Maine has quintessential beach appeal because of its 228 miles of coastline (3,478 miles, according to the NOAA). Top-notch lobster rolls and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean may be found in any of the Pine Tree State’s top beach towns.
The northeastern shores are some of the most popular in the summer, and with those picture-perfect ocean views, it’s not hard to see why. Wooden fishing docks, bright-colored homes, and never-ending salty air have a calming effect on many people.
However, many of these ocean communities are also peaceful places to live year-round and provide great environments to retire or settle down. When you’re ready to explore what Maine’s beaches offer, head to these excellent seaside towns.
Here’s a look at the top beach towns in Maine to live and visit, in no particular order:
Kennebunkport is a coastal town in southern Maine full of life and charm. This seaside hamlet is pure, simple happiness and has miles of rocky coastline with cottages and yachts.
The beach resort town was incorporated in 1653, and by the 1870s, it was getting a lot of visitors. Kennebunkport has a population of 3,629 as of the 2020 census and has long been a popular vacation spot for New England’s upper class.
Due to George H.W. Bush and his family’s summer residence on Walker’s Point, the area gained global notoriety. During the summer, the town comes alive with visitors, but the rest of the year, it’s a quiet haven for families and retirees who live there full-time.
Kennebunkport’s Goose Rocks Beach is like something out of the Caribbean, with its white beaches, calm waters, and breathtaking views of Timber Island. This beach is safe from waves because of the offshore barrier reef. It’s a prime place to relax and watch seals bask in the sun on a hot summer day.
Colony Beach is another must-see; it’s a sliver of rocky shoreline along the Kennebunk River, popular for its fishing and gentle surf. Gooch’s Beach is another option, and it’s a dog-friendly, wide strip of beach that’s well-known for its excellent surfing.
Ogunquit is a charming seaside town with awesome places to eat, beautiful scenery, and many things to do. It’s hard to beat this area for beachgoers, what with its long expanses of sandy beaches and plenty of hotels and cottages bordering its coastlines.
Since it became a city in 1980, Ogunquit has changed from a quiet fishing town around Perkins Cove to a busy tourist spot. In 2020 it recorded a population of 1,577 residents. It’s the ideal place to go on an adventure because of the exciting nightlife, unique shops, and growing cultural environment.
Ogunquit, named after the Algonquin word for “beautiful spot by the sea”, is a picturesque coastal community that lives up to its reputation. Check out the city’s main attractions, and then go to the waterfront at Perkins Cove or the famous Marginal Way for a stroll.
Ogunquit is a wonderful place to live and visit, despite its modest size (only 4 square miles). Relax on the sand at Ogunquit Beach, a gorgeous length of approximately 3.5 miles that is divided into Main Beach, North Beach, and Footbridge Beach. All three beach lots have a daily fixed price and hourly charges. Ogunquit Beach is notable for its open-sided shelter with rows of seating for sunbathers.
Rockport is a well-loved coastal town in Maine, and it’s easy to understand why thanks to all its amenities. As of the 2020 census, 3,644 people lived in this small town known for its local food and beautiful port, where schooners and fishing boats pass by.
Tourists from all over the globe flock to this hamlet every year for the Maine Lobster Festival. Before retiring to your cozy B&B, treat yourself to some of the best seafood available, harvested right here by the locals.
Explore the quaint artisan stores and seaside walks. Enjoy the beautiful Beech Hill Reserve, the sandy beaches, or a round of golf at the Samoset Resort while surrounded by some of New England’s finest beauty.
About three-quarters of a mile outside of Rockport’s central business district is where you’ll find the ocean and the nearby schooner day cruise options. The quiet beaches, surrounded by many hotels, make it easy to go for long walks along the coast and get a feel for the area.
This is an excellent swimming location at high tide when the beach is completely submerged. In addition, there are a lot of places to eat and shop within walking distance of the beaches.
Founded in 1897, this coastal community of 1,056 people (census 2020) offers a genuine taste of living by the water. With more than 300 boats, one of Maine’s busiest and most productive lobster ports, and a strong sense of community, the spot is a great place to visit or reside.
