Top 10 Best Southern Maine Beaches for Portrait Sessions


With over 30 miles of sandy beach coastline between Kittery and Portland, it’s easy to see why so many people come to Maine to relax at the beach! So many families and couples are choosing to have their portraits taken at the beach, surrounded by the salty air, sand between their toes, the wind blowing their hair, the kids splashing in the waves – because these portraits take them right back to those amazing memories of their days spent in the warm sun during their time here in Maine!

There’s just something about the beaches in Southern Maine. They’re each unique in their own way, but what’s special, is that they all feel like Maine! I’ve photographed countless portrait sessions at these beaches, everything from local family portrait sessions, elopements, engagement sessions, vacationing families, senior portraits, and anniversary sessions! Many clients prefer to use the beach closest to where they live or are vacationing, but it doesn’t hurt to see all your options! As a Maine portrait photographer, I get to spend almost every evening at one of Maine’s incredible beaches, always bringing home more sand than I intend to after wading into the ocean to get the perfect shot! And now I want to share my expertise with you! These are my TOP TEN favorite Southern Maine beaches for portrait sessions (and weddings)! If you’re vacationing in the area, a portrait session is the perfect souvenir to remember your time in Maine with. If you’re getting married in Southern Maine, these are some great ideas for where to take your couple portraits on your big day!

1. Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport

I had to put this as #1 because it’s my favorite beach to photograph at in Southern Maine! There’s just something about this beach – the green flowering bushes lining the sandy paths, the tall grass growing on the dunes, the white sand that feels so soft beneath your feet that it feels like a spa day, the boats anchored nearby, and the gorgeous sunsets that seem to happen almost every time I’m there! I honestly can’t even think of any drawbacks to this location. I’ve never had an issue finding parking in the evening, there’s other people there but it’s never too crowded, and I’ve never had an issue with bugs there! Definitely a top recommendation for a portrait session location!

2. Ship Cove – Fort Williams, Cape Elizabeth

This beautiful rocky beach at Fort Williams is definitely in my top 2! I absolutely love the curve of the shoreline, the white pebble rocks, the old fort in the background, and that we can photograph in the shade here to avoid the bright sun! But the best part about this beach is that it’s right next to Portland Headlight – one of the most beautiful lighthouses on the East coast! When clients want photos here, they also get photos up at the lighthouse at sunset – the perfect combination of quintessential Maine scenery!

families walk along rocky beach at fort williams portland headlight

3. Wells Beach, Wells

Wells Beach is a huge beach – leaving plenty of room for the beachgoers in the background without obscuring photos of my amazing clients! This beautiful sandy beach also has rocks sticking out, giving a textured feel to the photos, while also giving kids a place to explore and look for crabs! Sunsets are just beautiful here, and parking isn’t too bad if you’re willing to drive around a bit to find a good spot. There are lots of restaurants right there, which makes grabbing dinner before or after your session super easy.

Kids run around beach during family portraits taken by maine photographer at wells beach in wells maine Kids run around beach during family portraits taken by maine photographer at wells beach in wells maine

4. Gooch’s Beach, Kennebunk

Some clients showed me this beach during their elopement recently, and gosh, it’s stunning! This location would be amazing for a family session, engagement session, or even a senior session! You get the best of both worlds – the sandy beach and soft sunsets, as well as the rocky coastline AND marshy feel! This would be great for families with older kids who would love climbing on these rocks to explore, and ending the evening splashing in the ocean!

wedding couple takes photos at gooch's beach in kennebunk, maine, at sunset

5. Old Orchard Beach, Old Orchard

The pier at Old Orchard is a classic attraction in the area, and makes a unique and beautiful backdrop for photos at the beach! When photographing here, I love to start near the sea grass dunes, which shades first in the evenings. Then we get some photos in the soft white sand with the pier in the background, followed by photos under the pier itself! This is a busy area in the evenings, so we do have to often wait for other families to pass behind us before taking the photo, but clients are always so surprised to see the final result with no one in the background! I love to end each session with some photos with the big ferris wheel behind them at sunset, and then splashing in the ocean (or sometimes getting ice cream in front of the pier)! The sunrises and sunsets at this beach are always incredible!

