The dog days of summer are here and what better way to celebrate than by hitting the beach with your best, furry friend? After all, sandy paws equal happy dogs and luckily our great state of Maine has some of the sandiest and most dog-friendly beaches around. Whether your pup is a swimmer, sandy digger, or seagull chaser we guarantee that he’ll enjoy every one of the locations on our list of the best beaches Maine has to offer!
1. Long Sands Beach, York
Long Beach Avenue — Route 1A, York
With over a mile of white, sandy shoreline to explore spanning from York Harbor to York Beach, Long Sands Beach definitely lives up to its name! You can run, swim, jog, or just relax with your dog during their early morning and evening, off-leash hours and visit with other local, friendly beachgoers. A small, takeout restaurant located in the middle of Long Sands is also a fun and delicious way to end a nice walk on the beach if you and your furry friend work up an appetite. There are even picnic tables huddled around the rocks so you and your dog can dine together. Just remember to throw away any and all trash and clean up after your pooch!
Starting from the breakwater at the mouth of the Kennebunk River and extending 1.5 miles all along Beach Avenue, the Kennebunk Beach Walk actually consists of three separate beaches. Gooch’s Beach, which is at the northernmost end, provides the most space and open shoreline for you and your dog to explore. Mother’s Beach, which is the at the southernmost end and is the smallest of the three, features a quaint playground and park which is nice for parents of both two and four-legged kids. And Middle Beach, aptly named because it sits in-between the two, is great for exploring the more rocky aesthetic of Maine’s coastlines. With three separate beaches to choose from all snuggled together for over a mile, Kennebunk is a great destination point for all dog lovers. It’s also within walking distance of the scenic, tourist town of Kennebunkport!
3. Kinney Shores, Saco
Seaside Avenue, Saco
Kinney Shores is an awesome dog friendly beach because unlike most other beaches in Maine, the town of Saco allows our four-legged friends on the beach all day, as long as they are leashed between the hours of 9am-5pm! This makes for a wonderful, relaxing beach day with the pooch as the entire family can enjoy the sun, surf and rocky tide pools. Although there is limited street parking, Kinney Shores makes up for it by having the added benefit of active, on-duty lifeguards on the beach from sunup to sundown who will help look out for you as well as your dog. So bring the umbrellas and plenty of water because you might just end up spending the entire day here!
Another awesome beach that allows leashed dogs all day long, Hadley Point Beach is located on the scenic, resort town of Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, which is right on the central coast of Maine. On top of the regular beach activities such as swimming, sunbathing and digging in the sand, you and your dog can also enjoy a relaxing canoe ride through the company Acadia Outfitters, which rents boats out on the waterways and rivers. Plus, if your dog is itching to get off his leash throughout the day, Hadley Point offers a nearby leash-free area for your dog to run in called Little Long Pond, located in Seal Harbor. Sounds like the perfect paradise for any beach-loving dog!
5. Willard Beach, South Portland
Stretches from Fisherman’s Point to SMCC
Located in the fourth largest city in Maine, Willard Beach in Simonton Cove allows dogs off-leash, year round in the early morning and evening hours where they can explore the rocky coastline and go swimming around the dunes. Both locals and out-of-staters enjoy this sand and pebble beach for its family-friendly atmosphere in a quiet neighborhood and its breathtaking views towards Cushing’s Island and Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse. Plus, if your dog gets tired of chasing seagulls and is ready for some more sightseeing, Willard Beach features a cool, connective path to the Spring Point Shoreway Trail at the southernmost end of the beach. Although dogs must be leashed on this path, the walk is well worth it and ends with a trip to Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, just one of the many, standing lighthouses Maine has to offer! Just remember, if you plan to visit Willard Beach please keep your pooch away from any occupied bird nests in the dunes. The local wildlife will thank you!
We believe that Maine beaches are some of the best and the fact that most are dog friendly definitely is a big reason why! So whether you and your pup are locals, up visiting for the summer, or just passing through, we hope you can find the time to visit the rocky shorelines and soak up the sun. Happy summer!