Popham Beach

"Popham Beach Sign"Maine is known for having some of the best beaches in the U.S. While you have many to choose from in the Portland area, about an hour north of Portland is a beach that suits all ages. Popham Beach State Park is the perfect destination for singles, couples, and families.

Check the website (www.maine.gov/doc/parks/parksinfo/popham/pophambeach.shtml) before visiting. When the tide is high in peak hours, beach space is limited. You’re better waiting until the tide is going out to ensure you have space to spread towels and blankets on the beach.

Popham Beach Details

Popham Beach spans more than three miles, so there’s plenty of room for everyone. There’s a large parking lot, and then you walk over a slight hill to reach the beach area. The sand as you approach the beach is very soft, so if you have difficulty walking, you may want to stop by a lifeguard tower and ask to use the beach wheelchair.

The beach consists of the main area, two sand bars, and then an island a few hundred yards from the beach. When the tide is low, it’s easy to walk out to the small island via a sand bar. Avoid the island when the tide is coming in, as it can be dangerous to be out there stranded. There’s a memorial on the island that pays tribute to a college student who drowned in the waters near Popham Beach.

In between the two sand bars is a current that forms a shallow river during low tide. This current becomes a popular attraction with kids who like to float from one sand bar to the next. It can be tricky walking across it as the current makes the sandy bottom uneven. You might be ankle-deep one step and knee-deep the next.

For parents of young children, there’s a huge tide pool that’s relatively shallow and suitable to the younger crowd. It’s away from the ocean surf, so you don’t have to worry about your child falling over with a strong current.

Popham Beach is a popular beach with the surfers and kayakers because of the strong currents. If you go into the ocean beyond the sand bars, watch for riptides, surfers, and kayakers.

After the beach, drive farther south to Fort Popham and explore the historic fort. If you’re lucky, you might see some harbor seals playing in the surf.

"Popham Beach Island" "Popham Beach"

Getting to Popham Beach

Popham Beach State Park is in Phippsburg, Maine, off Route 209. The beach is well-marked, so you shouldn’t have difficulty finding it. As you near the entrance, parked cars line the shoulder, so heed the signs that tell you to slow down for pedestrians.

Per 2012, non-resident adults pay $6 per person to visit Popham Beach, and Maine residents pay $4 per person. Non-resident seniors 65 or older receive a $2 discount, and Maine seniors don’t pay anything. Children 5 to 11 pay $1, and children younger than 5 are free. This fee includes use of the shower and toilet facilities, parking, and full access to the beach and island.

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