LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to Ogunquit, Maine

LGBTQ+ Travel Guide to Ogunquit
Photo by Justin Bisson Beck from Unsplash

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Ogunquit is a coastal town in Maine, located along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, and has long been a favorite destination for LGBTQ+ travelers looking for a seaside vacation that embraces everyone in the LGBTQ+ community. Often described as a “sun-soaked oasis of acceptance,” Ogunquit’s beaches are where LGBTQ+ visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and socializing. The spirit of acceptance and equality flows freely everywhere in Ogunquit, making it a perfect getaway, and a top tourist spot for gay travelers seeking a place to unwind, connect with others, and celebrate their authentic selves. Our LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to Ogunquit has everything you need to know before you go. Take a look. 

How to Get There: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Whether you prefer the independence of a car, the scenic ride by train, the speed of an airplane, or a more eco-friendly bus ride, you’ll find that getting to Ogunquit is just the start of your adventure.

Plane: For those traveling from a distance, Portland International Jetport is the closest major airport. Located  just a short drive away from Ogunquit, visitors can rent a car or arrange for transportation services after landing.

Train: Amtrak’s Downeaster service is “travel with a view” and an easy way to reach Ogunquit from cities like Boston. The nearest train station to Ogunquit is Wells, and from there, you can take a short taxi or shuttle ride.

Automobile: Driving to Ogunquit is one of the most common transportation methods. The town is conveniently located just off Interstate 95, which connects to major cities. The drive along the coastal Route 1 is not only beautiful but also gives access to other cities and towns for you to stop along the way. 

Bus: Several bus companies operate routes to Ogunquit, making it accessible for those who prefer not to drive. Major bus stations in cities like Boston and Portland with services to the Ogunquit area, make it an affordable and environmentally friendly way to travel.

Marginal Way, Ogunquit, Maine
Photo from Pixabay

How LGBTQ+ Welcoming Is Ogunquit

Affectionately referred to as “Maine’s LGBTQ+ haven,” Ogunquit has earned a reputation as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly towns in the United States. From its seemingly endless beaches to its nightlife, this seaside community radiates acceptance for all. Ogunquit honors its LGBTQ+ community with annual events, where visitors and locals come together to celebrate diversity, inclusion, and love. These showcases demonstrate the town’s unwavering commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ travelers, ensuring that Ogunquit remains a welcoming and safe space for all. The town’s LGBTQ+ scene, found mostly in the Village, thrives year-round, with numerous gay friendly and gay-owned and operated restaurants, bars, clubs, galleries, and shops lining its downtown streets.

Pride Events in Ogunquit

Ogunquit Pride – Hosted by the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce, this annual June, weekend-long event officially starts with a flag raising at Veterans Park. While there’s no Pride Festival or Parade, there are dozens of events throughout Ogunquit including, a kick-off party, drag shows, karaoke, dance parties, drag brunch, a glow party, a picnic in the park with live music, and some of the LGBTQ+ communities favorite movies playing at local theaters. It’s a jam-packed weekend loaded with fun, love, and all things PRIDE! To dress the part, you can order some fun Pride swag from the online store, Zazzle.

Mr. Gay Ogunquit – What are your plans for Labor Day? We suggest spending it in Ogunquit for the “don’t miss” Mr. Gay Ogunquit, a bathing suit, or should we say Speedo competition,  sponsored by MainStreet, and taking place at “Section G,” the gay section of Ogunquit Beach. Come for the fun and the eye candy, or if you think your summer tan and muscle-man physique is “all that,” why not enter? . Open to both locals and visitors, the events include best chest, best arms, best basket, best legs, and, of course, best everything. Winners are announced at that night’s tea dance at MainStreet. 

Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, ME
Photo by Natasha Miller from Unsplash

History Of Ogunquit

Originally inhabited by Native American Abenaki people in the 17th century, European settlers arrived in the area shortly thereafter. Ogunquit was initially considered a village within the larger Wells community.  Eventually, Ogunquit seceded from Wells and was incorporated as a town in 1980. Its name is of Abenaki origin, meaning “beautiful place by the sea,” a fitting description for its location along the Maine coast. 

Throughout its history, Ogunquit has been known for its fishing and shipbuilding industries, which were vital to the local economy. Today, the town is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors for its beaches, arts community, and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. 

