Rachel Carson, renowned environmentalist and conservationist, wrote parts of Silent Spring while visiting Southport, abutting Georgetown. The beauty she saw in 1962 can still easily be found in Reid State Park, which is what’s kept me coming back every year since I was a kid.
They’re typically open from 9am to sunset year-round (unless otherwise posted on the gate) and do charge a fee (but it’s free with Maine’s state park annual pass!). Parking never seems to be an issue – even on a sunny summer day, I’ve never had trouble finding a spot in the 15+ years I’ve frequented this beach. They have changing rooms, restrooms, showers, and a picnic table area that are open all year. Plenty of room to spread out and suntan on Mile Beach and Half Mile Beach – or, if you have little kiddos, the Lagoon area offers some wave-free swimming, with enough sandy beach to help them build whatever size sandcastle they can dream up. With large areas of protected sand dunes, it’s not unusual to see endangered birds and other little critters (don’t worry – they keep to themselves if you do!).
For the slightly more adventurous, there’s plenty of rocky coast and tide pools to find all sorts of treasure. The 2.14 mile Ski Loop Trail (off Todd Point Road in the park) which wraps into the northern part of the park, and around a marsh and bog (look out for Great Blue Herons!) is groomed all year, so it’s also perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing once we need to start bundling up again! Little River Trail (1.4 miles, also off Todd Point Road) meanders along Little River, another great chance to spot some wildlife. Really the only negative is that mosquitoes can be quite nasty here – I’d suggest a good bug spray!
Swimming can be an absolute blast here; the huge waves can be exhilarating to jump through (adventurous spirit required!) – which correlates directly to why Reid State Park was rated the #1 beach in New England for surfing by Boston Globe Magazine in 2015. It also bears the distinct honor as being Maine’s first state-owned saltwater beach; it was donated to the state of Maine in 1946 by Walter Reid, who wanted this land to be preserved forever. Any season or weather, it’s pretty easy to see why he loved it so much!