This sunrise adventure includes free parking, an empty beach, and a Ferris wheel lit by the full moon.
My friend Becca occasionally wakes at the crack of dawn to run from Pine Point Beach to the Old Orchard Beach pier. I'd been invited to join her many times, but my answer had always been, "maybe next time." With kids to get to school and a dog to walk in the mornings, it just didn't seem feasible. Plus, COVID had taught me how to sleep in and 4:30am no longer felt like a reasonable time to set the alarm. A 4:30am wakeup was bananas.
But a couple of weeks ago, Becca showed me a sunrise picture of her latest beach run. At that moment, I decided I'd been missing out. Come to find out, I was right.
It does take some planning to squeeze in a sunrise run during the work week. Still, I knew it would be worth it, so preparations were made.
Becca picked me up at 5:20am in the pitch dark. It felt like one of those exciting, early morning trips to the airport, except we'd be greeted by salt air instead of security checks.
Here comes the best part, the free parking. From Route 1 in Scarborough, take Pine Point Road. As you approach the beach, look for The Landing Inn on your right. There are a few parking spaces on the street in front of the Inn, open to the public.
From here, head straight down the road until you've reached Snowberry Ocean View Park. There is a path to the right of the sign that leads straight to the beach.
There is also a curved bench along this path. And behind that bench, somewhere in the middle along the ground, is our sand colored Seek'em.
Continue on this path until you've reached the beach, then take a right to begin your journey to the spooky, vacant amusement park at Old Orchard Beach. The total distance is 2.5 miles one way, so this may be too far if you have young ones. If you're ready to go the distance, here is what you'll see when you reach the pier. Look closely at the Ferris wheel picture and find the full moon shining low behind it.
Headlamps are helpful for sunrise jogs along the beach. You won't find any street lamps here. However, the sun should be rising on your return trip and it is quite spectacular.
As we made our way back, Becca and I were so wrapped up in conversation and pretty sunrises, that we missed our path leading off the beach. After retracing our steps with no luck, we were forced to exit the beach via private property - and some fine property at that. Becca is a good rule follower and I am not, so watching her book it across the perfectly manicured lawns and fancy homes gave me a laugh so hard I had to squat in order to not pee my pants. The other part that got me - picturing the homeowners inside, drinking coffee while watching middle aged women run past their kitchen windows...one ducking nervously and the other dying of laughter. Of course I stopped to document this moment, because it really was the highlight of the trip for me.
If you want to avoid this situation, just pay close attention to the path you take onto the beach, so that you can find it again on your return.
The story ends by us calling our husbands to let them know that we would not, in fact, be back in time to help get the kids off to school. In truth, we also got lost on our way to the beach...good conversation is quite a distractor.
Of course you can do this adventure during the daylight hours, or even during sunset if that works better for your schedule and your family. If your kids are early risers, I'm sure a sunrise walk would be an exciting new experience. Or maybe you need some kid free time and want to find a way to leave the little cherubs at home. I'm just here to offer new ideas for enjoying the outdoors and sunrise walks are pretty magical.
Now that I've finally experienced one, I will be doing it again and again. If you decide to take the challenge, I suggest a road coffee and some good company. Makes all the difference.