Berwick is located in Maine’s York County, in the state’s southwest area near neighboring New Hampshire – roughly between Portsmouth and Rochester along the Salmon Falls River.
Not to be confused with adjacent South and North Berwick, Berwick is its own municipality and had a population of slightly more than 7,000 at the time of the last census.
Its unique location near a variety of urban and rural attractions makes it the perfect place to experience the quaintness of small-town America while checking out the region’s historical, natural, and cultural sites.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Berwick.
1. Hamilton House
Built in the late 18th century by a well-to-do shipping magnate, the Hamilton House in South Berwick was built in the Georgian style and is one of the area’s most preserved homes of its kind.
For lovers of history and architecture, it’s something that shouldn’t be missed. The home is full of a variety of furniture, art, clothes, and housewares that were typical of the era, and considered luxurious by the standards of the day.
There’s also a garden and cottage onsite that are worth a look. Along the way, visitors will be able to read about the things they’re seeing, and how they fit into the lives of the home’s occupants more than two centuries ago.
2. Ogunquit Playhouse
Ogunquit, Maine is one of the northeast coast’s most attractive towns and is a favorite of visitors for its amazing beaches, breathtaking ocean views, and traditional charm.
Though visitors staying in Berwick will need to spend some time getting here, for those with a set of wheels and an adventurous spirit, it’ll be time well spent.
The Ogunquit Playhouse offers a unique cultural and artistic experience which is the perfect pairing with the town’s natural splendor.
Previous guests have noted that the production and talent were top-notch and exceeded their expectations.
Seats fill up quickly during the tourist season, so book yours in advance if possible.
3. Woodman Institute Museum
Located on Central Avenue in nearby Dover, New Hampshire, the Woodman Institute Museum is comprised of four distinct galleries that cover art, history, and science in a way that’s bound to interest and engage you and your travel companions regardless of age.
It was founded in 1916 and houses an eclectic collection that’s won more than a few awards over the years.
The institute is inexpensive to visit. Many guests are surprised to learn of the historical importance of the buildings on site, and how they figured into national history at the time around the forming of the young nation.
4. Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
Also in Dover, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire deserves a coveted itinerary spot for those travelers with a child or two in tow.
Full of creative and interactive exhibits on science, music, art, history, and culture, regardless of the age of your little ones, there’s bound to be something that tickles their fancy. There’s even a dedicated area for babies and toddlers that’s a great place to relax and take a load off for weary moms and dads.
The museum is open year-round, but hours of operation vary by season, so check online or give them a call before making a special trip.
5. North Country Hard Cider
Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are among the area’s hotspots for the hard cider craze that’s been sweeping the country for the last few years.
They’ve got distinct and varied tastes, and are pleasant changes to those interested in branching out from beer.
Located in Rollinsford, New Hampshire, North County Hard Cider offers a variety of tasting options or flights, which allow guests to taste before they buy.
It’s a fun and inexpensive way to see what you like. They also offer a variety of onsite activities like tug-of-war and some fantastic river views at the nearby old mill.
6. Wiggly Bridge and Steedman Woods
Wiggly Bridge and Steedman Woods are located on Old Mill Road in York, Maine, and are much more than the name implies.
Surrounded by trails just waiting to be explored, it’s the kind of place you could spend an entire morning or afternoon, especially when the weather is nice.
The trails are relatively flat and appropriate for most ages; kids particularly like the Wiggly Bridge.
Panoramic views abound, and it’s the perfect place to stretch those legs after a day in the car. It’s free to use and open year-round from sunrise to sunset, so don’t miss out.
7. Sarah Orne Jewett House
Located in South Berwick, the Sarah Orne Jewett House was home to the famous author in the early part of the 19th century.
Even if you’ve never heard of her, you’ll likely appreciate the majesty of the Georgian-style residence, and you’ll learn a variety of interesting historical tidbits about the author’s life and novels along the way.
The home’s furnishings include furniture, art, and clothing from the period. Unlike other historic homes, the items that Jewett and her sister picked up over the years include different period and regional pieces that aren’t often seen together.
Plan on spending an hour or so exploring the house.
