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Deb Collins

Deb is a New Zealander, aka Kiwi, who lives in Maine with her husband, Mike, and her happy-go-wiggly Labrador Retriever, Ted. In 2011, Deb launched her own online business. HappyME, to celebrate happy Maine stuff and exploring Vacationland with your dog. Deb will be blogging about everything dog and sniffing out fun things to do with your wag. More at HappyMEstuff.com | On Facebook at www.facebook.com/HappyMEstuff | Follow on Twitter @happyMEstuff

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Posted: July 13, 2015

13 dog-friendly summer beaches in Maine from York to Camden

Written by: Deb Collins
Deb Collins photo

Deb Collins photo

If my yellow Labrador, Ted, ever runs for governor of Maine, his campaign will be simple: mandatory cookies for dogs at every Maine toll booth and off-leash, dog-friendly beaches 24/7. Luckily for Ted, and for all the dogs (and their owners) that live for beach days, there are still plenty of dog-friendly beaches in Maine.

It is a balancing act for local lawmakers to keep dog lovers who want access to Maine’s beaches in sync with people who are seeking beach time without canines in their midst. Overzealous beach rules that ban dogs entirely are unfortunate. And it’s disappointing when dog liberties are lost because some owners don’t respect beach rules.


MORE FOR THE DOGS! Dog-friendly Maine Guide: Dog beaches, travel and adventures


The key to protecting beach access for our tail-wagging friends is to be a considerate dog owner. Pick up after your dog. Always carry a leash, and use it when required or when voice control is not appropriate for your dog or for the beach environment.

Southern Maine is renowned for its sandy beaches, so it’s no surprise that this region wins when it comes to offering dogs more designated summer beach hours than any other. As you head toward the midcoast, the sandy beach landscape transforms into a predominantly rocky shoreline, but there are still dog-friendly sandy beaches to be found. When you travel, it’s always fun to meet local dogs. They will often share a favorite “secret” beach location that you can sniff out.

Here are 13 beaches from York to Camden where your lucky dog can enjoy summer beach hours. Remember to only leave paw prints and be a good dog ambassador.

Ted, looking mighty fetching at Long Sands Beach in York. Deb Collins photo

Ted, looking mighty fetching at Long Sands Beach in York. Deb Collins photo

Long Sands Beach, York

LOCATION: Long Beach Ave – Route 1A, York [Directions]
PARKING: Metered parking
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/RESTRICTIONS:May 20 through Sept. 20. Sunrise to 8 a.m. – off-leash with voice control and leash on-hand. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. – no dogs on beach. 6 p.m. to sunset – on-leash only. These rules apply for all York beaches, including: Cape Neddick, Short Sands and Harbor Beach.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: Long Sands Beach lives up to its name, with over a mile of sandy shoreline stretching between the villages of York Harbor and York Beach. During off-leash early morning hours, you can run, swim and play with your dog before the day heats up. In between dog-friendly hours, the adjacent boardwalk is a great place to enjoy ocean views and four-paw mileage. If you work up an appetite, you can buy takeout from Sun and Surf Restaurant, located in the center of Long Sands Beach, and dine at one of their picnic tables. Standing on the picnic tables is not recommended, but it did make for a fun photo.

Deb Collins photo

Deb Collins photo

Gooch’s, Middle & Mother’s Beaches, Kennebunk

LOCATION: Beach Avenue, Kennebunk, off Route 9 and 35 [Directions]
PARKING: Permits required June 15 to Sept. 15; daily, weekly and seasonal passes are available at Kennebunk Town Hall and Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centers
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/ RESTRICTIONS: June 15 to Labor Day, before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Off-leash play permitted for dogs under voice control – always carry a leash. Dog bags provided.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: Gooch’s Beach is the northernmost beach section of what is known as the Kennebunk Beach Walk. It extends 1.5 miles along Beach Avenue, from the breakwater at the mouth of the Kennebunk River to Lord’s Point. If you head south from Gooch’s, you’ll find rocky Middle Beach and then Mother’s Beach, the smallest beach with a children’s playground. Middle and Mother’s are also dog-friendly, but Gooch’s provides the most romping space, especially at low tide, with a sandy coastal stretch of more than 3,000 feet.

