Maine’s York is one of the oldest cities in the United States, having settlements as early as the 17th century. But the city’s rich and long history is not its only tourism draw. York also boast great shopping opportunities, walking trails, lush parks, world-class restaurants, and finally (and definitely not the least), its dramatic coastline populated by stunning beaches. Situated on the coast, York is blessed with many sandy stretches, but some of them easily stand out from the rest because of their wonderful and unique characteristics.
The 1.5 mile Long Sands Beach is undoubtedly one of the most popular beaches in York. Long Sands is known to be a very welcoming beach, being open all day and all night, seven days a week. Families are attracted to this long white sand beach because of its facilities like lifeguards, metered parking space and restaurants, as well as its short proximity to shops and dining establishments.
Long Sands Beach is renowned as a surfing beach, suitable for both beginner and experienced surfers. For surfing equipment and lessons, drop by the Liquid Dreams Surf Shop. A visit to this beach also gives you wonderful views of the Cape Neddick Lighthouse (Nubble Lighthouse). Sunbathing is not a problem at Long Sands as it barely has any shade. But if the sun and heat are getting to you, you can always rent a chair and umbrella for protection.
Located in the village of York Beach, within Ellis Park, Short Sands Beach is also a family-friendly quarter-mile long beach complete with a parking area, outside showers and restrooms. And if you get bored with the beach, you can always head out to the playground and basketball courts to break a sweat. During summer, Short Sands becomes more vibrant because of its fantastic evening concerts and entertainment shows held at the gazebo area, organized by the Ellis Park Trustees.
Short Sands Beach promenade walkway is also a crowd-pleaser especially due to the strategically situated benches that offer a non-disruptive view of the sea. Short Sands is also quite an accessible beach, with restaurants and shops only a few minutes’ walk away from the sandy shore. If you cannot drive to Shorts Sands, you can take the York Trolley service, which goes all the way to this beach area.
Harbor Beach is one of the more prominent beaches in York. This sandy beach, which is set on a y-shoreline is sheltered from big swells. If you would like to soak time on the coast, Harbor Beach is an excellent destination as it is open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is equipped with restrooms and seasonal lifeguard services. You could even bring your pet here!
The only drawback to the Harbor Beach area is that parking is limited although it is free. If you want to go for some short hiking adventures, Harbor Beach is also surrounded by interesting walking trails. It is also the next door neighbor of Hartley Mason Park, which can provide a much needed shade from the sometimes strong sun. There is a very scenic walking path to Hartley Mason from York Harbor Inn.