The US State of Maine, on the eastern seaboard up towards Canada, can have some fairly severe winters.
This means that, in some ways, locals and visitors will enjoy its beaches in the warm months of summer even more than they otherwise would.
Maine has a good tourist trade, despite competition from warmer parts of the States.
Visitors are attracted by the lovely natural environment, with both wide open spaces and extensive woods.
It has a rich maritime history and a rocky coastline, interspersed with gorgeous beaches.
There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in this small State and the 15 Best Beaches in Maine are some of the places to get the best out of a holiday break.
1. Sandy Beach, Arcadia National Park
Sandy Beach within Acadia National Park is a small stretch of sand on what is otherwise a rocky coastline.
It is situated between Great Head and Gorham Mountain and is a rare find because the sand is pink.
It has been created by shells that have been pulverized by the power of the sea.
Children will love the park as a place to explore, and the pink sand definitely adds to the whole setting.
It can get busy too, so early morning and late afternoon are good times to visit.
Beware, the water is cold, so a little wading is all that you may decide to do.
2. Old Orchard Beach, Old Orchard
This crowded beach is not for everyone, but on either side of this 11-kilometer stretch of sand are quieter alternatives.
There is an amusement park close to the beach, every kind of refreshment from pizzas and fries to fried dough, and a historic pier.
By night, the bars are just as busy.
You can easily part with your money – you even have to pay for using the toilets! However, there is nothing to prevent you from just sitting on the beach and watching the world go by – but you may find you would like somewhere quieter to do it.
3. Long Sands Beach York
This 2.4-kilometer stretch of sand is especially popular at low tide, when there is a vast area for building castles – although they won’t last long – flying kites and playing games.
At high tide, there is just a short strip of beach left, but it still a place where visitors will enjoy themselves.
Surfers tend to pick the time when the tide turns to ride the waves at their best.
There is a good infrastructure behind the beach, with meter parking, shops, restaurants, and accommodation.
There is also a lighthouse nearby which is worth a visit.
4. Crescent Beach State Park, Cape Elizabeth
Families cannot help but enjoy this crescent-shaped stretch of beach – 1.6-kilometers of fun, with dunes at the rear and gentle waves that pose no danger to children.
There are lifeguards in attendance as a precaution.
Add a picnic area in the shade, toilets, and a snack bar as well.
Its length encourages walkers to go from end to end, and kite flyers enjoy it without interfering with anyone else’s enjoyment.
Lobster boats are tied up in Kettle Cove towards Richmond Island when they are not working; what else would you have for lunch and dinner when they are so fresh?
5. Ogunquit Beach, Ogunquit
The indigenous Abenaki people gave the name Ogunquit to this place; it translates to “beautiful place by the sea”. It is a stretch of sand more than 5-kilometers long, with dunes and seagrasses making it a lovely subject for landscape painters in the late 19th Century.
It was these artists whose work spread the word about Ogunquit.
At low tide, you can explore its rock pools and sandbars.
A word of warning – the tidal river behind the beach produces strong currents as the tide comes in and virtually none of the beach is left exposed.
6. Scarborough Beach State Park, Scarborough
Scarborough Beach has been captured many times on canvas by American artist Winslow Homer.
It is a long stretch of sand with dunes behind and a sea that sometimes has strong currents – and it is truly cold! There are lifeguards in attendance to look out for swimmers in trouble and you would be advised only to swim in close proximity to them.
You can rent boards, chairs, and umbrellas, with food also available at the Shack.
An ancient battle site is found here – Massacre Pond – where settlers and newcomers fought in 1703; 20 of the 21 settlers were killed in the skirmish.
7. Willard Beach, South Portland
Willard Beach in South Portland has a rocky seafloor that will discourage you from walking in the waves without any footwear, but that is its only drawback.
It covers four acres between Fisherman’s Point and Southern Maine Community College.
Some islands lie offshore, and the sea traffic includes ferries, fishing boats, cruise ships and commercial traffic.
