Mainers don’t strike gold, but we’re rich with sea treasures at our doorstep, so we’re okay with that. Shells, stones, and sea glass give Maine beachcombing a world-famous reputation. Whether you’re a sea scavenging enthusiast or you’re just hoping to find that perfect piece of Ogunquit to take home, grab a bucket and prepare for your hunt with our guide to beachcombing in southern Maine.
Ogunquit In A Seashell: An Insider’s Guide To Maine Beachcombing
Treasures You May Find In Southern Maine
Sea Glass: Coastal Maine is known far and wide for the colorful sea glass that washes up along its shores. Facing a combination of salt water, waves, and sand, pieces of bottles and other glass products are weathered to become smooth, colorful fragments.
Seashells: Each day means a fresh bounty of unique seashells on Ogunquit shores, including scallops, mollusc shells, and sand dollars.
Sea beans: Known by other aliases including drift seeds and “pearls of the sea,” sea beans are seeds and fruits that have been carried a great distance through ocean currents. After drifting for thousands of miles, sea water gives them a smooth texture, and they become stone-like by the time they drift ashore.
During low tide, you don’t need to venture far at all for your first stab at Maine beachcombing. Take one to twelve steps from your cottage or guestroom here at The Dunes to the Tidal River and scope out some seashells on the soft riverbed.
Ogunquit Beach is a fair bit busier than the more remote corners of coastal Maine, so those seaside treasures tend to be scooped up quickly after washing ashore. However, at three miles long, Ogunquit Beach isn’t without its beachcombing opportunities. With a little walking from either one of the beach’s access points, you’ll reach the much-quieter “middle section,” where your chances at uncovering Maine treasures will be far greater with reduced competition.
Are those tides turning? While not your site for standard beachcombing, Ogunquit tide pools are brimming with shells and critters like mussels and clams. Tide pools run abundant along The Marginal Way, Ogunquit’s favorite oceanfront pathway.
If you strike out on Ogunquit shores, don’t be so quick to put away your pail. Rockier coastlines are more likely to have sea glass scattered about — Kennebunkport’s Middle Beach and Fortune’s Rocks Beach in Biddeford are two of your best bets to find sea glass in southern Maine.
Bonus Tips From The Beachcombing Pros
Search during spring or fall: Maine beachcombing gets a lot less competitive without summer’s ceaseless beachgoing crowds. Plan a spring or fall visit to score the most hefty haul of Maine beach treasures.
Search right after a rainfall: Every cloud has a silver lining, and every beachcomber has a reason to celebrate the aftermath of a wet day. Rain washes sand off of specimens and makes them far more visible — and Maine beaches will be at their quietest post-storm.
Head out in the morning or late afternoon. If you’re hoping to stumble across sea glass, walk toward a rising or sinking sun. That golden hour glow doubles as a spotlight to help you pinpoint the glint and glare of sea glass shards.
Make sure nobody’s home: Before you pocket anything, be sure there’s no longer a sea creature still inhabiting its shell. No matter how much you enjoy surprises, it’s never much fun to see a slew of snails crawling about your backseat.
Keep close to some of Maine’s best beachcombing: With Ogunquit Beach just a quick rowboat ride away from our cottages and guestrooms, you can scout out seashells to your treasure hunting heart’s content here at The Dunes.