Best Outdoor Activities in Cape Elizabeth, Maine You’ll Love

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much there is to do in the small town of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. 

If you’re visiting Maine and hoping for outdoor activities near the coast, Cape Elizabeth could be a great choice for you! 

In this post, I’ll walk you through a few of our favorite outdoor activities to do while you’re visiting Cape Elizabeth including the famous Portland Head Light, 3 state parks, and easy hiking options, plus where to get the best donuts after a day of exploring. 

Most people know this town for the famous Portland Head Light located within Fort Williams Park. 

But there’s a whole other side to this town and offers way more than you might imagine. 

  • Portland Head Light at Fort Williams Park
  • Two Lights State Park
  • Crescent Beach State Park
  • Kettle Cove State park
  • Winnick Woods 
  • Bonus Spot: The Cookie Jar
Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

When To Visit Cape Elizabeth, Maine

One caveat to visiting Cape Elizabeth is the price. It can get extremely expensive to stay in town so you may want to choose a less expensive home base such as Scarborough and then day trip over. 

Alternatively if you visit in the shoulder seasons (Sept-Nov and Mar-May) or the off season (Dec-Feb) then you’re bound to get a better bargain as well. 

In fact, my husband and I recently took a day trip to Cape Elizabeth in March and while the weather wasn’t sun-bathing worthy, it was a beautiful sunny day and a great time to venture to the coast. 

If you choose to visit in the summer months, you’ll get the best weather, but more crowds.

Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

How Long Do You Need in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

To do all of the outdoor activities below you’ll only need a day or two. But if you’re looking to explore more Cape Elizabeth you could easily spend a weekend or even a week based here. 

Not only is it a beautiful town, but it also makes a great home base to explore other towns nearby. 

Cape Elizabeth is not far from other great Maine destinations:

  • 15 minutes from Portland, Maine – Maine’s biggest city
  • 15 minutes to Scarborough, Maine – great beaches
  • 30 minutes to Freeport, Maine – great for shopping
  • 45 minutes to Kennebunkport, Maine – great for whale watching
  • 1 hr 45 minutes to the White Mountains – great for hiking
  • 2 hours to Camden, Maine – a charming seaside town
  • 3 hours to Acadia National Park (I wouldn’t recommend this as a day trip)

Read More: 6 Fantastic Day Trips from Portland You’ll Love

Things To Do Outdoors in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Let’s walk through our favorite places in Cape Elizabeth starting with the 3 state parks that are conveniently located within minutes from each other.

State Parks in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Maine has an amazing collection of state parks. Luckily, Cape Elizabeth contains three of those state parks. 

For a current entrance fee list, check out the State of Maine’s website. 

All three state parks in Cape Elizabeth allow dogs. but limit dogs on the beaches. Typically dogs are allowed on Maine state beaches from October to April. 

Read More: Best State Parks in Maine: A Local’s Opinion

Two Lights State Park

7 Tower Drive, Cape Elizabeth

If you love being by the coast and walking in the woods, check out Two Lights State Park. 

I could spend hours just sitting on the benches at Two Lights State Park, overlooking the waves crashing on the rocky coastline. 

During low tide you can walk along the rocks, just be careful as the rocks can be really slippery. 

Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Here you can see beautiful views of Casco Bay. 

There are plenty of day use sites featuring a grill station and picnic table. The perfect spot for a summer day! 

There is also a playground and bathroom facilities within the park. 

There is a beautiful 1 mile loop within the park. This trail is great for an easy and quick stroll. 

There’s also a series of mini trail shortcuts within the loop. 

We recently visited on a beautiful spring day and while walking through the wooded shortcuts we saw two mallard ducks swimming in a tiny pond and the tree moss was an incredible shade of vibrant green. 

Crescent Beach State Park

7 Tower Drive, Cape Elizabeth

If you’re dreaming of a day at the beach while visiting Cape Elizabeth, look no further than Crescent Beach State Park.

Featuring a mile long sandy beach, this is the perfect spot to relax by the ocean, and maybe even go swimming. But I have to warn you, Maine’s oceans are FREEZING. 

