Whether on the coast or inland, make time to enjoy a day of swimming or just floating.
While the coastal bays and breathtaking ocean waters can be chilly here in DownEast Acadia, if you head just a little bit inland you’ll find that the warming rays of the sun make the inland lakes and ponds much more swimmable. Not affected by the tides or waves like ocean beaches, they tend to warm up more quickly and stay warmer later into the autumn.
Start your paddle at the beach on Tunk Lake.
Start your paddle at the beach on Tunk Lake.

Freshwater Beaches

Acadia National Park’s Echo Lake, on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island between Somesville and Southwest Harbor off Route 102, is a popular freshwater swimming spot with families. A paved entrance road leads to the parking area above where a wide swath of sand beach meets shallow clear water at the southern tip of the lake.

More remote but well worth the trip, the village of Grand Lake Stream offers visitors a public beach, boat dock and ramps, tennis and basketball courts. There are several sporting camps and lodges in the area, so real awhile days and relax. A bit further to the northeast are Duck Lake and Gassahias Lake, which also offer swimming and camping.

East of Ellsworth is Tunk Lake Region and Donnell Pond, with two long sandy beaches and many pocket ones that invite picnicking and swimming. Many other lakes and ponds throughout the region are swimmable, but the shoreline may be rocky or tree-lined. As always, if there is no lifeguard on duty, use caution and swim with care.

Ocean BEaches

On warm and sunny summer days, visitors to Acadia National Park can enjoy a refreshing swim in the ocean at Sand Beach, nestled into Newport Cove between the cliffs of Great Head and the steep rock walls of The Beehive

Take the granite steps down to the beach, take a deep breath of the salty air, and wander between the ocean surf and the dunes. Grab a handful of the pinkish-white sand and take a close look to see its unique origins, a tiny fragment of seashells ground into fine, soft sand over the millenniums. Explore the freshwater pond behind the dunes or scamper about on the pink granite rocks bordering the beach.

Even on busy days, there is plenty of space to spread your beach blankets, relax in the sun, and play on the scenic quarter-mile-long beach. Summer ocean temperatures at Sand Beach rarely exceed 60 degrees, so hearty swimmers may want to test the water before splashing in. A lifeguard staffs the beach during the summer months.

The beach at Roque Bluffs State Park features both freshwater and saltwater beaches and miles of hiking trails. Even on the hottest summer days, the beaches have no crowds, making them the perfect destination for family fun. The 274-acre state park overlooks Englishman Bay from Schoppee Point and includes Simpson Pond. 

Roque Bluffs State Park entry
Pathway to the beach at Roque Bluff State Park.

Planning Tools

To help you plan your trip we provide  information on drive time and distances to and around the region. Plus info on other commercial transportation options.

Once you arrive in DownEast Acadia, you will want to access local sources of visitor information, state laws, recreation rules, and road conditions.

To help you pack or plan your day, check out the current weather in the region or learn about year-round averages of temperature and precipitation.

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