Though its main attraction is its long coastline, Maine also has many inland lakes. Sandy beaches at these lakes offer picturesque backgrounds, as inland Maine is largely surrounded by forest. It’s not uncommon to hike through a forested path and end up at a beautiful watering hole with natural shade (and convenient beach amenities). There are a mix of shallow warm waters, and clear cooler, deeper lakes which offer variety to please every type of beach goer. See below for a list of lakes that offer both scenic and sandy swimming adventures.

For the more adventurous among you (or those of you seeking to cross “skinny dipping” off your bucket list), this article discusses the best places to explore, um, “au natural.”

  • East Grand Lake: About three miles south of Danforth there is a dirt road that takes you three miles in to the boat launching ramp where there are also picnicking and tenting facilities.
  • Spednic Lake: Just outside of Vanceboro there is a launching ramp that will introduce you to a vast international watershed.
  • Lewey Lake: Right in the middle of Princeton is a beach where you can put your boat in the water. This water, then, can take you in a southwesterly direction to Long Lake and Big Lake. If you go in the opposite direction you can travel through some flowed lands and eventually into the St. Croix River. Excellent fishing and Big Lake offers many uninhabited islands and a shoreline replete with fine sandy beaches.
  • Crawford Lake: This is located off Route 9 and isn’t well marked so you’ll have to ask locally. The easterly end of Crawford Lake is the terminus for the Maine River that winds its narrow way for five miles from Pocomoonshine Lake through the two Mud Lakes. This is a marvelous trip to take in a small outboard or canoe.
  • Six Mile Lake: This lake is six miles north of Machias on Route 192. This reclaimed lake provides some excellent trout fishing.
  • Gardner’s Lake: Located a couple of miles east of East Machias, this launching site will allow you to explore good-sized Garner’s and Second Lake, a combined body of water stretching for about ten miles. Cathance Lake in the town of Cooper has a new site right on Route 191. The major launching facilities on salt water in the county include: St. Croix River site in Calais at the foot of North Street. You put in here and come back six hours later and you won’t recognize the place, for here in Calais where the salt water meets the fresh water of the St. Croix, occurs the highest rise and fall of tides in the continental United States. The difference can be as much as 28 feet-and it’s always at least 20 feet!
  • In addition to its many lakes, Roque Bluffs State Park has both salt and fresh water swimming, and offers incredible local swimming.