The US State of Maine, located on the eastern seaboard towards Canada, experiences quite harsh winters. However, this means that both locals and visitors cherish its beaches even more during the warm summer months.
Despite facing competition from warmer regions within the United States, Maine boasts a thriving tourist industry. Its allure lies in the breathtaking natural surroundings, encompassing vast open spaces and expansive forests. Furthermore, the state’s rich maritime history and picturesque rocky coastline, adorned with beautiful beaches, add to its appeal.
Within this small state, numerous outdoor activities await, making it an ideal destination for a holiday getaway. As an enthusiastic traveler who have personally witnessed the beauty and grace of Maine, here are the 15 Best Beaches in Maine showcase the finest spots to fully immerse oneself in this charming locale.
1. Sandy Beach, Arcadia National Park
Sandy Beach, located within Acadia National Park, is a delightful gem amidst a predominantly rocky coastline. Nestled between Great Head and Gorham Mountain, this small sandy stretch stands out for its rarity—it boasts pink sand. Having witnessed the beauty of this beach firsthand, I strongly suggest a visit.
The distinctive hue of the sand comes from the crushed shells that have been weathered by the relentless power of the sea. It’s a captivating sight that adds to the overall allure of the park, especially for children who love exploring new places.
Given its charm, Sandy Beach can get quite crowded. To make the most of your visit, I recommend planning for early mornings or late afternoons when the crowds are usually thinner. However, do take note that the water tends to be chilly, so dipping your feet or wading in the waves might be the extent of your aquatic adventures here.
2. Old Orchard Beach, Old Orchard
Old Orchard Beach, although crowded, offers a bustling and vibrant atmosphere that may not suit everyone’s preferences. However, fear not, for there are quieter alternatives to be found on either side of this expansive 11-kilometer sandy stretch.
In close proximity to the beach, you’ll discover an amusement park that adds to the lively ambiance. From pizzas and fries to delectable fried dough, a wide array of refreshments awaits your taste buds. Additionally, a historic pier stands as a testament to the area’s rich heritage.
As night falls, the bars come alive, bustling with activity and entertainment. Keep in mind that Old Orchard Beach tends to be a bit pricey, as even the use of toilets comes with a fee. Nevertheless, if you prefer a more laid-back experience, you can simply find solace in sitting on the beach and observing the world pass by. However, you might find that seeking a quieter spot better suits your desires.
3. Long Sands Beach York
The Long Sands Beach in York spans an impressive 2.4 kilometers and is particularly beloved during low tide when a vast expanse of sandy terrain emerges, providing ample space for castle building, kite flying, and playful games. It’s important to note that these sand structures may not endure for long, but the joy they bring is worth it.
Even during high tide, when the beach shrinks to a narrow strip, visitors can still find delight in this coastal haven. Moreover, surfers are keen on timing their sessions with the changing tide, as it allows them to ride the waves at their prime.
A well-developed infrastructure supports the beach, offering amenities such as metered parking, shops, restaurants, and accommodations. Additionally, a nearby lighthouse stands as a noteworthy attraction, worthy of exploration and admiration.
4. Crescent Beach State Park, Cape Elizabeth
As a family-friendly destination, Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth offers a delightful crescent-shaped shoreline that spans 1.6 kilometers. This charming beach is filled with joy and excitement, boasting dunes at its rear and gentle waves that pose no threat to children.
To ensure safety, lifeguards are present, providing peace of mind for parents. Additionally, the park offers a shaded picnic area, convenient toilet facilities, and a snack bar for those craving a quick bite or refreshing drink.
The beach’s considerable length entices walkers to explore from end to end, while kite flyers can enjoy their pastime without disrupting others’ enjoyment. Nearby, Kettle Cove is home to lobster boats that dock when they’re not out at work. With such fresh catches available, it’s hard to resist indulging in lobster for lunch or dinner—it’s a true seafood delight.
