Seacoast Winter Destinations for Families: A Coastal Wonderland Awaits


While summer is the season we associate with the Seacoast, it’s important to remember that our beaches and towns are winter destinations as well. The coastal dreamscape of the New England coast in winter can be magical and serene. Before you plan to head for warmer areas this winter, consider embracing the beauty of the Seacoast during December. Here are five Seacoast winter destinations for families.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Portsmouth, New Hampshire

1. Portsmouth, NH: Historic Elegance and Winter Festivities

Portsmouth is an enchanting small city where historic charm meets festive winter. Window shop down Market Street adorned with twinkling lights, participate in the Strawbery Banke Museum Candlelight Stroll with its colonial-style winter festivities, and warm up with a cup of cocoa in one of the cozy cafes. Don’t miss the annual Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth celebration, where the city transforms into a storybook holiday village.

Ogunquit, Maine
Ogunquit, Maine

2. Ogunquit, ME: Coastal Tranquility and Scenic Beauty

For a serene coastal escape, head to Ogunquit. This picturesque town offers a peaceful retreat with its stunning Marginal Way coastal trail – even more magical when dusted with snow. Moreover, while summer visits are difficult with expensive parking, lines, and crowds – winter can be a time to experience peaceful winter walks while observing the beauty of winter beach and crashing waves. Families can explore the town’s art galleries, indulge in delicious seafood at local restaurants, and experience the beauty of Perkins Cove, which takes on a whole new charm in the winter months.

kids in front of maine small lighthouse
As a former resident, I love taking my kids to Kennebunkport in winter.
Kennebunkport is well known for their Prelude Christmas festival.


3. Kennebunkport, ME: Quaint Shops and Coastal Elegance

Kennebunkport is the perfect spot to visit in December. Often winning awards for one of America’s best Christmas towns – the Prelude festivities promises fun and activities throughout the month, making it a perfect winter escape for families. Visit Dock Square to peruse quaint shops and enjoy the charm of this coastal village. Next, take a scenic drive along Ocean Avenue to witness breathtaking views of the Atlantic. Lastly, brave the cold and go for a beach walk with warm beverage from one of the many cafes.

 lobster trap Christmas Tree.

4. Gloucester, MA: Maritime Adventures and Seafood Delights

For families with a love for maritime history, Gloucester offers an ideal winter getaway. Explore the Maritime Heritage Center, get royal at Hammond Castle, visit the giant lobster trap Christmas tree, and savor the freshest seafood in town. Brace the cold for a stroll along Good Harbor Beach or Rocky Neck State Park, and witness the rugged beauty of the Seacoast in its winter glory.

Nubble Light in December, York, Maine
Nubble Lighthouse, York, Maine

5. York, ME: Coastal Exploration and Lighthouse Magic

York provides a perfect blend of nature exploration and historic charm. Visit Nubble Light, which is lit up for the holidays – providing a postcard perfect view. Also, consider taking a short winter walk on a scenic trail. The Cliff Walk offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic, while Wiggly Bridge charms with water views and tiny pedestrian bridge. If snow’s on the ground, grab your sled and take to the sledding hills or snowshoeing trails at Mt Agamenticus. Check out my suggestions for making these winter hikes more enjoyable. It’s one of my favorite picturesque Seacoast winter destinations for families.

Enjoy local charm with Seacoast winter destinations for families

My family likes to take advantage of the easy parking and quiet streets to visit some of our favorite Seacoast towns in December. The addition of twinkly lights and Christmas trees make the area especially charming. So, pack your winter gear, gather the family, and escape to the Seacoast villages for a holiday season filled with coastal wonder and family joy. Whether you’re a lifetime local or a seasonal tourist, these Seacoast winter destinations for families are must-visits this December.