To the Beach!
A piece of sand to call your own for the afternoon may be nearer than you think.
The Maine coast is famous for its pounding surf and jagged cliffs. But tucked along our shores are some fine, if sometimes tiny, stretches of sand where you can lay out a towel or wiggle your toes on a warm July afternoon. The following is a sampling of some of Maine’s finest coastal beaches; more can be discovered in DeLorme’s Maine Atlas and Gazetteer or by asking locals.
Crescent Beach, Kittery. Sandy swimming opportunity on a peninsula. 207-363-4422.
Ogunquit Beach. White sand beach amid a booming resort community. One of the state’s most scenic shores is this 31/2-mile strip of sand famous for its swimming, its surfing, and its sandcastle-building. After sunbathing, take a walk on the nearby Marginal Way, Ogunquit’s mile-long seaside trail (see page 48). 207-646-2939.
Kennebunk Beach. Gently sloping sands in a sheltering cove, and with gentle waves and lifeguards, this beach is ideal for children. 207-967-0857.
Mother’s Beach, Kennebunk. This sheltered cove has gently sloping sands, lifeguards at the ready, and a nearby playground, all of which make the aptly named beach ideal for children. 207-967-0857.
Ferry Beach, Saco. A favorite swimming spot with a park and picnic facilities. 207-282-4489.
Old Orchard Beach. One of the busiest resort towns in Maine, it offers four miles of beachfront with a broad and gentle slope ideal for lounging and swimming. 207-934-5714.
Crescent Beach, Cape Elizabeth. In addition to its gentle arc of sand this 243-acre state park, off Route 77, has a pleasant trail that loops through woods and fields. There are also picnicking facilities, a snack bar, and showers. 207-287-3821.
Ferry Beach and Western Beach, Scarborough. Divided by a rocky point, these are sandy sister beaches, with a park and picnic facilities at Ferry Beach. 207-730-4000.
Pine Point Beach, Scarborough. This beach starts at the narrow mouth of the Scarborough River, opposite Ferry Beach, and extends south to Old Orchard. Pine Point offers the added bonus of a boat landing. 207-730-4000.
Scarborough Beach. This park near the end of Route 207, before you reach Prouts Neck, is popular with local families as well as younger Greater Portlanders who come for the surf and the sand. 207-883-2416.
Higgins Beach, Scarborough. A sandy beach with fine swimming, albeit extremely limited parking. 207-730-4000.
Popham Beach, Phippsburg. This beach sports a vast stretch of sand with tidal pools, dunes, and rocky outcroppings ideal for exploring. Surf-fishing for striped bass is a popular pastime here, and although the water can be on the chilly side, many enjoy a romp in these waves. 207-389-1335.
Reid State Park, Georgetown. With plenty of beach between two rocky headlands, and broad views of islands and the open ocean, plus picnicking and camping facilities, this beach is one of the most frequented swimming areas along the midcoast. This 1_-mile beach is broken into three distinct sections so you can take your pick. The water’s nippy and the surf can get rough, but fortunately for parents there’s a warm-water lagoon for kids to safely splash around in. Another surfcasting hot spot at dawn and dusk. 207-371-2303.
Lincolnville Beach. Always popular, this short stretch of sand lies in the very heart of midcoast Maine right on Route 1. 207-236-4404.
Lamoine Beach. Part of Lamoine State Park, this pebble beach is a perennial favorite, with long views and plenty of room for exploration. 207-667-4778.
Sand Beach, Mount Desert. Despite the chilly water temperatures, this small beach, tucked in between rocky outcroppings, is extremely popular on hot summer days. Trivia tidbit: Sand Beach was featured in the film version of The Cider House Rules. 207-288-3338.
Roque Bluffs Beach. On the shores of Englishman Bay, this beach has facilities for both salt- and freshwater swimming. 207-255-3475.