I recently learned an interesting fact. The state of Maine has more coastline than California! You’d think with that being the case, I’d have visited more of the Maine coastline than I have. I mean, that’s a lot of territory to cover.
There’s a reason, though, why I continue to gravitate towards the same beaches in southern Maine that I’ve been to many, many times. Once you’ve found a good thing, it’s hard to let go. And Ogunquit, my friend, you have me firmly in your grasp.
For years, I didn’t know about Footbridge Beach. I’d always traveled to her bigger sister to the south, Ogunquit Beach, or the “main beach.” That’s the beach you see when you first enter Ogunquit from Route 1. There’s nothing wrong with Ogunquit Beach, but you’ll find that it’s much bigger, and as a result, much busier and nosier.
I prefer, more often than not, a smaller, quieter space near the ocean. I usually retreat to Maine to drown out the noise, and when I learned about the Footbridge Beach years ago, that has since become my go to beach destination in Maine.
The Footbridge is about a mile north of the Ogunquit town center, on Ocean Street. Parking will usually run you about $20 during the peak season. The one thing that I don’t like about the Footbridge is that you can’t reenter the lot if you choose to leave. I like to get to the beach early, and stay until mid-afternoon, so a quick trip out to the local fry shack for lunch is out of the question.
There is a small snack shack located next to the parking lot, with your basic burgers, dogs, drinks, and ice cream. I’ve resigned myself to packing a small cooler with my own healthier alternatives and drinks.
There’s also clean but basic bathroom facilities, and well-trained lifeguards on all season. The sand is soft and clean, two things that I personally appreciate. Not many rocks or seashells are to be found here.
To get to the beach, you cross a wooden footbridge which crosses the Ogunquit River. More often than not you’ll see kids crabbing over the railings and both kayakers and paddle boarders meandering down the river.
The last time I was there I struck up a brief conversation with the boys crabbing. I asked what they used for bait to catch the crabs, and they pointed to a small baggie of hotdogs sitting on the planks. I also asked if they kept the crabs that they caught. “No, it’s just for fun. We let them go afterwards.” The conversation was brief, they were teenage boys, after all.
You’ll also find surfers at the beach. Not a whole lot, honestly, because I’ve got to think that there are bigger waves to be had somewhere else. I do know of at least one local surf shop that offers rentals and lessons, so if you’re new to the area or surfing, it might just be a great activity for the kids (or even the big kids) to give a try.
What’s my favorite activity while at the Footbridge Beach? R E L A X I N G ! I’ll bring the latest book I’m reading and a journal for writing. You’ll never find me with a pair of headphones on listening to music. I can do that at home, at my local beach. I lose myself in the sound of the surf and the smell of the salt air.
Living in New Hampshire, I’m so close to the Maine coast, it would almost be a crime to not frequent the beach as much as I do during the summer. This is especially true because the area is so pristine and inviting. It’s welcoming for singles, couples, and families, and you’re sure to adopt the area as a second home, just as surely as I have.