Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach has some of the most spectacular beaches in Maine. These beaches once inspired some people to attempt the same sort of transatlantic flight performed by Charles Lindberg to use its shores as a runway. Old Orchard Beach was also one of the beaches in Maine that served as a concert venue for the famous dance bands of the 1920s and 1930s. The "old" apple orchard, from which inspired the town’s name has been a landmark to sailors for many years. It is perched on high land above the long, white sandy beach.

The earliest recorded history of Old Orchard Beach dates back to 1653. The first settler was Thomas Rogers. In 1657, he established the area and called it “Garden by the Sea ". A few years later, ten militiamen went to battle with 150 attacking Indians near the beach. A relief party of townspeople came to support the militiamen, but they were killed in an ambush. Roger's home was burned.

In 1837, a man named E.C. Staples was asked to take summer boarders at his farm for $1.50 per week. This convinced him of Old Orchard Beach's potential as a summer resort, Staples decided to build the first Old Orchard Beach Boarding House near the top of Old Orchard Street.

In 1842, the first steam railroad from Boston to Portland was built. It had a station just two miles west of Old Orchard beach. The first restaurant to sell seafood dinners opened in 1851 near Staples Street. The Grand Trunk Railroad was built in 1853. It connected Montreal to Old Orchard Beach. This enabled Canadian visitors to visit Old orchard beach from Montreal.

Although The Civil War began in 1861, it was followed by years of profitable growth for Old Orchard Beach. A number of homes, streets, stores, livery stables, and beachfront hotels were built. In 1873, the Boston & Maine Railroad passed right through Old Orchard Beach and stopped on the site of today's Chamber of Commerce. That year, a group of Methodists formed the Old Orchard Campground Association. Today, we have them to thank for the wonderful campgrounds in Old Orchard Beach. Many of them are close to the beaches in Maine, which accounts for their popularity.

There are a vast variety of campgrounds in Old Orchard Beach. Some are more rustic, while others are on the borderline of luxurious. For example, Bayley’s Camping Resort features entertainment, beach shuttles, pools and hot tubs. They also have a deer and elk farm, as well as an outdoor theatre. The Powder Horn is another one of the beautiful campgrounds in Old Orchard Beach. It has two Jacuzzis, a miniature golf course, a video arcade, shuffleboard, volleyball and basketball. The Virginia Tent and Trailer Park is one of the campgrounds in Old Orchard Beach that features a weekly Lobster Bake.

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