Maine : Safety by City
- Bar Harbor
- Carrabassett Valley
- Presque Isle/Caribou
- South Portland
Ogunquit, Maine, comes from an indigenous language meaning “beautiful place by the sea,” and each year, more tourists are experiencing it for themselves.
This once small, relatively unknown fishing town is now a tourist destination as well for those looking to get away from the Kennebunkport crowds or the big city of Portland.
Ogunquit is also a well-known LGBTQ+ destination with abundant inclusive and gay-owned businesses.
Ogunquit is also 45 minutes from Portland, just a few miles from “The Yorks,” a series of waterfront districts to the south, and just 20 minutes to Kittery near the state line with New Hampshire.
The uber-popular Kennebunkport is just to the north.
One of the unique geological aspects of the city is there are no islands off the coast or lighthouses in the distance.
There’s a barrier island with pristine beaches and then wide open water as far as the eye can see.
Even with a population of fewer than 1,500 people, there’s still a lot to see and do in the safety of this southern Maine shoreline city.
If you think nobody has ever heard of this city before, you should read Stephen King’s acclaimed book The Stand, with one part of the storyline taking part in Ogunquit.
Warnings & Dangers in Ogunquit
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Maine is ranked as the second-safest state in the country, and Ogunquit is one of the safer communities, so there's about as low of a risk as you can find here. That doesn't mean you can let your guard down, but it is comforting, as I'm sure you've heard of the rising violent crime rates in America.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Ogunquit had a trolley service before the pandemic, but it's unclear if that service ever resumed as of this publication. The surrounding York County doesn't have a public transportation system either, so we strongly recommend you rent a car. Relying on limited taxis and rideshares will be costly and time-consuming.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Fewer than 20 thefts happened in Ogunquit in 2021, and none of those was a pickpocket. York County has recently seen a slight increase in home burglaries, so keep that in mind if you're renting a home. No community is safe enough to leave doors unlocked.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
This is the biggest risk you'll face here; dangerous weather can happen any time of the year. Winter brings snow storms, blizzards, and ice storms can happen from fall through spring. Summer and fall bring hurricane season, with the most active months being from August through October. Storm surges from a hurricane or nor'easter is another risk. You'll also need to learn the tide schedules.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
No robberies were reported in 2021. You can be assured there's a low risk, but the risk goes up if you head north to Biddeford (which is still a safe city, as you can see in our safety article on this site).
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's no risk here with it being such a small, remote town. Nearby Kennebunkport is home to President Bush's summer home, so that's the only potential target for miles.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Rental scams are the main risk here, so don't fall for a great deal on a home with a sketchy landlord. Use a local travel agency to help you find the perfect place to stay. As too many others have learned the hard way, you won't find a weekly rental for $500.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women will enjoy the peace and solitude of this community while still having plenty to do. It's also a safe haven for LGBTQ visitors, a point of pride for the Chamber of Commerce.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Ogunquit gets a lot of tap water from private wells, so check with your hotel or inn to get specific information. The traditional Water Quality Report isn't available for this city. To err on the side of caution, use bottled water for drinking, as there are risks for high lead or contaminant levels due to groundwater pollution.
Safest Places to Visit in Ogunquit
Ogunquit.org is the official Chamber of Commerce website for the city.
You can learn more about this region and the rest of Maine at visitmaine.com.
Since many of the businesses here are locally owned and operated, it’s smart to use official tourism sites to find resources, so you don’t get caught in fake websites with potential spam trackers.
One thing to note about Ogunquit is that some of the businesses could be closed during winter.
You should check with each business independently.
Everything is open during the late spring, summer, and early fall.
The main shops, galleries, and restaurants are along Shore Road, the city’s main street.
This is a vibrant arts community with numerous galleries and exhibits to explore.
- Ogunquit Museum of American Art
- Ogunquit Heritage Museum
- Historical Society of Wells & Ogunquit (in Wells)
Tours are available by boat for various activities, including:
- Scenic coast tours
- Deep sea fishing
- Fishing charters
Watercraft rentals are available for kayaking and surfing.
If you’re fishing without a charter, there are several stores in town to get supplies.
Marginal Way is a coastal trail that takes you right along the rocky ridges that meet the ocean.
The path goes more than a mile along the water and has dozens of benches along the way to just soak in the view.
The trail is open in the winter but isn’t maintained, so you could run into snowy and icy patches.
Bikes are not allowed any time of year because of the crowd size.
Use Beach Street to get to the barrier island with the sandy beaches.
You’ll first reach Ogunquit Public Beach, but there are 10 miles of coastline to explore before you can’t go any further.
Just to the south, you’ll find “The Yorks,” which is the broad name for Old York, York Harbor, York Beach, and Cape Neddick.
One of the best reasons (outside the beach) to visit here is York’s Wild Kingdom.
This is a zoo and amusement park wrapped into one with a butterfly kingdom.
The Nubble Lighthouse on Cape Neddick is truly a unique experience because it’s on an island, but you don’t need a boat to get close to it.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is you can’t actually go up in the lighthouse or walk to the island.