Marginal Way, Ogunquit, Maine
Photo by Peregrine Photography from Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Friendly Places To Stay In Ogunquit

As LGBTQ+ friendly as the town of Ogunquit is, there are an unlimited number of choices for gay-friendly places to stay. You can find inclusive hotels, motels, inns, resorts, beachfront accommodations, and cozy inns to suit both your preferences and budget while ensuring a comfortable stay in Ogunquit.

The Admiral’s Inn – Conveniently located near town, the Marginal Way coastal walk, sandy beaches, whale watching, shopping, galleries, dining, and cultural attractions like the Ogunquit Playhouse and Museum of American Art, The Admiral’s Inn has it all. With its outdoor pools, a poolside bar, complimentary breakfast, a gym, dog-friendly rooms, and free parking, it caters to the needs of all of its guests.

Abalonia Inn – The gay-owned Abalonia Inn bed & breakfast offers comfortable rooms with Early American decor and rustic ceiling beams. It features a heated saltwater swimming pool, hot tub, and fire pit, all conveniently close to Ogunquit Village’s attractions, restaurants, and nightclubs, providing a quintessential coastal lodging experience.

2 Village Square Inn – Open year round, the 2 Village Square is located in the heart of Ogunquit, overlooking the town square and the Atlantic Ocean. This gay-owned, renovated, 1886 bed & breakfast, is on a 3-acre wooded hillside with a cottage-inspired seaside ambiance, ideal for couples, friends, or socializing. 

Moon Over Maine – Known as Ogunquit’s “Flip Flop” House, Moon Over Maine Bed & Breakfast is just 300 feet from Main Street, allowing easy access to shops, restaurants, and the beach within minutes. Its blend of historic charm and modern amenities, with all rooms having private baths, king or queen beds, and air conditioning, makes it the perfect spot for your Ogunquit getaway.

Ogunquit, Maine
Photo by Rich Martello from Unsplash

Recommended Restaurants In Ogunquit

Regardless of what your taste buds are in the mood for, you can find places with fresh seafood, classic American dishes like burgers and fries, Italian, Mexican, and Asian cuisine, as well as choices for vegetarians and vegans. These restaurants make sure everyone feels welcomed from the moment they walk in until they pay their bill and continue on their night’s adventures. As with any restaurant in a beach resort town, please check first for their seasonal hours.

Nikanos – Are you ready for a touch of Mediterranean? Then head to Nikanos! Serving Greek-Mediterranean style dishes in a modern, comfortable indoor and outdoor setting, Nikanos features traditional appetizers and fresh seafood dishes, along with live entertainment throughout the year. You can also enjoy craft cocktails and a huge selection of Greek wines and spirits, a weekend happy hour, and Sunday Brunch.

Jackie’s Too – Considered one of the best located restaurants in Ogunquit, Jackie’s Too, is in Perkins Cove, where the Marginal Way begins and ends. Known for its award-winning menu and AMAZING seaside views, Jackie’s Too serves fresh seafood, lobsters, mussels, award-winning clam chowder, steaks, chicken, and pasta dishes, making it a popular choice for lunch or dinner with a view.

Beachfire Bar & Grill – Beachfire Bar & Grill specializes in smoked food like BBQ, seafood, and cheeses, and takes pride in making most things from scratch to ensure freshness. Check out their large fire pit (the first of its kind) on a cool night as you sip on a local beer or cocktail, while watching a game, hanging with friends, or enjoying dinner. 

Barnacle Billy’s – Barnacle Billy’s, a tradition for nearly 60 years, is the place to go for New England seafood like lobster, steamed clams, clam chowder, lobster rolls, and lobster stew. With its stunning harbor-front views, indoor and sundeck seating overlooking Perkins Cove, guests can watch the lobster boats unload while they eat. Barnacle Billy’s, re-opening for the season in April, is famous for its Rum Punch that is best enjoyed overlooking Perkins Cove, or by their blazing fireplaces.

Ogunquit Maine
Photo from Pixabay

Things To Do & See In Ogunquit

The town is known for its beautiful beaches, where you can relax, catch some rays, or swim. If outdoor adventures are your thing, there’s kayaking and hiking. You can visit an art gallery or two, explore a nearby wildlife refuge, or take in a show at the local playhouse. You’re never at a loss for things to do, see, and experience while in Ogunquit. As with any attraction  in a beach resort town, please check first for their seasonal schedule.

