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Scarborough Beach in Maine

8 Most Popular Beaches In Portland, Maine (2022)

Maine is known for its miles-long rugged Atlantic Coastline. This easternmost US State is rich in housing Ocean-infused destinations and therefore has a lot of beaches. Especially if you are in and around Portland, Maine’s most popular city, you will come across an array of excellent beach destinations. Beaches in Portland are undoubtedly the most scenic, with a varied landscape, picturesque buoys, and excellent photographing opportunities. Not only that, but Portland Beaches are also popular for offering endless recreational fun. No matter what age you are, you will always find something engaging and entertaining to do at Portland Beaches.

Portland’s actual city line, though, doesn’t have a lot of beaches, but even the few that are present here are quite good enough. Or if the number someday falls short, there are quite a few excellent coastal towns and beaches within driving distance from Portland. Be it Maine’s Best beach, Old Orchard Beach, or Higgin’s Beach, which is known for its excellent decorative features; every next stop has something exciting to offer.

8 Most Popular Beaches In Portland, Maine

With that said, here we have a list comprising of the Best Beaches in Maine. Have a look:

1. Old Orchard Beach

Perhaps Maine’s most famous beach, and the one that often flaunts in most pictures over the internet, is Old Orchard Beach. This seven miles long white, sandy and clean beach is located in York County and is fashioned for many popular activities. Anything you can ask for around a beach, Old Orchard has that. The centerpiece is the extraordinary Old Orchard Pier that extends 500 feet into the ocean. This pier is an ultimate go-to destination for adults, including restaurants, shops, and a wide variety of entertainment venues. The pier stays alive throughout days and nights from May through September and is always full of beach comers. Not just that, but Old Orchard Beach is also famed for the historic Palace Playland, the only beachfront amusement park in New England. It isn’t certainly a beach for peace lovers, but someone who is craving for entertainment and adventure, there’s no better destination in Maine.

*Old Orchard Beach is by far the Best Beach in Maine and New England.

2. Scarborough Beach

When in Portland, this is the Atlantic opportunity to grab. Scarborough Beach is a popular beach in Portland, Maine, that has been attracting enthusiasts for ages. It is famous for the unusually warm and temperate water conditions during summers that during July and August can go as high as the 60s or 70s in scale. Scarborough Beach is a hot spot for various recreational opportunities, including surfing, sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, boogie boarding, and more. It also allows swimming throughout the year but be aware since the ocean here has a strong undertow current. It is better to stay safe under the lifeguard range (lifeguards are on duty from early June through Labor Day). For refreshments, the beach features food trucks selling burgers, ice cream, sandwiches, and other such snacks. 

NOTE: Since Scarborough Beach is in a state park visiting here requires paying an entry fee of $8 per Maine resident and $10 per non-Maine resident (separate from the State Park’s entry).

3. Crescent Beach

Located eight miles south of Portland is Maine’s most popular Crescent Beach. As its name suggests, the beach has a beautiful half-moon shape, and it is undoubtedly extremely picturesque. Operating since 1966, Crescent Beach is a part of the namesake State Park and features miles of sandy beach, shady wooded areas, rocky outcroppings, and grassy dunes. The gentle waves and pleasing views can captivate people all day long. The beach stretches for no more than a mile and also lets one enjoy the unparalleled views of offshore Richmond Island. It may be smaller than many Portland Beaches but Crescent Beach provides enough recreational opportunities. Visitors can indulge in swimming, fishing, boating, and sunbathing. It is also a great place to sit back and watch songbirds and waterfowl. Some of the on-site beach amenities include restrooms, showers, bicycle racks, and a concession stand. For those who love hiking, there’s an almost 3-mile loop trail that connects Crescent Beach State Park and Kettle Cove State Park.

4. Pine Point Beach

The Pine Point Beach in Portland is quite spacious, comprising 4 miles from Old Orchard Beach to the Pine Point Jetty. This popular summer spot for beachgoers is rich in recreational and adventure opportunities. The favorite amongst the lot is undoubtedly surfing, probably because of the active waves extending in length between seven and 10 feet. Beginners and novices will definitely find it threatening, but experienced surfers will enjoy their time at Pine Point Beach. Other popular activities at the beach include Surfcasting, Swimming, Surfboarding, and Kayaking (craft rentals available at the beach itself). The craft rental near the beach also provides boogie boats and bicycles for added fun. For after-beach affairs, there’s a small snack stand and the popular Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-Op within walking distance. The latter is quite popular for its mouthwatering seafood. The best part is wide and inexpensive parking is easy to find around the beach.

5. Willard Beach

Willard Beach is located in South Portland between Fisherman’s Point and the campus of Southern Maine Community College. Willard is smaller, but size has never been a factor that could influence its popularity. It is ideal for those who want to have fun in peace amongst families and kids. The water at Willard Beach is calm, slightly warm, and quite scenic. Visitors often enjoy a range of activities, including swimming and boating. Enjoying and relaxing here also means capturing the beautiful views of Fort Gorges, Cushing Island, and Spring Point Ledge Light. Willard Beach is also popular for the WillardFest neighborhood festival, an enjoyable annual affair. For pooch parents, Willards is quite a wonderland since dogs on lease are allowed during summer’s morning and evening hours. Willard Beach, though, is a local’s spot for people who wants to stay back and can find family hotels nearby.

6. East End Beach

Noted as Portland’s best beach, the East End Beach sits near Portland’s Old Port shopping district on Casco Bay. What makes it a popular choice are the endless photographing opportunities. Especially the sunrise and sunset hours bring some of the most scenic portraits of nature to life. The East End Beach is also known for offering recreational water opportunities. The beach has a public boat launch, and visitors can either bring their own craft or rent a spot in the kayak rack. If not getting down into the water, one can enjoy watching sailboats come and go from the nearby marina. East End Beach has plenty of on-site amenities, including a playground, sports fields, changing rooms, and restrooms.  A grassy hillside right behind the beach also offers afternoon picnic opportunities. Branching off from the beach are several trails leading to locations, including Fort Allen Park and Fish Point.

TIP: East End Beach is quietly populated by locals and their dogs. If you are looking for time away from canines, you better choose the mid-day hours and avoid early morning and evening time.

Popular Beaches Near Portland, Maine (Within a Short Driving Distance)

7. Higgins Beach

Higgins Beach is a tiny little beach that sits in the town of Scarborough in Cumberland County. The beach is around 20 minutes drive away from Portland via Highland Ave and Pleasant Hill Rd. For families or enthusiasts who want a peaceful beach, there’s no better choice than Higgins. The smaller size, soft sand, and calmer surf here give the beach a very tranquil feeling. Facing the outlet of the Spurwink River, Higgins’ northern end has calmer water. It also makes this a great spot for swimming, safe kayaking, and fly fishing. Huggins beach, however, is noted for its surfing opportunities (in areas other than the northern end). Not only locals but surfers from all across Maine frequent here quite often. Another interesting feature of Higgins beach is the embedded remains of a wooden shipwreck. The wooden shipwreck appears as decorative pieces and is enough to keep visitors curious throughout.

8. Ferry Beach

Last but not least on Portland’s Best Beach list is Ferry Beach. Located in Saco, Ferry Beach is half an hour’s drive away from Portland via I-295 S and I-95 S. The beach sites are right between Old Orchard Beach and Camp Ellis off Maine Route 9 on Bay View. It is the centerpiece of the grand 117 acres of Ferry Beach State Park and therefore is visited year-round. The white sandy stretch of Ferry Beach is quite popular for swimming, picnicking, trail hiking, and guided nature programs. During summers, the beach is protected by lifeguards making swimming and other water activities safer here. In addition to what all beaches can offer, the presence of tupelo (black gum) trees nearby, at this altitude, is definitely a rare gem to find. The Ferry Beach also allows canine companions from October 1st through March 31st, though cleaning behind is recommended.

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