While it sits just 100 yards offshore, you’ll face steep sheer rock cliffs even if you try to get there.
Sohier Park is on the mainland with incredible views and plenty of parking spots.
Less than 30 minutes due west, you’ll find Powerhouse Hill for winter skiing.
It is open on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, but owners tell me the large crowds on Sunday afternoons and weekends make Wednesday and Friday the best days to visit.
Places to Avoid in Ogunquit
Crime isn’t a problem in this section of Maine, so you won’t have to avoid any dangerous neighborhoods.
You do need to respect private property lines.
Since this is a seasonal and retirement community, there are plenty of homes along the water.
You can’t trespass on private property but chew each city’s laws about if you can cross private property beaches.
Ogunquit will have restaurants open throughout the winter, and nearby Kennebunkport has a wonderful Christmas festival called Christmas Prelude.
You’ll still have access to the shoreline, but it will be at your own risk, and no maintenance is done to remove snow and ice.
Use extra caution and if you’re unsure about your physical abilities, just go to one of the parks and soak in the view from the heated car.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Ogunquit
- Places like Ogunquit stay safe because the community reports any suspicious activity. You can call 911 in emergencies, but use the dispatch line at (207)646-9361 to report non-urgent information. You can tell the dispatcher that you want to remain anonymous.
- The police department offers salt and sand for driveways and walkways if you rent a house. For those who cannot physically pick up the product, call (207)646-9362 to have it delivered. Salt and sand can greatly reduce the risk of slips and falls.
- If you get a parking ticket in Ogunquit, pay for it while you’re there. Any fine not paid will double after 14 days. Better yet, avoid getting a ticket by obeying parking rules and not leaving a car parked on a public street overnight. During winter weather, assume all public street parking is closed so that snow plows can get through.
- Choose your destinations to visit and then research the GPS guidance for each one. The attractions here are very good at posting the address or GPS coordinates to enter in, so you don’t get taken in the wrong direction. You can create an itinerary on apps like Google Maps and plot your course ahead of time.
- We seriously hope you aren’t a criminal, but if you even think about going onto or into private property, you shouldn’t assume an empty home means no consequences. The city has a robust vacant house check program overseen by the local police.
- Ogunquit allows seasonal home rentals; here’s an easy way to check for a scam. If someone offers a home here for a stay of fewer than seven days, it’s a scam or illegal. The city doesn’t allow home rentals that are fewer than seven days long.
- You’ll need a fishing license from Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife department. You can purchase this online or at a local store. Be sure to choose the non-resident license. If you see anyone violating the fishing and/or hunting laws, report it to 1-800-253-7887.
- Each beach will have its own parking hours and rules, but you can expect to pay around $5 an hour or $25 a day. You can also use the Passport Parking app to pay for beach parking, but you’ll need cash or a credit card when you’re parking in town.
- If there is a snow squall warning during your visit, stay off the roadways and strongly reconsider being outside. Snow squalls are small but intense bursts of blinding snow in high winds. These can last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Drivers could find themselves in whiteout conditions within a matter of minutes.
- On the Maine Department of Environmental Protection website, you can find water quality information for local beaches. It’s especially important to check after heavy rain as stormwater can contaminate the water. In 2018, a shocking report showed that more than 39 beaches were unsafe due to pollutants in the water, including fecal matter.
So... How Safe Is Ogunquit Really?
This small, safe seaside city hasn’t seen more than three violent crimes in a year since at least 2011.
Four of those years saw no violent crimes.
No more than 40 thefts have been reported in that same time frame, but most years average around 20 thefts.
The nearby city of Wells saw an increase in thefts and burglaries in 2021, which prompted citizens to call for action.
The USA Inn on Post Road was connected to crimes at least nine times, so that’s a spot to avoid.
It was hosting emergency housing at the time, but it will likely eventually open back up to the public.
The biggest safety risk here is the weather, especially if a hurricane, nor’easter, or winter storm is approaching.
You should review the York County emergency management guide.
It goes into great detail about each risk with lessons learned from previous events of similar nature.
How Does Ogunquit Compare?
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- Visas - International travelers need a visa from the U.S. State Department, and that lengthy process can take several months. There's a Visa Wizard module on the website to get you started on the right path. You'll also need a valid passport.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use here. You'll get the best value and lowest fees if you exchange currency in your home country. Carry some cash for businesses that don't accept credit cards but don't bring a large amount. $100 a day or less should suffice.
- Weather - Winters can be extreme here, so don't skimp on winter clothing and accessories. Bring insulated and waterproof gear with warm base layers. Snow boots with good traction on the bottom will be necessary. Maine does get warm in the summer, but bring jeans and a sweatshirt for cool mornings and evenings. You'll want bug spray and sunscreen too.
- Airports - The Portland International Jetport is just 45 minutes north of Ogunquit. Boston Logan International Airport is about 90 minutes south.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is smart for a wonderful adventure in Maine. You risk losing money on flight cancelation or delays and could end up paying out of pocket if the weather keeps you stranded in the region.
Ogunquit Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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