Burrrhhh. . .This Water is Cold
The coastline of Maine, when you include the shoreline of the 4,600+ islands, is more than 7,000 miles long. Of all those miles, only about 60 are sandy, most of which are in the southern part of the state. The preeminent sand beach in northern Maine, called Sand Beach, is found along the Ocean Drive in Acadia National Park, about four miles south of Bar Harbor.
Sand Beach is what’s called a natural pocket beach, about 300 yards wide, tucked at the northern end of Newport Cove between Great Head and the Beehive. It’s actually only about half sand; the rest of the beach is made up of crushed bits of mussel and crab shells, sea urchin spines, and parts of other sea creatures.
Sand Beach is one of two places (along with Echo Lake) in Acadia staffed by lifeguards to monitor swimming during the Memorial Day to Labor Day season, and both are part of the Maine Healthy Beaches network. The lifeguards estimate that only about 10% of the thousands of people who come to Sand Beach actually go into the salt water, which at best in the summertime is 55-60° F.
FUN FACTS: Feature films have been made at Sand Beach at least since 1918, when the 50-minute silent Queen of the Sea, starring Annette Kellerman, was shot here. Before becoming a movie star, Kellerman (1887-1975), an Australian swimming champion, was credited with inventing both synchronized swimming and the one-piece woman’s bathing suit. (She became the first actress to appear in a nude scene for a major motion picture, 1916’s A Daughter of the Gods, itself the first movie with a $1 million budget.) More recently, scenes at the ocean for The Cider House Rules (1999) were filmed at Sand Beach.