5. Ogunquit Beach, Ogunquit
The name Ogunquit, bestowed by the indigenous Abenaki people, holds a poetic meaning: “beautiful place by the sea.” It perfectly captures the essence of this coastal destination. Ogunquit Beach, stretching over 5 kilometers, boasts a picturesque landscape adorned with dunes and seagrasses. Its scenic allure inspired numerous landscape painters during the late 19th Century, who helped spread the word about this enchanting locale.
During low tide, Ogunquit Beach unveils a mesmerizing sight—rock pools and sandbars awaiting exploration. However, it is essential to exercise caution. As the tide begins to rise, the tidal river behind the beach generates strong currents, eventually leaving little of the sandy shoreline exposed.
Nevertheless, Ogunquit Beach continues to captivate visitors with its natural beauty and rich history, embodying the spirit of its indigenous name.
6. Scarborough Beach State Park, Scarborough
Scarborough Beach, immortalized on numerous canvases by renowned American artist Winslow Homer, holds a special place in my heart. This expansive sandy stretch is accompanied by majestic dunes that stand tall behind it. However, I must warn you, the sea here can exhibit strong currents, and the water is undeniably chilly! To ensure safety, lifeguards diligently keep watch over swimmers in need. It is advisable to stay close to their designated areas when venturing into the water.
To enhance your beach experience, you can conveniently rent surfboards, chairs, and umbrellas. If hunger strikes, worry not, as the Shack offers delectable food options to satisfy your cravings.
Scarborough Beach also carries a significant historical weight. Nestled within its borders is Massacre Pond, an ancient battle site where settlers and newcomers clashed in 1703. Tragically, this skirmish resulted in the loss of 20 out of 21 settlers. Reflecting upon this somber history adds a layer of depth to the beach’s allure.
7. Willard Beach, South Portland
I have found a hidden gem in South Portland—Willard Beach. Although it has a rocky seafloor that discourages walking barefoot in the waves, that is its only drawback in my opinion.
This charming beach spans four acres, nestled between Fisherman’s Point and Southern Maine Community College. Offshore, you’ll catch glimpses of scattered islands, while the waters come alive with a variety of sea traffic, from ferries and fishing boats to majestic cruise ships and bustling commercial vessels.
Willard Beach caters to visitors’ needs with its array of amenities. A designated play area offers entertainment for families, while a cozy café ensures you can grab a snack or a refreshing beverage. Restrooms equipped with showers provide convenience for those looking to freshen up after a day in the sun. Parking is available for up to 75 vehicles, but fret not, even if it’s bustling on a hot day, additional parking options can be found nearby.
While the sea might be chilly, it doesn’t deter people from flocking to this popular destination. Willard Beach has a certain charm that captivates locals and visitors alike.
8. Higgins Beach, Scarborough
I’ve discovered a hidden gem called Higgins Beach, tucked close to a charming residential neighborhood. It offers a tranquil retreat away from the hustle and bustle, especially outside the peak summer season when surfers can enjoy the warmer waters before the crowds arrive. The optimal times for catching those waves are late morning and early evening.
For sun-seeking enthusiasts, there’s a kilometer-long stretch of pristine white sand, perfect for unwinding and soaking up the sun’s rays. Meanwhile, fishermen can be seen along the shore, eagerly hunting for striped bass.
One exciting feature that piques the interest of both children and the curious at heart is a historic shipwreck embedded in the sand. Exploring its remnants adds an element of adventure to the beach experience.
Although Higgins Beach lacks lifeguards and food options, restrooms are available for convenience. It’s important to note that parking can be limited unless you are renting accommodation nearby. The existing parking lot closes at 5 pm, prompting crowds to disperse, ultimately leaving the beach to the surfers, creating a more serene atmosphere.
Higgins Beach strikes a harmonious balance between tranquility and adventure, making it a captivating destination for those seeking a unique coastal escape.
9. Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, and I must say, it’s a true gem. This expansive stretch of sand, spanning over 5 kilometers, truly comes alive at low tide. It’s during this time that visitors can wander the shores, eagerly searching for treasures left behind by the receding tide.
Offshore, you might even spot a few playful seals, adding an extra touch of delight to the beach experience. For a more relaxing option, you can settle down at the local beach club, drink in hand, and witness a stunning sunset painting the sky with vibrant hues.
However, I must warn you about the limited parking situation at Goose Rocks. It’s crucial to obtain a permit before parking in designated areas to ensure that the local community benefits. Please avoid parking in restricted zones, as it does not support the local economy.
As for facilities, Goose Rocks Beach lacks them, with the exception of the beach club’s toilets, which are reserved for their customers. It’s wise to plan accordingly and make any necessary preparations beforehand.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the existing parking lot closes at 5 pm, leading to a gradual departure of crowds and leaving the beach to the surfers, creating a serene ambiance as the sun begins to set.
10. Short Sands, York
If you’re seeking a peaceful and tranquil retreat, I would suggest avoiding Short Sands Beach. It tends to be a lively and bustling destination, especially during school breaks when families gather and teenagers occupy the bustling boardwalk.
From time to time, this beach is susceptible to storms that sweep away the surface sand. However, these storms unveil a captivating sight—a long-lost Revolutionary War Sloop that has rested there for countless years. The first sighting of this historic vessel occurred in 1958, followed by another appearance in 1978. Unfortunately, details about its history and the duration of its presence on the beach remain scarce.
Nevertheless, as the storms gradually calm down, the sand returns, reclaiming the beach’s natural beauty. While tranquility may be elusive at Short Sands Beach, its vibrant atmosphere and intriguing surprises make it a captivating destination for those seeking a lively coastal experience.
11. Reid State Park, Georgetown
Reid State Park, situated on the picturesque Georgetown Peninsula just north of Bath, is a true paradise for nature enthusiasts like myself. The park’s diverse landscape offers a feast for the eyes, with enchanting salt marshes, a tranquil lagoon adorned with a meandering tidal river, majestic rocky headlands, and inviting stretches of dunes and sandy beaches.
With so much natural beauty to behold, Reid State Park invites exploration and discovery. As I wandered along the sandy shoreline, I was filled with a sense of excitement, knowing that there’s plenty to uncover. This unspoiled sanctuary is not only a delight for human visitors but also a haven for magnificent bald eagles and graceful ospreys soaring overhead.
One of my favorite activities at Reid State Park is strolling along the tidal beaches, where the ebb and flow of the tides create a captivating environment. It’s truly exhilarating and offers great fun for those who appreciate the wonders of nature.
While you won’t find any cafes within the park, don’t forget to pack your own food for a delightful picnic experience. Rest assured, there are convenient restroom facilities and picnic tables available to enhance your comfort during your visit.
At the end of an eventful day spent immersing myself in nature’s beauty, I highly recommend indulging in a quintessential Maine experience by stopping at a local lobster shack on the way home. Savoring a delicious lobster meal is the perfect way to conclude a memorable day at Reid State Park.
12. Ferry Beach, Scarborough
As I gazed upon the serene beauty of Ferry Beach, I couldn’t help but appreciate its unique location overlooking the Scarborough River Channel. The beach is gracefully sheltered from the powerful forces of the ocean by a protective jetty, creating a tranquil oasis for visitors to enjoy.
Locally referred to as “Mother’s Beach,” Ferry Beach has a special allure for women with babies and young children, drawing them in at various times of the day. The gentle tide that graces this beach not only provides a sense of calm but also attracts fascinating creatures like hermit crabs. These elusive critters, much to the delight of children, prove too speedy to catch even for the swiftest little ones.
While Ferry Beach lacks lifeguards, picnic facilities, and cafes, there is ample parking available to the right of the beach. This ensures that visitors can find convenient parking spots without any hassle, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the beach experience.
