Spend time at East End Beach and you will understand why Maine is often called “Vacationland.” Regardless of the season, Portland’s only public beach offers stunning scenery, fresh salty air and serene walks along Casco Bay.
During the summer, enjoy the sun and surf at the beach. The pristine shoreline, a mix of sand and pebbles, stretches for several hundred yards along the Eastern Promenade. The beach faces Casco Bay, a relatively calm stretch of waterfront. Note that the East End Beach does not have lifeguards on duty.
Sit back, relax and watch activity on and in the water. Notice colorful sailboats gliding in and out of the local harbor, with larger ships off in the distance. Be alert and you may see seals sunbathing on the many rocky outcroppings or crabs crawling out of the waves.
Use the boat launch at East End Beach. Paddle your canoe or kayak out to Mackworth Island or Fort Gorges both are just a short trip offshore.
Explore the area along the Eastern Promenade Trail, which stretches along the coast above the beach. The 2-mile (3-kilometer) trail, built along an old rail corridor, offers stunning views of the bay and beyond.
At East End Beach, nature is the focal point, but the beach offers basic amenities as well. Find public toilets and changing areas uphill of the boat launch.
Although no food is sold at the beach itself, plenty of vendors are located just a short drive away. Enjoy a picnic at one of the many benches and tables set up along the Eastern Promenade Trail.
Park in one of two lots near the beach or use nearby street parking. Spots tend to fill up quickly during summer months, so arrive early to ensure you can find a parking space.
Visit East End Beach throughout the year during daylight hours. Dress appropriately for the season. While you will be comfortable in a swimsuit during the summer, temperatures are usually below freezing during winter and you will want to bundle up.