While the hugely popular beaches on the West Coast like Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Venice Beach, to name just a few, are almost household names, it is the less trafficked beaches on the East Coast that are truly undiscovered gems. While the jagged, rocky coastline of Maine is not usually thought of as a destination for beachgoers, Sand Beach in Acadia National Park is truly one of the most beautiful small beaches in the country.

Location

Tucked in a bay between the rocky cliffs, rolling hills, and pine trees scattered throughout Mount Desert Island, Sand Beach is spectacularly different from the surrounding coastline. Soft sand is incredibly hard to come by on the Maine coast but Sand Beach, as its name suggests, is one of the few spots in the state with the sandiness to rival its West Coast counterparts without the traffic seen by the larger beaches on either coast.  

Sand Beach in Acadia National Park

While Acadia was the seventh most visited national park in the country last year, Sand Beach never feels too crowded, even though it is only about three hundred meters long.  Since there is a slight hike involved to get down to the beach, it tends to stay much less crowded than some of the larger beaches in the country. Don’t let the hike down intimidate you, though. It is well under a quarter mile from the parking lot down to the beach, with all the steepest sections of trail equipped with well-maintained stairs that make travelling from the parking lot to the beach and back extremely easy. While this beach is unfortunately not handicap accessible, it is a manageable hike for anyone who can handle a few sets of stairs.  

Hancock County Airport is 10 miles from Acadia National Park. Check out the best domestic flight deals.

Incredible hiking experience for the whole family

In addition to the beach itself and the views you get to experience while listening to the Atlantic Ocean crash in and out on the sand, hiking trails at the far end of the beach provide spectacular views of Sand Beach and the surrounding area. These trails are rated as moderate, allowing for an incredible hiking experience for the whole family.  They provide an easy hike with fantastic views for a wide range of ability levels. 

Facilities in Sand Beach in Acadia National Park

Like most popular beaches, restrooms and changing rooms are provided in the parking lot, along with a bus service that follows the Park Loop Road. Part of the reason for the limited traffic on this beach, in addition to the small hike required to get down from the parking lot, is the parking lot’s relatively limited capacity. Arriving early is essential if you want to make sure you have a spot in this lot, though taking the bus from another location on the island is also a possibility. It just involves buying a bus pass and using public transport, both of which can be easily avoided by simply arriving early in the day. 

A visit to Sand Beach will not disappoint. The views, hiking, and beach itself are all a beautiful centerpiece to Maine’s Acadia National Park.  

View of Sand Beach from Great Head at Acadia National Park

By Jason Bartley