| Kennebunkport is a favorite stop for yachts visiting the southern Maine coast. A village square lined with unique shops, galleries and restaurants bring crowds of vacationers. The town's beautiful old sea captains' homes set on quiet side streets attract visitors with more historical or solitary recreational tastes. The port lies midway between Portsmouth and Portland and is an hour and a half from Boston by car.
The approach to the mouth of the the Kennebunk River is straightforward. From the lighted green bell "1", head for the twin jetties, leaving Fishing Rock, can "3" and can "5" to port. The only conditions which could cause a dangerous entry are heavy following seas at or near low tide. Once inside the jetties stay near mid-channel and don't cut close to nun "8".
The middle of the river is the town line between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. From the jetties to the bridge the Kennebunkport side of the river (incoming on your starboard) is packed with shingle cottage mansions turned into B&Bs, waterfront restaurants, marinas, boats of all descriptions and yachts galore. The Kennebunk side of the river (incoming to port) is still largely owned by the Franciscans who maintain miles of footpaths open to the public through their wooded monastery grounds.
Small and large (mostly excursion) boat traffic is heavy, especially on high summer weekends. The current is moderate but just past the Arundel Yacht Club the river narrows and the current becomes much stronger as you approach the bridge. More than one boat has been trapped boadside against it by an incoming tide. Incidentally, the 1996 edition of chart 13286 still shows a working swing bridge at state Route 9 (the main drag of Kennebunkport). It has, however, been welded shut for years.
Although neither town allows transient anchoring in the river there are rental moorings available through the harbormaster. The marinas all offer dock space, but call in advance for reservations, if possible, as slips are taken early for weekends. Immediately after Labor Day, river congestion diminishes but marinas, shops and services are open well into October.