Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Best Sandy Beach in Maine?

Okay, it's time to let you in on a little secret.  As long as you promise not to tell anyone, I'll fill you in on the best beach in Maine.  A beach where you don't have to fight crowds to enjoy natural scenery unspoiled by condos and campgrounds and ice cream stands and kitsch.

Morse Mountain.

There, I've said it.  Normally, I'd jealously guard a secret like this, lest I spoil it.  Inviting all you hordes of people (all of the two or so people who read this blog!) might just ruin a good thing.  But in this case, I think I'm safe, because Morse Mountain has a way of weeding out the crowds, thinning them to just the right amount:  parking is quite limited, there are no facilities, all that beach paraphernalia most of us love -- kites and boogie boards and boom boxes -- are prohibited, and oh yeah -- you're gonna have to walk two miles in to the beach.  Over Morse Mountain.  And two miles back!   That sort of thing tends to limit the numbers pretty effectively.

Recently some lady friends and I headed out on an expedition to Morse Mountain.  It was a picture perfect summer morning in Maine -- not too hot, not too cold, sun shining down on us.  We met in the very small parking lot, where the attendant asked us to back in and park as close as possible, so more cars could fit. I'm going to admit I put on a ton of poisonous bug spray, since I'd been there before and knew the mosquitoes were Maine's Most Enthusiastic.  We filled our bags with snacks and water, and went on our way.  (BTW, the dog stayed home -- dogs are persona non grata at Morse Mountain.  I repeat:  Leave. Your. Dog. At. Home.)  And since a picture paints a thousand words, I'll just stop typing now:

Hiking to the beach.  It's not difficult, but for that "mountain" you have to go over.  The actual young ladies, not those just young at heart, led the way.
Let's all remember this moment, so in February we can think back on how verdant and warm we were.
This is your reward for humping up Morse Mountain -- spectacular view of the marsh below, and Cape Small in the background.  Osprey fly below you here.  
Once you get to the beach, this is what you see when you look west . . . 
. . . and this is what you see when you look east.  As you can see, the crowds are terrible.
Some people swam for a bit . . . .
. . . while others looked on in admiration.  Or horror.  That water is cold!
Then we got down to business:  looking for cool stuff.  We found this quahog that'd been preyed upon by a snail -- either a moon snail or waved whelk.  What a perfect hole they leave in their poor dinner.
Anja found this perfectly good, but wet, hat.  A run through the dishwasher will make this brand new.
Julie rescued this sign from the tumbling surf.  Plovers nest on the beach, and need special protection from idiotic humans like us.  Julie pulled this from the ocean, found a rock and replanted this in an appropriate location -- she did her good deed for the day!
This fencing protects a plover nest -- from predators, and humans who might like to play frisbee in that particular spot.
We found this too -- a set of deer tracks.  Humans aren't the only beachgoers out there@
Eventually we just started monkeying around.
And became bathing beauties!
All good things must end.  Our shoes went back on; our backpacks were lighter since we were carrying most of our provisions in our bellies; and we were all thinking about lunch at Sebasco Harbor.
GETTING THERE:  I highly recommend Morse Mountain -- only for people who can walk long distances. And people with a conservation ethic.  The area is protected by several entities, including Bates College and the Small Point Association.  These folks ask visitors to follow several rules, and in exchange share this amazing treasure with us.  If you think you make the cut, here's how to get there:  From US1 in Bath, take Rt 209 south and follow it 11 1/4 miles.  At that point, Rt 209 turns left (towards Popham Beach State Park); you should go straight on Rt 214.  Go ~ 3/4 miles; Morse Mountain will be on your left.  Have fun, go to the bathroom before you go (no facilities, whatsoever), bring bug spray, and bring your water and snacks.


  1. Wow..great spot..looks like a nice day trip from Belfast..thanks..

  2. thanks for sharing....pulled into the trailhead lot after a day at Popham...but ran out of time. wlll be back next summer to make the hike.

    1. Definitely worth your time to stop by again! Enjoy it.