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Visiting Kennebunkport At Christmastime: Prelude, Events, & More

Looking to visit Kennebunkport at Christmas? This is one of our favorite spots to be in December, so we’re here to give you the ins and outs of booking/planning your Kennebunk trip.

Kennebunkport, a charming coastal town in Maine, becomes truly enchanting during the holiday season.

With its quintessential New England architecture, scenic beauty, and festive spirit, Kennebunkport offers a magical experience that will warm your heart and create lasting memories. Visiting Kennebunkport during Christmas should definitely be on your Maine bucket list!

Kennebunkport at Christmas: visting Kennebunkport Maine during Christmasttime, including the Christmas Prelude and other activities

Why Visit Kennebunkport At Christmas?

There are simply so many reasons! Here are some of my top plugs for Kennebunkport during December:

Quaint New England Charm: Kennebunkport embodies the quintessential charm of a New England coastal town. With its historic buildings, picturesque streets, and waterfront views, the town becomes even more magical when adorned with festive decorations. The cozy atmosphere and small-town feel make it a perfect setting for embracing the holiday spirit.

Festive Spirit: You literally cannot get more festive in December than Kennebunkport! If you’re looking for the Gilmore Girls small-town vibe, Kennebunk is the place to be at Christmas.

The Prelude: The Christmas Prelude is a HUGE event that brings tons of tourists to Kennebunkport. This is definitely what makes it so much fun! More on this below.

Shopping: There’s truly incredible shopping in Kennebunkport during December – stores go all out. If you’re looking for gifts or personal items this is the place to be.

Classic Prep: If you’re into the classic prep vibe during the winter then you should definitely head to Kennebunkport wearing your cutest outfits.

Kennebunkport at Christmas: visting Kennebunkport Maine during Christmasttime, including the Christmas Prelude and other activities

Things To Do In Kennebunkport At Christmas:

There are honestly so many things to do in Kennebunkport at Christmas. These are simply my favorites! However, I also recommend that you wander around – there are always cute little corners with new activities.

5. Check Out The Magical Holiday Decorations:

Kennebunkport transforms into a winter wonderland during the Christmas season, with its streets adorned in dazzling lights and festive decorations. From the picturesque Dock Square to the historic homes along the coast, every corner of the town exudes holiday cheer. Take a leisurely stroll and admire the beautifully lit trees, wreaths, and garlands that bring the town to life, creating a whimsical and enchanting ambiance.

4. Go Shopping:

Kennebunkport at Christmas: visting Kennebunkport Maine during Christmasttime, including the Christmas Prelude and other activities

Kennebunkport is renowned for its unique boutique shops and art galleries, and during the holiday season, these establishments become even more magical.

Explore the charming downtown area, where you’ll find a variety of specialty shops offering one-of-a-kind gifts, locally made crafts, and holiday treats. The shop windows display festive decorations and beautifully curated displays, making it a joy to browse for that perfect holiday present or a special memento to bring home.

There are so many great shops! Here are a fw of my favorites:

Daytrip Society: Located in Dock Square, Daytrip Society is a whimsical boutique that specializes in coastal-inspired gifts, home decor, and accessories. You’ll find a curated collection of items, including Maine-made goods, artisanal products, and charming children’s toys. Their holiday selection features festive decorations and unique gift ideas that capture the essence of Kennebunkport.

Abacus: This stylish boutique on Ocean Avenue offers a blend of fashion, accessories, and home decor. Abacus showcases a mix of contemporary and classic designs, with a focus on quality craftsmanship and unique finds. Browse their collection of clothing, jewelry, handbags, and home accents, which make for perfect gifts or personal indulgences during the holiday season.

Minka: If you’re looking for handcrafted treasures, Minka is the place to go. This artisan gallery and shop showcases the work of local Maine artists and craftspeople. From pottery and ceramics to jewelry and textiles, Minka offers a beautiful selection of unique and one-of-a-kind pieces. Their holiday collection often includes special ornaments, festive decorations, and handmade gifts that celebrate the creativity of the region.

Scalawags: Don’t forget your furry friends during the holiday season! Scalawags is a charming pet boutique that offers a wide range of pet accessories, treats, and toys. From stylish collars and leashes to cozy beds and gourmet treats, you’ll find something special for your four-legged companions. Scalawags also carries holiday-themed pet products, making it a great place to shop for your pet’s Christmas surprises.

The Shops at Cape Arundel Inn: Located at the Cape Arundel Inn and Resort, this collection of boutique stores offers an upscale shopping experience. You’ll find several distinct shops, including the Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve Shop, The Spa at Cape Arundel Inn, and the Bakery at Cape Arundel Inn. Explore a variety of gifts, artwork, clothing, and gourmet treats while enjoying the elegant atmosphere of this charming complex.

