Saco is a city in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 18,482 at the 2010 census. It is home to Ferry Beach State Park, Funtown Splashtown USA, Thornton Academy, as well as General Dynamics Armament Systems (also known by its former name, Saco Defense), a subsidiary of the defense contractor General Dynamics. Saco sees much tourism during summer months due to its amusement parks, Ferry Beach State Park, and proximity to Old Orchard Beach.
Saco is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. Saco's twin-city is Biddeford.
This was territory of the Abenaki tribe whose fortified village was located up the Sokokis Trail at Pequawket (now Fryeburg). There was a settlement at the mouth of the Saco river, with homes and permanent cultivation, at the time of contact with Europeans in the early 1600s.
In July 1607, 500 warriors led by sakmow (Grand Chief) of the Mi'kmaq First Nations Henri Membertou attacked the village at present-day Saco, killing 20 of their braves, including two of their leaders, Onmechin and Marchin, leading to conflict that lasted until 1615.
In 1630 the Plymouth Company granted Thomas Lewis and Richard Bonython a charter to establish a town at Saco, with a deed that extended 4 miles (6.4 km) along the sea, by 8 miles (13 km) inland. Settled in 1631 as part of Winter Harbor (as Biddeford Pool was first known). It would be reorganized in 1653 by the Massachusetts General Court as Saco, which would be renamed Biddeford in 1718.
The settlement was attacked by Indians in 1675 during King Philip's War.