One of the best things about moving to Maine was being able to take my dogs to the beach year round. Seeing Jack and Rose run free, romp in the water, dig in the sand and chase seagulls was just as joyful for me as it was for them. Of course, Rose always managed to find something fishy to roll in and Jack loved to play keep away while chomping on salty seaweed. I would call them scalawags, roll my eyes, and secretly laugh to myself because I loved their spunkiness.

Our favorite beach was Kennebunkport’s Goose Rocks Beach (aka GRB) located just beyond Cape Porpoise. We would get up early, stop at Cape Porpoise Kitchen for coffee (Coffee by Design’s Hawaaian Hazelnut is my all-time favorite) and drive Route 9 to Dyke Road ending at the beach. As soon as Jack and Rose could smell the salt air, they started dancing in the back seat and Rose would start barking with excitement. Once on the beach we would walk along the water’s edge and enjoy the sounds, smells and solitude.

Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk is the unofficial “dog beach” in the area. Dogs and their owners congregate before 9am and after 5pm in the summer months and throughout the day the rest of the year. For many years, I used to help the former innkeepers of the 1802 House by taking their dog, Toby, to Gooch’s early in the morning so they could focus on breakfast service. Since my dogs had zero interest in playing fetch, and Toby, a ball-obsessed black lab did, this gave me a whole new “beach dog experience”. We would spend a solid 45 minutes playing fetch, with him jumping in and out of the water or skidding in the sand to get that orange ball. I would return Toby to the Inn exhausted, hungry and well exercised. It was a great way to start my day as his joy filled me up too. 

Even now, without the company of any dogs, I love to sit and watch the dogs at play. Many days, after closing up Scalawags, I will head to one of the beaches just to watch the dogs play. 


  1. Bring plenty of fresh water for your dog and yourself
  2. Bring more poop bags than you think you might need (salt water can wreak havoc if ingested) and pick up!
  3. Bring two floatable balls in case another dog “steals” your ball or it floats out to sea
  4. Write your dog’s name on the ball in case a ball thief (see #3) doesn’t want to give the ball back

Click here to download our handy Beach Checklist and be sure to swing by Scalawags if you need anything to make your scalawags trip to the beach more enjoyable!

Kennebunkport Beaches


Goose Rocks Beach

  • Three miles of sandy beaches
  • Dogs welcome before 9am and after 5pm, June 15 through Labor Day and any time the rest of the year
  • Parking pass required Memorial Day through Labor Day
  • Beach rules clearly posted and enforced
  • Route 9 to Dyke Road (15 mins. from Dock Square)
  • FMI:
Kennebunkport Beaches


Gooch’s, Middle & Mother’s Beaches

  • String of sandy and rocky beaches along Beach Avenue
  • Dogs welcome before 9am and after 5pm, June 15 through Labor Day and any time the rest of the year
  • Parking pass required June 15 through September 15
  • Lifeguards and porta-potties July through Labor Day
  • FMI:

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