Maine does not lack for family-friendly beaches. Kettle Cove and Ferry Beach are each awesome in their own way, but if you’re looking to go a little farther afield to avoid the crowds, check these out:
1. Broad Cove Reserve, Cumberland: Tucked away off Route 88 in Cumberland Foreside, this sweet spot has only recently been opened to the public. And they’ve really got the family-friendly thing figured out!From Route 88, turn on Beach Drive, where you will see a small parking lot off to your right. Park there. Patrick will come by with the shuttle in a few minutes if he’s not waiting when you get there. He’ll transport you and your diaper bag/picnic basket/beach chairs/what have you to down the hill to the beach. There is a little cabin with a changing room and a portapotty that is trying really hard not to look like a portapotty.The beach is long and skinny, and the water is shallow, so you can walk way out before it gets deep. If you like this sort of thing, there are crabs and fish and creatures to watch in the water. If you don’t like this sort of thing, just pull your feet up and enjoy the buoyancy of saltwater…la la la…nothing to see here… If you need shade as much as I do, there is usually room in the shadow of the pier, especially as the tide goes out.Most important: check the tide charts before you go. At high tide, there is literally no beach to stand on! The ideal time to visit is 2-3 hours after high tide.
2. Mackworth Island, Falmouth: I know, there is nothing secret about Mackworth. The stroller-friendly walking trail and the comfy swings scattered along it have been a family destination since day one. The beach you can access from the parking lot is a bit mucky, better for strolling than swimming. [And that’s assuming, of course, that you can even get into the parking lot. Some days there is an attendant in the gatehouse keeping track of available spots, and some days you show up to a free-for-all with people parking in trees and such.]But many people don’t realize there is a rocky cove on the northeast side of the island. From the parking lot, head left back toward the gatehouse and take the trail by the bike rack. After you pass the fairy village and the trail hooks left at the entrance to the pet cemetery, watch for a set of stone steps to your left. They might be partially obscured by greenery.You can set up in the shade of the cliffs (depending on the time of day/season) or you can bask in the sun. The water gets deep fairly quickly so you don’t have to go too far out for a cooling dunk. You will likely meet a parade of dogs and people passing through, but there is plenty of room to hunker down for as long as you like until dusk, when the park closes.Bring cash or your pass: Mackworth is a state park!
3. Seawall Beach, Phippsburg: Josh Christie describes it best. This one is for folks who like a little bit of a hike to the beach. If you and/or your baby are up for that, you will be rewarded with a beautiful, secluded beach and exquisite views.
Which Maine beach is your favorite? Tell me more!