February 23rd, 2021
Visit Old Orchard Beach, Saco, and Scarborough for Summer Fun
Maine’s longest stretch of sand beach makes Old Orchard Beach a magnet for summer vacationers. And what a beach it is, 7 miles of soft white sand that’s meticulously cleaned each night by volunteers. Backed by a band of dune grass, the beach slopes gently into the surf, wide enough so even at high tide there’s space for everyone to find their patch of sand.
That’s just Old Orchard. Smaller beaches spread north along Scarborough’s coast, some – such as the beautiful Western and Ferry beaches — protected by the long peninsula of Prouts Neck.
A few miles away in Saco, at the 18-hole Schooner Miniature Golf, there’s a big replica schooner and lighthouse, along with outdoor batting cages for slow-pitch softball and 60-mph-big-league hitters. Every Thursday evening there are free fireworks.
With all this coastline, you can expect a variety of water sports — surfing, paddleboarding, sailing, fishing and waterskiing. Quiet coves and tidal estuaries invite canoes and kayaks. Scarborough Marsh has miles of meandering channels alive with birds, to explore on foot or in a kayak or canoe.
Black Point Surf Shop in Scarborough is a full-service surf shop, with new and used surfboards and all the related equipment. Their surf lessons include wetsuits and boards. Arlberg Surf Shop has a large selection of surf boards and gear, as well as paddleboards, water skis, wake boards, tubes, body boards and wetsuits. They also offer surfing lessons. Fun And Sun Rentals will bring you anything from beach gear to kayaks, paddle boards and sail boats — even bicycles, delivered free throughout the area.
This flat coastline is great to explore on two wheels, and you can follow the Eastern Trail, a greenway of backroads and trails for bicycles. With beach parking often at a premium, a bike is a handy way to get to the beach from your campground or motel. There are bike racks on the shuttle buses that connect the beach and Amtrak station to inland lodgings.
Also an easy walk away from The Pier and amusement park, Beachfront Condotel has two-bedroom and studio units with kitchens and Jacuzzis. Less than 10 minutes from The Pier are the neighboring budget-friendly Sea View Inn motel and Waves Oceanfront Resort , both with straightforward rooms and kitchenettes. Two miles north on Grand Beach in Scarborough, The Holiday House is a bed & breakfast with ocean-view rooms (some have private decks), and motel rooms that include the use of a common kitchen.
RV owners and campers will find plenty of options. A mile from the beach, family-operated Old Orchard Beach Campground offers everything from simple rustic woodland tent sites to facilities for the largest motor homes. Catering to families and couples only (no groups) and half a mile from The Pier, Hid’n Pines Family Campground also has basic tent sites and large full-service lots, and you can see photos of each campsite before reserving. Also within walking distance of the beach, the resort-style Powder Horn Family Camping has four swimming pools, two Jacuzzis and an 18-hole mini-golf course all free to campers.
Wassamki Springs Campground in Scarborough sits on a private lake with a mile-long sand beach, and offers free activities that include hayrides, movies and family bonfires. Season campers can store their RVs free. Seacoast Rv Resort in Saco, a mile from Old Orchard and Scarborough beaches, is a residential community for 110 park model RVs only, with a pool, hot tubs and clubhouse.
If all the saltwater makes you hungry for seafood, you won’t find it fresher than at Ken’s Place (207-883-6611) on Pine Point Road in Scarborough. Nothing fancy, but ocean-fresh fried clams, lobster rolls, chowders and a raw bar.
Text: Bobbie Randolph.