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Triathlon Tour Guide: Old Orchard Beach, Maine

  • By Bethany Mavis
  • Published Jul 17, 2013
Old Orchard Beach. Photo: Maine Office of Tourism

This New England resort town is home to miles of pristine beaches, heaps of nostalgic charm and a scenic Rev3 triathlon.

Go: In late summer, at race time, when the weather is still warm enough for you to enjoy the beach—the average high temperature in August is 78 degrees.

Fly: Into Boston Logan International Airport (less than a two-hour drive or two-hour train ride via Amtrak’s Downeaster) or Portland, Maine’s airport (a 30-minute drive). If you rent a car, bring cash for tolls.

Stay: The race’s host hotel, Waves Oceanfront Resort, is just a couple hundred meters from the race’s beach start (Wavesoceanfront.com). The charming Moontide Motel, Apartments and Cabins (Moontidemotel.com) is a 10-minute walk from the pier and steps from the beach.

PHOTOS: 2012 Rev3 Maine

Bring the Kids
Family-friendly Activities

The centerpiece of downtown Old Orchard Beach is its pier and Palace Playland beachfront amusement park, with a carousel, rollercoaster, weekly fireworks and carnival-like atmosphere (think flashing lights and saltwater taffy). The area is packed with mini golf courses, water parks, arcades and go-karting. The town also has seven miles of sandy beaches, making it a popular vacation spot for French Canadians and New Englanders.

Lobstah and Chowdah
Ultra-Fresh Seafood

What’s a trip to Maine without fresh-caught lobster and clam chowder? In town, head to the Landmark Restaurant (Landmarkfinedining.com) in a restored Victorian house. Eat on the patio for a casual atmosphere and a well-priced 1-pound lobster. A 20-minute drive away is Portland Lobster Co. (Portlandlobstercompany.com)—with outdoor seating, live music and tasty lobster rolls. Or visit J’s Oyster in Portland’s Old Town for a dive bar feel, a bucket of steamers (steamed clams) and a bowl of chowder.

Day Trip
Lighthouse Driving Tour

Old Orchard Beach is a short drive from several picturesque lighthouses. Fifteen minutes south is Wood Island Lighthouse (Woodislandlighthouse.org), offering views of the seven-mile stretch of Old Orchard Beach. And less than 30 minutes to the north in Cape Elizabeth is Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine (first lit in 1791), which is located in the 90-acre Fort Williams Park and has an onsite museum (Portlandheadlight.com).

Grab a Pint
Craft Brews

Venture onto the Maine Beer Trail (download it at Mainebrewersguild.org), which features 25 breweries, including stops in Portland for Allagash Brewery’s Belgian-style brews (Allagash.com) and in Kennebunkport for Federal Jack’s Brew Pub, the birthplace of Shipyard ales (Federaljacks.com). Or for a one-stop shop, visit Novare Res in Portland (Novareresbiercafe.com) to select from more than 30 rotating taps, including several Maine beers.

Race It! Old Orchard Beach is host to Rev3 Maine (Rev3tri.com), taking place on Aug. 25 this year. Offering Olympic and half-iron distances, the course features a wetsuit-legal, cool ocean swim and shaded, scenic bike and run courses through mostly residential areas. Much of the run for the half-iron race is an out-and-back on the Eastern Trail. Last year, the event drew 1,200 athletes for the inaugural race. Men’s winner Jesse Thomas said after the race, “This is my kind of place. … It’s more coastal, but it reminds me of Oregon with all the trees and the green, and I rode the course yesterday and I couldn’t help myself but tweet pictures every three miles.” To top it off, you can upgrade your post-race meal to a lobster bake.

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Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is the associate editor for Triathlete and Inside Triathlon magazines. She received her B.A. in journalism from Point Loma Nazarene University and is a multiple half-marathon finisher.

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