Old Orchard Beach, Maine (OOB ME)

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Old Orchard Beach is one of Maine’s hidden secrets along its scenic 18 mile coastline, it is located just about 35 miles over the New Hampshire Border and close to Hampton Beach, NH.

The Old Orchard Beach area began to appear in historical records around 1653. The area was first officially settled in 1657 by Thomas Rogers, who called it “The Garden By The Sea”.

Located on the inner side of Saco Bay, the town is a popular summer beach destination. Among the seaside features are an amusement park, Palace Playland, which includes a large Ferris wheel.

Almost since the time of its founding, Old Orchard Beach has been promoted as a tourist destination. The first Public House openOld Orchard Beach Maineed in 1829, and in 1837 tourists paid $1.50 a piece to stay at a local farm. Railroad service between Boston and Portland opened in 1842. Over the years, Old Orchard developed into a major resort. Airplanes took off from the beach and auto races were held on the sand.

The Pier, which is among the most photographed and recognizable features of Old Orchard Beach, has lead three lives. It was first built in 1898, as a steel structure, 1.770 feet long and featured the Pier Casino at its end, which had room for 5,000 dancers. Storms would play a large part in the life of the pier. Shortly after its completion, a storm shortened the original pier by some 150 feet. It was quickly rebuilt, but 10 years later the pier was again shorn off by more than 1,000 feet.

The Casino itself was a popular destination for the entertainers of the day. During its time, it hosted Guy Lombardo, Benny Goodman, Xavier Cugat and Frank Sinatra. Unfortunately, a fire would claim many of the beach’s features and the Casino would be demolished in 1970. By the end of 1978, a storm would destroy what remained of the pier. The most current structure was built in 1980. Today the pier is host to several tourism-based businesses and souvenir shops.

For those who find themselves in Old Orchard Beach with a hankering to be fed, the seaside town has much to offer. French Fries, Pizza and Barbecue are interspersed with a host of seafood offerings that make dining in Old Orchard Beach a true New England experience.

For those staying in Old Orchard Beach the area offers numerous options for lodging. From long-term vacation rentals to area campsites where one can pitch a tent or bring your camper. There is a place to stay for every taste and budget. The seven-mile (11 km) long beach stretching away from the downtown is lined with many beach residential properties, condominiums, motels and bed and breakfasts.