Posted on November 6, 2015 and last updated on November 15, 2022

Prouts Neck Cliff Walk, with Ferry and Scarborough Beaches, Scarborough


  • Preserve Size: NA
  • Trail Mileage: 4.3-mile loop, .7 miles in bird sanctuary
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate, with some rough footing at times
  • Sights: sandy and cobble stone beaches, historical neighborhood, Winslow Homer's studio, rocky coastline

I have done this cliff-plus-beach walk a thousand times I think, starting when I was just two. It is a beloved favorite of my family and many Mainers. The ponds behind Scarborough Beach also make for great ice skating. The people who live in Prouts Neck are generous for sharing this beautiful, historical peninsula with the public. But the best time to walk here is the off-season, when most of the residents have closed up their homes and returned to their other mansions, and the tourists have gone as well (not that we don’t appreciate tourists in Maine! We certainly do. And out-of-staters).

What’s particularly cool about this place is the several shingle-style homes designed by John Calvin Stevens that perch above the cliffs. The narrow trail that skirts the sea in front of the grand homes sometimes disappears briefly along stretches of pebbly beaches. Tucked in the heart of the peninsula, in the middle of the curving, narrow lanes and old homes, is a bird sanctuary and boardwalk. Winslow Homer also lived and painted here.

To find the start of the cliff walk, take a left onto Beach Road, which is roughly .9 miles from the intersection of Spurwink Road. The path starts by the side of a shed, where the road makes a sharp curve. It comes out at the end of Winslow Homer Road (also the end of Black Point Road).

There is no need to do the entire 4.3-mile loop, which encompasses the sandy stretches of Ferry and Scarborough beaches, although they make for breathtaking bookends to the cliff walk. You can just do the loop along the edge of the peninsula, circling back through the lovely old neighborhood. To find the bird sanctuary and boardwalk, look for Library Lane; the trailhead is about half way down the short road.

More info available here.

Directions: Scarborough Beach has a parking lot off of Black Point Road, about a mile from the intersection with Spurwink Road. Ferry Beach’s parking lot is about. 4 miles farther on. Take a right off Black Point Road onto Ferry Road and drive to the end. I recommend parking in one of the two beach parking lots when visiting here (there are fees). Parking on the rest of the peninsula is very difficult, if not impossible.

Be warned, do not speed here! The place is well patrolled by police. Also, please take care on the seaside path, which can be slippery when wet and include sections atop rocky cliffs.

9 comments to “Prouts Neck Cliff Walk, with Ferry and Scarborough Beaches, Scarborough”
9 comments to “Prouts Neck Cliff Walk, with Ferry and Scarborough Beaches, Scarborough”
  1. August 5, 2017. Our family of 5 was charged $40 to park at Scarborough Beach in order to access the Cliff Walk on Prouts Neck – only to find there is no access. We had to scramble up rocks and through thorns and over a fence to find entrance. Very unwelcoming, although the views were lovely, even in the fog. B. Daniel

  2. I’m sorry to hear that! I guess the best thing to do is approach from the other side? It is a beautiful spot but sometimes can be a bit of a hassle.

  3. We just walked the loop starting at the Black Tavern Inn and ended there from the other side. It was beautiful but I would not say the walk was easy. You need to be sure footed as there were many rocky areas to scramble over. Just wanted people to be aware of that.

  4. That is a good point. I should explain the conditions a bit better. It can also be a bit muddy at times, which can also make for rough going. Thank you for the suggestion!

  5. We parked at Ferry Beach and walked to Black Point Inn and entered trail there. No Dogs allowed on beaches after April 1st. It was a great walk and very scenic. The actual trail was a little wet but in good shape overall. We hike a lot throughout the country so we found this to be a very easy walk. For those who do not hike so much it could be challenging in spots.

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  7. According to my rough estimates, it’s just under three miles, one mile or so down Ferry Beach and then about 1.7 miles back along Scarborough Beach and the roads to the Ferry Beach parking area.

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Let me know if you have any trail updates or corrections!