Take an ocean dip, picnic, sunbathe, fly kites and hunt for sea glass and lucky stones at some of our favorite beaches.
Bakeman Beach, Brooksville
Skirting the Weir Cove Road, Bakeman Beach has been a watering hole and easily accessed shorefront spot for locals of all ages to swim, picnic and recreate. With waterfront access to the sea growing scarce, Maine Coast Heritage Trust recently acquired the slice of sand and transferred ownership to the town of Brooksville. The popular place, where the Bakeman family once ran a hot dog stand back in the 1950s, can be enjoyed by the public and has been preserved for future generations.
One of Brooksville’s many charms is the fact famed children’s book illustrator Robert McCloskey spent summers there on an island. Americans who treasure “One Morning in Maine,” “Blueberries for Sal” and other classics will recognize views and sights that the artist drew inspiration from. Bakeman Beach is a great place to read, picnic, beachcomb and take a refreshing dip in the ocean. The beach is located at 400 Weir Cove Road in the Brooksville village of Harborside. For more info about the town, visit brooksvillemaine.org.
Jasper Beach, Bucks Harbor
Charles K. Savage loved the shiny, smooth dark red pebbles found on Bucks Harbor’s Jasper Beach. So much so that the creator of the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve’s Asticou Azalea Garden filled a pickup-truck with them in order to create a Japanese-inspired miniature beach edging the reflecting pond.
In fact, Jasper Beach’s distinctive stones are fine-grained volcanic rock called rhyolite. Like dunes, Howard Cove’s half-mile sweep of beach slopes high up. The dunes, consisting of terraces, descend down and the stones get smaller and smaller. At the water’s edge, fine sand makes it easy to stroll barefoot and go for a swim. It’s a place where you could spend much of a day swimming, picnicking, reading, napping and rock-hounding. There’s a stream for kids to explore and odds and ends of bric-a-brac for them to create things with.
Bog Brook Preserve, Trescott
Bog Brook Cove’s s bluish-gray slabs and stacks, rising out of the water and beach, may be the most striking feature of Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s 1,770-acre Bog Brook Preserve in Washington County. The smooth, rippling rock formations resemble soft sculptures or sea lions slumbering in the sun. A brook traversing the beach is a magnet for children, some of whom will want to wade and float pretend-boats downstream. For this reason, bringing a spare set of dry clothes is a good idea.
From the parking area off Route 191, visitors follow a 2.5-mile hiking trail through a young, second-growth forest. Birch, poplar, chokecherry and other pioneer tree species suggest the land was once heavily harvested for timber. A pair of startled partridges dive deeper into the bushes while mourning cloak butterflies, with cream-edged wings, flit about. High up on a wooded bluff, visitors hear the rattle of beach stones being plowed up and down by the strong tides before they catch a glimpse of Bog Brook Cove framed by rugged sea cliffs. For more info, call 729-7366 and visit mcht.org.
Roque Bluffs State Park beach, Roque Bluffs
Sandy beaches are rare in Maine. By sand, we mean those minute grains of minerals seen in deserts. Microscopic particles of rock, quartz and crushed shells that are soft underfoot. That’s why we are singling out Roque Bluffs State Park’s half-mile crescent overlooking Englishman Bay in the Downeast town of Roque Bluffs. Because of Roque Bluffs’ remoteness, the distance (From Ellsworth, one-way, it’s a 59-mile drive mostly on Route 1), we recommend going for the day. In Washington County, the state park also features a 3-mile network of trails passing through old orchards, woods and along the shore. Toilets and picnic tables are provided in the parking area. Dogs are not allowed on the beach. Admission is $4 for adult Maine residents ($6 adult nonresidents, $1 for children 5-11. Ages 5 and under are free). The state park is located at 45 Schoppee Point Road. For more info, visit https://www.maine.gov/dacf/parks/index.shtml.
Seal Harbor Beach, Mount Desert
For more than a century, Mount Desert Island residents have swum, sunbathed and played at the Mount Desert village of Seal Harbor’s public beach on Route 3. In the distance, beach-goers can see the Cranberry Isles. Up close, they can watch yachts, sailboats and fishing vessels come and go. The sandy stretch is mostly fine-grained, soft underfoot and good for digging castles. Free parking is in a spacious lot on opposite side of Route 3. There’s a restroom too.