Maidens formerly had a thriving fishing community and a boatbuilding yard but economic pressures brought about eventual decline and closure. The village once had its own station as part of the Maidens and Dunure Light Railway. Today the harbour provides moorings for small pleasure craft. The rich, fertile soil of its neighbouring farmland is considered the birthplace of the well-known ‘Ayrshire Early’ potatoes.
Robert the Bruce, king of Scots, reputedly landed at Maidens in 1307 after coming out of exile to overthrow the English invasion of Scotland which culminated in victory at the Battle of Bannockburn seven years later. His ancient castle of Turnberry was sited on a rocky headland just over one mile to the south.