Maine and the Downeast Acadia region is known more for its rugged, craggy coastline than for sandy beaches, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of places to park a beach chair. From Mount Desert Island east to the Schoodic Peninsula, here is “The Comprehensive Guide to Beaches near Acadia National Park.”
Beaches Near Acadia National Park and Schoodic Peninsula
Let’s get this out of the way right quick: Sand Beach is not the only beach worth visiting while at Acadia National Park. In fact, when it comes to privacy, parking, or simply enjoying some quick time in the sun, maybe check out some of these other beaches near Acadia National Park?
Mount Desert Island
Ok, I know we just boldly said that you should skip Sand Beach, but let’s back up a bit. Is this your first time to Acadia National Park? If yes, then don’t skip it. Just, plan wisely. Sand Beach is the most iconic and popular beach in Acadia for a reason. It’s located right on the Park Loop Road, the Island Explorer shuttle bus stops here, the sand is lovely, and the views are stunning (hence why we used it as the main image of this article). If you ARE planning on going to Sand Beach, go early or go late. Parking is full by 10am and all day until around 3-4pm-ish.
Just down the Park Loop Road from Sand Beach is Boulder Beach. Start by looking for the signs for the Gorham Mountain Parking Lot, drive just beyond that parking lot to the next pull-off on the right. You’ll then need to cross the Park Loop Road to the Ocean Path and continue South (go the direction of vehicle traffic). Boulder Beach is located between Monument Cove and Otter Cliff, both well-known and stunning photo destinations along the Ocean Path.
Little Hunters Beach
Next on the Park Loop Road from Boulder Beach is a very different option: Little Hunters Beach. Perhaps equally as postcard worthy, Little Hunters Beach leaves the sand behind in exchange for beautifully round, polished stones. It looks like you’re surrounded by dinosaur eggs. The beach is nearly impossible to see from the Park Loop Road, making it quiet on even the busiest of summer days. There is a small pull-off on the right side of the road to park and a wooden stairway that will bring you down to the beach on the left side of the road. The rocks make a wonderful sound when the waves crash in.
Here’s something you should know, most people confuse Hunters Beach and Little Hunters Beach, thinking they are the same place. They are not. Little Hunters Beach is accessed from the Park Loop Road. Hunters Beach is accessed by a .3-mile trail from Cooksey Drive off Route 3. There is only enough parking for 5 or 6 vehicles, so choose your timing wisely.
Otter Cove Beach
Otter Cove Beach is more of a stopping point on the Park Loop Road than a full fledged beach. This beautiful rocky area is location on the left side of the road as you approach the iconic Otter Cove Bridge and Causeway. During high tide, you’ll never even know this place is here. During low tide, it makes for a fun place to tide pool.
Seal Harbor Beach
Seal Harbor Beach is our personal favorite “Sand Beach replacement.” Located next to the Stanley Brook entrance to Acadia National Park, in the village of Seal Harbor, this gorgeous sand beach has everything. Parking is extremely limited, and there is an Island Explorer shuttle bus stop here on the Route 5: Jordan Pond House. Seal Harbor Beach is also home to perhaps the most famous restroom in Maine, thanks to the Rockefeller Family. This colonial-style building is truly beautiful, even for a public restroom. Seal Harbor is not only the famous summer home for the Rockefellers, but also for Martha Stewart, so yeah, it’s one of the best beaches near Acadia National Park.
Bracy Cove Beach
Bracy Cove Beach is like Otter Cove Beach… is it really a beach? Kinda?… To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure it actually has a name. If you’ve driven Route 3 into Seal Harbor, then you know it. Whether or not there’s a beach-like area to explore all depends on the tide. Park across the street at the Little Long Pond Trailhead. While not sandy, like most of Acadia’s rocky beaches – it’s surrounded by beauty, much quieter than the sandy beaches, and really fun to tide pool in.
Echo Lake Beach
The best freshwater beach, within Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, is Echo Lake Beach. Located on the quieter, west side of the island, Echo Lake Beach was recently given a new spacious parking area and green Island Explorer shuttle bus stop: Route 7 Southwest Harbor. To the left, while standing on Echo Lake Beach is Beech Mountain, an impressive summit that can be accessed from a trail that meets the parking area.
