Crescent Beach

Phone: 799-5871

Located on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth, mile-long Crescent Beach has a gentle surf that’s popular with families. The beach is rocky near the water but sandy at the top. The park has a snack bar, picnic tables, bike racks, restrooms, cold water showers, lifeguards, and plenty of parking.

A group site with 15 picnic tables is available by reservation. Use of the unpaved shallow boat launch at the east end of the beach requires a permit obtainable for a fee at the Cape Elizabeth Public Safety Office, located across from the Town Hall on Route 77.

A state park, Crescent Beach does have an entrance fee and is open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. However, in the off-season when the beach is closed to vehicles, it’s still open to walkers. Its trails can be a great place for a winter hike or cross-country skiing.

Higgins Beach

Located off Route 77 in Scarborough, Higgins Beach is great for walking and a favorite spot for surfers. Parking can be tough, though, because the beach is in a residential area that doesn’t allow parking on the side of the street, with the exception of a few spots along the beach. The beach has no lifeguards.

Ferry Beach

Operated by the town of Scarborough, Pine Point Beach is located on East Grand Avenue, on the north end of Old Orchard Beach. With soft white sand, dunes, and dune grasses, Pine Point’s hardpacked sand is a great place to run or walk at low tide. A snack bar, toilets, and parking are available at the 5th Street entrance.

Pine Point Beach

Located off East Grand Avenue in Scarborough, Pine Point Beach offers soft, white sand and dune grasses. The beach is a great place for a walk, particularly at low tide, when sand bars appear. Just make sure not to get caught stranded as the tide comes in.

Scarborough Beach

Phone: 883-2416

www.scarboroughbeachstatepark.com

This beautiful white sand beach with low sand dunes, good surf, and warm water is located at 414 Black Point Road near Prouts Neck.. With water temperatures in the high 60s throughout July and August, this beach is great for swimming. However, rip currents do occur on a daily basis, and swimming in designated areas is recommended. There are 285 on-site parking spaces and 125 off-site spaces. It has changing rooms, toilets and lifeguards.

From April 30 through June 15, the beach is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. From June 16 to Aug. 10, it’s open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and from Aug. 11 to Sept. 30, it’s open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Willard Beach

Located next to the Southern Maine Community College campus in South Portland, Willard Beach can be a great place for a walk. A favorite spot for dog owners, the mile-long beach has views of Spring Point Lighthouse and Fort Preble. There are restrooms, lifeguards, and parking for 75 cars.

Sources: www.state.me.us and portlandme.about.com