You can't always guarantee the sun in Maine, but you can be certain of plenty of sea, sand, and surf. With more miles of coastline than California, Maine offers a little something for everyone, from small, secluded coves to huge, family-friendly beaches. Factor in historic lighthouses, fun-packed beachfront amusement parks, and some of the best lobster in the word, and it's easy to see what draws so many visitors to Maine's shores each year. If you want to check it out for yourself, these are the 10 best Maine beaches not to miss.
10. Sand Beach
What would a visit to Maine be without at least one trip to Acadia National Park? Encompassing over 47000 acres, Acadia boasts awe-inspiring scenery, hundreds of trails, and several very scenic beaches. Of those, Sand Beach is one of the most popular. Even on a sweltering summer's day, the bracingly cold waters rarely rise above 55 degrees. But while the water might be icy, few swimming spots can compete with the scenery. Nestled between crackled granite cliffs and bordered by pines, this seashell beach easily ranks as one of the most beautiful in the entire state. If the water is a little too cold for your liking, enjoy your fill of the views before heading to Echo Lake to enjoy a slighter warmer dip
9. Goose Rocks Beach
Named as of of the best beaches in Maine by US News & World Report, Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport has it all: soft white sands, gentle waves, and astonishing views. In fact, it looks more like something you'd find in the Caribbean than Maine, which may well explain its popularity. Despite its status as one of Maine's best-loved beaches, there's nothing grand or pretentious about the place - it's quiet, unassuming, and rarely gets busy enough to feel overwhelming. While you're in Kennebunkport, be sure to check out the dog-friendly Gooch's Beach, a scenic stretch of sand famous for its excellent surfing conditions.
8. Parsons Beach
If you prefer your beaches to be quiet, undeveloped, and too far removed from the beaten path to be bothered by many pesky tourists, you're going to love Parsons Beach. Known only by locals and a select few discerning visitors, this half-mile crescent of sand offers solitude, serenity, and astonishing views over Mount Agamenticus. Parking is limited and requires a parking pass, but the slight inconvenience of that will be forgotten the moment your toes touch the sand.
7. Cape Elizabeth
If you're looking for a quiet stretch of pristine beach that's short on tourists but big on attractions, it's hard to go wrong with the coast of Cape Elizabeth. Extending 12 miles into the ocean, the headland offers visitors the chance to enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and shelling on the lovely mile-long curve of beach in the beautiful Crescent Beach State Park. For tidepools and scenic oceanfront walks, check out the equally delightful Kettle Cove State Park. Before you leave the headland, be sure to take a quick look (and plenty of pictures) at the Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine.
6. Jasper Beach
According to Pure Wow, Jasper Beach entices visitors with its colorful pebbles and serene ambiance. That's not all it's got to boast about - known as one of the best places for wildlife spotting in the area, it attracts thousands of migratory birds to its shores each year. Spend a few hours admiring their majestic beauty, and you'll understand why the beach is considered one of the finest in Maine. Before you leave, be sure to collect a few rainbow-colored stones to take away as a memento of your visit.
5. Popham Beach
As Trip Savvy notes, the perenially popular Popham Beach is an idyllic place to swim, surf, or take a lazy stroll along the beach gathering seashells. If you're a film buff, you might recognize it as the setting for Kevin Costner's "Message in a Bottle." The amenities are decent and include bathhouses, charcoal grills, and fresh-water solar rinse-off showers. Just be aware that sand movement resulting from beach dynamics has narrowed the beach considerably: if you visit during high tide in peak season, finding a space on the sand can be something of a challenge.
Wells is a lovely coastal community with a laid-back, friendly vibe and acres of pristine coastline. The key beaches to check out include Wells Beach, which boasts impressive sand dunes and mile upon mile of uninterrupted coastline; Drake's Island Beach, a great place for walks and watersports; and Crescent Beach, which features enough tide pools to keep you in hours of shelling fun. Once you've enjoyed your fill of sea and sand, head to the town for a few hours of pleasant browsing amongst its dozens of antique stores and quirky boutiques.
3. Mount Blue State Park
Pretty though Maine's coastline is, there's no escaping just how chilly its surf can be for much of the year. If you'd prefer a slighter warmer experience, skip the saltwater beaches and head from the sun-kissed freshwater beach in Mount Blue State Park. The views over Mount Blue are awesome. The opportunities for some lakeside fun aren't exactly disappointing either, with everything from swimming and kayaking to walking and fishing on offer. If you want to extend your stay over a few days, there's a very convenient pet-friendly campground located on the shoreline.
2. Reid State Park
Located on Georgetown Island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, few places in Maine can compete with the natural beauty of Reid State Park. The 770-acre park is famous for its sandy beaches and sand dunes (both of which are exceptionally rare in Maine), along with its salt marshes, tidal lagoon, and rocky tidepools. The lacy patterns left behind on the sand by the waves are stunning, but be sure to keep an eye out for the legions of shorebirds that call the beach home too.
1. Old Orchard Beach
If your car's at the dealership but you're craving a day at the beach, head for Old Orchard Beach, the only beach in the entire state you can reach by train. Its accessibility isn't its only advantage: with 7 uninterrupted miles of soft white sand, free access, and a score of amenities on its doorstep, it's the ideal destination for a fun-packed day by the sea. Its iconic wood-planked pier is crammed with restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. If you're in the mood for some high octane thrills, check out the Ferris Wheel and rides at Palace Playland, New England's only surviving beachfront amusement park.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn