fb-pixel Skip to main content

A guide to some of the best beaches in Maine

A surfer on Old Orchard Beach.Robert F. Bukaty

Now that summer is in full swing, we’re rounding up some of the best beach picks from Globe staffers to help readers explore New England’s coveted coastlines.

The water may be colder, the coastline rockier, and in some spots you might as well be in Canada — but Maine’s beaches draw visitors from all over the country. From long stretches of rugged shoreline to sprawling white sand flats that go for miles, beachgoers will find no shortage of quintessential New England charm. Southern Maine beaches are known for their smoother, sandy landscape, while the further north you go, beaches become more secluded, scenic, and windswept. Maine’s coveted coastline is enjoyed by all who make the trip, and we’ve rounded up a few we think readers would like.


Here’s a look at some of the best beaches in Maine:

Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach in Maine.Craig F. Walker

This beach lays claim to seven miles of sand that seem to go on forever. At the center is the famed Old Orchard Pier, which features an amusement park that is considered one of the last remaining oceanfront amusement parks in the country. Kids and families can enjoy the excitement of the pier, and beachgoers looking for a quieter day can head to either the northern or southern ends of the beach. Consistently voted Maine’s number one beach by the Portland Press Herald — the state’s largest newspaper — this vibrant beachside destination is well worth a visit. There are several public parking areas that span the beach: Some are metered, and there are several $20 all-day lots. If you don’t mind a walk, you can find free parking, too, according to TripAdvisor.com.

How to get here: 2 Old Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach, Maine, 04064. Click here to see a map.

Sand Beach

Sand Beach, one of the most popular stops along Acadia's Loop Road.Pamela Wright

Nestled between mountains and rocky shores on the east side of Acadia National Park, this small but breathtaking stretch offers spectacular scenery. The beach is largely comprised of unique sand and shell fragments caused by the pounding surf, and the waterline varies significantly between high and low tide. If you’re looking to swim, be ready for frigid temperatures: The ocean rarely exceeds 55 degrees — even in July and August, according to acadiamagic.com. If you’re not in the mood for a bone-chilling swim, there are plenty of hikes nearby to get even better views of this striking landscape. This secluded destination located within the national park was recently ranked among the five best New England beaches by AAA. Access to the park is $30 for vehicles and $15 per person, according to NPS.gov.


How to get here: This beach is accessible via Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park just south of the entrance fee station in Bar Harbor, Maine. The Sand Beach parking GPS coordinates are 44.330185 º N 68.183989 º W. Click here to see a map.

Ogunquit Beach

Ogunquit Beach in Maine.handout

This wide open beach on Maine’s southern coast lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ogunquit River on a long, sandy peninsula with grass dunes. The water is cool and clear, and sand is fine, soft, and expands for miles at low tide. There are shade tents open to the public if sun becomes too much. Walkable from downtown and the Marginal Way cliff walk, this beach boasts plenty of nearby attractions to further explore the area. Ranked among TripAdvisor’s top 25 beaches in the country, it’s been called “one of the most beautiful, walkable beaches.” While there are a number of parking lots in the area, the Main Beach lot is located at the eastern end of Beach Street, and parking is $30 on weekdays and $35 on weekends.


How to get here: 115 Beach St., Ogunquit, Maine, 03907. Click here to see a map.

Crescent Beach

Located about eight miles south of Portland in picturesque Cape Elizabeth, this dune-backed beach is favored by many. Relatively warm waters and light surf make this location ideal for swimming. With hiking trails along the water’s edge, and optimal spots for fishing, bird watching, and sunbathing, it’s no wonder this beach is a memorable destination for locals and visitors — ranked by both The Guardian and The Maine Magazine as a favorite spot. There are bathrooms, showers, and parking on site — and the occasional food truck. Located within a state park, admission per person is $8 for nonresidents, $2 for seniors, $1 for children ages 5 to 11, and free for children under 5, according to maine.gov.

How to get here: 109 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, 04107. Click here to see a map.

Popham State Beach Park

Popham Beach State Park.Nicholas Pfosi for The Boston Gl

Popham beach is Maine’s busiest state park beach. Bordering the south side of the mouth of the Kennebec River, this stretch has been called one of Maine’s rare geological landforms. Sunbathers can look out and see Fox and Wood islands offshore, as well as the Kennebec and Morse rivers bordering each end of the beach. Facilities include bathhouses, fresh-water solar rinse-off showers, and charcoal grills. Parking is $8 for nonresidents.


How to get here: Maine Route 209 in Phippsburg, 14 miles south of Bath. Click here to see a map.

Goose Rocks Beach

Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, Maine.Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Located in the gorgeous town of Kennebunkport and bordered by Cape Porpoise, locals and visitors have been enjoying Goose Rocks Beach and its miles of white sand for generations. This beach features all the trappings of the classic New England beach experience, including seafood restaurants and an ice cream stand. Two resorts are close by for those making more than a day trip. From the shore, beachgoers can take in views of the ocean, as well as Timber Island and Timber Point, and enjoy a relaxing swim in the calm waters. This three-mile stretch is protected by a barrier reef that lies offshore, which is visible at extreme low tide, and provides a buffer from the big waves of the Atlantic. Beach parking permits are required, and can be purchased at the Kennebunkport Police Department, and the Goose Rocks General Store, according to the town website.

How to get here: Click here to see a map.

Long Sands Beach

Long Sands Beach draws surfers, strollers, and sun bathers.

Located halfway between the villages of York Harbor and York Beach, Long Sands Beach offers a mile of white sandy beach. A busy tourist destination, this beach fills up fast during the high-season. Enjoy 1.5 miles of mostly-sandy beach, plus a few rockier zones with tidal pools. This beach draws surfers, strollers, and sunbathers alike, and cooler waters make for a refreshing dip on a hot day. Park at one of the metered kiosks nearby, which cost $2 per hour.


How to get here: 189 Long Beach Ave, York, ME 03909. Click here to see a map.

Don’t see your favorite here? Tell us which spot you’re partial to and we may include it in a future story:

Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.