Popham Beach

I’ll be heading to Casco Bay this week and next. I’m hoping to explore the legendary Popham beach.

Any tips? Launch spots, cool waves, dangerous (relatively) spots, local beer, etc. would be appreciated.



Dangerous or fun depending
Mouth of the Kennebeck River, somewhat around the corner. Depending on what you call fun…

Launch at Fiddlers Reach Rd

– Last Updated: Aug-23-11 8:46 AM EST –


It likely will be a not so nice time. Hurricanes affect that area even if they don't arrive in person right there.

There is a rip current. Don't even think about going out to Sequin.

While I learned to surf there and had a great time watching seals surf and they me surf, it was a benign August day..But the forecast is not promising.

Do check out Reid State Park..launch right there and its just gorgeous.

Watch the tide tables carefully..another wonderful trip is up the Kennebec to the Back and around back down Hell Gate and Five Islands and around Reid..But that one needs to be exactly timed.

If things are not good at Popham retreat west to the kinder New Meadows River.

We are going to Muscongus but plan to bail early on the weekend

Local beer..best beer bar in the world is Ebeneezers in Lovell.. not near where you will be.

But the Sea Dog in Brunswick and the Lion's Pride( partly owned by the owners of Ebeneezers) are pretty darn good.

There’s lots of shallows, reefs and ledges there, and they react differently at different stages of the tide.

And if you launch at Ft Popham (Not recommended unless you know the area and the tides VERY well), you will experience all the hazards and effects firsthand and personal.

That said, if you know what to expect and where to expect it, and have the requisite skills and gear, it can be a fun time. Just know what you’re in for.

My best advice is to walk the beach first with a pair of binocs and watch the water and the wave patterns, and don’t expect them to stay stable - big tides there.

Not sure you need the glasses
"My best advice is to walk the beach first with a pair of binocs and watch the water and the wave patterns"

Excellent advice, but not sure you will need binocs as your ears may tell you enough.

OTOH on an “interesting” day they will let you confirm that you did in fact see what you thought you saw a bit offshore and the big white cliff that quickly disappeared was not a mirage.

It can be a fun place (thinking of the zippers that form just off the beach) and paddling to Seguin can be a nice trip. That said, it is not a place to take lightly and knowing tides and currents is critical. Even good paddlers have come to grief there.

Thanks, everyone
I’ve been so buried in the lab the past week I didn’t notice the little visit from Irene.

It appears we won’t need to seek out big currents to find conditions. Wow.

Well, perhaps after she fizzles out we can enjoy Popham.

'Til then.