There is a play area, café, restrooms with showers, and parking for 75 vehicles – more parking is available a little further away if it is busy on a hot day.
The sea may be cold but the area is nevertheless popular.
8. Higgins Beach, Scarborough
Higgins Beach is close to a residential neighborhood.
Outside of the height of summer, surfers enjoy warmer waters; they are allowed in summer before crowds arrive – late morning and early evening.
Sunbathers can relax on the kilometer stretch of lovely white sand, while fishermen hunt the striped bass.
There is a historic shipwreck in the sand which children love to explore.
There are no lifeguards or food options but there are restrooms.
Parking is limited unless you are renting accommodation nearby.
The existing parking lot closes at 5 pm, which is why crowds tend to depart by then, leaving the beach to the surfers.
9. Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport
This stretch of sand – over 5-kilometers – is particularly good at low tide, when visitors can comb the sands for treasures that the tide has left behind.
There are seals offshore and you can sit back at the local beach club, glass in hand, and watch a lovely sunset.
The downside to Goose Rocks is the limited parking – and you need a permit to park here.
Avoid parking in areas where it is not permitted because locals earn nothing from you.
There are no facilities available, although the beach club has toilets – for customers of course.
10. Short Sands, York
This beach is not a place that you should go if you want quiet time.
In school break, it is a place where families regularly congregate and teenagers inhabit the boardwalk.
Occasionally, this beach has been prone to storms which can take away surface sand.
When that happens, it reveals an old Revolutionary War Sloop that has lain there for many years.
It was first revealed in 1958 and then again in 1978, but there is little information on its history and how long it has been there.
Once the storms die down, the sand returns.
11. Reid State Park, Georgetown
The Georgetown Peninsula, north of Bath, is a nature lover’s dream – salt marshes, a lagoon with a tidal river, rocky headlands, dunes and sandy beaches.
It is a great deal for the eye to take in and plenty to explore.
It is unspoiled and home to soaring bald eagles and ospreys.
Wander along the sand and explore the tidal beaches – it’s great fun.
You won’t find any cafes, so bring your own food because there are toilets and picnic tables.
At the end of a busy day, head for a lobster shack on your way home.
12. Ferry Beach, Scarborough
Ferry Beach looks out on to the Scarborough River Channel and is sheltered from the force of the Ocean by the jetty on the side of the channel.
It is known locally as ‘’Mother’s Beach’’ because it attracts women with babies and small children at different times of the day.
The tide is gentle and that attracts hermit crabs that children love – they are too fast to catch by even the fastest kids.
There are no lifeguards, picnic facilities or cafes but sufficient parking can be found to the right of the beach.
13. Pine Point
Pine Point is on the opposite side of the Scarborough River Channel from Ferry Beach.
It stretches all the way to Old Orchard Beach and attracts surfers and fishermen, who cast from the sands.
Surfers should have their boards attached to them on a line up to 10-feet long.
The water is not very warm, but you would not expect that anyway up in Maine.
The beach is open from sunrise to sunset and while there are no lifeguards, there are restrooms and a concession stand.
There is local parking for those using the beach.
14. Laudholm Beach, Wells
The beach in this reserve in Wells benefits from being a hike away.
That is, if you want a relatively quiet spot.
The visitor’s center will give you a map to help you find your way.
Passing some swamp land, you will find a stretch of beach, 1.5-kilometers long with dunes at the rear.
There is a national wildlife reserve nearby which has attracted a great deal of birdlife for visitors to enjoy.
A day here, combining time just relaxing on the quiet sands with taking in the natural environment and its treasures, is a great experience.
15. Popham Beach State Park, Phippsburg
Erosion has been an issue on this stretch of sand at the point where the Kennebec River meets the sea.
Storms have reduced the size of the dunes and the volume of sand, but at low tide there are still huge stretches of sand to walk on.
You need to know the times of the tide when you come here because there will be virtually no sand at all at high tide.
The sandbar and Rocky Island are accessible at low tide but don’t get caught out by the tide turning.
There are toilets on site but no cafes.