beaches maine
Photo by Peter Frank Edwards

Our Favorite Beaches in Maine

Beaches are numerous along our coast, but deciding which one to go to isn’t always easy. This list is your cheat sheet to the best beaches in Maine.

Crescent Beach

Located in beautiful Cape Elizabeth, Crescent Beach is named for its mile-long crescent moon shape. In addition to the sandy beach, the state park has saltwater coves, wooded areas, and rock ledges for fishing and nature watching. There are also grassy sand dunes and picnic areas. —Kate Gardner

Goose Rocks Beach

Located in Kennebunkport, Goose Rocks Beach is a family favorite in the summertime. There is no lifeguard on duty, but the shape of the beach creates naturally calm waters for swimmers. Beach parking permits are required and can be purchased from the Kennebunkport Police Department, at the town hall, or at the Goose Rocks General Store. —Emma Simard

Scarborough Beach

As one of the best ocean swimming spots in the state, Scarborough Beach is extremely popular in the summer months. Get there early to secure a parking spot and a place to lay out a blanket in the sand. The beach is a great place to surf, kayak, and paddleboard; equipment for all three can be rented there. —Kate Gardner

Old Orchard Beach

If you want quiet, contemplative solitude, this is not the beach for you. If you want to avoid other people and connect with the natural world, there’s no shortage of places in Maine to explore. Nearly 90 percent of the state is covered by forest, but there’s only one beach with bumper cars, an arcade, and custom airbrushed T-shirts: Old Orchard Beach. I’m not here to work on my summer reading list. I’m here for the Pier fries. I’m here for the rum buckets at the Brunswick. I’m here to see impossibly tan Canadians with blacked-out sunglasses and fanny packs. Old Orchard Beach has been a tourist destination for more than a century. Before the Pier Casino closed, it hosted such acts as Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong. Some may see the entertainment these days as less highbrow, but that doesn’t make it any less special. Did you know it’s possible to see three middle-aged men wearing visors with attached fake Guy Fieri-style hair in the same bar? Welcome to OOB. —Paul Koenig

Bayview Beach

Growing up along the coast of Maine offered many relaxing beach options, but my favorite beach is right in my hometown of Saco: Bayview Beach. This dog-friendly beach is part of a seven-mile stretch of sandy beach paradise that curves around Saco Bay from Pine Point to the north to Camp Ellis to the south. This is my go-to beach for gathering friends and family to sunbathe, beachcomb, relax, swim, partake in our favorite lawn games, and chase our family’s miniature dachshund, Snoopie. Across the bay, you can see the rumbling and bustling of touristy Old Orchard Beach with Palace Playland—New England’s only beachfront amusement park—and the Pier, which is 500 feet long and has souvenir shops, fried food, and a nightclub. Looking at the crowded beach across the bay, I feel instant happiness and a sense of appreciation that I am not in the midst of the overflowing chaos. —Sarah Prak

Popham Beach

At Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg, children clamber over the outcropping of granite as they explore the almost-lunar landscape of Fox Island, which can be reached at low tide. Miles and miles of sand welcome the waves of the Atlantic. Winding its way northward toward the fort that bears its name, Popham is a place for both play and contemplation. —Dr. Lisa Belisle

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