Words by Allison Tibaldi. To discover other travel destinations, visit offMetro.com.
Higgins Beach is just a few miles from Portland, but the surfer vibe is straight out of a Beach Boys song. Welcome to a laid-back coastal community loaded with yesteryear charm. Kids ride their bikes around town, surfers catch waves until night falls and the tides are a constant source of conversation. It’s an easy-breezy, ocean-studded getaway and an idyllic spot for a last summer hurrah or an autumn weekend by the Atlantic. This pocket-sized town is perfect for carefree, car-free travels.
Get Outdoors: Higgins Beach is known as one of Maine’s best surfing spots. A local crowd hits the water in the early morning and late afternoon. Black Point Surf Shop is your ground zero, offering lessons, boards and wet suits to protect you from the chilly water. For SUP and kayak rentals, the friendly folks at Higgins Beach Market have got you covered. It’s also the place to go for made-to-order sandwiches, salads and hearty pizzas, served piping hot and loaded with sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella and fresh toppings, for a delectable New England spin on this Italian classic.
Stay: Wish you had a friend with an awesome beach house? The staff at the Higgins Beach Inn is just as welcoming as your bestie. The 23 rooms in this historic property follow a minimalist thread, with everything you need to be comfortable without an ounce of froufrou. Sun-bleached colors, tiled bathrooms and top-notch bedding are seaside perfection. It’s casual comfort that feels as cozy as a cashmere sweater.
Spend time on the front porch enjoying the gardens and lush lawn before you walk just a few steps to the sand and sea. The inn has beach towels and chairs, so off you’ll go to enjoy the fresh sea air.
Eat: Shade is the onsite restaurant at the Higgins Beach Inn. The menu excels at just-caught New England classics like lobster rolls and fish & chips. Creative fusion dishes such as shellfish stew in coconut broth are divine. Don’t miss happy hour and its one-dollar oysters, perhaps paired with an après-beach cocktail. The three-season enclosed patio is a delight.
Get Here: Ride Concord Coach Lines from East 42nd Street to Portland in just under 6 hours. Catch a taxi or Uber in Portland and you’ll be at Higgins Beach in 15 minutes. JetBlue flies to Portland from JFK in an hour, so keep an eye out for shoulder season deals.
Photo credits: Hayley Griffin. Video by Visit Maine.