Maine has a lot of coastline. If you’ve been reading for a while, you already know that because it’s pretty much our favorite fact around here. More coastline than California? How could it be true?! Well, it’s all those sneaky inlets and harbors and crags that, when stretched out, really add up! But, the coastline isn’t the subject of today’s article. Today we’re telling you how to find some new places to swim – from rivers to lakes to waterfalls. And, for good measure, we’ve thrown in just a few coastal beaches. Because, well, there’s just so much coastline to talk about!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Fowler Beach, Long Island
Getting to this beach will take a bit of effort, but we think it's worth it. Take the Casco Bay Ferry from Portland to Long Island to enjoy Fowler Beach. It's a wonderful little beach with lovely views of Peaks Island across Hussey Sound. If you take the ferry, you'll need to walk or bike down Island Avenue to Jerrys Point Road to get to the actual beach.
2. Parson's Beach, Kennebunk
Parson's Beach made this list based on its beauty and lack of obvious directions. The Inn at English Meadows says, "Bordered on the north-east end by the Mousam River, this small beach is open to the public but the access crosses land that is privately owned." The road to the beach, Parsons Beach Road, is directly off of Rt. 9/Western Avenue.
3. Outlet Beach at Sabbathday Lake, New Gloucester
Outlet Beach has been a beloved staple to the community since 1930. The small, family-owned beach can be found on the northern side of Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester. This wonderful spot is equipped with all the things you need for fun water activities without the lines that come with the commercial spots.
4. Lake George Beach, Caanan
This is another example of a lovely lakeside beach in Maine. Found just off Route 2 tucked between Skowhegan and Canaan, the Lake George park goes around the entire lake. The overall area was once a camp for kids, so you'll find it to be very manicured feeling. Hitting the beach in the morning means plenty of shade, but by mid-afternoon the sun hits the sandy area full-on. So, come prepared.
5. Rattlesnake Pool, Evans Notch
Plan for a hot day of hiking Blueberry Mountain in Evans Notch and make sure you stop off at Rattlesnake Flume and Pond near the end. The crystal clear pool is located just off Stone House Trail. You'll see a marker showing you the way via a small detour.
6. Birch Point Beach State Park, Owls Head
On the shores of Penobscot Bay, on a little peninsula in Owls Head, you'll find this mostly-local beach. If you're looking for a place to stroll the beach, fish from the shore or simply relax, make the effort to get to Birch Point. The sandy beach, known as Lucia Beach, has great views of offshore islands.
7. Gulf Hagas, Piscataquis County
Located in Katahdin Iron Works State Park in central Maine, Gulf Hagas is known as the "Grand Canyon of Maine." After hiking the 8.6-mile loop, you can jump in to cool off at the base of some of the falls.
8. Cobbosseecontee Lake, Kennebec County
What it lacks in pronounce-ability, it makes up for in beauty and fun. It is known for many coves, inlets, and more than 20 islands. It also has Ladies Delight Light, the only active inland waters lighthouse in the state. The lighthouse marks the Northern part of the underwater reef running through the lake.
9. Sebago Lake, Cumberland County
Okay, so perhaps not quite a secret, Sebago Lake just couldn't be left off a list of fun places to swim in Maine. Sebago is the deepest lake in Maine and we think it's one of the most fun. Enjoy boating, swimming and exploring unexepected inland islands. Frye Island is located in the center of the lake and is accessible only by boat during the summer months. Alternately, you can re-enact "Frye's Leap" based on the legend of Captain Frye. While trying to escape a Native American tribe in Portland, he came to a rock that he was unable to go around. Instead, he decided to leap into the waters of the lake and swim across.
10. Reid State Park, Georgetown
Reid State Park bears the distinct honor of being Maine's first State-owned Saltwater Beach. In 1946, prosperous businessman and Georgetown resident Walter E. Reid donated land to the State of Maine to be preserved forever, and a few years later Reid State Park became a reality. Today, thousands of visitors enjoy the park's long, wide sand beaches like Mile and Half Mile, which are rare in Maine.
11. Megunticook Lake, Knox County
We know, we know. You've definitely heard about this lake before, but it's another we felt deserved being included in a list of places to swim in Maine. Megunticook is a great option year-round. In the summer, hike up Maiden's Cliff and then come down to enjoy a dip in the warm waters.
12. Laudholm Beach, Wells
Not only is Laudholm Beach a bit of a secret, it also requires some effort to reach. Make your way through The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve and you'll eventually reach this stretch of beach that will likely be deserted. The wooded trails to get there are beautiful and the view at the end is just as lovely.
13. Coos Canyon, Oxford County
This swimming hole is easily accessed by simply pulling off of the Route 17 Scenic Highway. The swimming area is a deep area within the Swift River and is nestled between two fairly steep sections of rock. It can sometimes be slippery to access, so exercise extreme caution when heading in. Then, once you're in, soak up the sun!
14. Hermit Island, Phippsburg
It's located on 255 acres of the peninsula in Small Point at the south end tip of Phippsburg. Contrary to the name, Hermit Island is not actually an island.
It's actually connected to Phippsburg via a small, sandy causeway. The northern area is where you'll find lots of hiking trails, beaches and the (small!) marina and wharf.
15. Sandy Point Beach, Stockton Springs
Sandy Point Beach is nestled between two rocky headlands and surrounded by lots of nature. A day spent here means you'll have a view of the area where the Penobscot River widens into Penobscot Bay, giving sweeping, lovely and very "Maine" vibes to anyone lucky enough to find it. This area of river gets fairly large.