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Fort McClary in Kittery Point
Activities: Historic forts, sightseeing, walking, dining. Family-friendly, great for a day trip.
Region: The Maine Beaches
Fort McClary: A 275-Year-Old Wonder
Named after New Hampshire native Major Andrew McClary, who died in the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Bunker Hill, Fort McClary stands at the southern gateway to Kittery — the same spot it has stood at for 275 years. Designed to protect approaches to the Piscataqua River, today it preserves military history and the evolution of military architecture and technology.
Though Fort McClary was not involved in a major battle, it was manned during five significant wars — the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War I — demonstrating the European settlers’ strong determination to protect their country time and time again.
Exploring the Fort Today
Fort McClary is perched high above the shimmering Piscataqua River, and visitors can explore the historic structures and enjoy multiple scenic vistas of the harbor. The hexagonal blockhouse, the last structure of its kind in Maine, and caponier offer spectacular views of Portsmouth Harbor Light and Pepperrell Cove. Take a leisurely stroll on a 0.3-mile walking trail that offers a panoramic view of the magazine building, where soldiers once stored their gunpowder. Continue along the trail for access to Fort McClary’s picnic area and playground, or walk alongside the tidal waters of Barters Creek.
Eat and Drink
If you didn’t pack a picnic lunch, you can explore the many options for dining in Kittery Point. At Pepperrell Cove Restaurant, you’ll find a variety of options that suit your cravings with waterfront views: an elegant sit-down bistro, a general store for grab-and-go items, an ice cream window, an outdoor bar and grill, and even a roof deck! For a sweet treat, don’t miss the crullers at Lil’s Café, and stay for an evening meal of fine dining at Anneke Jans. For a casual option with a BYOB policy and plenty of seafood, ranging from a raw bar to lobster bakes, Chauncey Creek is a great option.
From Ellsworth: 206 miles
From Augusta: 107 miles
From Lewiston/Auburn: 84 miles
From Portland: 52 miles