Willard Beach in South Portland, Maine | Things to do & Map
Willard Beach | Podcast
Willard Beach is a beautiful, family-friendly beach in South Portland, Maine. With its pristine sand and clear waters, this beach offers visitors a serene and relaxing atmosphere.
Located just a short drive from downtown Portland, Willard Beach is easily accessible and a perfect spot to spend a day in the sun. But it’s not just the natural beauty of the beach that makes it worth visiting – there are plenty of activities and attractions in the surrounding area to keep visitors entertained.
Whether you’re looking to relax in the sun, explore the nearby attractions, or enjoy some delicious local cuisine, Willard Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the Portland area.
About Willard Beach & its Locations
Located in South Portland, Maine, Willard Beach has a rich history dating back to the 1800s. Originally a popular spot for clam diggers, the beach eventually became a popular destination for families looking to spend a day in the sun.
Today, Willard Beach is known for its pristine sand, clear waters, and family-friendly atmosphere. The beach is surrounded by picturesque cottages and has a small park area that’s perfect for picnicking.
In addition to its natural beauty, Willard Beach offers visitors a variety of amenities and facilities, including public restrooms, showers, and picnic tables. There is also a playground area for children to enjoy.
Visitors can rent kayaks or paddleboards to explore the waters around the beach or take a leisurely walk along the nearby Eastern Promenade Trail.
Getting There: How to Reach Willard Beach
Willard Beach is easily accessible by car, public transportation, and bike. If you’re driving, the beach is located at 1000 Willard Street, South Portland, ME 04106, and there is ample parking available for visitors.
If you’re coming from downtown Portland, you can take Route 77 south to reach the beach. Alternatively, you can take the Casco Bay Lines ferry from Portland’s Old Port area to the nearby Peaks Island, and then take a short bike ride or walk to Willard Beach.
For those taking public transportation, the Greater Portland Metro bus system offers several routes that stop near the beach, including the 21 and 24.
If you’re arriving by train or plane, the Amtrak Downeaster and Portland International Jetport are both located within a short drive of Willard Beach.
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Why is it Called Willard Beach?
Willard Beach is named after the Willard family, who were prominent residents of the South Portland area in the late 1800s. The family owned a large piece of property on the eastern side of the beach, and it was eventually sold to the city of South Portland to be used as a public park.
The beach itself became a popular destination for families and visitors, and the name “Willard Beach” stuck as a nod to the Willard family’s history in the area. Today, the beach remains a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike, and the Willard family’s legacy continues to be celebrated in the South Portland community.
Is Willard Beach worth visiting?
Absolutely! Willard Beach is a beautiful destination that’s worth visiting for anyone looking to enjoy a day in the sun. The beach offers visitors a perfect combination of natural beauty and convenient amenities, including pristine sand, clear waters, and easy access to public restrooms, showers, and picnic tables.
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What is Willard Beach Famous For?
Willard Beach is famous for its stunning natural beauty and family-friendly atmosphere. The beach is known for its soft, white sand, clear and calm waters, and picturesque surroundings. Visitors to Willard Beach can enjoy a variety of activities, including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and relaxing on the beach.
Additionally, the nearby Eastern Promenade Trail offers visitors a chance to explore the surrounding area on foot or by bike. Overall, Willard Beach’s natural beauty, convenient amenities, and fun activities make it a popular destination for visitors to South Portland, Maine.
Top Things to Do: Activities, Things to See & Do in Willard Beach
Enjoy the Beach: Willard Beach is the perfect place to relax, soak up some sun, and enjoy a day at the beach. The beach is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles with the family.
Explore the Eastern Promenade Trail: Take a stroll or bike ride along the Eastern Promenade Trail, which winds its way along the coast from Portland to South Portland. The trail offers stunning views of Casco Bay and the surrounding islands.
Rent a Kayak or Paddleboard: Kayak or paddleboard rentals are available at nearby Fort Williams Park, and Willard Beach is an excellent place to launch and explore the surrounding waters.
Watch the Sunset: Willard Beach is an excellent spot to catch a stunning sunset over Casco Bay. Pack a picnic dinner and watch the sky turn pink and orange as the sun goes down.
Take a Ferry Ride: Take a short ferry ride from nearby Peaks Island to explore the islands of Casco Bay. Ferries depart regularly from the island and offer visitors a chance to see the area’s stunning coastline from the water.
Visit Bug Light Park: Located just a short drive from Willard Beach, Bug Light Park is home to the charming Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, a popular spot for photos and picnics.
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Visual Delight: Willard Beach Photos
Attractions Points Near Willard Beach?
