Play in nature-made kiddie pools between the river and the ocean at Ogunquit’s Main Beach. Photos by Amy Paradysz

The river side of Main Beach in Ogunquit is a place where everyone feels free to act like children – splashing in tidal pools, curling toes in mud, swimming against the current and surfing the waves.

Main Beach in Ogunquit runs nearly the length of the peninsula between the Ogunquit River and the Atlantic Ocean. This is the most popular beach in the hopping summer resort town of Ogunquit, and for good reason – the river side.

Show off your unique floatie on the Ogunquit River.

The brackish river water is a little warmer than the waves on the other side of the peninsula. A soft white sandy beach slopes downward into a sand-and-mud riverbank, then into a sparkling clean sandy-bottomed river. With a tube – or several tubes tied together if you’re in a group – you can float down the slow-moving river to the ocean, then walk back and try it again. If you have an inflatable swan boat or pizza slice or shark’s head, this is just the place for it to make its debut. Stylish floaties are the thing here.

The tidal pools between the river-side beach and the Main Beach are an ideal spot for families with young kids who want to splash and play to their hearts’ content without any worries about waves or currents. Just set up your beach chairs around these nature-made kiddie pools.

There’s a trolley stop here, and next to the parking lot booth there are restrooms with outdoor showers and trash cans. The ocean-facing portion of Main Beach has a lifeguard station where beach wheelchairs can be borrowed on a first-come, first-served basis (call Ogunquit Beach Rescue at 207-646-4947).

To get to either area of the beach, take Beach Street to the parking lot at the end. The daily parking rate maxes out at $30 (through Sept. 8, when it drops to $25 on weekends, $20 Monday through Thursday). If the lot is full, follow signs to the auxiliary Lower Lot on River Road, an hourly lot ($4 an hour through Sept. 8, then $3 an hour during the shoulder season).

Ogunquit Beach ‘n’ Sport rents beach gear such as river tubes, carts, chairs, umbrellas and coolers by the day or week, delivering to tourists at local hotels, and it has a taxi service called the Beach Caddie (; 207-351-7840). Liquid Dreams Surf Shop rents surfboards, paddleboards and body boards and offers surfing lessons (207-641-2545; 696 Main St., Ogunquit).

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough.

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