Chart: NOAA 13286
The Kennebunk River is located on the southwestern Maine coast, midway between Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine. The region is bounded by the Mousam River in the southwest and Goosefare Bay to the northeast, with the principal tidal estuary of the Kennebunk River in the middle, just west of Cape Arundel.
The Kennebunk River, which is the approach to the separate towns of Kennebunkport and Kennebunk, is about 2 nautical miles southwest of Cape Porpoise Harbor. Green flashing bell “1” off Cape Arundel is the leading buoy for the river. Large houses and hotels line the beaches north and south of the river’s entrance, which is flanked by 2 stone jetties. The Kennebunkport Breakwater Light 4 (43º 20.8´ N, 70º 28.6´ W), a 25′ tall, white skeleton tower with a red, triangular daymark, sits on the end of the eastern jetty. The entrance is well marked and straightforward.
The dredged channel leads upriver to a point about 60 yards below the Taintown Bridge, about one mile from the jetties. Two buoys and 2 spindle daybeacons mark the port’s approach. The river’s controlling depth is 4′ to 6′, and the mean range of tide is about 9′.
The Kennebunk River has several marinas and facilities for recreational boaters. The ones on the river offer gas, diesel, ice, water and marine supplies. Boaters can re-provision in Kennebunkport/Kennebunk, where many shops and restaurants are close to downtown. The river gets very crowded in summer, and it’s best to call the marinas a week ahead of time if you’re planning an overnight stay.
- Chicks Marina (207-967-2782, VHF 9): Full-service marina offering fuel, repair and transient slips. Can handle boats up to 150′. Located within walking distance of downtown.
- Kennebunkport Marina (207-967-3411, VHF 9): Full-service marina offering fuel, repair and transient slips. Also offers boat and kayak rental. Within walking distance of town.
- Yachtsman Lodge & Marina (207-967-2511, VHF 9): Luxury resort and marina near town.
- Performance Marine (207-967-5550, VHF 9): Offers transient slips for boats up to 100′, gas and diesel, storage, outboard service. Located on Kennebunk side of river.
- Nonantum Resort (207-967-4050): Located south of town on the river. Offers a dinghy dock for guests, sailing and fishing charters, kayak rentals and tours, and more.
Anchoring in either the Kennebunk River or at Cape Porpoise is a tricky proposition. At either location, you’ll have to set 2 anchors to prevent your boat from swinging through the fleet. When anchoring in the Kennebunk River, set one anchor upstream, one downstream, and check the soundings carefully. Don’t rely on the chart because the river tends silt in.
- (207) 205-0991
- Town of Kennebunkport Harbormaster
- Kayak Excursions (888-925-7496)
- Nonantum Resort (800-552-5651)
- Coastal Maine Kayak (207-967-6065)
- Kennebunkport Marina (207-967-3411)
- In Kennebunkport, catch the Intown Trolley, (207-967-3686), just off Dock Square, for an hour-long tour of the entire Kennebunkport area.
- Village Marketplace (207-967-5204)
- If you like historic or architectural walking tours, guided or self-guided, try the Kennebunkport Historical Society (207-967-2751) at the Nott House on Maine Street. If you’d rather not walk, catch the Intown Trolley (207-967-3686), just off Dock Square, for an hour-long tour of the entire Kennebunkport area.
- Boaters can visit the grounds and gardens of the chapel of St. Anthony Monastery and Shrine, home of Lithuanian Franciscan monks who welcome visitors by water. Go at high tide, though. Otherwise, landing in the salt marshes can be a messy affair. The best place to land is at the gazebo on the south-facing point just upriver from GC “11.” A boardwalk leads from the gazebo to the grounds, which are breathtakingly beautiful. Huge expanses of green lawns are shaded by towering ancient maple and oak trees, lending a parklike atmosphere to the shrine.
No less than 30 eating establishments are within easy walking distance of the river. Here are a few:
- Clam Shack (207-967-2560): Located at the Taintown Bridge, this shack serves some of the best fried clams you’ll ever taste.
- Edgewater Inn (207-967-3315): Located at 126 Ocean Avenue, the inn serves breakfast so tasty, elegant and filling you won’t want to eat again until tomorrow
- Kennebunkport Inn (800-248-2621): Located on Dock Square, this inn offers square meals at reasonable prices.
- Federal Jack’s Pub & Restaurant (207-967-4322): Located at 8 Western Avenue, this pub offers fresh-brewed beer and affordable lunches.
- Alisson’s Restaurant (207- 967-4841): Located on Dock Square, Alisson’s offers plain Maine fare and (possibly) respite from the crowds.
- Kennebunkport Inn (800-248-2621)
- Maine Stay Inn and Cottages (800-950-2117)
- Chetwynd House Inn (207-967-2235)
- Captain Lord Mansion (800-522-3141)
- Edgewater Inn (207-967-3315)
Kennebunk/Kennebunkport Chamber of Commerce at (207-967-0857)
Office of Tourism for Kennebunkport, Maine