8. Tendercrop Farm
Sporting a wide variety of products grown and produced in the area, Tendercrop Farm is a favorite shopping destination for locals and visitors alike.
You’ll pay more than you will at national chain markets, but you’ll get quality products that vary with the season. They’re renowned for their fresh baked goods like cakes, pies, and muffins as well.
The farm is located on Dover Point Road in Dover, and they also have a variety of cheese, wine, and other prepared food products like tomato sauce and yogurt.
If you’re traveling with little ones, ask to take a look at their amiable farm animals before heading out.
9. First Cast Fly Fishing
Most anglers consider fly fishing an art that must be honed for years, and the state of Maine is home to many of the region’s most beautiful and productive stretches of water.
From rainbow and brown trout to smallmouth bass, the waters around Dover, New Hampshire are full of game fish. For those unfamiliar with the area, the best way to get onto the fish quickly is by hiring a local guide.
First Cast Fly Fishing is just the place; they offer a variety of tour options depending on how long you’ll be around and what kind of fish you’re after.
10. The Links at Outlook
Located in South Berwick, The Links at Outlook is an 18-hole course that is scenic and challenging, especially if you’re not familiar with its layout.
Most players think the front and back nines seem like distinct courses that include dramatic changes in elevation, treed areas, and sand and water hazards that keep players guessing.
Tee times book up quickly during peak season and on weekends, so if that’s when you plan on playing, book in advance.
There’s a popular restaurant on site as well that’s known for its tasty food, comfortable atmosphere, and live outdoor entertainment that’s a big hit during the summer.
11. Wells Reserve at Laudholm
For outdoor enthusiasts, bird-watchers, and nature photographers, there’s no better place to spend a day than the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.
The reserve is located on Laudholm Farm Road in Wells and features miles and miles of trails that lead through forests, marshes, and undeveloped beaches.
In addition to offering a variety of outdoor recreation options, the reserve also hosts different instructional and educational courses throughout the year. If that sounds like your cup of tea, check online before heading out.
Guided nature walks, arts and crafts fairs, and kids’ camps are offered from time to time as well.
12. Parsons Beach
Many of the Atlantic coast’s most popular beaches can get overrun with tourists during the peak season, making them unattractive options for those looking for a little quiet time of contemplation with Mother Nature.
Parsons Beach is one of those rare gems that locals like to keep to themselves because it rarely draws a crowd and is full of natural beauty.
For travelers with kids, it’s a great destination because it’s full of wide-open spaces. It’s also popular with surfers and surf fisherman, though there are restrictions.
The beach is free to visit but privately owned, so be sure to take out anything you brought in with you.
13. Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Named after the famed environmentalist and author of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge was initially founded to preserve the salt marshes, estuaries, and dune areas that are so vital to a healthy coastal ecosystem.
The refuge is open year-round and is home to a variety of wading, predatory, and waterfowl species, many of which migrate here at different times of the year.
Located on Port Road in Wells, it’s one of the best places in the state to immerse yourself in nature without spending hours in the car.
It’s a fitting legacy of the woman who spent her life advocating for environmental consciousness.
14. McDougal Orchards
For more than seven generations, the McDougal family has run the orchard that bears their name in Springvale, Maine. Though they grow other items, their mainstay is apples.
It’s a u-pick-‘em farm, which means you grab a bucket and head out into the orchard to pick what you want.
It’s a fun and inexpensive way to spend some time outdoors, and a favorite activity of kids, who find it particularly invigorating.
For those in the area without time to pick their own, there’s an onsite market that’s full of unique products.
They also host seasonal activities like a corn maze in the fall.
15. Spillers’ Farm Store
From farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to certified organic meat, bakery, and deli items, Spillers’ Farm Store is the retail operation of a working, family-owned farm that’s always been a favorite of locals.
Many of their items are seasonal, so no matter when you visit, you’ll find an impressive array of items. They sell beer, liquor, and wine as well.
It’s the perfect stop to make before a picnic or a drive into the country, and unlike national grocery chains, the money you spend will stay local.
They’re located on Branch Road in Wells, so swing by and take a look.