Hidden Beach of the Week: Roque Bluffs, Maine
Imagine a natural pool with hot tub attached, where rustic walking trails carve their way through woods along a soothing bay. The coast of Maine presents just that in Roque Bluff State Park, where a crescent-shaped beach with chilly ocean waves sits behind a warm, freshwater lagoon.
Roque Bluffs is part of Maine’s Bold Coast, so-named for its pebbly, rocky beaches and untamed landscape. The beach is set in a 270-acre state park that is much less trafficked than areas farther south along the coast. Devoid of crowds and most amenities, save a few picnic tables and changing rooms, Roque Bluffs also connects to five trails that travel along Englishman’s Bay, creating a true “back to basics” atmosphere, according to Down East Magazine. The best part of this beach might be Simpson Pond, a freshwater lagoon that stretches for 60 acres behind the bluffs. The lagoon is much warmer than the ocean, offering a soothing soak after an invigorating ocean dip.
Mount Desert Islander featured Roque Bluffs State Park as a “hidden gem.” The magazine recommends kayaking out to the Roque Island archipelago, a scenic grouping that is “considered to be one of the most beautiful areas to explore on the Maine coast.” Be advised that much of the archipelago is privately owned, and not always welcome to visitors. The easternmost island, Halifax, is a good stopping point, according to Compass Rose Expeditions, which leads kayaking tours in Maine.
Wildernet, which caters to outdoor enthusiasts, provides a Google map of the Maine coast that spotlights Roque Bluffs State Park. Attractions around the park are also detailed, including two lighthouses, Libby and Machias. Practical advice is provided in Trip Reports written by users.
Nearby entertainment and attractions are listed by Fodor’s. The University of Maine Art Gallery and the Fort O’Brien State Historic Site, which was active during the Revolutionary War, are viable daytrip opportunities from the beach. Fodor’s also recommends hotels and restaurants in the area.