Deb Collins photo

Deb Collins photo

BAY VIEW BEACH, Saco

LOCATION: Bay View Road, Saco [Directions]
PARKING: Designated parking lot on Bay View Road, Seaside Avenue
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/ RESTRICTIONS: For Saco town beaches, July to August, on-leash 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All other times, off-leash with voice control and leash on-hand. Dog bags are provided at many beach access points.

Deb Collins photo

Deb Collins photo

Kinney Shores, Saco

LOCATION: Seaside Avenue, between cross streets Shore Avenue and Dune Avenue, Saco [Directions]
PARKING: On-street parking as per signs.
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/RESTRICTIONS: Same as Bay View Beach.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: A four-paw salute to the town of Saco for allowing dogs on their town beaches all day throughout the summer. Kinney Shores and Bay View Beaches connect and provide a long white sandy stretch of paradise to soak up with your dog. Bring a beach umbrella and plenty of water if you plan to spend the day. The rolling surf beach is subject to riptides, so be mindful of that if you or your dog like to ride waves. Ferry Beach State Park joins up with the Saco town beaches, but the state-managed beach is not dog-friendly during the summer season.

 

116023_20875-Pine-Point-Beach-D-Co

Pine Point Beach, Scarborough

LOCATION: King Street off Pine Point Road, Scarborough [Directions]
PARKING: Municipal parking is located on Avenue 5 off King Street.
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/RESTRICTIONS: There has been controversy over maintaining the endangered piping plover population in the Scarborough Beach region. This has lead to some more restrictive beach rules over the warmer months.
April 1 to Labor Day there are restricted areas for the protection of piping plovers. See individual beach rules. May 15 to Labor Day – non-restricted areas allow off-leash play – sunrise to 9 a.m. with voice control and leash on-hand. On-leash only 5 p.m. to sunset. Follow posted beach signs and respect the restricted beach areas. Scarboroughmaine.org has the animal control ordinance with the latest updates and you should always read the posted beach signs.
RESTRICTED AREAS: April 1 to Labor Day for piping plovers from main beach access path and Hurd Park north to the Scarborough River (dogs on leash only). Follow signs.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: Pine Point Beach is a stunning long stretch of beach that runs from the jetty at Pine Point to Orchard Beach. There’s plenty of room for ball play, Frisbee fun and action for wave jumpers. At the Pine Point end of the beach, you’ll have views across the Scarborough River toward dog-friendly Ferry Beach.

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Ferry Beach, Scarborough

LOCATION: Ferry Road, Scarborough. Take Route 207/Black Point Road past Scarborough Beach on the left and then turn right to Ferry Beach. [Directions]
PARKING: Municipal parking lot on Ferry Road
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/RESTRICTIONS: There has been controversy over maintaining the endangered piping plover population in the Scarborough Beach region. This has lead to some more restrictive beach rules over the warmer months.
April 1 to Labor Day there are restricted areas for the protection of piping plovers. See individual beach rules. May 15 to Labor Day – non-restricted areas allow off-leash play – sunrise to 9 a.m. with voice control and leash on-hand. On-leash only 5 p.m. to sunset. Follow posted beach signs and respect the restricted beach areas. Scarboroughmaine.org has the animal control ordinance with the latest updates and you should always read the posted beach signs.
RESTRICTED AREAS: April 1 to Labor Day for piping plovers – no dogs allowed on the area of Ferry Beach starting at the south end of municipal parking lot and extending south to Ferry Rock and to the southeast for the full length of Western Beach. Follow restricted area signs.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: Ferry Beach is a soft, sandy beach where dogs can kick up their heels along the shores of the Scarborough River channel, with views across to Pine Point Beach. Ferry Beach joins Western Beach, which continues all the way to the south side of Prout’s Neck. All of Western Beach is off limits to dogs during piper plover nesting season.

