This sunrise adventure includes easy parking, a dog-friendly beach, and a long walk to a Ferris wheel.
I first experienced this sunrise walk a couple of years ago with my friend Becca, who loves beach walks and is also an early (and I mean, early) riser like me. The beauty of walking Pine Point Beach in the wee hours of the morning is this:
- You will mostly have the beach all to yourself.
- Parking in the municipal lot is only $5 before 9:00am.
- Dogs are allowed off-leash before 9:00am.
- The sunrises here are spectacular.
Pine Point is a long, sandy beach on Saco Bay. It begins from the jetty at Pine Point (looking across to Ferry Beach in Scarborough) and ends at Old Orchard Beach. The full out and back distance is around 5 miles, so make sure you've had your morning coffee before starting out.
There are a couple of options for parking, one is free and the other is $5 before 9:00am. For the $5 parking, there is a large municipal lot located on Avenue 5, off of King Street in Scarborough. Parking lot collection hours are from 5:30am to 6:00pm. All of the details on restrooms, dog laws and snack shacks can be found on the Town of Scarborough's website here. Note, Piping Plovers, an endangered shorebird, are currently nesting on the beach. You will see restricted areas roped off to protect them. Read more about the Plovers here.
If you'd rather save $5, but lose the access to public restrooms and quick beach access, here is the info on 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.
Whichever parking option you choose, once you've arrived at the beach, head right to make your long trek to Old Orchard Beach. There is a Seek'em to find along the way, about 1 mile from the municipal lot. For the closest GPS address to our beach lounging Seek'em, plug in 15 Beach Street, Scarborough. Here is a map showing the path from the municipal lot to the Seek'em, marked in red.
If you prefer the harder (more fun) approach, using landmarks instead of GPS, you'll want to look for two things: a lobster trap at the edge of the beach grass and a wooden tulip just beyond it, marking a residential path. Our Seek'em is sitting in front of the lobster trap. Hint, just before reaching the lobster trap, there were two boats resting in the beach grass (if you look closely, you can see two masts in the background). I don't know if they'll still be there when you go. If they are, you'll know you're getting warm!
As you can see by these photos, my last visit was not a sunrise walk, but a daytime walk. I brought my 12 year old and we met my mom here. Early mornings are not for tweens, so we came a bit later...and stopped for donuts on the way.
I you are an early riser, I would suggest the sunrise walk. Parking is cheap and you can even bring your dog. And if you make it all the way to the OOB pier, you'll get to see this spooky sight.
As always, I like to share lessons learned from my adventures. My advice to you is this: wherever you end up parking, make a note of the path that led you to the beach. When Becca and I first did this walk, we missed our path leading off of the beach and back to our car. Here is how that unfolded...
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.
We are so lucky to have a long list of beautiful beaches to choose from in Southern Maine. Pine Point is one of many, but the distance you can walk here makes it a great destination for long sunrise trips.