With almost 19,000 residents, Saco is part of York County, and is often considered a suburb of Portland and a twin to neighboring city Biddeford.  It is primarily a residential/suburban town, but also sees a rise in visitors during summer months due to its proximity to Old Orchard Beach.  Ferry Beach State Park and Funtown Splashtown USA are both located here as well, attracting tourists every summer.  If you’re thinking of moving here, Saco is a great affordable option located centrally between Portland and Portsmouth off I-95. Oceanfront condos and estates line Ferry Beach & the Saco Bay. If you’re looking for “more house” for your money, Saco and Biddeford are 2 great options, both of which are close to beaches, winter activities and a stone’s throw from Portland and Portsmouth. For education, Saco is home to Thornton Academy, a preparatory school serving grades 6-12.  The Saco public school system includes 3 elementary schools (Fairfield & Young Schools, K-2, and C.K. Burns School 3-5), and Saco Middle School (Grades 6-8). Saco Island School (in Biddeford, Grades 9-12) and Thornton Academy are private high schools in the area, but there is no public high school in Saco.

Walking, Biking & Driving


I-95, I-195 and U.S. Route 1 run through Saco. The Saco Bay & Saco River Border the town and provide recreational kayaking, trails & activities.

The Scene


Like some of its seacoast neighbors, Saco has a long history of manufacturing and mill work. Factory Island, as it is now called, is lined with mill buildings and has been home to numerous manufacturing facilities throughout the years. The older mill buildings are now being renovated into offices, apartments and businesses. For leisure, locals enjoy the Biddeford-Saco Country Club and Aquaboggan Water Park. Some of the local favorite eateries are Run of the Mill Public House & Brewery, The Chef and The Gardener, Fernleaf Bakery and Coffeehouse & Saco Island Deli. Saco also has one of the only area drive-in movie theaters. General Dynamics Armament Systems, a subsidiary of defense contractor General Dynamics is located in Saco.

Backstory


Saco was first settled in 1631, as a settlement called Winter Harbor, and later became Biddeford in 1718. William Pepperrell, a Kittery resident, bought a large parcel of land in Saco in the early 1700s and changed the landscape of the area for his lumbering business. After he donated some land to create town meetinghouse and common grounds, the town became Pepperrellborough, but later was renamed Saco for simplicity and to honor its history. In the 1800s, Saco became a main hub for lumber, iron, cotton, machine shops & cigar production. It continued its industrial revolution and through the years has seen some tough times. But it is up and coming with efforts to become more environmentally friendly with wind turbines and several major development projects in the works for the downtown area.