dinner, we made our way back to the hotel and decided to enjoy a nightcap (and snack) in their Adirondack chairs.
Day 3: Sunday
After checking out of our room at the Inn by the Sea we headed to C Salt Gourmet Market. This shop had so many cute, locally made items perfect for souvenir shopping. My favorites included jams, maple syrup, and coastal inspired gifts like a lobster wine glass. They had a wine collection, bakery case, and sandwiches made to order. We ordered the BLT to split before hopping in the car and heading home after a relaxing staycation by the sea.
One thought on “A Midsummer Dream Weekend in Cape Elizabeth”
Hi there- we love not only the image you have at the start of your blog but also your blog- would you be OK with me posting it to our blog page with credit? And we’d love to use your drone image with credit! Many thanks for your consideration- best wishes Rauni Kew PR Inn by the Sea email@example.com 207.799.3134.
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