3. The Christmas Prelude:

The Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude is a highly anticipated annual event that typically spans over multiple weekends in December. The duration of the Christmas Prelude may vary slightly from year to year, but it generally takes place over two consecutive weekends, with some activities and events occurring on weekdays in between.

The Christmas Prelude festivities typically begin in late November or early December and continue through the first or second weekend of December. The celebration kicks off with a grand tree-lighting ceremony in Dock Square, marking the official start of the holiday season in Kennebunkport.

During the Christmas Prelude, you can expect a wide range of events and activities, including holiday craft fairs, concerts, parades, fireworks displays, visits from Santa Claus, gingerbread house contests, and much more. The town comes alive with festive decorations, carolers, and a joyful spirit that spreads throughout the community.

During peak times, such as the tree lighting ceremony, parades, and certain concerts or performances, you can expect larger crowds and increased foot traffic in popular areas like Dock Square and the downtown district. The streets may be bustling with people enjoying the festivities, browsing shops, and participating in various activities.

Basically: get there early and book your hotels ahead!

Click here to check out the calendar for the Christmas prelude this year.

2. Eat Delicious & Festive Food:

Cozy up in one of the town’s many inviting restaurants or cafes, where you can indulge in seasonal dishes, warm drinks, and delightful desserts.

From freshly baked gingerbread to creamy clam chowder, the local cuisine captures the essence of Maine’s winter culinary traditions. Make sure to sample the town’s famous lobster rolls or enjoy a romantic dinner by a crackling fireplace.

Here are some of my favorite winter restaurants in Kennebunkport:

Earth at Hidden Pond: Located in the nearby town of Kennebunk, Earth at Hidden Pond offers a farm-to-fork dining experience in a rustic and intimate setting. The menu features locally sourced ingredients and creative, seasonal dishes that showcase the flavors of Maine. Enjoy a cozy and elegant dining experience as you savor the culinary delights crafted by their talented chefs.

The Tides Beach Club: This oceanfront restaurant offers stunning views of the coast and an inviting atmosphere. The Tides Beach Club specializes in contemporary coastal cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh seafood and locally inspired dishes. Whether you’re enjoying a casual lunch or a memorable dinner, you’ll appreciate the warm and welcoming ambiance of this popular establishment.

David’s KPT: Located in the heart of Dock Square, David’s KPT is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. This upscale yet approachable restaurant offers a diverse menu with an emphasis on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. From seafood specialties to steak, pasta, and vegetarian options, David’s KPT caters to a variety of tastes and preferences. The cozy interior and friendly service make it a great choice for a memorable dining experience.

Alisson’s Restaurant: A beloved fixture in Kennebunkport, Alisson’s Restaurant is a classic New England eatery known for its welcoming atmosphere and delicious comfort food. From fresh seafood and juicy burgers to hearty sandwiches and homemade desserts, their extensive menu offers something for everyone. Alisson’s casual and friendly ambiance makes it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

The Boathouse: Situated on the banks of the Kennebunk River, The Boathouse provides a scenic dining experience with panoramic water views. Their menu features a variety of seafood dishes, including Maine lobster, oysters, and clam chowder, as well as other tempting options. Enjoy the cozy interior or opt for outdoor seating on their deck, where you can soak in the beautiful surroundings while indulging in delicious food.

1. View The Coastal Beauty in Winter:

Despite the colder temperatures, Kennebunkport’s coastal beauty remains captivating even during the winter months.

Take a leisurely walk along the beach, breathe in the crisp sea air, and marvel at the icy landscapes that grace the shoreline. Capture stunning photographs of the rugged coastline, lighthouses adorned with wreaths, and the peacefulness that washes over the coastal town during the quieter winter season.

There’s nothing like the still winter beauty of the Atlantic Ocean:

Where To Stay In Kennebunkport At Christmas:

Kennebunkport at Christmas: visting Kennebunkport Maine during Christmasttime, including the Christmas Prelude and other activities

Kennebunkport offers a range of accommodations to suit various preferences and budgets. Whether you prefer a cozy inn, a charming bed and breakfast, or a luxurious seaside resort, there are options available to make your stay in Kennebunkport during Christmas memorable. Here are some recommendations for places to stay in Kennebunkport during the holiday season:

The White Barn Inn & Spa: This elegant and luxurious Relais & Châteaux property offers a sophisticated retreat for a special holiday getaway. The White Barn Inn features beautifully appointed rooms, an award-winning restaurant, and a serene spa. It provides an intimate and indulgent experience, perfect for celebrating the season in style.

