Ferry Beach State Park – Hiking and Swimming on Saco Bay.
The seven miles of beachfront that stretches across Saco Bay offers a wealth of different attractions for visitors. One of the best places to stop by is Ferry Beach State Park, a popular Old Orchard Beach recreation area that has everything a traveling nature lover might need.
The park takes its name from a historic ferry that once traversed the Saco River nearby. Today, it is better known for its natural beauty, walking tracks, and access to gorgeous white sand beaches.
Many locals and travelers come to Ferry Beach State Park for swimming and sunbathing, as well as to enjoy the nearby picnic area on sunny days. Ferry Beach makes a great destination for sunrise and sunset walks. There are also multiple public facilities including changing rooms, bathrooms, and charcoal grilling stations in the picnic area.
Though Saco Bay is best known for the breathtaking 7-mile stretch of white sand beaches, there is much more to Ferry Beach than summer swimming. Beyond the beach is a wealth of fantastic local geography to explore, including forested nature trails for walking and hiking. Many of these wooded walks are short and relatively easy, making them accessible even for families with small children. There are also more difficult tracks for experienced hikers.
The nearby nature center also supplements these walking trails with guided nature programs for the forest area, with plenty of information on the indigenous flora and fauna that can be seen while you explore. The forests are home to pine, oak, hemlock, and a host of other tree species.
Behind the beach, you can also find the protected Tupelo swamp amongst the sand dunes. Here you’ll see a sweeping line of trees with grey bark, which is a rare species of black gum tree, known as the Black Tupelo. Be careful in these areas, as the dune grass growing on the sand is quite fragile. It protects the sand dunes from erosion, which in turn protects the local wildlife that nest among the dunes.
Ferry Beach State Park Access
Access to Ferry Beach State Park is around $5 for Maine residents 12 and older, and slightly more for out-of-towners. However, free entry points can be found in multiple areas around the state park. The park site is relatively uncrowded in the off-season, but expect some crowds at the height of summer. Free parking can be found a 5-minute walk from the beachfront, but there may be some competition for parking in the summer months.
The park is closed during the off-season, from October to March. Though the park gates are closed you can still access the trailhead on foot.
Leashed pets can be taken on the park’s walking and nature trails throughout the year. One thing to keep in mind is that no dogs are allowed on the beach itself between April 1st and September 30th, which is the nesting season for the Piping Plover and Least Tern that take refuge in the nearby sand dunes of the park’s beach and beachfront location.
Ferry Beach State Park Location
Ferry Beach State Park is a 117-acre park with a beachfront on Saco Bay, and the park and beach itself is positioned between the neighboring Kinney Beach and Camp Ellis. The park can be reached by Main Route 9 or Bayview Road.
Ferry Beach State Park is only a stone’s throw away from Old Orchard Beach, where you can find some of the area’s more iconic attractions such as the Old Orchard Beach Pier, and the Palace Playland amusement park and arcade.
95 Bayview Rd
Saco ME 04072