Fun in the Sun: Beach Season Reminders

There’s nothing better than the beaches of Scarborough in the summer! To balance the many uses of beaches – playing, relaxing, exercising, swimming, fishing, fetching balls, wildlife habitat, etc. – the City has established rules for humans and their four-legged friends. Please keep these guidelines in mind on your next visit and check the signage at the beach entrances if you have any questions during your stay.

If you’re used to bringing your dog to the beach all year round, be aware that dog beach access rules change from May 15 to Labor Day. During this season, the following rules are in effect:

• Dawn to 9:00 a.m.: Dogs are allowed off leash if under voice and sight control

• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Dogs prohibited on the beach

• 5:00 p.m. to dusk – Dogs allowed on leash only

• Respect the limits of the restricted area

Please note restricted areas between April 1 and Labor Day: Higgins, Ferry/Western and Pine Point beaches all have restricted areas where dogs are not permitted (Higgins and Ferry/Western) or where dogs must be kept on a leash (Pine Point). Please look for signs on the beaches that delineate restricted areas. These are common nesting sites for endangered Piping Plovers and are our most effective way to keep them as protected as possible.

It’s not every day that someone gets to see a piping plover, unless you visit the beaches of Scarborough. White-sand beaches are some of the few places in Maine where endangered piping plovers nest and raise their chicks each summer. To do your part to protect them, please follow the Dog Rules (outlined above) and fill in any holes in the beach. Kiteboarding, kiteboarding, sandboarding and drones should be kept at least 650 feet from nesting birds. Also, please keep away from nesting birds and chicks when running, cycling and playing beach games. Please also stay clear of dune grass, which provides wildlife habitat and protects against erosion.

The City of Scarborough has worked with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Maine Audubon for several years to make our beaches safer for these endangered shorebirds, and the efforts are paying off. In recent years, the population of Maine’s piping plovers has steadily increased, with more adults returning to nest on Maine’s beaches each year. In addition to piping plovers, Higgins Beach is also an important nesting area for less threatened terns. To learn more about these two endangered shorebird species, visit the Maine Audubon website at

As beachgoers, we’re counting on you to help keep these public areas clean and safe for everyone. No unauthorized vehicles are allowed on city beaches, and no fires or fireworks are allowed on city beaches. This limits pollution, respects neighboring residences and protects wildlife. Over the past few years, Scarborough has transitioned its public beaches and parks to a Carry In/Carry Out model. When leaving the beach, please take your rubbish with you. This reduces costs and helps us achieve our goal of limiting our environmental footprint.

Scarborough’s rules aim to ensure that all visitors – people, pets and wildlife – can enjoy their time at the beach. Please direct questions about Scarborough beaches to Scarborough Community Services at (207) 730-4150 or [email protected]

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Sandy A. Greer