Fort Williams Park: Just a short drive from Willard Beach, Fort Williams Park is a 90-acre park that offers stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding islands. Visitors can explore the park’s many trails, picnic areas, and historic sites, including the Portland Head Light, one of Maine’s most famous lighthouses.
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum: Located in Portland, just a few miles from Willard Beach, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum is a great attraction for families. The museum features a collection of historic narrow-gauge trains and offers rides along the waterfront.
Portland Museum of Art: The Portland Museum of Art is located in the heart of downtown Portland, just a few miles from Willard Beach. The museum features a collection of American and European art, as well as rotating exhibits and special events.
Old Port: The Old Port is the historic district of Portland, located just a few miles from Willard Beach. The area is home to beauty, there’s something for everyone within a short distance of the beach.
Accommodations and Facilities: Hotels Near Beach
Willard Beach is located in the charming coastal town of South Portland, Maine, and there are several hotels and accommodations available near the beach. Here are a few options:
Inn by the Sea: This luxurious hotel is located just a short walk from Willard Beach and features ocean views, a spa, and a restaurant serving locally sourced cuisine.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites: This budget-friendly hotel is located just a few miles from Willard Beach and offers comfortable rooms and amenities such as an indoor pool and fitness center.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland: This modern hotel is located just a short drive from Willard Beach and features an indoor pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurant.
Comfort Inn Airport: This budget-friendly hotel is located just a few miles from Willard Beach and offers comfortable rooms and amenities such as a free breakfast and airport shuttle.
Courtyard by Marriott Portland Downtown/Waterfront: This stylish hotel is located in downtown Portland, just a few miles from Willard Beach, and features a fitness center and on-site restaurant.
Food to Eat
While visiting Willard Beach, be sure to check out some of the delicious food options available in the surrounding area. Here are a few must-try dishes:
Lobster Roll: No trip to Maine would be complete without trying a lobster roll. The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, located just a few miles from Willard Beach, serves up one of the best lobster rolls in the area.
Clam Chowder: Another classic Maine dish, clam chowder is a must-try when visiting Willard Beach. Be sure to check out Gilbert’s Chowder House, located just a short drive from the beach.
Blueberry Pie: Maine is known for its delicious blueberries, and a slice of blueberry pie is the perfect way to end a day at the beach. Check out Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland for some of the best blueberry pie around.
Fried Seafood: If you’re in the mood for some classic fried seafood, head over to J’s Oyster Bar in Portland. Their fried clams and scallops are not to be missed.
Craft Beer: Maine has a thriving craft beer scene, and there are plenty of breweries to check out in the area. Some favorites include Allagash Brewing Company and Shipyard Brewing Company.
Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, pie, or a cold beer, there’s something for everyone to enjoy near Willard Beach.
Rules and Regulations: What Are the Rules at Willard Beach?
While visiting Willard Beach, it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all visitors. Here are a few important rules to keep in mind:
Dogs: Dogs are allowed on the beach from September 30th through April 1st, but they must be leashed at all times. From April 2nd through September 29th, dogs are not allowed on the beach between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Alcohol: Alcohol is not allowed on the beach or in the parking lot.
Fires: Fires and grilling are not allowed on the beach or in the parking lot.
Smoking: Smoking is not allowed on the beach or in the parking lot.
Trash: Visitors are expected to clean up after themselves and dispose of trash in the designated receptacles.
By following these rules and regulations, visitors can help ensure that Willard Beach remains a safe and enjoyable destination for everyone.
Willard Beach is a beautiful and popular destination located in South Portland, Maine. With its soft sand, clear water, and picturesque surroundings, it’s easy to see why so many visitors flock to this beach each year.
Whether you’re looking to relax in the sun, take a dip in the water, or explore the surrounding area, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Willard Beach. From delicious food to exciting activities, this beach truly has it all.
Just be sure to follow the rules and regulations in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors. So, pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and head on over to Willard Beach for a day of fun in the sun!
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Willard Beach Map Directions
Willard Beach FAQ
The best time to visit Willard Beach is during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is warm and sunny.
Willard Beach is open from sunrise to sunset.
There is a parking lot at Willard Beach, and the cost is $15 per day during the summer months.
You can access Willard Beach by car or public transportation. There is also a bike path that runs along the beach.
Alcohol is not allowed on Willard Beach.
Willard Beach is located in the Willard Square neighborhood of South Portland, Maine. The address is 1000 Shore Road, South Portland, ME 04106.
Yes, there is a designated dog beach area on the eastern end of Willard Beach where dogs are allowed off-leash from 7:00 pm to 9:00 am during the summer months.
Willard Beach can get crowded during peak summer months and weekends.
Yes, swimming is allowed at Willard Beach. The water temperature is typically in the mid-60s to low-70s Fahrenheit during the summer months.