Mixing great sweeps of yellow-tinted sand with clean ocean waters, salty lobster shacks, and vibrant boardwalk towns, Maine is one darn fine place to find yourself when the weather is warming up. This guide ranges from the whale-filled inlets of Bar Harbor to the lighthouse-topped rocks of York, all in search of standout destinations in the Pine Tree State where you can find amazing Maine beach rentals.

York Beach, Maine, rentals – quintessential New England

Visions of whitewashed lighthouses atop the rocky headlands and the soft slope of Short Sands Beach comes riddled with Ferris wheels and zoo attractions for the families – welcome to York Beach, a classic picture of New England. As you move from the town to the salt-sprayed cliff walks of beautiful Cape Neddick – the home of the Nubble Lighthouse – you can find everything from wood-built cottages to luxurious Maine oceanfront rentals with big decks and yards.

The pull of Goose Rocks Beach rentals

South of Portland and just around the corner from popular Saco Bay, you'll find Goose Rocks Beach rentals fringing the edge of Kennebunkport, between coast woods and sands that have a clear, cotton-white hue. The area has long been popular with families and couples who want to escape from it all – just them, the ocean rollers, and stunning vistas of the shore. Wildlife refuges to the northeast and south mean there's a pristine look to it all, and there's a distinct air of class and style to many of the rentals – think big, modern, and luxurious Maine vacation homes on the oceanfront.

A quaint escape to Higgins Beach rentals

Breathe in the atmosphere of small-town coastal America at Higgins Beach. It's indelibly welcoming and compact, with age-old sailor's taverns peppering its tight-knit streets and a haunting outline of a shipwreck wedged into its sands. You can spend days gorging on the bounty of the sea in hearty chowder kitchens, voyaging with local fishing folk to catch stripped bass, hitting the surf, or exploring the tidal pools.

Unforgettable Wells Beach rentals

One of the oldest towns in the whole Pine Tree State sure is a looker. Prepare to sigh with nostalgia as you set eyes on the timber-clad lodges or the handsome Maine vacation rentals on the waterfront, all lined up with their pretty porches and breezy grass lawns before the golden scythe of sand that is award-winning Crescent Beach. A little to the north, surrounded by protected wildlife preserves, is Drakes Island. Head there to add color-changing forests and empty stretches of shoreline into the mix.

Be taken by Popham Beach rentals

Clutching the Kennebec River as it wiggles into the frothing Atlantic Ocean north out of Portland, the big bay of Popham Beach has gorgeous views of craggy Wood Island and swathes of spear-like pine trees that drop down to meet the swells. There are tales of centuries-old colonies settling here to uncover, but also loads of room to drop the towel and soak up the rays. What's more, there's a wide selection of secluded and romantic Maine beach rentals, which you can find huddled in the woods just feet off the sands.

Bar Harbor can't be ignored

One of the undisputed jewels of the northern Maine coastline is Bar Harbor, where you'll wake to the sounds of rigging in the marina and the call of gulls around the docks. It might not have the pristine beaches – the shoreline here is more about jaw-dropping vistas of rock cascading into wide Frenchman Bay. However, the town does tout bucket-list-busting whale watching during the summertime, a series of handsome lodges with oceanfront locations, and access to the untouched Acadia National Park, where great granite peaks tower over bear-stalked valleys filled with trees.