How to Spend One Winter Day in Scarborough Maine

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While you won’t want to get a good tan in the middle of January, you may want to visit Scarborough for its beautiful beaches, local restaurants, and relaxing atmosphere.

Visiting Maine in the winter is not for everybody. 

If you’re looking for beach days and warm weather, then winter in Maine is not for you. But if you’re looking to explore Maine’s beautiful scenery, its beaches without the crowds and at cheaper prices, then this could be the trip for you! 

What I love about Maine in the winter is that everything really slows down. There’s no rush to go anywhere and everyone is trying to make the most of the winter weather.

Speaking of beaches though…this post is all about visiting Scarborough, Maine in the winter.

I have an affinity towards Scarborough. I’m not sure why, but I love this little community. Perhaps it’s because Scarborough is not super touristy. There isn’t a downtown or any shops dedicated to tourist gift shops or anything like that. For that, you’ll need to head to towns like Ogunquit, Kennebunk, and Old Orchard. 

Scarborough has more of a local, residential feel. It has a homey feeling.  All of the restaurants are mostly locally owned and even the beaches are a little bit smaller and casual than the other beaches in southern Maine.

Read More: 21 Things to do in Scarborough, Maine You’ll Love

Ferry Beach, Scarborough, Maine

Is Scarborough, Maine Worth Visiting in the Winter

One way that I survive Maine’s winters is to go to those places that normally in the summer would be packed with tourists, especially southern Maine towns like Scarborough. 

During the summer, towns like Scarborough, Kennebunkport, Freeport, and Portland are super busy! There can be traffic jams, limited parking, wait times, and can get really expensive. 

But when you visit these southern Maine towns in the winter you don’t feel any of that pressure. It’s really a truly relaxing experience, and that’s what we want most out of our vacation right? 

So like I mentioned before, Scarborough can get pretty busy in the summer. It’s definitely not as busy as Portland Maine or Kennebunk Maine or even Bar Harbor, but it still can get crowded, especially if you’re trying to visit the beaches in the summertime. Visiting Scarborough in the winter provides a more relaxing experience. And you really get a feel for the locals. Because in the summer, it’s mostly tourists that visit this area.

Today I’m gonna show you how we recently spent a day exploring Scarborough going to our favorite spots. We’ll show you which restaurants we love and which outdoor activities we recommend. Bundle up, pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure in Scarborough, Maine this winter.

Read More: A Local’s Advice for Visiting Maine in the Winter

Weather in Scarborough, Maine During the Winter

So just like other parts of the state Scarborough, Maine can get pretty cold in the winter. 

Mainer’s winter is considered from November to April – yep, that’s 5 long months. 

According to Weather Trends, Scarborough, experiences the following snowy days and temperatures per month:

  • Nov – 5 days of snow, high of 49, low of 32
  • Dec – 17 days of snow, high of 38, low of 22
  • Jan – 22 days of snow, high of 33, low of 15
  • Feb – 17 days of snow, high of 35, low of 16
  • Mar – 12 days of snow, high of 43, low of 24

Southern Maine gets snow and rain just like the rest of the state, but because they’re a little more south, it tends not to last as long. 

How Expensive is Scarborough, Maine?

Another reason to visit Scarborough in general, is that prices tend to be a little bit more reasonable than neighborhood towns like Portland or Kennebunk. 

Scarborough often gets overlooked for neighboring towns, but I think it’s well worth a visit.

Our meal at one of Scarborough’s most well loved spots, O-Rielly’s Cure, for two meals and 2 drinks came to under $45. Which I think is really great for a seaside town.

Conversely, a similar meal in Kennebunkport ran us easily $10-15 more on a recent trip.

Read More: How to Spend 1 Day in Freeport Maine: Winter Edition

Getting to Scarborough, Maine

Scarborough, Maine is really easy to get to and conveniently located only a few minutes from the Portland International Jetport. 

If you’re driving to Maine, it’s about 1.5 hours from Boston.  You’ll definitely need to rent a car or bring your own car as there’s not a lot of public transportation in Scarborough. And you’ll probably want to do some driving around or take a few day trips during your visit.

One Day Itinerary in Scarborough, Maine During the Winter

I’ll be sharing a one-day itinerary for how to spend a great day exploring Scarborough, Maine in the winter. These suggestions will include local eateries, beaches, and the perfect lighthouse photo.

Start the Morning with Holy Donut

Start the morning by visiting Holy Donut, which is quickly becoming Maine’s most famous donuts. They’re a little bit different because they use potatoes in their batter. And it offers a different flavor and texture to their donuts. 

They are super indulgent, so you probably only need one. But I love to get a sampling and try a bite of each.  Their maple bacon is delicious, but I also love their pomegranate and cinnamon sugar. 

They offer seasonal menus and also have vegan and gluten free options. 

If you’re looking for a traditional cafe to start your morning, check out Scarborough Grounds

Try a Holy Donut!

Head to the Eastern Trail for a Crisp Walk

After breakfast, head out for a brisk walk on the Eastern trail. This section of the Eastern trail goes from Scarborough to Saco and is about 9 miles long. 

The Eastern trail is part of a larger trail that runs from South Portland, Maine all the way down to Kittery, Maine. 

What we love about the Eastern trail is that it’s great for beginners.  Folks who want to be active, but don’t want any of the elevation that comes along with other hikes in Maine will enjoy this trail system. 

It’s also great for bike riding, dog walking, and family walks. 

The Scarborough to Saco section of the trail in particular takes you through the Scarborough marsh which can get pretty windy in the winter. But don’t let that stop you! Just add a few layers before you head out the door. 

Scarborough Marsh on the Eastern Trail, Scarborough, Maine

Spend the Mid-Morning Exploring in Scarborough

We have a few hours before lunch so here are a few options:

Option #1: Check out local delicacies at the Cheese Iron

The Cheese Iron is a great stop for any food lovers. Specializing in Cheese, Wine, and Charcuterie items, you’re bound to find a tasty souvenir. 

According to their website, “We source artisanal and seasonal products that reflect the traditional methods and ingredients of whatever region they come from”.

Option #2: Head over to the Fort Williams Park for Views of the Portland Head Lighthouse

Located in Cape Elizabeth, about 20 minutes from Scarborough, you’ll find Fort Williams park 

The park is home to the famous Portland Head Lighthouse and is the perfect spot to get a lighthouse photo to take home with you

Grab your photo, take a stroll along the park’s 1 mile loop, and check out the historic remains dating back to the late 1800s.  

Portland Head Lighthouse in Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

El Rayo Taqueria for a Delicious Lunch in Scarborough, Maine

Who can resist Mexican food for lunch? Choose El Rayo Taqueria if you’re looking for an easy lunch after all of that exploring. We love their Mexican local cuisine. They have a great tortilla soup and Ben loves their burritos.

Spend the Afternoon Exploring Scarborough’s Beaches

A big reason I love visiting Scarborough, Maine is the 4 beaches in town. 

  • Scarborough Beach and State Park
  • Ferry Beach and State Park
  • Higgins Beach
  • Pine Point Beach

Don’t ask me to choose which one is my favorite, because I love all of them! 

For more info on Scarborough’s beaches, visit their town website here. 

What’s great about visiting Scarborough’s beaches in the winter is that get them all to yourself. They’re never crowded and I also love that you can bring dogs along with you.

Dogs are allowed on all of Scarborough’s beaches from the day after Labor Day to May 14th. 

Scarborough Beach, Scarborough, Maine

For even more beaches only minutes from Scarborough, Maine check out:

  • Crescent Beach State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
  • Willard Beach, South Portland, Maine
  • Old Orchard Beach

Have Dinner at O’Reilly’s Cure in Scarborough, Maine

After your day of exploring, it’s time to relax for the evening. For dinner, head to O’reilly’s Cure. 

I’ve visited O’Reilly’s Cure many times and I’ve always had a great meal. I love their atmosphere and its open concept. They have great colorful décor and a lovely fireplace next to the bar. 

Opt for a refreshing Harvest Salad or if you’re feeling indulgent, my husband’s favorite is the Fried Haddock Sandwich. 

Dinner at O’Reilly’s Cure, Scarborough, Maine

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s plenty to do in Scarborough during a winter trip. We love this area because it provides a local, authentic feel for Maine and by visiting in the winter, it’s definitely not as crowded as it would be in the summertime. I hope you consider adding Scarborough to your next Maine trip.