Leavitt Theatre – The Leavitt Theatre, established in 1925 as a silent movie house, is a restaurant, cocktail bar, and entertainment venue in downtown Ogunquit. The restaurant is open daily for dinner, serving its full menu until midnight, with the bar open an hour later. The Leavitt Theatre showcases live music, free films, a live comedy series, and silent movies with live organ accompaniment. In the fall, they host a haunted movie theater tour and a four-day music festival called LeavittFest.

Nubble Light – If it’s Maine, a lighthouse is the thing to see. Located in York, about a 20 minute drive from Ogunquit, Nubble Light, officially known as Cape Neddick Light, first operated in 1879. Located on an island and standing 41 feet tall, the lighthouse isn’t open to the public, but is still a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors for its panoramic views of the rocky coast of Maine.

Ogunquit Playhouse – Who doesn’t love the theater? Ogunquit Playhouse is one of the country’s oldest summer theaters, presenting world-class performances with top industry talent, making it comparable to New York or Boston productions, but at a more affordable price. A National Historic Register theater, the Ogunquit Playhouse has a history of hosting numerous famous stars of yesteryear, like Bette Davis and William Powell, and more recently, actresses like Sally Struthers and Andrea McArdle.

Ogunquit Beach – Anytime you choose to vacation in a coastal town, visiting the beach is a must, and Ogunquit Beach is no different. Considered the “gay beach” by the LGBTQ+ community as you can find the “Section G” about 200 yards north of the beach entrance past the volleyball nets, Ogunquit beach has parking for a small fee, public restrooms, gift shops, a snack bar, and restaurants. While you’re there, check out the Ogunquit River on the southern end of the beach, where there’s a freshwater area for tubing or rafting on warm summer days.

Photo by Natasha Miller from Unsplash

Where To Shop & Stroll In Ogunquit

At only four square miles, Ogunquit is one of the most walkable towns in the US. So, put on your comfortable shoes and get ready to tackle downtown Ogunquit and its mix of stores, including art galleries, boutiques of clothing and crafts, jewelry stores, and souvenir shops. Strolling along Main Street you can window shop, people watch, or get down to some serious shopping. Then make your way to Ogunquit’s waterfront, where you can shop while enjoying scenic coastal views of the ocean and rocky shores. It’s a great way to see the town. 

Downtown Ogunquit – Downtown Ogunquit is loaded with independent restaurants and shops, perfect for foodies, walkers, and shoppers. You can find gourmet coffee, sandwiches, gifts, creative cuisine, and live entertainment, all located just a half mile from the beach. Check out On the Main for that perfect gift to take home, the Sassy Olive, for an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting, and Beach Street Treats for a trip down memory lane, candy-style. Suffice it to say, when shopping in downtown Ogunquit, gay-owned shops are the rule, not the exception.

Perkin’s Cove – A walkabout spot for the senses, Perkins Cove offers the aroma of Maine lobster, the sound of seagulls, and the sight of waves crashing on Oarweed Cove. Featuring artisan shops, galleries, coastal dining, and recreational activities, visitors can enjoy watching fishing boats deliver fresh-caught lobsters, walk over the historic wooden drawbridge, or access the southern entrance of the Ogunquit Marginal Way. 

Marginal Way – When you need to “get your steps in” for the day, there’s no better oceanside walk than Ogunquit’s top choice, Marginal Way. Stretching just 1.25 miles, it leads you along a paved path, passing hotels and rocky beaches on your way to Perkins Cove. You can admire the little lighthouse overlooking Ogunquit Beach, watch sailboats, or check out the beaches or coves. And, once you reach Perkins Cove, you can enjoy a meal from any of the restaurants there. Marginal Way’s short length makes it ideal for a return walk, perhaps timed for a sunset view to the west or a morning sunrise over the ocean.

Kittery Outlets – Nothing says retail therapy and bargain hunting like shopping in the outlets. With over 120 stores, and just a 20 minute drive from Ogunquit, the Kittery Outlets attract visitors from all over in search of great deals. Featuring top brands like Adidas, Ann Taylor, Coach, Jockey, and Movado, to name a few, you can find everything from clothing and accessories to outdoor, providing one-stop shopping where you can find everything you’re looking for. 

