Dotted with picturesque lighthouses, rocky cliff sides, lobster shacks, and sandy shorelines, Maine makes for the ultimate beach-goer’s state. Despite its northeastern location, this maritime state boasts a long list of coves, beaches, and hidden escapes with its southern coastline set entirely along ocean waters. From the secluded stretches of sand in Acadia National Park to the iconic pier at Old Orchard Beach, discover the seven best beaches in Maine.
Sand Beach, Acadia National Park
Head to Sand Beach in Maine’s stunning Acadia National Park; located on Mt. Desert Island, Sand Beach is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the state. Tucked in a cove between Gorham Mountain and Great Head, this hidden treasure, although small in size, is what makes beach life so desirable: scenic views of aquamarine waters, pink-tinged sand made up of crushed seashells, rocky cliffs, and a pine tree-laden backdrop. While Sand Beach is fit with picturesque views perfect for sun worshippers, the waters are usually quite cold, so swimmers be warned.
At Popham Beach State Park, nestled along the mouth of the Kennebec River, low tide is prime time for beach goers; most of the shoreline has been eroded over time but, if you can catch Popham when the tide is low, it’s a trip worth venturing. Walk along the shoreline for miles, discover seaside treasures in the tide pools, or walk your way out to the Fox Islands, rocky pieces of land across the shore. For the outdoor adventurer, there’s also hiking, wildlife watching and grills for picnicking.
Ogunquit Beach is another low-tide gem; located on a peninsula in southern Maine, Ogunquit Beach is characterized by a 3.5-mile-long shoreline fit with sand dunes and sea grasses, making for the perfect tide-pool adventure when the waters rush far out during low tide. Head here with the kiddies for the long, sandy shore of shallow waters, perfect for castle-building and seashell-combing, and be sure to make your way to Perkins Cove, an old fishing village, and to Marginal Way for unforgettable views of Maine’s coastline.
For big-time swimmers, head to Prouts Neck, a peninsula just south of Portland in the Saco Bay that is said to be the best swimming region in all of Maine. Here, you’ll find Scarborough Beach State Park on the northeastern end of the peninsula with a vast shoreline, sand dunes, and The Local Shack – a famed snack shack where visitors can rent chairs and umbrellas. While the warm summer waters make for a perfect swimming destination, the tides are usually rough, so be advised to swim in the lifeguard area. Alternatively, head to Higgins Beach, a short walk north of the state park, which is a small seaside village with beautiful white sandy beaches.
If you’re on the hunt for a secluded beach, opt for Reid State Park. Set on the Georgetown Peninsula, Reid State Park boasts grassy dune-lined shores, rocky cliffs, tide pools, glistening blue waters, and a lagoon – all without the crowds. Here, there’s plenty of tranquil scenery, sunshine, and natural beauty to keep you busy until sunset; for those staying until dusk, be sure to pop in to one of Maine’s famous lobster shacks for a seaside dinner.
Goose Rocks Beach, bordered by Granite Point and Cape Porpoise, is a small seaside village in one of Maine’s many bays, Goosefare Bay. Reminiscent of the classic east coast-style beach, with grassy dunes and a vast low-tide shoreline, Goose Rocks has stunning coastline, to say the least. While some visitors complain about the limited parking and permit required for entrance to the beach, Goose Rocks is well worth the trouble: walk along the pool-filled shoreline, gander at the wild sea life, or sunbathe in the warm Maine sun.
While most beach enthusiasts would be inclined not to include Old Orchard Beach on such a list, this iconic beach is worth mentioning. For those in the mood for a serene shoreline, OBB isn’t for you; here, famed for its Old Orchard Pier, you’ll find families, sand castle-building, restaurants, games, an amusement park, and fried fare. While there’s plenty of shoreline, crowds tend to quickly fill up OBB, as it’s one of Maine’s most popular beaches; but it does make for the perfect people-watching spot.