York County hosts some of Maine’s best beaches
Even in the warmth of midsummer, a salt-water dip can be a chilling experience. Youngsters may claim to be impervious to cold water, but a parent’s watchful eye may detect shivering, chattering teeth or blue lips.
Maine’s beaches are washed by substantial tides, and beach space can range from expansive to nil. Take care to keep towels and gear clear of the rising tide.
The success of a beach outing depends on the quality of the packing. Don’t forget towels, sunscreen, reading material and other necessary gear.
Public beaches have rules, usually prominently posted. Check with lifeguards, police or town officials for the specifics on matters like animals on the beach, alcoholic beverages, glass containers, surfing, ball playing and care of dunegrass.
A listing of some of the public beaches in the area follows:
Ogunquit Beach -- A mile-and-a-half of level sandy beach. Four adjacent parking areas, with another parking spot less than a mile away. All are pay at the lot.
Main beach lot -- At the end of Beach Street. Lifeguards, restrooms, changing facilities, snacks.
Lower lot -- Off Beach Street.
Footbridge lot -- On Ocean Street, off Route 1 north of village. Lifeguards, restrooms.
Moody lot -- Off Bourne Lane.
Obeds lot -- Off Shore Road on Obeds Lane, about three-quarters of a mile from the beach.
Wells Beach -- Long, sandy expanse along Atlantic Avenue and Webhannet Drive, off Mile Road. Beach attendants on duty.
Drakes Island Beach -- Sandy strip along Island Avenue and Laudholm Beach off Route 1. Lifeguards. Four parking areas: on Mile Road, at the end of Atlantic Avenue off Mile Road, on Drakes Island Road and at the Jetty at Drakes Island.
Parsons Beach -- Sandy stretch backed by dunes off Route 9 near Wells town line. This beach is privately owned with public access to the left of where the road ends. Limited free parking.
Kennebunk Beach -- Includes Mother's Beach, a short, sandy section; Middle Beach, a rocky strip; and Gooch’s Beach, a curved, sand expanse - along Beach Road off Route 9. Parking passes required, available at Town Hall, and at Chamber of Commerce for visitors.
Goose Rocks Beach -- Expanse of sand, open ocean, and shallow tidal pools on Kings Highway off Route 9. Lifeguard. Stickers may be purchased at Town Hall or the Police Station.
Fortunes Rocks -- A narrow stretch of beach south of Biddeford Pool with roadside parking by Route 208 off Route 9. Lifeguards. Parking permits available at City Clerk's office.
Beach Avenue -- Inconspicuous lot for permit parking only in the Mile Stretch section of Route 208 off Route 9. Lifeguards. Same parking rules as Fortunes Rocks.
Biddeford Pool -- Two-mile sandy stretch on Route 208 off Route 9. Lifeguards, bathhouses and parking lot. Same parking rules as Fortunes Rocks.
Hills Beach -- Sandy 530-yard beach on Hills Beach Road off Route 9. Limited free parking.
Rotary Park Beach -- Sandy bank on Saco River, on Main Street. Lifeguards. Free parking.
Camp Ellis -- Small sandy beach area on Route 9 below Goosefare Brook. Saco residents may get a season pass, otherwise parking fees apply.
Ferry Beach -- Small sandy stretch north of Camp Ellis. No lifeguards. Limited free parking.
Ferry Beach State Park -- 117-acre State Park with an expanse of Sandy Beach off Bay View Road. Boardwalk through dunes, nature trails, picnic area with grills and tables, restrooms and changing areas, lifeguards. 9 a.m. -8 p.m. Entrance fee charged; season passes available.
Bay View Beach -- Two hundred yards of mostly sandy beach at the end of Bay View Road, off Route 9. Lifeguards. Limited free parking.
Kinney Shores -- Narrow sandy strip east of Bay View Beach. Lifeguards. Limited free parking.
OLD ORCHARD BEACH
Old Orchard Beach -- Three-mile-long sand beach. Lifeguards, food concessions, amusements. Parking at Memorial Lot, corner of First and Staples streets, or the Milliken Street lot. Rates vary at each, according to time of day and day of week. Season Passes are available for residents. Passes may be purchased at the Town Clerk’s Office at Town Hall. Parking meters available nearby on Old Orchard, First, and Imperial streets.