As big as the other five New England states combined, Maine barely has the population of tiny Rhode Island. In theory, therefore, there’s plenty of room for its massive summer influx of visitors; in reality, the majority of these make for the southern stretches of the extravagantly corrugated coast.
Considering that the state has a coastline of three thousand miles, finding access to the sea in Maine can be a frustrating business. The oceanfront is monopolized by an endless succession of private homes and vacation residences. In fact, only two percent of the shore is publicly owned – and not all of that is beach.
Maine’s beaches are found mostly between Portland and the New Hampshire border. Northeast of Portland a handful of fine beaches await – including popular Reid State Park and Popham Beach State Park – but rocky coast defines this territory for the most part.
The southern beaches are beautiful but rarely isolated. The best beaches are at Ogunquit and Long Sands Beach at York, with a festive, carnival atmosphere along Route 1A.
Kennebunkport was perfectly happy as a self-contained and exclusive residential district, before its worldwide exposure as the home of George Bush ‘s “summer White House.” However, Kennebunkport is not actually all that different from anywhere else along the coast – which is presumably what’s really bothering the locals.
- Mother’s Beach – Short sandy section of perfect sand beach which is well protected.
- Gooch’s Beach – Largest part of Kennebunk Beach, along Beach Avenue, with talcum powder sand.
- Middle Beach – Rocky section of Kennebunk Beach between Mother’s and Gooch’s with pretty black stones.
- Colony Beach – At the mouth of the Kennebunk River lies this 150-foot beach.
- Cleaves Cove Beach – Secluded and scenic beach off Ocean Avenue.
- Goose Rocks Beach – Very soft sand, great for walking. Scenic and beautiful.
The three-mile spit of sand that shields Ogunquit from the open ocean is Maine’s finest beach, a long stretch of sand and calm surf that is ideal for long walks, but the town remains small enough to be a pleasant resort.
Ogunquit beach is considered one of the prettiest 3.5 miles of peninsula beach in the country.
The beach appeals to everyone: a livelier scene at the south end near the town itself; more remote and unpopulated heading north, with its dunes and, beyond them, clusters of summer homes.
Accessible by trolley and several parking areas. Available restrooms and snack bars.
Also there are Footbridge Beach – beachgoers walk over footbridge to get to this less crowded section of beach; and Moody Beach – Bourne Avenue in Moody
Old Orchard Beach
Voted Maine’s #1 beach every year by Maine’s largest newspaper. 7 mile beach is a treasure for all ages. Non-stop fun awaits you at this seasonal beach village with a 100 year history and one of the most well known amusement parks in New England and Canada.
Extending 475 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, the Pier features shops, restaurants and games. The kids have lots of games, rides and food from the pier to choose from. Nightly entertainment, concerts, auto races and harness racing are favorite activities for the adults.
Old Orchard Beach is a summer seasonal stop only.
Popham Beach State Park
Located in the Mid Coast Region of Maine, Popham Beach State Park offers 529 acres of recreation land for visitors to frolic on the white sandy beach and picnic at the scattered tables and grills.
Its fine granulated sand, tidal pools and the classic Maine rocky coastline characterize the park.
The beach is situated amongst several historic and natural attractions including Fort Baldwin, Fort Popham and Morse Mountain Preserve.
Hunnewell Beach is another popular swimming site located immediately north of Popham along SR 209.
Popham Beach State Park offers an extensive beachfront to visitors. The park permits swimming, picnicking and fishing. Surf casting for bluefish and striped bass is enjoyed between July and September.
Views of the Atlantic Ocean are gorgeous and occasional sightings of porpoise occur. An entrance fee is collected at the gate. Visitors enjoy Popham beach off SR 209 between April 15 and October 30 each year.
Long Sands Beach runs along Route 1A, across from a profusion of motels, summer homes, and convenience stores. As the name implies this is a long sandy beach with designated surfing area. Metered parking is available along Route 1A for the entire length of beach. Restrooms available at the Bathhouse near Oceanside Ave.
Short Sands Beach fronts the town of York Beach and is better for families with kids, with its candlepin bowling and video arcades. This is sandy beach with gentle surf. Metered parking in the lot off Rt 1A. Showers, changing area and toilets. Easy to walk to shops and amusements adjacent to beach.
Harbor Beach is scenic sandy beach with gentle surf in York Harbor. Parking is free but limited for this small beach off Route 1A at the entrance to Harbor Park. Portable restrooms are available at Harbor Beach Road.