Places to go in Ogunquit, Maine
Photo by Ysabella Ray from Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Bars, Clubs and Nightlife In Ogunquit

The town’s LGBTQ+ scene thrives year-round, with numerous queer-friendly establishments lining its downtown streets. Ogunquit’s nightlife is alive with drag shows, dance parties, and LGBTQ+ bars where everyone is welcomed. Popular spots like Mainestreet and The Front Porch have fabulous entertainment, dancing, and an upbeat atmosphere. 

Mainestreet – Open all winter and known as “Ogunquit’s Party Central,” MainStreet is New England’s largest gay nightclub, with 2 dance rooms, 2 outdoor decks, and 3 bars. Hosting drag performances, ladies tea dances, karaoke, pool tournaments, and  comedy shows, when it’s time to “get down with your bad self,” Mainestreet DJs have the latest dance music for you to “shake your groove thing.”

The Front Porch – Some call it a restaurant, while others call it a gay bar. Regardless of what you call it, The Front Porch is an exceptional dining and entertainment night out, recently receiving the “Platinum Plate Award” from NECN’s TV Diner. Not hungry? The piano bar has live performances by some of New England’s best pianists, spanning classical music, jazz, Broadway show tunes, standards, and original compositions, where you can sing and sip the night away. 

Five-O Shore Road Lounge – If it’s craft and specialty cocktails you’re looking for, then look no further than Five-O Shore Road Lounge, considered some of the best cocktails in Ogunquit. But let’s not short change them when it comes to food. An American restaurant with Italian influences, and a “from scratch” kitchen, the Five-O is an award-winning restaurant with indoor and seasonal outdoor seating on the patio overlooking Shore Road.

Sunrise in Ogunquit, ME
Photo by Timothy Brown from Unsplash

Annual Events and Festivals in Ogunquit

Ogunquit’s annual events and festivals provide opportunities for residents and visitors to come together to celebrate throughout the year, and engage with their friends and neighbors. These include holiday spectacles, cultural showcases of  film, music, and the arts, as well as community-oriented gatherings. 

Splash Into Spring – As the frost of winter melts away, and the air loses its chill, Ogunquit welcomes spring with its annual Splash Into Spring, a weekend-long celebration with live music, local vendors, and activities for all ages. Held in April, it signifies the official start of the beach season. Oh, and don’t forget to “wear your Easter Bonnet, with all the frills upon it” to the annual Bonnet Contest, an annual tradition at Splash Into Spring, where festival goers wear decorated bonnets. It’s a great way to say “Goodbye winter, and hello Spring.”

BonAire: A Celebration of Ogunquit – An oceanside celebration of culture and community during the summer season, BonAire is a day-long street festival of live music, a craft fair, food trucks, family-friendly activities, circus entertainment, and all that Ogunquit values, including its LGBTQ+ community. Food trucks provide the “eats,” and the festivities culminate at dark with a huge fireworks display. 

Ogunquitfest Artisan Craft Fair – For those with a love for craftsmanship and artistry, the “Ogunquitfest Artisan Craft Fair” is a must-visit event. A fall celebration taking place in October, the fair showcases the work of nearly 100 local artisans and their hand-made goods. Alongside the craft fair, there are other fun and entertaining activities including a classic car show, pumpkin decorating, a scarecrow contest, and costume parade.

Ogunquit Christmas by the Sea – It can be hard to imagine cold weather in a beach town, but as winter descends upon Ogunquit, the town transforms into a holiday wonderland during “Ogunquit Christmas by the Sea.” Held in early December, the festivities kick-off with a tree lighting ceremony, caroling, and a Christmas parade. Local shops and galleries are open late for everyone to get a head start on their Christmas shopping.

Ogunquit: Maine’s LGBTQ+ Friendly Little Hidden Gem

Ogunquit’s charm lies in its peaceful beachfront, making it an ideal destination for those looking to find a peaceful escape from their everyday lives. While Ogunquit may not provide the extensive entertainment and dining found in places like Provincetown, it still packs a lot into its four-square-miles, providing an affordable getaway. The number of gay-owned shops, restaurants, guesthouses, and clubs, along with the accepting attitude of its locals, creates the LGBTQ+ friendly environment that visitors and vacationers have come to love.

**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.

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