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That big blue ocean is calling you to come and visit at Old Orchard Beach

View of the pier.  Come and play
View of the pier. Come and playJane Beecher Russo

Old Orchard Beach is a name with far reaching recognition. People from across the globe have come to stay in the iconic Maine beach town. Many return each year to add to their nostalgic treasure chest of memories. Some are lucky enough to come for the summer, or even a week, and the rest of us enjoy a day trip away from our surrounding towns and cities in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Old Orchard Beach summer of 2014
Old Orchard Beach summer of 2014Jane Beecher Russo

For nine months of the year, the population of 9,000 barely warrants it's own school system. By Memorial Day however, visitors are trickling in. Old Orchard boasts lodging for every income level, from camping in tents, to RV parks with built in entertainment, to cottage and condo rentals, motels, inns, and hotels. There are thousands of opportunities available to match every familiy's specific needs. In fact, by the time school lets out in June, the town swells to 75,000 + in population, and stays that way into late August.

Besides the 7 miles of clean ocean and white sand that surround the coast at Old Orchard Beach, there are entertainment opportunities and restaurants to match every age and economic level. On the strip, you can find the more traditional food of beaches everywhere, but in recent years several healthier eating establishments have found a home nestled in among the shops and pizza vendors. In those shops, you'll not only find anything you could want in beach related merchandise, but also the tokens and trinkets we seem to need to bring home from our summer getaways. Restaurants and bars cover every type of food imaginable, and several have bands and entertainment on Thursdays through Sundays . Also on the strip, are arcades, a merry go round, and Palace Playland, giving even the young ones a chance to have a fun night out. And the best way to discover it all, if you're staying at any of the places not right along the water, is by riding on the trolleys that drive in a continuous loop from the different RV parks etc. to the beaches.

If you're coming for the day, you might want to arrive on the downeaster, with it's summer-only stop, right off the strip. It beats driving in the traffic, and eliminates paying to park the car for the day. Parking rates vary, from metered spots, to pay by the hour lots, to pay for the day lots. On a cloudy day you might be able to find parking for $5 per day, but most summer days you'll spend between $10 and $15 per car.

Whatever way you decide to get there, just come. A single afternoon at Old Orchard Beach will be enough to hook you. The sounds of rolling surf, the breeze and warm sand between your toes, the smell of Pier fries and burgers, and even the pulsating energy of the crowds will seep under your skin and the need to come back will take hold. See you soon...

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