When beach goers wish to catch some rays and enjoy the beautiful surf of the Maine coastline you usually hear of them venturing to the well-known and popular beaches like Old Orchard Beach, York, Wells, Kennebunk / Kennebunkport, and Ogunquit, which attract many of our out of state visitors and tourists.
However, nestled away are some great little beaches that while they attract crowds are not commercialized like the other beaches above and one can enjoy a relaxing day near the water to work on the tan and enjoy a quiet beach day with other like-minded folks.
Here is a quick overview of the beaches around Greater Portland, their distance from Portland, and what they have to offer;
- Old Orchard Beach – (15-20 mins from Portland) offers 7 miles of sand beach along with family-friendly activities including games and food, an amusement park, and a nightlife scene including bars, signing, dancing, and live music for a full day of fun an excitement. OOB as it is referred to is conveniently accessible by the Amtrak Downeaster. Metered / Lot parking available.
- Wells – (35-40 mins from Portland) offers 7 miles of oceanfront across four beaches, including open to the public Wells Beach, Crescent Beach, and Drake’s Island Beach, and the private Moody Beach. Wells has plenty of dining and shopping opportunities and is accessible by the Armtrak Downeaster.
- Ogunquit – (45 mins from Portland) considered “family friendly yet sophisticated” offers 3.5 miles of sandy beach. Further, Ogunquit offers something for everyone including art galleries, boutique shopping, theatres, deep sea fishing, and whale watching. The quaint town features cozy bed & breakfasts, high end hotels, and fine dining. There is a Footbridge Beach as well where you travel over a footbridge to a less visited section of beach which is also lifeguard patrolled.
- York – (45-50 mins from Portland) – has three beaches right off Route 1A for you to enjoy including Harbor Beach, Long Sands Beach, and Short Sands Beach. Each have lifeguards on duty from June through Labor Day and metered parking available.
- Kennebunk / Kennebunkport – (30-35 mins from Portland) – has 6 beaches including Mother’s Beach, Gooch’s Beach, Middle Beach, Colony Beach, Cleaves Cove Beach, and Goose Rocks Beach – a beautiful sand beach excellent for walking. Kennebunk and Kennebunkport offer shopping, restaurants, marvelous views of the Maine coastline, and of course an up close and personal glimpse of the home of our former President George H.W. Bush, Sr., at Walker’s Point.
Outside of the main beaches are some great beaches below where at times you can avoid the crowds and enjoy a calm and relaxing walk, rest in the sand, or just listen to the ocean;
- Higgins Beach – off Rt. 77 Scarborough/Cape Elizabeth, long stretch of sand beach with little parking available.
- Crescent Beach State Park - 66 Two Lights Rd, Cape Elizabeth – sand beach, salt water swimming, picnic tables and grills, bath house, plenty of parking, playground, gentle surf, nice kayaking area.
- Scarborough Beach State Park - off Rt. 207 in Scarborough near Prouts Neck, long stretch of sand beach.
- Willard Beach – South Portland, near Southern Maine Community College – fine sand beach, plenty of parking, lifeguards, restrooms, near mile long beach, views of Fort Preble and Spring Point Lighthouse
- Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park – off Wolfe’s Neck Rd in Freeport.
- Mackworth Island – Falmouth, sand beach with views of Portland, quiet, limited parking on island, hiking trails.
- Pine Point Beach – Off East Grand Avenue, Scarborough, at northern end of Old Orchard Beach, sand beach with dunes, great running spot during low tide, public and street parking available.
- Ferry Beach State Park – Saco/Bay View, white sand beach between Saco River and Pine Point, swimming, picnic area, admission charged
- Biddeford Pool Beach – two miles of sandy beach with gentle surf, bathhouse, lifeguards.
- Fortune’s Rocks Beach – Biddeford, salt water swimming, sand beach
- East End Beach – pebble beach located off Portland’s Eastern Promenade provides views of Casco Bay, restrooms, limited parking, no lifeguard, picnic tables.
- Peaks Island Beach – Peaks Island, short ferry ride from Portland on Casco Bay Lines, long rocky shore.
As you can see, the Greater Portland area does not have a shortage of beaches. Grab your sunscreen and beach towel and hit the sand and grab some sun! Enjoy!
For further information on the above beaches listed, please visit the State of Maine’s 2007 Geological Survey Guide of Beaches website.