Secret Maine Beaches You Need to Know About

With more coastline than California, Maine has no lack of waterfront destinations to explore. (Photo: Rob Olson)

From the sandy beaches of York County to the rocky shoreline of the Down East coast, there are beaches across the state waiting to be rambled — or just lounged upon. If you’re planning a visit to Maine this summer, these are some hidden gems that you won’t have to push your way through crowds to enjoy.

Birch Point Beach State Park, Owls Head

Getting to Birch Point Beach State Park can be a challenge, but the drive through beautiful Owls Head is part of the appeal. Locals favor the park for its out-of-the-way location that keeps the crowds down; if you can find your way, the destination is well worth the journey. The park can be accessed by driving through an open gate at the end of a dirt road off Ballyhac Road. Once there, you’ll step out to a quiet crescent of sandy beach, tucked between rocky headlands of the Mussel Ridge Channel. The panoramic view makes the beach a popular destination for photographers and those on the hunt for the perfect scenic backdrop to a summer picnic. On hot summer days, a dip in the chilly Penobscot Bay waters is the way to cool down, though visitors should be advised that there is no lifeguard on duty. Open daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day. 9 a.m. to sunset. $1 – $3. Access via Ballyhac Rd., Owls Head. 207-941-4014.

Related: 7 Affordable Beach Hotels Around the World

Lamoine State Park, Lamoine

Bar Harbor and Acadia are popular summer destinations, but for those looking to explore beyond the typical tourist attractions, Lamoine State Park offers a respite from the bustle of Mount Desert Island. The best part? The quiet shorefront park offers campgrounds, picnic tables, and grills so you can settle in for an afternoon or even spend the night. The pebble beach provides stunning views of the northern side of Mount Desert Island and Cadillac Mountain. Open daily, May 15 – October 15. 9 a.m. to sunset. $1.50 – $4.50. 23 State Park Rd., Lamoine. 207-667-4778.

You can’t beat the view from Lamoine. (Photo: Greg A. Hartford)

Laudholm Beach, Wells

You’ll have to work a little for the perfect beach day at Laudholm Beach, but the destination is well worth the trek. Take your time exploring the 2,250 acres of protected land at Wells Reserve; your hike through the wooded trails, freshwater wetlands, and salt marshes will be rewarded when you arrive at the soft sand of peaceful Laudholm Beach. The stretch of coastline is a quiet alternative to southern Maine’s more crowded beaches, and nature lovers will find more to enjoy when they arrive — at the beach’s end, protected mud flats are home to a variety of shellfish and shorebirds. Open daily, year-round. 7 a.m. to sunset. $1 – $4. 342 Laudholm Farm Rd., Wells. 207-646-1555.

A rare stretch of isolated beach. (Photo: Casco Bay Aerials)

Related: A Perfect Day on the Maine Coast

Roque Bluffs State Park

Head toward the coast from Machias, and you’ll arrive at a spattering of seaside houses butting up against Roque Bluffs State Park. The park’s sand-and-pebble beach is a rare half-mile stretch amid the bold cliffs of the Down East coast, making it a favorite spot among locals. Stop #29 on Maine’s Ice Age Trail, visitors can head to the eastern end of the beach to see deep grooves in the bedrock left by a glacial movement ages ago. Steps from the beach, a freshwater pond offers an alternative to saltwater swimming as well as opportunities for kayaking and fishing. Open daily, May 15 – Oct. 30. 9 a.m. to sunset. $1.50 – $4.50. 145 Schoppee Point Rd., Roque Bluffs. 207-255-3475.

Bold cliffs plunge to the sand and pebble beach at Roque Bluffs. (Photo: Rob Olson)

Down East magazine gives readers an insider look at contemporary life in Maine. For more information visit Readers can find Down East on Twitter, @MagazineOfMaine, Instagram @downeastmagazine, and Facebook.

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