sunset portrait of a couple engagement at old orchard pier amusement park


beautiful maine portrait session of a family by maine photographer andrea simmons during the sunset at old orchard beach

6. Crescent Beach – Inn By The Sea, Cape Elizabeth

Crescent Beach is yet another lovely white sandy beach in Southern Maine! The sand dunes, sea grass, colorful sunsets, and driftwood are some of my favorites parts about this beach. If you’re a guest of Inn By The Sea, there’s a pathway that takes you directly down to this beach! But if you’re not, there’s also a public parking lot in a different part of the beach.

family who is staying at inn by the sea in cape elizabeth takes portraits at sunset at crescent beach

7. Mother’s Beach, Kennebunk

Mother’s Beach is one of those tiny beaches that are such a little gem! Although it’s crowded during the day, it really empties in the evening. The rocky areas are so much fun for kids to explore the tide pools. The soft sand is great for digging in, and there’s even a playground right next to the beach as well! Parking is limited, but usually not an issue in the evenings. The sunsets are gorgeous and this beach is definitely one of my favs!

family takes photos at sunset at mother's beach in kennebunk, maine, with a beautiful rocky backdrop family takes photos at sunset at mother's beach in kennebunk, maine, with a beautiful rocky backdrop family takes photos at sunset at mother's beach in kennebunk, maine, with a beautiful rocky backdrop

8. Pine Point Beach, Scarborough

Pine Point Beach has such beautiful blue water, grassy sand dunes, and colorful sunsets! This beach is perfect for families staying right nearby, as there’s also a public parking area we can use to access the beach. The beach does get fairly small during high tide, so that’s something to keep in mind when deciding whether to choose this location!

extended family takes photos at pine point beach in scarborough maine at sunset

9. Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth

Kettle Cove is a very special and unique area of Cape Elizabeth. The little crescent-shaped beach is perfect for little kids to wade into the water a bit, without having to worry about big waves. There are pathways through the trees to explore, rocky areas for that classic Maine scenery, and gorgeous sunsets as well! There’s even a field of yellow flowers that bloom in August if you’re lucky enough to book a session during that time!

couple poses for engagement photos at a beach in cape elizabeth called kettle cove at sunset

10. Footbridge Beach, Ogunquit

Footbridge Beach is very popular with tourists, and for good reason! The beautiful marshes, long bridge, grassy sand dunes, white soft sand, and a big ocean expanse make for a great location for spending the day at the beach AND taking gorgeous family portraits! This beach is huge, and although it’s busy there, there’s plenty of space to work around other guests. You can really get several different backdrops at this location!

white sandy footbridge beach is perfect for family photos in ogunquit maine by maine family photographer white sandy footbridge beach is perfect for family photos in ogunquit maine by maine family photographer

BONUS LOCATION: Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth

Ok, so this technically isn’t a beach, but I had to include it in the list because it’s such a hidden gem in Southern Maine! Two Lights State Park is a gorgeous natural park that runs right along Maine’s coastline. Some of the scenery there is to DIE for, and could easily be mistaken for Acadia, without the long drive up North! There are so many different areas of this park that give a huge variety to photos, and really, there’s no bad angle here! I’m really hoping to book more sessions here in the next few years! Certain areas of the park would really be best for families with older kids, but there are other areas that are more accessible to families with younger kids, so just ask me for examples of what part of the park we can use if you have little ones! This is because some of the spots require us to climb down to access (though I will say that I am not much of a climber myself, so if I can do it, pretty much anyone can!).

a rocky and uniquely gorgeous setting for family and couple engagement portraits is two lights state park in cape elizabeth maine by maine photographer

Thank you for reading through this post about the best Southern Maine beaches for portrait sessions! If you have any questions about any of these locations, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I love helping my clients find the right location that will work best for them and give them the Maine portraits they’ve always dreamed of!

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