Looking for something to do on a sunny day, in the winter in southern Maine? Here are 6 Great Winter Outdoor Activities in Southern Maine to get you started on your adventure. We look forward to welcoming you to the Inn or for an apres-sports hot chocolate, International Coffee or meal. Hopefully, it goes without saying ... we always love having overnight guests! (click any image below to see larger version)
All-Season Sea Kayaking ~ Just the other day, we saw some kayakers right in front of Stage Neck Inn (see the image at the top of this page). What a great way to explore this area and view the four-season beauty of Stage Neck Inn and York Harbor!
Snow Shoeing and Cross Country Skiing ~ One of the great things about these adventure sports is you can do them virtually anywhere you can walk. Bring your gear and walk around our grounds and explore some fo the paths and trails that we recommend in the winter months (see our post on seaside trails here). There are some beautiful areas bordering on the public lands of the myriad Kittery Outlet Malls ... namely Spruce Creek. Fort Foster, Vaughn Woods, and other local state parks are currently not open for fee collection but may still be accessible for exploration via snow shoes and cross country skis.
Wells, Maine has a Recreation Center on Route 9A, Branch Road (off Route 109). Their terrain combines open field areas plus groomed and self-made trails through the woods. Behind this area is Hobbs Pond* which connects Town Wood Brook and the Merriland River. There is plenty of plowed parking here. Wells is also the site of Laudholm Farm, a 1,600 acre nature reserve. They have a 2.4 mile "Salt Hay Loop", an ungroomed diy location. Even in the winter, is frequented by shorebirds and other wildlife. Perhaps you'll see some deer and other animal tracks in the snow!
Many of the areas golf courses allow individuals to utilize the terrain in the off-season. We encourage you to call ahead.
Winter Ice Fishing in Maine* ~ You will need a fishing license, even in the winter months, to fish in Maine. This is not too much of a deterrent, however, because they can be obtained at most Town Offices and 24/7 online at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/. The closest place to the Inn for ice fishing is York Pond in Eliot which is off Route 91, York, Maine. Mousam Lake in Shapleigh, Maine offers extensive fishing opportunities with lake depths of up to 100'. There is a public parking area at the intersection of routes 109 and 11. See also the note about the Wells Recreation Center under Snow Shoeing above.
Ice Skating* ~ Although one can ice skate at some of the publicly-accessible sites mentioned here previously, two local communities have made a commitment to offering daily ice skating, weather permitting. Fees may apply. Strawbery Banke Ice Skating: Located at 14 Hancock Street, Portsmouth NH 03801 Check www.strawberybanke.org/skate.cfm for schedules, skate rental and ticket info. Kennebunk Ice Skating at the Waterhouse Center: This is an open sided 100’ x 120’ facility offering seasonal ice skating, November through March, weather permitting). Main Street/Route 1, Kennebunk. http://kennebunkmaine.us/Index.aspx?NID=595 or Google search, "Waterhouse Ice Skating Kennebunk" .
Sightseeing ~ Winter in Maine can be breathtakingly beautiful. In addition, there are far fewer people viewing that beauty no matter where you go. So, consider coming and seeing a totally different landscape, particularly if you only visit Maine in the summer months! Nubble Light is easily accessible ... you can actually stay in your car in the parking lot and still see the lighthouse. Long Sands Beach has on-street free parking. Walk along the beach and listen to the waves ... it's so calming.
Oceanside Rock Climbing* and Hiking ~ MountainProject.com lists Nubble Light as a great seaside rock climbing venue. They state "This collection of seaside boulders is only enjoyable during low tide. Many enjoyable problems exist here, but watch out for the wet, slippery and sometimes treacherous landings. Most of the topouts are low (10ft-ish) and solid." This destination is also wonderful for the less adventurous whose only gear is their cell phone or camera! You can also drive up Mount Agamenticus and do some hiking there, or park at the base and hike up and back.
*Note: With all activities, please make your first priority your physical safety. Research the area, have appropriate gear, and know the conditions (e.g., tides for coastal rock climbing and ice thickness/safety levels for ice fishing and ice skating). If you are parking along a public road, be aware of traffic. In order to keep Maine beautiful, we encourage you to adopt a "carry in carry out" policy for your own personal trash. We love the expression ... "Leave only footprints and take only photos"