Crockett Cove Woods Preserve on Deer Isle is 98 acres of hiking bliss through woods. A day excursion to Acadia National Park is possible with Isle au Haut Boat Services, which departs from Duck Harbor every day.
You can’t beat relaxing on Deer Isle’s Sand Beach at the end of the day. Many other beaches surround the island, including Lighthouse Beach and Reach Beach. Cool down in the Atlantic Ocean and see the stunning ledge formations that define the Maine coast.
Castine, located in central Maine, is one of the oldest settlements in the New England area and is a delightful destination with its quaint inns. Travel 130 miles north of Portland to reach this historic location that is off the beaten path but is jam-packed with things to see and do.
Although the population of Castine was just 1,320 as of the 2020 census, the town has been flourishing for decades, welcoming both visitors and new inhabitants. For 150 years, artists have been drawn to the city, and now there’s even an annual 3-day outdoor art festival in the middle of July.
Historians love checking out Fort Point, which offers a wide variety of attractions, from the Wilson Museum to the Fort Point Lighthouse. Castine Kayak Adventures gives harbor tours by kayak for a unique adventure around the area.
Wadsworth Cove Beach, a little pebble beach, is popular among locals. Come down to the ocean and watch the sunset or go on a seashell hunt. This little seaside community is perfect if you’re looking for a tranquil beach to relax on and are hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of big coastal towns.
Boothbay Harbor, ME
Boothbay Harbor, in the center of the Maine coast and dotted with islands and lighthouses, is a popular destination for fishermen, sailors, and cruisers. There is a large seasonal influx into the Boothbay area, and most residents do not do winter there.
A total of 2,027 people called this quaint waterfront spot home as of the 2020 census, about 250 years after it was founded. Boothbay Harbor is full of exciting opportunities, from learning about the area’s fascinating past to indulging in some of the best cuisine and boating in the world.
Boothbay Footbridge, the longest wooden footbridge in the United States, and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens should be noticed. This town is a great place to live because of its abundance of restaurants and cafes and its low population during non-peak summer months.
There are many beaches close to Boothbay. Grimes Cove Beach is a popular local swimming spot near the tip of Ocean Point, with stunning views of the islands in the distance.
While not officially located in Boothbay Harbor, Pemaquid Beach State Park makes up for it with breathtaking scenery, fantastic swimming, and the option to rent necessities like beach chairs and toys. The Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is a beautiful sight, and this beach is perfect for those who want to photograph it.
Old Orchard Beach, ME
Located on Maine’s southern coast, the resort town of Old Orchard Beach is ideal for people who want a tranquil seaside getaway. Locally known as “OOB”, the city is a thriving year-round community that takes great delight in its natural beauty and friendly environment.
An abandoned apple orchard that belonged to Thomas Rogers, who moved to the region in 1657, inspired the town’s name. As of the 2020 census, this year-round community of more than 8,960 people has grown as a destination for nearly two centuries.
As one of the best seaside resorts in Maine, Old Orchard Beach has everything from shops and boutiques to mini golf and bicycle trails to amusement parks and monthly fireworks displays. Residents and tourists can rent kayaks or go on guided trips led by local experts.
The most popular part of the beach is along Old Orchard Beach, a 7-mile stretch of sand, which runs through the middle of the town. By the water, people enjoy walking the boardwalk and the famous 500-foot-long pier.
People come here to swim, sunbathe, bodysurf, play volleyball, kayak, and jetski, and walk along the coastline. This traditional Maine vacation spot has historic and modern conveniences and restaurants that make it easy to enjoy.
As summer approaches, Georgetown’s small-town vibe and expansive coastlines become a magnet for beachgoers. The town is on a small island that can be reached from the mainland using a bridge and is known for its stunning beaches and colonies of shorebirds.
This charming seaside community, home to 1,058 people as of the 2020 census, is a beautiful location to spend time or make a permanent home. Surf Reid State Park’s waves and experience the towering dunes at Mile and Half Mile beaches.
Spend a day watching the animals in the forest of Josephine Newman Audubon Sanctuary. Take in the sights while strolling along the beach or dining at one of our fantastic restaurants by the ocean.