There is plenty of parking as well as showers and bathroom facilities. 

Although I love visiting Maine’s beaches during the summer, and you totally should, don’t discount visiting them during the fall, winter, and spring as well. You may not get a tan, but you’ll probably get the beach to yourself. 

Kettle Cove State Park

64 Kettle Cove Road, Cape Elizabeth

On our recent trip to Kettle Cove State Park, there was a fog that surrounded the beach and parking lots. 

For a foggy day, the parking lot was quite full, so get here early if you’re visiting during peak season of June-August. 

Kettle Cove State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

We walked along the beach and took a trail that led to the rock formation in between the two beaches. 

Kettle Cove State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Ever since I was a kid, I had fond memories of climbing Maine’s rocky coastline. Be careful, as the rocks might be slippery. But if you’re lucky you’ll get to see little creatures like hermit crabs into the saltwater puddles. 

There is also a 2.8 mile loop trail that connects Kettle Cove State Park to Crescent Beach State Park.

Read More: Our Favorite Places in Maine You Need to Know About

Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth

1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth

For anyone that wants to capture a photo of the famous Portland Head Light, a visit to Fort Williams Park is a must. 

Beware, this location gets incredibly busy. Even when we recently visited in March the parking lot was filling up. To ensure a relaxing experience, get to the park when they open at 10am. 

In addition to the scenic lighthouse, the park also features the historical forts and military batteries to explore as well as a 1 mile loop along the ocean’s edge. 

Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Winnick Woods Trail System, Cape Elizabeth

Sawyer Road, Cape Eizabeth

If you’re searching for a slightly more challenging route than the other 1 mile loops of Fort Williams and Two Lights State Parks, consider Winnick Woods. 

There are a few trails to choose from, the longest being a moderate 3.5 mile loop. 

Although it’s marked as moderate, the elevation gain is so low, I’d say it’s closer to an easy trail. 

When we recently visited, we found the trails to be wide and well marked.

Beware this trail system can get muddy in the spring so bring proper footwear. 

Winnick Woods Trail System, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Additional Outdoor Activities in Cape Elizabeth

Robinson Woods Preserve – we tried to visit but the small parking lot was already full, we’ll try again soon!

Richmond Island – I can’t wait to take our kayaks out to this island in the summer! They also have campsites available!

Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
The Cookie Jar, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

How I’d Rank Outdoor Activities in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Knowing you may only have a short time in Cape Elizabeth, this is my personal opinion of how you should prioritize the spots in Cape Elizabeth.  

  1. Portland Head Light at Fort Williams Park 
  2. Two Lights State Park
  3. Crescent Beach State Park
  4. Kettle Cove State park
  5. Winnick Woods 
  6. Bonus Spot: The Cookie Jar

One Day Interary in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

If have only one day you could spend a day as follows:


Take in the views at Two Lights State Park and walk the 1-mile long trail. 

Head to Fort Williams Park for opening to see Portland Head Light and walk the oceanside trail. 

Walk the trail from Kettle Cove to Crescent State Park


There are a few options for lunch in Cape Elizabeth. 

Or you could pack a picnic lunch and stay longer at Kettle Cove or Crescent Beach State Park. 


Spend the afternoon taking in a longer trail such as Winnick Woods or Robinson Preserve. 

After a day of outdoor adventure, it’s time to relax and eat the most delicious donuts of your life, at The Cookie Jar

The Cookie Jar

554 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth

This locally owned business has been around for over 70 years – that’s insane!!

They have so many amazing treats to choose from including breads, cakes, breakfast pastries, desserts, and more. 

We had such a hard time choosing but finally decided on the blueberry and apple cider donuts. 

Oh my, these are amazing donuts! 

And their “donut holes” are the biggest donut holes I’ve seen in my life. They are the perfect size. 

Final Thoughts

I hope by now, you’re convinced that Cape Elizabeth, Maine is a great home base for outdoor lovers. Whether you visit the state parks, Portland Head Light, or choose to relax on the beach and eat donuts all day, you’re going to have a great time!