Maine : Safety by City
- Bar Harbor
- Carrabassett Valley
- Presque Isle/Caribou
- South Portland
When you think of the Maine coastline, with extravagant seaside homes with lighthouses dotting the landscape, you’re likely thinking of Kennebunkport, Maine.
Not only is this southern Maine city one of the most popular summer destinations, it still manages to be one of the safest.
Kennebunkport is a coastal community, but the nearby town of Kennebunk is slightly more inland and more residential.
The two are not synonymous, but they’re sibling cities, both offering things to see and do.
Walker’s Point Estate, off the coast of Kennebunkport, is the Bush family home. President George H.W. Bush ensured the home stayed in the family when he passed in 2018.
You can’t tour the home but can see it from a distance as you drive along the coast.
The entire town of Kennebunkport is a living museum with so much history it’s hard to shove it all into four walls.
You can explore tours on foot or take a schooner ride into the water to learn about the region.
Don’t write the city off outside of summer, either.
The Christmas Prelude event was voted as the #2 Christmas Town event in America by HGTV.
For those who want to stay in luxury, check out the White Barn Inn, home to the only 5-star restaurant in Kennebunkport.
You’ll find most hotels for all budget sizes along the Kennebunk River, which runs a mile until it meets with the Atlantic Ocean.
We strongly recommend trying out one of the bed & breakfast inns for the most authentic experience.
Cape Arundel Inn & Resort is the ideal location if you want to view the Bush compound.
Lobster rolls and fresh seafood fill most local menus, and even convenience stores offer seafood snacks for busy travelers.
You’ll find unique boutiques, cafes, and mesmerizing views of the Maine landscape.
Warnings & Dangers in Kennebunkport
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here, with an average of just one violent crime per 100,000 people (the national average is nearly 400 per 100,000). Property crime is the biggest concern since the area is filled with affluent homes and wealthy travelers, but it's nothing basic personal safety steps can't prevent.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
You'll need a vehicle or private shuttle ride to get to Kennebunkport, but once you're here, you can explore walking or on a bicycle.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Summers will be crowded with people from all over the world, so use caution when you're walking around. Somehow the theft rate amounted to just 14 incidents in 2021. Just don't let your guard down because of the low crime rates. A potential thief will still seize a crime of opportunity.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Hurricanes are the biggest risk in the summer and fall, but those come with plenty of warnings. Nor'easters, blizzards, and ice storms are the biggest winter risks. Being such a water-logged community, you should also be on the lookout for flooding. The York County Emergency Management team has a great plan to review with all risks and what to do if one threatens.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
You can enjoy a low robbery risk here, but also keep your guard up during late nights or evening walks - just to be safe. Kennebunk has a slightly higher risk, but not to any level that should sound alarms. Most of those are business robberies.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Despite the popularity of this city, it's a low risk. The Bush estate might be the only potential target, but since it's not lived in much of the year, that risk dwindles.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The main risk to avoid is a rental scam. This is when a fake listing is posted on a third-party website like Craigslist, offering incredibly low-priced deals during the top tourism season. Visitors are asked to pay for it in advance through a wire transfer, only to find out the home is owned by someone else or might not even exist. As easy as the internet makes booking rental homes, it's worth the extra work to use a local travel agency in Kennebunkport to help get you a good deal and a great spot to stay.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women have a low risk and will enjoy all the amenities here on the water, in the spa, and in the villages. If this is your first Maine visit, you can take some online courses to learn about water and wilderness safety.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Kennebunkport and Kennebunk both meet or exceed all requirements of the state and nation. Flooding or other issues can lead to boil orders, which are quickly communicated to the public through social media, radio, and television. Your hotel or inn should also have that information.
Safest Places to Visit in Kennebunkport
You’ll find a lot of websites with information about Kennebunkport, but kennebunkport.org is the official tourism website and should be your first stop on the search once you finish this article.
VisitMaine.com is another great resource for seeing attractions across the state.
For those looking for a holiday event, visit ChristmasPrelude.com.
Kennebunkport’s Dock Square is the central hub of activity along the Kennebunk River.
Here you’ll find lobster roll shacks, trinket stores, cafes, fine dining, and a New England vibe that is palpable.
Kennebunk’s Main Street is four miles away, with a Museum in the Streets tour available with guides or as a self-guided tour.
Cape Porpoise is a working fishing village that also serves as a tourist attraction.
You can watch the fisherman work while enjoying a lobster roll or crab cake here.
Don’t dismiss the food shacks throughout this village, as they serve up some of the best fresh food you can find in the region.
Bradbury Brothers Market is one of the most popular stops for groceries and fresh sandwiches.
You’ll see the Goat Island Lighthouse in the distance.
This is a working lighthouse with a family living on the island.
You are welcome to arrive by boat and take a look, but tours aren’t available unless a nice family member happens to offer you one while you’re there.
The Seashore Trolley Museum celebrates the history of electric railways.
Rides are available on a vintage trolley for a nearly four-mile scenic drive.
The museum offers interactive exhibits where you can learn about the advent of railways and public transportation throughout America’s history.
Boat tours are available along the river and to certain islands.
You can also go whale watching or fishing on the water.
New England Eco Adventures is one trusted vendor for New England waters.
They have smaller boats so they can navigate more space than larger boats.
You can also visit “The York” just south of Kennebunkport, with more seaside amenities.
There’s an eclectic vibe here in York Beach, and don’t miss the Goldenrod candy store that has been serving sweets since 1896.
Of course, you also have plenty of beaches to explore.
Mother’s Beach is one of the most family-friendly.
Goose Rocks Beach has great tidal pools to explore and also serves as a gathering spot to make new friends.
For a little more ocean action, park near Blowing Cave Park and watch the water crash against the rocks.