The Colony Hotel: Situated on a picturesque seaside location, The Colony Hotel combines classic elegance with stunning ocean views. This historic hotel offers comfortable accommodations, on-site dining options, and access to their private beach. The Colony Hotel exudes a timeless charm and is a wonderful choice for a memorable Christmas stay.

The Kennebunkport Inn: Located in the heart of Dock Square, The Kennebunkport Inn offers a central location and a cozy ambiance. This boutique hotel features stylish rooms with modern amenities, an inviting restaurant and bar, and easy access to the town’s shops and attractions. The Kennebunkport Inn is an ideal choice for those seeking convenience and a charming atmosphere.

Captain Lord Mansion: This beautifully restored bed and breakfast combines historic elegance with modern comforts. The Captain Lord Mansion offers luxurious accommodations, personalized service, and a warm and welcoming ambiance. It’s a perfect retreat for a romantic Christmas getaway.

The Nonantum Resort: Set on the banks of the Kennebunk River, The Nonantum Resort offers a mix of modern comforts and classic New England charm. This family-friendly resort features comfortable accommodations, multiple dining options, and a variety of activities for all ages. The Nonantum Resort provides a festive atmosphere and a range of amenities to make your stay enjoyable.

Other Winter Things To Do In Kennebunkport:

Kennebunkport at Christmas: visting Kennebunkport Maine during Christmasttime, including the Christmas Prelude and other activities

Luckily, Kennebunkport isn’t only known for Christmas activities. Here are some awesome other things to do, too!

Winter Beach Walks: Bundle up and take a leisurely walk along the beach. Kennebunkport’s coastline is beautiful year-round, and a winter beach walk allows you to enjoy the serenity and natural beauty of the area. Admire the scenic views, collect seashells, or simply breathe in the crisp sea air.

Ice Skating: Visit a local ice skating rink and lace up your skates for some winter fun. The Biddeford Ice Arena, located nearby, offers public skating sessions where you can glide across the ice and enjoy this classic winter activity.

Wine Tasting: Visit a local winery or wine shop in Kennebunkport and indulge in a wine-tasting experience. Sample a variety of wines and learn about the winemaking process. It’s a cozy and enjoyable way to spend a winter afternoon.

Explore Art Galleries: Kennebunkport is home to several art galleries showcasing the works of local and regional artists. Take some time to explore these galleries and appreciate the diverse range of artwork on display. You may even find the perfect piece to add to your collection.

Winter Wildlife Watching: Embrace the natural beauty of the region by going on a winter wildlife-watching adventure. Bundle up and head to nearby wildlife refuges or nature preserves, such as the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge or the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. Spotting wildlife in their natural habitat can be an exciting and memorable experience.

Cozy up at a Coffee Shop or Cafe: Kennebunkport has numerous charming coffee shops and cafes where you can warm up with a hot beverage and a tasty treat. Grab a book, relax by the fireplace, or engage in some people-watching as you enjoy a cozy and comforting atmosphere.

Spa Retreat: Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day at one of Kennebunkport’s luxurious spas. Unwind with a massage, indulge in a facial, or pamper yourself with a rejuvenating body treatment. It’s a wonderful way to escape the cold and indulge in some self-care.

Visit Museums and Historical Sites: Explore Kennebunkport’s rich history by visiting museums and historical sites. The Brick Store Museum in nearby Kennebunk offers exhibits that delve into the town’s past, while the Kennebunkport Historical Society showcases the area’s heritage. Learn about the region’s history and gain insights into its cultural significance.

Kennebunkport at Christmas: visting Kennebunkport Maine during Christmasttime, including the Christmas Prelude and other activities

FAQs About Visiting Kennebunkport At Christmas:

Here are some of the top FAQs about Kennebunkport you might be wondering.

Is Kennebunkport good for families at Christmas?

Yes, Kennebunkport is an excellent destination for families during December. The town offers a variety of family-friendly activities and attractions that can make your visit memorable and enjoyable.

Firstly, the annual Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude festival includes numerous family-oriented events and activities. From tree lightings and parades to visits with Santa Claus and gingerbread house contests, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The festive atmosphere and community spirit make it an awesome experience for families.

Plus, Kennebunkport’s coastal location offers opportunities for outdoor winter fun. You can enjoy scenic walks on the beach, build sandcastles, or fly kites (weather permitting). Additionally, you can take advantage of nearby outdoor activities such as sledding, ice skating, or cross-country skiing, depending on weather conditions.

