Location: Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County
Description: Popham Beach is a sandy beach near Fort Popham, at the mouth of the Kennebec River. It’s near the site of the short-lived Popham Colony, founded in 1607 and abandoned the following year. Farther down the beach is Popham Beach State Park, a state park run by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. On the other side of the cove from Fort Popham and Popham Beach is a path that leads up the hill to the remains of Fort Baldwin. You can explore old forts and a watch tower. When you climb to the top of the tower, you have breathtaking views of the beach and river. It’s an easy hike up the hill.
Activities: Swimming, kayaking, fishing, wildlife watching, dog-walking (on a leash), picnicking, photography, hiking, beachcombing, kite flying, sunbathing
Favorite seasons to visit: Summer
Why It’s Special: Popham Beach is the beach that my family always visited during my childhood. The water near the end of Fort Popham always has a lot of seals bobbing around in it, easily visible without binoculars. The beach is free (unless you’re visiting Popham Beach State Park, which has an entrance fee) and there are restaurants and stores nearby so you don’t even have to pack a lunch if you would prefer not to. Spinney’s Restaurant, right next to the beach, is a great spot to enjoy some seafood and a nice, cool beverage in the middle of the day during the summer (closed during the off-season). Once while I was at the beach, I saw a ship that had been launched from Bath Iron Works come down the river headed to the ocean. It was an amazing sight that I will never forget.
Tips: Parking at the Fort Popham end of Popham Beach is sometimes difficult, so I encourage you to get there early. The beach isn’t usually too crowded, and you can pay to park at nearby Percy’s Store if necessary.