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The Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine is a great destination for family travel. The Inn’s restaurant features locally sourced food and an unbeatable view of the ocean.
A chair near the sea is one of life’s simple pleasures. As winter turns to spring, a moment to sit and breathe in the ocean air is just what I need.
This year, my family enjoyed this annual rite of passage at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Located on Crescent Beach just south of Portland, the Inn is a beautiful hotel with just the right mix of luxury and rustic seaside charm. From the moment we arrived, the friendly staff and comfortable facilities made us feel at home.
The first thing that attracted me to the Inn by the Sea was their restaurant, Sea Glass. The cozy dining room features ocean views as well as a creative, locally sourced menu full of Maine’s bounty from land and sea. The chef at Sea Glass is committed to using produce grown on neighboring farms and on-site in the summertime. Lobster boats that can be seen on the water right outside the restaurant’s window supply freshly caught lobsters, and lesser known, underutilized fish are also featured on the menu throughout the year.
My family enjoyed breakfast and dinner at Sea Glass. Everything we ate was absolutely delicious. The meals were served at a leisurely pace, but it wasn’t a problem since we weren’t in a hurry to leave that beautiful view. Highlights at dinner included a chopped salad with butternut squash guacamole (so creative!), clam chowder, and scallops.
I was impressed by the fact that there wasn’t a single “syrup meal” on the breakfast menu. No waffles, no pancakes, no French toast. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. We enjoyed a variety of egg dishes, especially the eggs Benedict and the omelettes. My daughter wanted something lighter, and she loved the fresh fruit platter with vanilla mint yogurt.
Inn by the Sea Highlights
The Inn by the Sea is a family-friendly, pet-friendly facility with a range of accommodations for various family sizes. The hotel has a number of single rooms, plus several one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites. Our one-bedroom suite had a kitchenette and sitting area on the first floor, with a bedroom and bathroom upstairs. Since we were traveling with our two kids, it was great to have so much room to spread out.
During our visit, the Inn offered s’mores by the fire pit each night. When the peak travel season arrives, there are many additional activities each day for both children and adults. Art classes, family yoga, bike rides, and Bug’s Life garden classes are just a few of the family options provided weekly at the Inn. Adults can enjoy spa treatments, tour the gardens, and explore the wildlife on guided walks at Great Pond. Children and leashed dogs can join in the fun at many of these activities.
Speaking of dogs, the Inn by the Sea is very hospitable to family pets. There were many dogs romping around the big lawn during our visit. The Inn also hosts foster dogs, and nearly 50 dogs have been adopted from the Inn. My daughter was so excited to be able to take the current foster dog for a walk around the grounds. This was such a fun surprise that I never would have expected at a hotel.
The outdoor pool is heated by solar power. This is just one of the eco-friendly elements that has earned the Inn by the Sea many awards for sustainability. Non-toxic cleaning supplies, recycling and composting initiatives, and energy and water conservation are all priorities for this environmentally conscious hotel.
Cape Elizabeth Highlights
The beautiful property at the Inn by the Sea sits on Crescent Beach, a one-mile stretch of sand beach with gentle surf. A walk along this beach leads to to Kettle Cove State Park, where lobster boats go out daily to bring in the local catch. The rocky shore along the water here is a great place to explore with kids.
We took a short drive from the hotel to experience the Two Lights area and Fort Williams Park, the home of Portland Headlight. Each stretch of rustic shoreline was more beautiful than the last. We loved climbing around the rocks and watching the waves crash into the shore. Surfers braved the cold water in their wetsuits and impressed us with their skill in the surf.
There are several food options outside the Inn on Cape Elizabeth. The Lobster Shack is an institution around here, and my husband and son loved their lobster rolls. My daughter and I enjoyed sandwiches from C Salt, a gourmet market not far from the Inn. This is a nice place to find local specialty foods to bring home as gifts.
Our weekend at the Inn by the Sea was such a great way to welcome the warmer weather. Many families spend a week here every summer, and I can see that they would never get tired of it. There’s so much to enjoy on this peaceful bit of land along the edge of Maine.
If you want to venture off Cape Elizabeth into nearby Portland, check out my restaurant recommendations from our summer visit to Portland as well as our winter getaway. It’s a great place to visit any time of year!