Scarborough, Maine Vacation Guide

Scarborough Salt Marsh

The Scarborough Salt Marsh is a popular destination for paddlers and bird watchers.

Places of Interest | Events | Recreation | Lodging | Dining | Directory | Map

Scarborough, Maine nestles on the southern coast, just 7 miles from Portland. Scarborough has a rich history; its first inhabitants, the Abenaki Indians, named the area after its salt marshes, calling it Owascoag or “a place of much grass.” In 1630, the Stratton Island trading post was established just offshore, and settlers soon followed, drawn by the region’s excellent fishing and farming. In 1658, the settlements were incorporated as the town of Scarborough.

Today, this coastal resort town and its neighbors, Higgins Beach and Cape Elizabeth, are popular vacation destinations, attracting visitors with their natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and historic and cultural attractions.

Attractions and Places of Interest

Racing enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Scarborough Downs Harness Race Track. The fastest half-mile track in New England, Scarborough Downs offers a full schedule of classic Maine harness races as well as live broadcasts of major events, like the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown races.

For scenic photo opportunities, the Portland Head Light at Cape Elizabeth can’t be beat. This historic lighthouse in Fort Williams Park has watched over the water since 1791, when it was lit with whale oil lamps. Today, it features a museum and gift shop.

Tour the great American artist Winslow Homer’s studio at Prout’s Neck. The renovated studio and grounds – opening fall 2012 – showcase the renowned painter’s work.

Major Events

Every June, the residents of Scarborough come together to celebrate Scarborough Community Day. Local businesses display their wares and services at Hadlock Field while the Portland Sea Dogs – the local minor league baseball team – plays a few innings.

On summer weekends, the Scarborough Chamber sponsors Summer Concerts in the Park, a series of free, family-friendly musical performances featuring raffles, concessions and a shuttle service.

In nearby Cape Elizabeth, residents honor the fallen at the annual Memorial Day parade through town, followed by a wreath laying service at the War Veterans’ Memorial.

In June, Family Fun Day fills historic Fort Williams Park with food, musical performances and fun for all ages. The annual August Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race draws some of the world’s best runners, with 6,000 participants and 10,000 spectators.

On Labor Day weekend, Fort Williams Park hosts to the Engine One Labor Day Art Show. This annual event showcases the work of more than 150 local artists and offers free admission.

Outdoor Recreation

The Scarborough region is packed with recreational opportunities, from surfing, fishing and exploring the shipwreck at Higgins Beach, to sea kayaking and swimming at Crescent Beach State Park.

Bird watchers can explore the 3,100 acre estuary at Scarborough Marsh. Maintained by the Audubon Society, Maine’s largest salt marsh is home to waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and birds of prey, as well as otters, mink and muskrats.

Hikers, bikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers will enjoy the miles of trails in the Scarborough Wildlife Sanctuary, Fuller Farm and the Eastern Trail.


The Scarborough area offers a range of lodging options, from quaint, seaside bed-and-breakfasts to full-service hotels, camping resorts to historic inns like the Black Point Inn. The inn was built in 1878 and maintains the Cliff Walk, an oceanfront trail that passes by Homer Winslow’s historic studio.


Scarborough’s many eateries can satisfy every palate, whether you’re a serious foodie or prefer casual family fare. The area’s coastal location makes fresh seafood the perfect choice any time of year, so don’t miss out on that famous Maine lobster and seafood chowder. For fresh produce, visit the farmer’s market; it operates every Sunday from June through October.

Scarborough Area Directories

Visit the following directories to find lodging, dining, attractions, shops, services and recreational activities in the Scarborough, Maine area.

Scarborough Maine Map

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