Learn more about beaches & dunes

Barrier Beach, Ogunquit
barrier beach system
pocket beach

Beaches occupy only about two percent or 75 miles of Maine’s coastline. Sand beaches, which account for less than 40 of the 75 miles, are most common along the southern coast between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth, although several stretches of sandy beach occur in midcoast Maine near the mouth of the Kennebec River, and elsewhere as small pocket beaches bound by bedrock headlands. Many pocket beaches do not have an extensive back-barrier marsh system. Other beaches are made up of gravel, cobble, or boulders.

Beaches provide a natural buffer from storm events, and serve as critical habitat for wildlife and plants. Beach-related tourism and recreation contribute significantly to the state’s economy.

Beaches and dunes are extremely dynamic features, changing in response to waves, wind, and tides. Beaches and dunes in Maine experience different kinds of erosion, from seasonal changes and short-term, storm-induced sand loss to long-term erosion and inlet migration.