Check the tide schedule to time the trip for the rising tide.
Places to Avoid in Kennebunkport
Without having any dangerous neighborhoods to explore, I’ve been racking my brain to give you good information about this.
Here’s the best list I can come up with, offered with a little bit of a smirk:
- Don’t try to get onto the property of Walker’s Point Estate unless you want to meet the Secret Service, spend a few days in custody, and possibly be arrested or forced to go home early.
- Don’t ask people where the Kennedy family lived. That’s Cape Cod.
- Don’t jump into the ocean in the winter.
- Don’t try to rent a boat if you’ve never sailed a boat before.
- Don’t assume you won’t get sunburn in Maine since it’s so far north. I came home from the 4th of July in Portland with a gnarly sunburn.
- Don’t impulse buy a vacation home unless you’re incredibly rich.
The crowds will be large in the summer, but you can hunt and peck for the less crowded beaches.
Avoid driving around too long to find parking.
If you find a spot, take it.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Kennebunkport
- Kennebunk and Kennebunkport each have their own police department, but calling 911 will get you to the right place no matter where you are. The Kennebunkport Police Department website underwent some upgrades when this was published, so not all sections were filled out (such as “Safety Tips”). If you run into the same problem, call them at (207)967-2454.
- Check with your mobile provider to see where you’ll have service in this region. Some spots are dead zones for different carriers. If you rely on GPS, you could lose connection from time to time, so a paper map is helpful.
- When winter storms hit, parking bans usually go into effect. This means no street parking is allowed of any kind to get the snow plows through. There are no exceptions. Your car will get towed at your expense.
- Goose Rocks Beach parking from Memorial Day through Labor Day requires a permit. You can purchase those at kiosks in town or at the beach. Plan to spend at least $25 a day for parking for $100 for a weekly pass.
- Some beaches, such as Colony Beach, offer free parking, which usually means limited spaces. Colony Beach is also a gravel beach without the soft sand you’d normally expect. In Kennebunkport, if something is worth it, it will cost money.
- Gooch’s Beach, Mother’s Beach, and Middle Beach are all part of Kennebunk town laws, not Kennebunkport. Review each beach before you decide which one to see. You can also ask a local when you’re there to get the best advice.
- If you have the physical ability to ride bicycle longer distances, that might be the best way to get around to different areas. For example, if riding 10 miles in a day isn’t going to exhaust you, you can avoid the frenzy of trying to find a parking spot with every major attraction having “limited parking.” Be sure to wear reflective gear, a helmet, and abide by all traffic laws.
- Some of the offshore islands offer camping, but you’ll need a boat to get there. Information can be found on the website for Kennebunkport Conservation Trust Islands. You are required to bring out all your trash, and reservations are required. Fires can only be lit in fire pits, and you cannot cut any vegetation on the islands.
- If you’re there for Christmas Prelude, check the dates. One might assume it runs up until Christmas, but it actually runs for 10 days starting in late November. The schedule of events is posted year-round, so you’ll be able to plan a trip the following year as soon as late December of the current year. Book early because the town does get crowded.
- Use the CodeRED emergency notification system to get weather alerts and other local warnings or advisories. Don’t risk going on a trip if a hurricane is approaching. Storm surge is one of the most dangerous parts of a storm, and since there’s a lot of water here, many areas will likely be blocked off in advance of a storm. Winter brings a lot of snow but more rain to the coastal areas.
So... How Safe Is Kennebunkport Really?
One of my friends often goes to Maine and spends a lot of time in Kennebunkport.
After researching crime numbers, I asked him, “Is Kennebunkport really that safe?” He said, “I’ve never felt so safe in all my life as I do in Maine, and that’s during any season.”
You still need to use personal safety precautions, like not carrying all your cash in one place and saving your receipts.
Even with the low theft rates in 2021, more than $40,000 in cash was still stolen throughout the city.
You should also keep your vehicle locked without any personal property inside.
Since you might be parking for extended periods of time, you should make your car as undesirable to break into as possible.
Weather is really the greatest threat here, but as long as you research the severe weather for the season you visit, you’ll be safer.
The York County Emergency Management team has a great guide that explains all the risks.
For example, the region averages 15 winter storms a year.
Look up the “Patriots’ Day Storm of 2007” to see the damage a nor’easter can do in this region.
Not every city in Maine is as safe as Kennebunkport, but you won’t find a city too dangerous to visit.
Lewiston and Biddeford get bad reputations, but you can read our Biddeford article to see why.
1. The reputation is overstated, and,
2. It’s a great place to visit if your budget is too low for Kennebunkport.
How Does Kennebunkport Compare?
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The U.S. State Department issues visas to international travelers. Start planning this process at least three months ahead of time. Some countries are offered Visa Waivers, but you'll need to check the specifics on that through the State Department's website.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted throughout Maine and New Hampshire (remember - New Hampshire is tax-free!). Use credit cards for as many purchases as possible to keep track of spending and monitor for fraudulent activity.
While all four seasons are beautiful here, winter can have extended periods below freezing. Bring layers of insulated clothing to prevent heat from escaping and water from getting through to your skin. Fall is beautiful with the leaves changing colors, but fall snowstorms are also possible. Summers will be warm, but you'll need a jacket or hoodie at night.
Portland's International Jetport is just 30 minutes away, and you likely won't run into too much traffic any time of day since you don't have to go through Portland to get there. If you prefer to fly out of Boston, you can be there in less than two hours.
Travel insurance gives peace of mind on once-in-a-lifetime trips like exploring the Maine coast. You should be protected against any weather delays or cancelations. Camping and hiking insurance is available through separate vendors, and if you plan to spend a lot of time in the wild, this is a wise investment too.
Kennebunkport Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Maine - Safety by City