Deb Collins photo

Deb Collins photo

Higgins Beach, Scarborough

LOCATION: Bayview Avenue – from Route 207/Black Point Road head south to the intersection of Route 77 and turn left. Turn left on Ocean and follow signs. [Directions]
PARKING: Municipal parking on Ocean Avenue and limited street parking on Bayview Avenue
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/RESTRICTIONS: There has been controversy over maintaining the endangered piping plover population in the Scarborough Beach region. This has lead to some more restrictive beach rules over the warmer months.
April 1 to Labor Day there are restricted areas for the protection of piping plovers. See individual beach rules. May 15 to Labor Day – non-restricted areas allow off-leash play – sunrise to 9 a.m. with voice control and leash on-hand. On-leash only 5 p.m. to sunset. Follow posted beach signs and respect the restricted beach areas. Scarboroughmaine.org has the animal control ordinance with the latest updates and you should always read the posted beach signs.
RESTRICTED AREAS: April 1 to Labor Day for piping plovers, no dogs allowed Champion Street to the Spurwink River.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: Higgins Beach is a half-mile sandy stretch near to the mouth of the Spurwink River. If your dog likes to body surf, this might a great spot to ride the breakers. At low tide, an old ship- wreck is visible from the shoreline. The road does run parallel to the beach, so be aware of this during any off-leash play.

Deb Collins photo

Deb Collins photo

Willard Beach, South Portland

LOCATION: Stretches from Fisherman’s Point to Southern Maine Community College [Directions]
PARKING: Designated parking lot on Willow Street, off Preble Street in South Portland
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/RESTRICTIONS: May 1 to Sept. 30, dogs permitted from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Off-leash play allowed with voice control and leash on-hand. No dogs permitted on the beach from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: Locals and visitors love hanging out at this dog-friendly, off-leash paradise with views towards Cushing’s Island and Ram Island Light. At the southern end of the beach, the Spring Point Shoreway Trail will bring you to Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse. Dogs should be leashed on this trail.

Deb Collins photo

Deb Collins photo

East End Beach, Portland

LOCATION: Cutter Street, Eastern Promenade Trail [Directions]
PARKING: Designated parking areas off Cutter Street and by boat ramp
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/RESTRICTIONS: Memorial Day to Labor Day, before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Off-leash play permitted with voice control and leash on-hand. Dog bags provided.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: This is a popular hangout for dog lovers, with views towards Fort Gorges. Nestled below the grassy slopes of the Eastern Promenade, it’s a perfect spot for social dogs to play off-leash together in a natural yet somewhat contained beach setting. Leashed dogs can stroll The Eastern Trail and pop by Portland’s dog-friendly Ocean Gateway Visitors Center.

Deb Collins photo

Deb Collins photo

Hendrick’s, Southport Island

LOCATION: Beach Road, Southport Island. Take the steep road just past Southport General Store and stay left on Beach Road [Directions]
PARKING: Designated lots at the beach
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/RESTRICTIONS: Dogs can play off-leash at any time with voice control and a leash on hand. Follow posted signs. Dog bags provided.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: This long, sandy beach with views to Hendrick’s Head Light is a hidden midcoast gem. Dogs under voice control can play off-leash all day and do a short dog paddle with their owners to Kitten Island. The Southport General Store is a great place to pick up picnic supplies.

Laite Beach in Camden. Deb Collins photo

Laite Beach in Camden. Photo by Matthew Levin from dog-friendly Lord Camden Inn and Grand Harbor Inn.

Laite Beach Park, Camden

LOCATION: Bay View Street, Camden, north of Camden Village Green – off Main Street (Route 1)
PARKING: Non-metered parking spaces bordering the park [Directions]
DOG-FRIENDLY SUMMER HOURS/RESTRICTIONS: May 1 to Sept. 30, dogs are allowed on the beach from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Off-leash play allowed with voice control and leash on-hand.
TAIL-WAGGING FEATURES: This protected sandy midcoast beach overlooks Camden’s outer harbor. The beach park is about a half-mile from the upscale, dog-friendly Grand Harbor Inn, which rolls out the red carpet for people and their dogs. Trapper, a Vizsla and local celebrity dog model for the inn and its sister property, the Lord Camden Inn, loves morning romps or sunset strolls at Laite Beach. The gently sloping lawn bordering the beach houses public facilities, picnic tables and barbecues.

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