Sand Beach may sound like a generic name, but the reality in substance far surpasses expectations. This beach really does have character and it shows in a variety of ways. Like the small gift that ends up being the most impressive one, Sand Beach is tucked away between two walls of solid pink granite that reddens with the moist spray and mist. The waves lap the shore with a steady pulse that strokes the temperament like the strings of a fine instrument. The open sea and sky to the south pulls us outward, across the waters where Otter Cliff stands tall and strong as if a sentient being of the gods.
This is a gorgeous beach in a spectacular setting but you do not see this from the parking area. You must first walk over to the granite stairs that are high above the shore. At this point, the sounds of the waves surge upon us as the panoramic vista unfolds like that special packaged gift that was being unwrapped. That first impression is extremely inviting.
The 290 yard beach is actually comprised of unique sand of shell fragments that were created by thousands of years of pounding surf. And, the ocean? Even in summer, it certainly is on the cool side - rarely exceeding 55 degrees fahrenheit. But on a hot summer day, this creates an exhilarating contrast that is stimulating and just plain fun.
There is an exceptional walking trail that begins at the far end of the upper parking lot. The 2 mile Ocean Path meanders along the rocky shore past Thunder Hole and arrives at Otter Cliff to the south. Consider taking advantage of this s it does not get any better than this anywhere.
On the further side of the beach, there is another more challenging trail (ranked moderate) that goes up some granite steps, then follows trail markings up the granite face until it arrives at the top of Great Head. The aptly named Great Head Trail will loop around the peninsula and arrive back. Even if you choose not to do this, the view looking back at Sand Beach and The Beehive from this vantage point is well worth the climb.
Photos: Waves | Aqua Water | Calm | Foggy | Beach & Beehive | Winter | Otter Cliff
Interesting Fact: Part of the 1999 movie “Cider House Rules” was filmed at Sand Beach.
The Free Island Explorer Shuttle Bus Service makes regular (in season) stops at the Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and Otter Cliff. (Refer to their #3 Sand Beach/Blackwoods & #4 Loop Road Routes.) The #3 Sand Beach/Blackwoods Route Bus returns to Bar Harbor at the Village Green and the #4 Loop Road Route Bus stops at the the Hulls Cove Visitor Center.
Sand Beach Parking GPS Coordinates: Latitude 44.330198; Longitude -68.183998
Hulls Cove Visitor Center GPS: Latitude 44.409286; Longitude -68.247501
Discover Sand Beach!