By Katy Kelleher
Photograph by Sean Thomas Photography
01 Fortune’s Rocks Beach
With a name this auspicious, it’s only natural to expect a myriad of oceanic treasures. This two-mile crescent-shaped beach stretches from Biddeford Pool to Fortune’s Rocks and is popular with surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers alike. Head to the southernmost end to seek your fortune in sand dollars and sea glass.
02 Pebble Beach
The ever-popular Monhegan Island has served as aesthetic inspiration for numerous artists throughout the years, and for good reason: it’s hard to find a place more striking than Pebble Beach. Located 12 nautical miles off the coast, the small island is accessible only by boat, and with a mere 75 residents, Monhegan is a refuge for even the artistically challenged. Boulders abound on the jagged shoreline, creating natural caves for sea creatures and their wave-smoothed castoffs.
03 Popham Beach
For a grandiose introduction to this lovely beach, park your car at Fort Popham State Historic Site and take the winding trails down to the water. The old granite fort is located a half hour walk from Popham Beach. The hike is worth it. Fort Popham also happens to be an archeological site, making it a particularly fitting way to kick off a day of beachcombing. Things can get a bit cramped at high tide, so go when the water is low and take a calming stroll through the surf to Fox Island.
04 Sea Glass Beach
Great Diamond Island
Locals will tell you that this is the place to gather fragments of bottle green and cobalt blue sea glass, rubbed smooth and painted with the salty patina of the ocean. Just a short ferry ride from Portland, Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay is easy to access, although much of the land is privately owned. But with no car ferry and few vehicles, it offers a nice change of pace for city dwellers.
05 Roque Island Harbor
Sailors looking to earn their stripes can turn their tillers toward this secluded spot in downeast Maine. The scenic island sits at the center of an amorphous archipelago that rests between the waters of Englishman Bay and Chandler Bay. Thanks to its unique position nestled between islands, Roque Island boasts a mile-long white beach that sees few visitors. Drop anchor and head inland to find a bounty of seashells.
06 Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve
Named for the famous marine biologist, author, and environmentalist, this protected park is where Carson gathered material for her book Edge of the Sea. Follow in the trailblazer’s footsteps to the rocky cove, and you’ll be rewarded with a colorful array of sea creatures. Starfish creep slowly through the sheltered water, alongside vivid pink crabs and other forms of aquatic life.