With miles of rocky coastline and the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop, this region is a nature lover’s dream. Every day from 9 am to sunset, visitors to Reid State Park may enjoy the park’s nature paths, covered pavilion, outdoor grills, picnic tables, seasonal snack bars, and two beach cottages.
One of the most stunning coastal villages in Maine, Scarborough is located only minutes between South Portland and Old Orchard. Green fields and rolling hills depict a traditional New England image inland, dotted with historic Colonial houses.
Scarborough is an exciting community for people of all ages to live, work, and play. The town’s real estate market is very competitive, and many kinds of homes are on the coast and in the middle of the city.
Since its incorporation in 1658, this beautiful coastal town of 22,135 (as of the 2020 census) has flourished into a thriving community. It boasts a wide range of companies, residential areas, and noteworthy natural surroundings. The tidal marsh at Scarborough Marsh is one of Maine’s most extensive continuous bodies of water.
Several fantastic public beaches may be found in Scarborough. The most popular beaches in town for a day at the beach are Higgins Beach, Pine Point Beach, Scarborough Beach, and Ferry Beach. You may find seasonal lifeguards, changing rooms, and equipment rentals on many shores.
Wells is a picturesque seaside community, home to 11,314 people as of the census in 2020. Locals refer to this seaside enclave as the “friendliest town in Maine”, and it epitomizes the ideal peaceful beach town.
By the late 1840s, affluent interior businesses began making their way to the barrier beaches of Wells. In the 1900s, word started to get around that the area had mild summers and a lot of natural resources.
Wells has much to see and do, from its restored theaters to its many parks, woods, and wetlands to its unique antique shops, picturesque farms, and stunning waterfalls. It has scores of motels, lodges, hotels, and B&Bs. The town is also fantastic for tent or RV camping by the sea.
The varying and exotic beaches are a popular tourist and resident hangout in Wells. Wells Beach, Moody Beach, Crescent Beach, and Drake’s Island Beach are the town’s main sands on the seven miles of coastline. The most incredible place to take in views of Wells Harbor is from the shores of Wells Beach, the most popular of the area’s beaches.
Cape Elizabeth, ME
Unspoiled beaches entice visitors to the coast of Cape Elizabeth, a 12-mile-long peninsula that defines the entrance to Casco Bay. This charming town of 9,535 people (as of the 2020 census) is home to the Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine, and was commissioned by George Washington.
Cape Elizabeth was built on farming and fishing, but now it is primarily a suburb of Portland. People like exploring the forests and winding pathways that connect the oceanside parks, beaches, and picturesque islands to historical sites and recreational places. Military structures like the Battery Keyes and the Goddard Mansion can be found at Fort Williams Park, making it a popular destination for history enthusiasts.
The cape’s coasts are both rocky (which protects against waves) and sandy (which draws many tourists). Crescent Beach State Park is a beautiful mile-long curve of sand where people can sunbathe, swim, and look for hermit crabs for a small fee. Visitors to Kettle Cove State Park must also pay a small price to use the beach, tidal pools, and walking paths along the coast.
Vacationers searching for a traditional beach experience will get what they’re looking for along York’s picturesque shoreline. The scenic coastline, beaches, Cape Neddick Lighthouse, and charming ambiance make this town one of the greatest in Maine.
There are plenty of things to do besides swim, sun, and tan in York, despite the city’s reputation as a beach destination. The beach is dotted with amusement arcades and candy stores, making it ideal for families with small children, while the hamlet is packed with old structures.
Staying at a York Harbor inn, hotel, or house built in the Victorian period is an experience not to be missed. When the summer crowds go, this town’s 13,723 permanent inhabitants (2020 census) relax and unwind.
At Long Sands Beach, the expansive beach is excellent for volleyball games and sunbathing, but more sand is available when you visit at low tide. Short Sands Beach, meanwhile, is popular with families who want to spend the day bodyboarding and looking for sea glass.
Volleyball competitions played right on the sand are common in some areas of the beach. You’ll find the ideal swimming conditions in the center of the shore, where there are also public facilities.
When it’s time to get your fix on the New England coast, these top Maine beach towns are what dreams are made of. Taste the best seafood chowder, take pictures of lighthouses, and enjoy splashing around in the Atlantic. Have a terrific time exploring The Pine Tree State.