While the downeast area of Maine isn’t known for their sweeping sand beaches, it doesn’t make them any less beautiful. In fact, Machiasport is the home to one of the most unique beaches in the world.
Jasper Beach is named for it’s smooth ‘jasper’ stones that make up the beach. It is about an eight mile drive from Machias, down Route 92 (Port Road). Look for the Jasper Beach sign on the left after going down a big hill. There is parking for several cars. No facilities here. You’ll have to walk up and over dunes of smooth rocks to access the ocean (the cove is known as Howard’s Cove). Not an easy beach to walk on barefoot, but with shoes on, you’ll get an awesome workout walking the length of the beach from the pine trees on the left to the caves on the right. There are very few homes on Jasper Beach (our own rental “The Cottage on Jasper Beach” is one of the lucky few) so chances are you will have much of the beach to yourself. As the waves make a musical sound as they break and then retreat on the stones and pebbles.
This is our ‘secret’ beach that very few people except locals know about (shhhh. Please keep the secret). It’s on the opposite side of the peninsula that makes up Machiasport. You’ll drive through a small residential neighborhood, and as you come to the entry gates to a gated community, you’ll veer off to the left on a dirt road. You’ll travel on that dirt road for awhile…until you hit the beach. There is parking here for several cars. Again, no facilities. The beach is wide with sand and gravel. A great spot for kids to run around and splash in the tide pools.
Finn Beach is a small beach in Bucks Harbor (Our rental, The Frisky Fish Cottage, is one of two homes that flank Finn Beach), located on Finn Beach Road, off of Pettegrew Point Road. It is a rocky beach, used primarily by local fishermen to launch their boats each morning. During low tide, the water in the harbor almost completely recedes and you can watch the fishermen drive their trucks right into the middle of the harbor to work on their traps. It’s a nice spot, especially in the evening to have a glass of wine and watch the tide. Not really a swimming beach and no facilities.
Roque Bluffs is home to a state park and features a sandy beach on one side of the road and a freshwater lake on the other (as well as several miles of walking trails). When travelers ask where the best place to go for swimming is, we usually steer them here. The half-mile-long beach is surrounded by quaint vintage summer cottages and beach roses. Dogs are not permitted on the beach, but they are permitted, on leashes, on the walking trails.
Because this is a state park, there is a parking fee (and ample room for parking). The parking is a ‘self-pay’ box on the honor system, so you will want to make sure that you have the exact amount in cash when you visit. Adult non-Maine residents are $6 per person and seniors are $2. Children under 5 are free and children ages 5-11 are $1. If you have a group or are planning to visit for more than a day (or several Maine state parks), it might be less expensive to purchase a pass which can be purchased online:
ANNUAL PASSES – DAY USE
Annual Vehicle Pass – $105.00 – Allows all the occupants of up to a 17 passenger vehicle free day-use.
Annual Senior Citizen Vehicle Pass (65 and over) – $45.00 – Allows the senior plus all occupants of up to a 17 passenger vehicle free day-use.
Annual Individual Pass – $55.00 – Allows ONLY the individual pass holder free day-use.