Whether you’re looking for a beach or not, Seawall is a MUST for your Acadia National Park to-do list. This unforgettable rocky beach is like Little Hunters Beach, only WAY larger. Seawall is located in the southwest corner of Mount Desert Island. Aside from being one of the most popular attraction in the entire park, it’s also located in a small geographic cluster with the Seawall Campground, Wonderland Trail, Ship Harbor Trail, and Bass Harbor Lighthouse.
Wonderland Trail Beach
The Wonderland Trail is a short, easy, beautifully whimsical trail in the southwest corner of Mount Desert Island. The trail leads to a quiet, peaceful beach that acts as a great place to catch a sunset.
Hadley Point Beach
Located at the end of the Hadley Point Road, on the left side of Route 3 a few minutes after entering Mount Desert Island, is Hadley Point Beach. The small beach near Acadia National Park is popular with locals. There is a portable toilet on site as well as a boat launch.
Hulls Cove Beach
Except at high tide, if you’ve ever drive along Route 3 into Bar Harbor then you’ve passed alongside Hulls Cove Beach. The small rocky beach is a great beach combing destination at low tide. The beach is located about a half-mile from the Hulls Cove entrance to Acadia National Park.
George Door’s Pebble Beach (Old Farm)
Just steps away from the site where father of Acadia, George B. Dorr’s Old Farm home once stood is what locals refer to as “George’s Beach.” This quiet, secluded rocky beach is close to downtown Bar Harbor, while feeling like its miles away.
Jones Pond Recreation Area – Gouldsboro
At just under a mile from Acadia East Campground, the Jones Pond Recreational Area is located on the largest body of freshwater on the Schoodic Peninsula and is one of our favorite beaches near Acadia National Park. The town-owned area has a boat landing, beach, dog-friendly swim area, playground, picnic area, and more.
Sand Cove Beach – Winter Harbor
Located just outside of downtown Winter Harbor on Beach Street at the northern tip of Grindstone Neck is Sand Cove Beach. The small rocky beach offers views of Sand Cove and the Grindstone Neck Golf Course.
While not exactly a beach, the iconic granite landscape of Schoodic Point attracts sunbathers and picnickers like a beach. Here you can watch the waves crash against the rocky shore, while looking out over Frenchman Bay toward Mount Desert Island. There is plenty of public parking, however, you can also take the Island Explorer shuttle bus Schoodic Route to stop C. There are public restrooms at Schoodic Point.
Blueberry Hill Parking Area Beach
Just around the corner from Schoodic Point on the Schoodic Loop Road is the Blueberry Hill parking lot where most visitors park to hike on of the many trails in the area. However, if you’re just looking for a place to enjoy the ocean breeze, the rocky beach off this parking lot is beautiful and easy to access.
Additional Area Beaches
Lamoine Beach – Lamoine State Park
Lamoine Beach at Lamoine State Park is a popular beach at the only state park near Acadia East Campground and Acadia National Park. The park offers sweeping views of Frenchman Bay as well as fishing, hunting, sea kayaking, watchable wildlife, picnic area, playground, showers and a trailered boat launch.
Marlboro Beach, Lamoine
Newly acquired by the Town of Lamoine and Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Marlboro Beach is a popular place for locals. The beach is known for its valuable mud flats.
Tidal Falls, Hancock
Located near the gateway to the Schoodic National Scenic ByWay is Tidal Falls Preserve. This 4.2-acre preserve is managed by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy. Overlooking the reversing falls, this preserve has a rocky beach, picnic area, and a visitor Exploration Center. The preserve is being renovated for 2019!
Watch our Tidal Falls Video
Now that you’re equipped with the perfect guide to beaches near Acadia National Park, don’t forget to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, beach toys, towels, lunch, and a good book. Beach going is a wonderful kid and family friendly activity at Acadia National Park. Enjoy!
Book the perfect camping trip near Acadia National Park today at Acadia East Campground!