Ahrenshoop was first mentioned in 1311 as the defining point of the border of the town of Ribnitz´s property. In 1328 Duke Heinrich II of Mecklenburg donated the area east of this border to the monastery of Ribnitz. In 1395 forces of the City of Rostock destroyed a stronghold, built by Bogislaw VI. of Pomerania, and the harbour of Ahrenshoop. In 1591 the border between Mecklenburg and Pomerania was defined, which runs through the village, still existing today as the "Grenzweg" (border road). After the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 the Eastern part of the village became part of Swedish Pomerania until 1815, when Sweden ceded Pomerania to Prussia. Until the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin joined the German Zollverein in 1868 one had to pay taxes crossing this border. Most of the inhabitants were fishermen or sailors at that time.
In 1889 the artist painters Paul Müller-Kaempff and Oskar Frenzel "discovered" the village, deeply impressed by the landscape and started an artist colony which became increasingly popular among artists such as Marianne Werefkin, Erich Heckel and Gerhard Marcks. In 1894 Ahrenshoop counted 150 tourists, a number growing to 2158 in 1928. Today Ahrenshoop is known as an "Artist Spa" and a popular place for artists and celebrities.