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Exploring Scarborough, ME: A Local's Favorite Spots

Embracing Coastal Serenity: Exploring Scarborough, Maine

Discover Scarborough, Maine, located in the Greater Portland Region. Merely a short distance from the bustling city of Portland, this charming destination offers a revitalizing escape. With its long sandy beaches and expansive marshlands, Scarborough welcomes visitors to unwind and reconnect with nature.

So, if you're up for an adventure or just want to explore somewhere new in Southern Maine, make sure to swing by Scarborough. These cool activities will keep you entertained and give you a taste of that laid-back coastal life. Don't miss out!

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Pine Point Beach

If you're seeking a beach day, Pine Point in Scarborough is a must-visit destination. Stretching from the jetty at Pine Point to Old Orchard Beach, this sandy haven offers a generous expanse of shoreline perfect for swimming and enjoying the sun. As a local, I consistently choose Pine Point over Old Orchard due to its more tranquil and less tourist-focused atmosphere.

There's a Municipal parking lot located on Avenue 5, off King St. (collection hours from 9 AM to 6 PM).

Higgins Beach

Higgins Beach is an under-the-radar spot tucked away in a cozy residential area, yet it's easily one of my top choices for a beach day. Maybe it's the fact that it's not super crowded and has this peaceful vibe. Although, I might be giving away a secret by mentioning it in a blog post... Well, I can't resist sharing my favorite finds, and this one is a real gem.

The scenery at Higgins Beach is absolutely stunning, capturing that quintessential Maine beach essence. You might come across dedicated surfers riding the waves, kayakers gliding around, and families enjoying picnics by the shoreline.

Here's a cool tidbit: when the tide's low, you can actually see a shipwreck!

The only drawback is the parking situation (Parking lot collection hours from 5:30 AM to 6 PM). The municipal lot is on the smaller side and a few blocks away from the beach, so there's a little stroll involved.

Ferry Beach

Once more taking the road less traveled, Ferry Beach is one more of those cherished local hangouts. With its soft white sands stretching beside the Scarborough River channel, Ferry Beach has a little something special going on. Thanks to the jetty on the opposite side of the channel, it's shielded from the ocean's bigger waves, giving you a tranquil spot to soak in.

And hey, parking's not a headache either since there's a municipal lot right there (open from 9 AM to 6 PM). We caught the sunset there recently – just take a look at that incredible view!


Nature Trails and Preserves:

Eastern Trail / Scarborough Marsh Nature Center

Scarborough's beauty extends beyond its beaches, as the Scarborough Marsh Nature Center reveals. Embrace the serenity of this vast marshland by kayaking through the scenic waterways or embarking on a nature walk.

Currently, the Eastern Trail has about 21 miles of off-road trails that used to be part of the old Eastern Railroad. The other 41 miles are on regular roads. The path can be different depending on where you are – sometimes it's paved, and other times it's made of stone dust or gravel. The coolest section, in my opinion, is the Scarborough Marsh. There's a wide-open marshland on both sides of the pathway to enjoy.

Pleasant Hill Preserve

Down Pleasant Hill Road lies a special spot, the Pleasant Hill Preserve, right in the heart of a big Scarborough neighborhood. The preserve is where the Spurwink River begins and shares its borders with the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. What sets this place apart is the 1.5-mile trail that navigates through fields and woodlands.

Lots of folks bring their dogs here for walks, but for me, it's a chance to unwind in nature and take in some captivating views. Trust me, both summer and fall provide an ideal backdrop for a refreshing walk!


Food & Drink:

Higgins Beach Market - 82 Spurwink Rd

When you're getting close to Higgins Beach and about to hit the road that takes you there, you can't miss Higgins Beach Market. It's owned by the folks from Big Tree Hospitality, the same group behind top-notch spots in Portland like Eventide, The Honey Paw, and Hugo's.

Higgins Market is open seasonally, perfect for grabbing some grub before hitting the beach. They've got all sorts of good stuff like baked treats, lobster rolls, pizza, drinks, and more. Check out this pic of the Maine Clam Pizza we snagged and enjoyed right on the beach!

Hank's Maine - 150 Spurwink Road

Also, near Higgins Beach is Hank's Maine, a seasonal restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. Hank's is a great place to stop for a breakfast sandwich paired with some local favorites: sip on Tandem coffee and grab a pastry from Two Fat Cats Bakery. Plus, they've got a chill back deck and patio area for you to enjoy.

Harmon's Dairy Bar - 3 Spurwink Rd

Once you're done checking out Ferry Beach, make sure to swing by Harmon's Dairy Bar for a tasty treat. This cute ice cream stand has all sorts of flavors, from soft serve to hard ice cream, and they whip up some awesome sundaes too.

Check out this pic of the 'Lisa's Strawberry Shortcake' sundae I had – it has vanilla soft serve, angel food cake, strawberries, and whipped cream. So good!

Scarborough Grounds - 264 US-1

If you're looking for your coffee fix, make a stop at Scarborough Grounds right off Route 1. You can either chill out at the café or grab your coffee to take with you and head over to the Eastern Trail!

The Cheese Iron - 200 US-1, #300

If you're up for some charcuterie goodness, a tasty lunch, or a sweet treat, don't miss out on The Cheese Iron. The shop is also a great place to pick up lunch since they whip up some seriously awesome sandwiches and have salads, soups, and other prepared foods ready to go. Personally, I'm a regular fan of their ham and brie sandwich and I like to get it warmed up.

I usually swing by around lunchtime when I'm craving a seriously satisfying sandwich fix, and of course, I'll stock up on charcuterie essentials like crackers, mustards, jams, and, naturally, all sorts of cheese. And if you're not in the mood for a DIY cheese board, you can order a box or platter instead.

Scarborough, Maine, is a coastal paradise that allows you to enjoy the peaceful beauty of nature. From sandy beaches to sprawling marshlands and everything in between, this seaside community offers plenty to enjoy!


Thanks for reading!

- The Maine Chick


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