Sandy River Beach (Maine’s Best Kept Secret)

Maine is famous for its stunning, rocky shoreline.  And the farther north you go towards what is referred to as Maine’s “Bold Coast”, the more jagged and rocky the coastline becomes.

While there are a number of small beaches along the coast of northern Maine, many of them are littered with stones and pebbles and don’t offer the sandy setting most desire when the word “beach” comes to mind.

But located in the quiet, sparsely populated town of Jonesport, Maine far from some of the more touristy cities to the south is one of Maine’s best kept secrets – Sandy River Beach.

Sandy River Beach Maine, high tide

Sandy River Beach Information

PARKING: YES – small parking area across the road.
BATHROOM: YES – port-a-potty in parking area.
LIFEGUARDS: NO – swim at your own risk.
CROWDS: LOW – not crowded at all, a recluse’s dream.
DOG FRIENDLY: YES – pups will love exploring this beach.
FEES: NO – free to visit.

About Sandy River Beach, Maine

Sandy River Beach is a quiet, remote public beach located between Jonesport and Jonesboro in an area some would refer to as the “real Maine”.

It is one of the few sandy beaches you’ll find in the area, offering beautiful views of Chandler Bay and a number of unique features that make it stand out to those who know about it.

The beach is spacious and stretches around a quarter of a mile, between the Sandy River that empties into Chandler Bay at its northern end and a rocky tide pool at its southern end that then gives way to granite coastline.

Just offshore are some small islands which are close enough to swim to for those willing to brave the chilly waters of the bay.  

These islands are sometimes home to bald eagles who nest there and can be spotted perched in the trees or fishing in the bay.

And across the bay is Roque Island, which you can easily see from Sandy River Beach.

There are a number of houses that sit back in the dunes off the beach, but even during the warmest summer days you’ll rarely share this spot with more than a handful of local beachgoers.

Sandy River Beach offers a parking area equipped with a port-o-potty, picnic tables, and charcoal grills that sits just across the street and is a short walk from the beach.

The beach is dog friendly, so feel free to bring the pup along.

Things To Do At Sandy River Beach

Swimming & Sand Castles

Chandler Bay is a great place to swim for those who don’t mind a chill, offering calm water with small waves that gently roll onto the shore when the weather is good.

True to its name, Sandy River Beach is fully sandy offering kids a great place to play in the sand and build sand castles.

And there are plenty of treasures to be found on the beach, with many smooth stones and shells washing ashore.

If you look closely, mixed among these stones and shells you’ll find one of the cooler treasures of Sandy River Beach – sea glass.

Hunt For Sea Glass

Believe me when I say, Sandy River Beach is one of the most underrated spots to find sea glass in Maine.

For those unfamiliar with it, sea glass is a naturally weathered piece of glass that usually appears and feels like a small, round stone.

The weathering process naturally frosts the glass and converts its edges from sharp to smooth, making it safe to pick up and collect.

Sea glass retains some of its natural color, and you’ll find different shades of green, blue, purple, red, pink, and white along the shore of Sandy River Beach.

I’m not sure what makes sea glass so prevalent here, but you can find it in bunches at low tide.

Explore Bar Island At Low Tide

One of Sandy River Beach’s coolest features is a natural sandbar that appears at low tide and connects it to Bar Island, which is located some fifty yards offshore.

Not to be confused with the more well-known Bar Island that sits just off Bar Harbor, Maine, this Bar Island is much smaller but just as beautiful.

As the tide starts to drop, the sandbar that connects the island to the beach will slowly appear and eventually you’ll be able to walk to it and explore.

The sandbar is littered with large boulders that are swallowed up by the sea at high tide, making for an interesting walk out to the island.

Bald eagles are known to nest high in the trees on Bar Island, making them some of the few inhabitants other than the usual sea-life you’d expect to find.

Don’t Forget:

Bug Spray – black flies can be a nuisance but don’t seem to be much of an issue in July/August.

Pack a lunch or bring food to grill in the parking area – there are very limited food options nearby.

Binoculars – so you can get a good look at the bald eagles nesting on the islands nearby or at the occasional seal that will appear offshore in the bay.


From US 1 eastbound, follow 187 South (eventually turns into Mason Bay Road) for around 8 miles.

The parking area is discrete and will be on your right across the street from the beach, just after the neon yellow crosswalk signs.

Sandy River Beach Positives

  • Spacious, secluded and not crowded
  • Fine, soft sand
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Bald eagle sightings
  • Seal sightings
  • Great beach-combing
  • Pet friendly

Sandy River Beach Negatives

  • Not many places to stay nearby
  • Hardly any restaurants or stores nearby
  • May need bug spray for black flies
  • Not much beach when tide is high

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for a sandy beach on Maine’s northern coast that isn’t crowded and offers one heck of a view, I can’t recommend Sandy River Beach enough.

While it is out of the way and secluded with little in the form of restaurants or convenience stores nearby, those who come fully prepared on a nice day will not be disappointed.