Crescent Beach State Park has been our go-to spot on a warm summer’s day for many years now, so it was comical to think we had to visit this state park as a family to cross it off our list. We decided to treat it like we have always treated beach days. We watched the weather forecast all week and chose the better of the two weekend days. This is one of the many benefits of living so close to the ocean. Surprisingly, we had nothing going on all weekend and this was the only weekend in July with nothing on the calendar. Both of us sent out texts to our friends in the area and invited them to join us. We were looking forward to a causal day at the beach with no time constraints or big plans. This was a nice change of pace.
Before we knew it, 20 adults, kids and babies, were in for some fun in the sun. The travel time to Crescent Beach was approximately 30 minutes or less for everyone in the group. Like we mentioned in a previous blog, Two Lights State Park is less than a mile up the road, and right out front of the park entrance is where the start of the famous Beach to Beacon race that takes place every August. As you turn into the park, there is often a short line of cars waiting to pay at the Ranger’s Station. The only time we’ve seen traffic extremely backed up was on the 4th of July and sometimes in the afternoon hours. Long gone are the days of going to the club and skipping the line with VIP service. Now, the closest thing we have to that is a Maine State Park Pass! As we pulled in, we were able to cut the paying line because of our pass.
This is a fairly popular beach in Southern Maine, so I’m sure most people reading this have already visited this beach before. One of the highlights of Crescent Beach State Park is parking. Even on the busiest of days, you’ll never have an issue finding parking in their giant parking lot. The lot is only a short walk to the beach. Even without kids and tons of gear, this is ideal compared to lots of other beaches in Maine. There isn’t a bad spot to pick from on the beach.
When choosing a spot on the beach, the further you go left or right from the main facilities you’ll lose a bit of lifeguard support, but the length of the beach is easily walkable. It isn’t large compared to other beaches in the area, but it’s large enough that it never feels crowded. At one end of the beach you’ll find rocks and tide pools that are fun for exploring. We’ve found snails, crabs, starfish and other beach creatures in this rocky area. The main facilities are located in the center of the beach near the parking lot. They have clean bathrooms, showers and changing areas.
The famed snack shack doesn’t appear to be in service anymore and was replaced with paddle board rentals. While it’s easy to pack snacks and lunch for the day, it was nice treating yourself to ice cream or french fries if you were in the mood. Last year, they had a makeshift shack with a very limited menu just outside the original snack shack so we thought they were remodeling the inside, but this year it seems they have decided to hire food trucks, located in the parking lot. I’m not sure if the trucks rotate out or if the Cousins Lobster truck is always there. Cousins Lobster was made famous by going on Shark Tank and building a chain of lobster roll trucks out west. Their newest truck has come to Maine. Food trucks are great for most adults but not so much for kids. They often lack in variety so it might be tough with picky eaters.
While we are on the subject of food, it’s important to know that the seagulls at Crescent Beach State Park are bullies and they have no fear. We have seen it for years and years but people still underestimate them and end up paying for it. Yes, they will take your food out of your hand. Often, the one who gets you is the one you don’t see coming. They are like mountain lions of the beach. When you go down to the water, they will go into your bags and take out your food, tear it open and eat it. Every year we pay our respects to a pile of french fries that Danielle sadly lost in a seagull incident on a quiet stroll back from the snack shack. She was even warned by the staff of the dangers of walking with food in her hands. On a separate visit, a seagull swooped down and stole her Amato’s Italian sandwich as she was about to take a bite. She is clearly an easy target for them. We have learned from our mistakes and from watching countless other victims over the years. The best strategy we’ve seen is to take the family, form a tight circle and eat as fast as you can. You have strength in numbers.
The beach is great and extremely well kept. The staff onsite have always been wonderful. You won’t get monster waves but enough to keep you from getting bored. The water temperature is usually somewhat comfortable for about two weeks out of the year, so it’s often a quick dip in and out for adults. Kids seem to tolerate the cold water more than adults, and can be in there all day for several weeks out of the summer months.
This is a perfect family beach in southern Maine. It has everything you need to pull off a comfortable day with kids in a breathtaking setting. If we’re being honest, some parts could use some updating but you’re not coming to the beach to play on the swing set. We are pretty sure the swing set here has been used in a number of Stephen King movies. It’s certainly the same set Danielle played on when she came here as a child many years ago.
On this July day, we figured it would be a quick in and out and before we knew it, we had spent around 6 hours there. Babies eating sand and napping in the shade, kids playing in the water, burying toys and themselves in the sand, good times with good people and just like that you have a wonderful last-minute beach day.
It appears that some our vehicles had magnets on them because on the way home most of us were pulled into the Kettle Cove Creamery and Café for an ice-cold treat (a mile down the road). The lines can be long, but for good reason after a hot day outside. On a side note, across the street is The Good Table restaurant where we held Eloise’s baptism brunch with family. They have a wonderful menu for any meal of the day. If you go in for brunch you’ll have a hard time walking past their giant homemade cinnamon rolls without ordering a round of them for the table.
Crescent Beach State Park is not your average state park because it’s mostly a beach. You can probably tell we were already big fans of this state park. With that said, we give Crescent Beach State Park 9 Rubies! It probably would have received a perfect 10 if they didn’t get rid of the snack shack. There’s no doubt that we’ll have a chest full of family photos from our visits here over the years.