If you are spending time in Portland, Maine, this summer, you'll need to find time to get to the beach. While southern Maine has dozens of beautiful beaches, we have narrowed down it down to our five favorites.
Old Orchard Beach
Old Orchard Beach is more than a beach – it’s one of Southern Maine’s most popular summer destinations. Located about 25 minutes south of Portland, this beach sits offers 7 miles of expansive, sandy coastline along the gorgeous Saco Bay. Lifeguards patrol the beach in summer and the water is consistently clean with rolling surf.
In addition to the beach area, Old Orchard Beach boasts a dazzling array of restaurants, old-time arcades, and amusement rides. Stroll down Old Orchard Pier for shopping and incredible views or check out the only waterfront amusement park in New England, Palace Playland. Fireworks illuminate the sky every Thursday night during the summer.
Scarborough Beach State Park
Scarborough Beach State Park immerse visitors in the beauty of Maine’s coastline. This beach attracts the adventurous beach-goer because of its large waves. Lifeguards are on duty from early June to Labor Day but beware, rip currents do sometimes occur here.
Scarborough Beach is a 20 minute drive from downtown Portland and parking on the weekends typically fills up by about noon.
East End Beach
East End Beach is the perfect stop for a picnic or photoshoot during a day exploring Portland. The city’s only public beach runs parallel to Eastern Promenade, just take Cutter Street down the hill. For a scenic walk along the harbor that ends in the heart of Portland, hop on the Eastern Promenade Trail from East End Beach and walk south; it’s about .8 mile to the bottom of Franklin Street and the Maine State Pier.
Popham Beach State Park
Compared to the other beaches on this list, Popham Beach is a bit of a hike from Portland (about an hour drive) but it is worth the trip. It is situated at the mouth of the Kennebec River. The beach is sandy and flat and very spacious at low tide. The beautiful rocks of Fox Island can be explored by crossing the sandbar.
Crescent Beach State Park
The sandy dunes of Cape Elizabeth provide the setting for this idyllic beach located only 8 miles south of Portland down RT 77. There are picnic tables where you can sit and watch boats move about the harbor. The sand is soft and the surf is relatively mild thanks to Crescent Beach’s location in a gradual, crescent-shaped cove on the southern shore of Cape Elizabeth.