Monday, July 8, 2013

Maine Monday: Hit the Beach

We can't get too far into summertime Maine Monday posts without mentioning the beach. It's been brutally hot the past few days and the only relief seems to come from dipping your toes in the icy waters. Which then must be followed up with some ice cold gelato, or ice cream with sprinkles, of course.

Our favorite beach is the pristine white sand of Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth. It's super shallow and there's almost no undertow, which is key when you're oceanside with little ones. It's a perfect mile long stretch of sand, shaped like a crescent, with rocks for climbing and crab hunting on the southern end. There's a changing room, showers, bathrooms, and a small snack shack if you get hungry. But we always save room for a stop at Kettle Cove Creamery, on Rt. 77 just a quarter of a mile north of the entrance to Crescent Beach. They make all their own hard serve ice cream in house and the soft serve comes in more than 20 different flavors. Plus the sea gulls don't seem to be as devilish just a mile or two in from the shore.

Also in Cape Elizabeth is Fort Williams State Park, not exactly a swimming beach but a fun place to throw rocks and climb ruined fortresses. The little C&Gs won't stay occupied for too long at the beach, so Fort Williams is a nice blend of sun, sand, sea, playground, long stretch of lawn, ruined World War II bunkers, and a classic lighthouse, Portland Head Light.

The "beach" is very rocky but the boys love skipping and throwing rocks (usually when one C&G is in front of the other) and when they tire of that we go exploring. For some amazing homemade ice cream on the way home swing by Willard Scoops in South Portland. Just off Preble Street (on your right off Shore Road), the tiny store front serves up a great variety of flavors.

Crescent Beach State Park is free if you have a state park pass ($70), otherwise it's $4.50 for adult residents, $6.50 non-residents, and $1.00 for kids 5-11. Fort Williams State Park is free, but not ideally suited for swimming. And all this talk of ice cream reminds me I need to replenish my car supply of hand wipes, it's going to be a messy summer!

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