Letterman may have taken his final bow, but top ten lists of all kinds are still going strong. We keep an eye out every year and sure enough, our hometown beach lands consistently among the best in New England. It makes sense to us — our founders picked this spot as their favorite back in the 1930s. We’re feeling bold this year, so we’re going to take it one step further and say this: Ogunquit beach is the best beach in Maine. Period.
Don’t get us wrong — there are plenty of gorgeous spots to go for a swim along the Maine coast and we don’t mean to knock them. All in good fun, here are five reasons we think Ogunquit beach is a little better than all the rest.
1. The sand is extra soft
It sounds obvious, we know, but let us explain: there’s something special about the sand here. Its fine white grains are almost sugary in texture, though we can’t recommend eating them. The entire land mass in between Ogunquit’s tidal river and the Atlantic Ocean is made up of sand — there are no rocks in sight. Even at high tide, a great deal of this soft sand is exposed, and when the water goes out, there’s even more room to explore. Considering how many other Maine beaches have pebbles or are downright rocky, we think we have a winner.
2. It’s three miles long
Most beaches stretch a couple hundred yards at best, and they can get seriously crowded. Ogunquit Beach is three miles long, so there’s plenty of room to spread out. We think of it in three sections, but it’s really one continuous beach. Main Beach, the southernmost portion, is the downtown hotspot, with a parking lot and plenty of public facilities. It’s located at the mouth of the Ogunquit River, which empties out at low tide. At the north end, the area known as Footbridge Beach also has parking and public facilities, as well as a pedestrian bridge across the river. With so much room to run around, it’s no wonder Yankee Magazine calls this the best southern Maine beach for avoiding crowds.
The best-kept secret is the middle section, which takes some walking to get to from either of the public access points. It’s the quietest area and stays uncrowded through even the busiest parts of the season.
3. It’s perfect for families
With the kids in tow, a trip to the beach doesn’t need any extra complications. Family members of all ages can relax and have fun at Ogunquit Beach without worrying. We have great lifeguards, and our friendly local police officers post updates about the tides and weather conditions to their Facebook page. That amazing sand we mentioned also helps make swimming safer — it recedes gradually into the ocean, lowering the risk of a strong undertow that comes with steeper dropoffs. Public restrooms and concessions at the two main access points make the kids’ mini-emergencies a breeze, and there’s plenty of room for them to run wild once they set foot in the sand.
4. Sand castle contest + kite festival = more fun
The best beach in Maine wouldn’t be complete without this duo of annual events. The sand castle contest, which takes place in July and is scheduled around the tides, calls on plastic shovel artisans from near and far to show off their most intricate creations. The Ogunquit Kite Festival, part of the weeklong Capriccio festival, makes the most of September’s sea breeze, with hundreds of colorful kites flying high along the shoreline.
5. It’s in the best beach town
Just over an hour north of Boston, the best beach in Maine happens to be pretty accessible. And according to Yankee Magazine, it’s adjacent to the best beach town around. Ogunquit has plenty going on for those willing to venture a couple of blocks inland. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art and the Leavitt Theatre make great rainy day activities, and the Ogunquit Playhouse brings world-class talent to a historic summer stage right down the street.
The best part about Ogunquit Beach’s location, in our totally unbiased opinion, is that it’s directly across the tidal river from our Ogunquit cottages and guest rooms here at The Dunes on the Waterfront. When the tide is out we can walk right over, and when it’s in, our guests use complimentary row boats to get across. Once you’re there, take a look to your left and right — you’ll be right in the middle of the quiet center section, away from the crowds, with all that gorgeous sand at your feet.