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5 Sand Beaches minutes from Portland

June 28, 2021

Maine’s best-guarded secret may be that the first 30 miles of the state’s southern coastline is home to dozens of scenic, wide sand beaches, most with public access. Famous for rocky shorelines and historic lighthouses it surprises many visitors to learn that from Kittery to Freeport there are long, soft sand beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming and even surfing. Five of our favorite, and rarely crowded beaches, are at our doorstep at Inn by the Sea, and just minutes from Portland.

Crescent Beach:

Cape Elizabeth (7 miles from Portland)

A private boardwalk for guests leads directly from Inn by the Sea to Crescent Beach, our favorite mile of unspoiled sand stretching from tidal pools at Kettle Cove- perfect for kid’s crab hunting- to nature trails that lead through the State Park. If not a guest staying at Inn by the Sea, parking is plentiful at the public entrance to the park and beach, and at low tide there is plenty of room for all to enjoy the spacious beach fronted by sand dunes and views of Richmond Island. The surf here tends to be gentle making Crescent Beach a great destination for families and Herring Gulls.

Willard Beach:

South Portland (3 miles from Portland)

This small, very simple 4-acre community beach is also a crescent shape that is well protected and has gentle surf great for kids and families to play and swim. This neighborhood beach has views of Spring Point Ledge Light and cruise ships and boats going in and out of the harbor. The beach is popular with early morning dog walkers. Parking is limited. There is access to the Spring Point Shoreway Trail at the north end of the beach which leads to Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse at the entrance to Portland Harbor.

Higgins Beach:

Ocean Avenue, Higgins Beach, Scarborough. (11 miles from Portland)

This short but wide and lovely little beach spans the frontage of the village whose shoreline is dotted with classic cottages We love this little stretch of sand for its character, small town feel, wide beach and waves that are often favored by local surfers in the early hours. Parking is limited.

Scarborough Beach:

418 Black Point Road, Scarborough. (11 miles from Portland)

One of the longest beaches locally- a very popular and beautiful sandy beach with summer lifeguards on duty. There is a small rip tide so best to stay within sight of the guards. The large parking lots are sometimes maxed out by mid-day on hot summer days at this wide stretch of sand so plan to get there early. It’s a great walking beach as there is plenty of room to slowly meander or go for a jog.

Ferry Beach:

Scarborough (12 miles from Portland)

Located on Prouts Neck Point, this public beach features sand dunes and a protected stretch of sand that just edges the end of the Scarborough River as it goes out to sea. The river creates calmer ocean waters, making this a perfect place for young children and families to swim or for stand-up paddlers. The Beach also boasts a public boat launch. The parking is usually ample for the traffic visiting the beach.

About Inn by the Sea:

An idyllic oceanfront escape, located on a mile of unspoiled sand beach, just 7 miles from Portland, Inn by the Sea is Maine's premier beach destination offering elegant hospitality in 61 upscale rooms and suites, with full- service SPA, cardio room, heated pool and captivating cuisine served in ocean view Sea Glass restaurant. Children and dogs are warmly welcomed to this Preferred LVX® member and Virtuoso® property.

FMI and images: Rauni Kew, PR & Green Program Manager | Inn by the Sea | 40 Bowery Beach Road | Cape Elizabeth | Maine, 04107. | M: 207.602.8500 | | 207.799.3134. Instagram @innbythesea.maine