Exploring Ferry Beach brings a sense of tranquility and an opportunity to connect with nature’s wonders. As I strolled along the shoreline, appreciating the scenic views and observing the playful hermit crabs scurrying about, I couldn’t help but feel a profound sense of serenity.
Ferry Beach may lack certain amenities, but its natural charm and peaceful atmosphere make it a cherished destination for those seeking a serene coastal getaway.
13. Pine Point
As I ventured to the opposite side of the Scarborough River Channel from Ferry Beach, I found myself at the captivating Pine Point. This beach stretches seamlessly all the way to Old Orchard Beach, drawing in surfers and fishermen who gather along the sandy shores.
For surfers, it’s essential to have their boards securely attached to them using a line up to 10 feet long, ensuring they can navigate the waves with ease. While the water may not be particularly warm, I must admit that such expectations are understandable in this part of Maine.
With its extensive shoreline, Pine Point provides ample space for surfers to ride the waves and for fishermen to cast their lines into the glistening waters. The beach welcomes visitors from sunrise to sunset, offering a serene setting to enjoy the natural surroundings. Although lifeguards may be absent, there are convenient restroom facilities and a concession stand available, ensuring basic amenities are within reach.
When it comes to parking, local options cater to beachgoers, allowing easy access for those looking to spend a delightful day on the sandy shores of Pine Point.
14. Laudholm Beach, Wells
When it comes to tranquility and natural beauty, Laudholm Beach in the Wells Reserve is a hidden gem worth exploring. Tucked away at a distance, this beach offers a relatively quiet spot away from the crowds.
To ensure you find your way to this serene haven, the visitor’s center provides a helpful map that will guide you along the path. As I embarked on the journey, I have passed through some captivating swamp land before reaching the glorious stretch of beach that extends 1.5 kilometers. With picturesque dunes gracing its backdrop, Laudholm Beach exudes a peaceful ambiance that invites relaxation and reflection.
Adjacent to the beach, a national wildlife reserve beckons, attracting a diverse array of birdlife that delights visitors. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike can revel in the opportunity to witness the captivating avian species that call this area home.
Combining moments of blissful repose on the quiet sands with immersing yourself in the surrounding natural environment, a day spent at Laudholm Beach is truly a remarkable experience. Take your time to savor the tranquility, soak in the breathtaking views, and discover the hidden treasures that await.
Laudholm Beach within the Wells Reserve captures the essence of coastal beauty and offers a peaceful escape from the busyness of everyday life.
15. Popham Beach State Park, Phippsburg
As I arrived at the point where the mighty Kennebec River merges with the vast ocean, I was2 greeted by a stretch of sand that has faced its fair share of erosion challenges. The power of storms has gradually reduced the size of the dunes and the overall volume of sand. However, even amidst these changes, there is still a remarkable expanse of sand to explore during low tide.
Exploring Popham Beach State Park requires careful consideration of the tide times. At high tide, the sand virtually disappears, leaving little room for beach activities. It’s essential to plan your visit accordingly and ensure you’re aware of the low tide periods, which reveal vast stretches of sandy terrain to walk on.
During low tide, I was excited to discover that the sandbar and Rocky Island become easily accessible. It’s an opportunity to venture across these unique features, but I must remain vigilant and avoid getting caught out by the swiftly turning tide.
While exploring the wonders of Popham Beach State Park, it’s worth noting that the facilities are limited. There are restroom facilities available on-site, ensuring basic conveniences are provided. However, for those seeking refreshments, it’s advisable to bring your own provisions as there are no cafes in the immediate vicinity.
As I set foot on the sands of Popham Beach State Park, I was reminded of the delicate dance between land and sea. Despite the erosion challenges, the beauty of this coastal landscape is undeniable. It’s a place where tides dictate the rhythm of exploration, and careful planning is key to fully enjoying the expansive sands that await.