Sand Beach is a huge sandy beach in Acadia National Park with open views out into the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The beach is a popular roadside destination on the main park loop, and it receives lots of traffic. Despite this, there is plenty of space to grab a patch of sand and soak up the sun. Changing rooms and restrooms are available, but pets are not allowed on the beach from May 15 through September 15.
Two parking lots access the beach. During the peak summer season, from late June through August, parking can be incredibly difficult to find. The Island Explorer shuttle bus does make frequent stops here, allowing users to circumvent the parking issues.
From the lower parking area, a staircase leads to the beach's sandy shores. Newport Cove protects the beach from the pounding waves that sweep away sand from the rest of Maine's coast. A careful observer will note that much of the sand is actually pulverized seashells, with colors ranging from purple to green.
The cove doesn't prevent all erosion, though. Winter storms occasionally sweep away enough sand to reveal the remains of the schooner Tay. This two-masted ship was transporting lumber from Nova Scotia to Boston when it crashed into a rock ledge known as Old Soaker. The hull was washed ashore on Sand Beach, along with all but one of the crew members. At the time the land was owned by Louisa Satterlee, the daughter of J.P. Morgan, who provided shelter for the survivors.
Sand Beach can have dramatic tide changes, so keep an eye on your belongings if you leave them during an incoming tide. At the beach’s eastern edge, the 2-mile Great Head hiking loop begins, climbing the rocky prominence and paralleling cliff edges that drop directly into the ocean. At it’s western edge, the 4-mile Ocean Path begins, running along the coast and hitting highlights such as Thunder Hole and Otter Cliff. Inland from the beach, the Beehive dominates the skyline.
The water is quite cold, even in the peak summer heat. While it's hard to resist a dip in the crashing waves, it will likely be a short one.