There are tons of local attractions in and near Kennebunkport suitable for families. The Seashore Trolley Museum features a collection of historic trolleys that kids will find fascinating. The Brick Store Museum in nearby Kennebunk has interactive exhibits showcasing the town’s history. Additionally, there are nature trails, wildlife sanctuaries, and boat tours that offer educational and entertaining experiences for the whole family.

And of course, Strolling through the streets of Kennebunkport, enjoying the dazzling displays, and taking in the holiday ambiance can create lasting memories for children and adults alike. Who doesn’t love Christmas lights?

Is the Kennebunkport Christmas prelude pet friendly?

Yes, the Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude is generally a pet-friendly event. While specific policies may vary for different activities and venues, Kennebunkport is known for its pet-friendly atmosphere, and many events during the Christmas Prelude accommodate well-behaved and leashed pets.

Is Kennebunkport a good destination for a romantic getaway during December?

Yes, Kennebunkport can be a wonderful destination for a romantic getaway during December. The cozy atmosphere, scenic beauty, and holiday charm create a romantic ambiance. You can enjoy intimate dinners at cozy restaurants, take romantic walks along the beach, or simply relax together in a charming inn or bed and breakfast.

What is the weather like in Kennebunkport during December?

In December, Kennebunkport experiences cold temperatures with average highs in the 30s to 40s Fahrenheit (around 0 to 5 degrees Celsius). It’s advisable to dress warmly and be prepared for winter weather conditions, including snowfall and icy surfaces.

How should I dress to visit Kennebunkport at Christmastime?

If you want to embrace the preppy style while visiting Kennebunkport in December, you can incorporate classic and polished elements into your outfits. Here are some tips on how to dress preppy in Kennebunkport during the winter:

Layer with Classic Sweaters: Opt for cozy and classic sweaters in neutral colors or traditional patterns like cable knit, Fair Isle, or argyle. Layer them over collared shirts for a refined look. Choose high-quality materials like cashmere or wool for both warmth and style.

Classic Outerwear: Invest in a well-tailored winter coat or jacket that exudes sophistication. Traditional options such as a wool pea coat, a quilted barn jacket, or a toggled duffle coat are timeless choices. Look for structured silhouettes and classic colors like navy, camel, or olive.

Collared Shirts and Blouses: Incorporate collared shirts or blouses into your outfits for a preppy touch. Crisp white button-down shirts, chambray tops, or gingham blouses can be paired with sweaters or worn alone for a polished and put-together look.

Trousers and Chinos: Opt for well-fitted trousers or chinos in classic colors like navy, khaki, or gray. These can be paired with sweaters, blouses, or even tailored blazers to create a refined and preppy ensemble. Roll up the cuffs of chinos for a more relaxed yet sophisticated vibe.

Accessories with Nautical Influence: Add nautical-inspired accessories to your outfits for a touch of seaside flair. Consider wearing a striped scarf, a rope belt, or a pair of boat shoes. Look for accessories in colors such as navy, red, or white to channel the coastal aesthetic.

Timeless Footwear: Choose footwear that complements your preppy attire. Boat shoes, loafers, riding boots, or classic leather boots are all great options. Opt for neutral or versatile colors that can easily coordinate with different outfits.

Polished Details: Pay attention to small details like adding a silk pocket square, a pearl necklace, or a leather belt to elevate your look. Classic accessories and a neat appearance are key to achieving a preppy style.

What are some popular activities during the Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude?

Popular activities during the Christmas Prelude include tree lightings, holiday craft fairs, gingerbread house contests, visits with Santa Claus, live performances, and festive parades. The town also offers unique shopping opportunities and an array of delicious seasonal food and drinks to enjoy.

Are there any transportation options available for getting around Kennebunkport during December?

Yes, Kennebunkport offers various transportation options. You can explore the town on foot, as most attractions and shops are within walking distance of each other. Additionally, there are local taxis, shuttles, and car rental services available. Some accommodations may also provide transportation or offer proximity to public transportation options.

Can I find unique gifts and souvenirs in Kennebunkport during December?

Absolutely! Kennebunkport is known for its charming shops and boutiques offering unique gifts, locally made products, and distinctive souvenirs. During December, many of these establishments curate special holiday-themed items, crafts, and decorations, making it a perfect place to find one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones.

Are there opportunities for outdoor activities in Kennebunkport during December?

While the winter weather in Kennebunkport can be chilly, there are still opportunities for outdoor activities. You can explore the picturesque beaches, take scenic walks along the coastline, or even try your hand at winter sports like ice skating or snowshoeing, depending on the conditions. Be sure to dress warmly and be prepared for the weather.

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