Crescent Beach State Park is a mile-long stretch of sandy beach in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The light surf and ocean views make it hard to believe you’re only 20 minutes from downtown Portland hustle and bustle. Out here you’ll get to enjoy a variety of activities, along with comfortable park amenities, beginning at 9am each day.
Along with swimming and walking on coastal trails, you can enjoy fishing, sea kayaking, bird and wild-life watching, and picnicking. In the off-season you can park outside and walk in, bringing your leashed pet for a walk or cross-country ski when snow falls.
Activities at Crescent Beach State Park
Wherever there’s a beach in Maine, there’s plenty to do! That’s the case here at this aptly named crescent-shaped beach. There are picnic tables, grills, a kids’ playground, snack bar and food trucks, and bathhouse for changing and rinsing off with a cold shower.
This Maine state park has good ADA access with that being very good for parking and access to facilities and trail. There is a beach wheelchair available for getting closer to the ocean.
The park’s natural features add to the activity options with sand dunes, rocky outcroppings, wooded trails, and another state park next door. That one, Kettle Cove State Park, lets you extend your scenic walk while offering different views of the coastline and offshore Seal Rocks and Richmond Island that is privately owned.
Boating at Crescent Beach State Park
Sea kayaking and paddle boarding are two of the park’s boating and on-the-water features. This means either toting your own to drop in the ocean or renting one. Portland Paddle at Crescent Beach is one place to do so. They also offer group outings and lessons.
Swimming at Crescent Beach State Park
Swimming here means that you get to enjoy fairly gentle surf and temperatures warmer than some Maine beaches. There may be a lifeguard on duty, although that depends on the state’s ability to hire its full quota. Points of caution include avoiding slippery rocks and staying back from areas of high surf. You also want to be alert if there have shark sightings in the area.
Hiking at Crescent Beach State Park
Hiking here is more akin to walking as the trails that meander through woods and along the shore are relatively flat. An added advantage is that they link with the nearby Kettle Cove State Park trails, creating a loop of almost 3 miles.
Biking at Crescent Beach State Park
Although there aren’t any bike trails right here, the Eastern Trail can be picked up 7 miles away in Scarborough. This trail extends 65+ miles, heading southerly from Bug Light in Portland through Kennebunk to Kittery.
Fishing at Crescent Beach State Park
Anglers can enjoy shore fishing right here! Surf casters are most likely to catch mackerel, striped bass and, when lucky, a bluefish. Be sure to read up on licenses. There are plenty of charters and guides found online with a quick google search if you decide to expand your fishing adventures.
Birding at Crescent Beach State Park
The park’s beach, grasslands, and pond make for year-round birding. During busy beach days birds are more likely seen in the early morning and evening, or at the beach’s fringe areas.
Summer’s breeding season brings plovers to shore areas and finches, thrushes, kinglets, and warblers to the more wooded sections. During a fall or winter visit you’re likely to see sanderlings. As winter wanes, snow buntings, horned larks, and other species passing by.
Nature & Wildlife at Crescent Beach State Park
The park is setting where wildlife live right here or quite nearby. The grassy areas are maintained to attract monarch butterflies to the abundant milkweed that flowers in the summer. Tidal pools are alluring as you’ll find crabs, anemone, tiny fish, and barnacles. During the winter you may find fortune in the form of sand dollars that sometimes strewn the beach.
Bring your binoculars to view a variety of sea life activity. Species that live in the area by the beach and Richmond Island are seals, harbor porpoises, and Minke whales. At the same time, you can be back to birding as eider ducks and loon cross your field of vision.
Pets at Crescent Beach State Park
Leashed pets are only allowed in the off-season from October 1 to March 31. Although horses are not considered pets, they are allowed on state beaches from October 1 to March 31. If you have any questions about dogs and horses at the beach, contact the park manager at the number listed below.
Camping at Crescent Beach State Park
This park is only open during the day and there is no camping. There are family-friendly campsites within a ½-hour of the park in nearby Scarborough.
Bayley’s Camping Resort is 12 miles away in Scarborough. They have sites for tents, big-rig RVs, and everything in between. Each site has a firepit, table, and is close to bathrooms.
This large campground accommodates pets, has a general store and laundry, and has all kinds of features like pools, hot tubs, a play area, and dog park. Water, electric, sewer, and cable are available. Nightly rates begin at $40, extending to $125. Rental cabins and trailers are also available.
Wassamki Springs Campground is 13 miles away and located on a private lake with some sites right at its edge. Each tent or RV site has a fire ring and table.
This setting is pet friendly, along with having amenities such as courts for volleyball and others. There’s a playground and store, along with laundry and hospitality WiFi. Phone and cable hookups are available. Peak season rates begin at $63 per day for tents to $83 for full hookups, with weekly, monthly, and seasonal rental availability.
Crescent Beach State Park
7 Tower Drive
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Here is a short YouTube video showing the view of the coastline at Crescent Beach State Park: