There’s nothing better than Scarborough’s beaches in the summer. Beach parking passes are now available for purchase in the town clerk’s office. Please bring your vehicle registration and proof of residency if you are purchasing the resident pass. Fee collection at the town beach lots begins Memorial Day weekend.

Higgins Beach, Scarborough. Derek Davis file photo/Press Herald

There are a few guidelines to follow on your late spring and summer beach visits. Check signs at beach entrances if you have any questions while you are there.

If you are used to bringing your dog to the beach throughout the year, be aware that dog beach access rules change from May 15 through Labor Day. During this season, the following rules are in effect:

­ Dawn to 9 a.m. – Dogs allowed off leash if under voice and sight control.

­ 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – No dogs allowed on the beach.

­ 5 p.m. to dusk – Dogs allowed on leash only.


­ Adhere to restricted area limits.

Please note restricted areas between April 1 and Labor Day: Higgins, Ferry/Western, and Pine Point beaches all have restricted areas where dogs are not allowed (Higgins and Ferry/Western) or where dogs must be on leash (Pine Point). Please look for the signs on the beaches that mark restricted areas. These are common nesting sites for endangered piping plovers and is our most effective means of keeping them as protected as possible.

Scarborough beaches are some of the few places in Maine where endangered piping plovers make their nests and raise their chicks every summer. There are active efforts in Scarborough to protect the species — Maine Audubon checks on nests twice weekly as part of its Coastal Birds Project. Additionally, the town of Scarborough trains volunteer beach monitors to do outreach on the beaches.

To do your part in protecting them, please follow the dog rules (outlined above), and fill in all holes dug on the beach. Kite flying, kite surfing, sand surfing and drones must be kept at least 650 feet away from nesting birds. Additionally, please keep a far distance from nesting birds and chicks when running, biking, and playing beach games. Please also stay out of the dune grass, which provides wildlife habitat and protects against erosion.

The town of Scarborough has worked with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Maine Audubon for several years to make our beaches safer for these endangered shorebirds, and the efforts are paying off. Over the past few years, Maine’s piping plover population has steadily increased, with more adults returning to nest on Maine’s beaches each year.

In addition to piping plovers, Higgins Beach is also an important nesting area for endangered least terns. To learn more about these two species of endangered shorebirds, visit Maine Audubon’s website at

As a beachgoer, we rely on you to help keep these public spaces clean and safe for all. No unauthorized vehicles are allowed on any town beach, and no fires or fireworks are allowed on any town beach. This limits pollution, respects neighboring residences, and protects wildlife. Over the past few years, Scarborough has transitioned its public beaches and parks to a “Carry In/Carry Out” model. When leaving the beach, please take your trash with you. This reduces costs and helps us meet our goal of limiting our environmental footprint.

Scarborough’s rules are intended to ensure all visitors – people, pets and wildlife – are able to enjoy their time at the beach. Please direct questions about Scarborough’s beaches to Scarborough Community Services at 207-730-4150 or

Jami Fitch is sustainability coordinator for Scarborough. She can be reached at 207-730-4035.

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