Every time I drive down the hill into downtown Old Orchard Beach my mind is awash with childhood memories. I can see the sand castles on the beach and I will never quit playing miniature golf competitively with my father and brother, but as a teenager I learned something new about this special place; it is not just a boardwalk of amusements... it is also a nature preserve.
Now, I never visit without spending an afternoon exploring Maine's largest salt water marsh. There is nothing like taking a canoe out and exploring this wildlife wonderland that Birders will love. On any given afternoon it is not unusual to spot flocks of a dozen or more different species of shorebirds. Glossy ibis, snowy egret, little/great blues, herons of every stripe, blue-winged teal, mallard, black duck, willet, snipe, savannah and sharp-tailed sparrows; we have them all, heck you may even spot a seal as you get close to the ocean.
Maine's saltwater marshes are also one of the last known habitats for endangered least terns and piping plovers. To participate in the effort to save them visit the Maine Audubon Society's Piping Plover and Least Tern Project Page. Do remember that the Scarborough marsh is tidal, emptying into the ocean at the Pine Point Boat landing, unless you are an expert, stick to the marsh itself.
Also plan ahead, paddling against tide can be tiring so a neat trick, if you will be going when the tide is on its way out, is to take two cars and leave one at the boat launch.
Of course if you prefer to commune with nature with a real minimum of exertion, consider another of my favorites and subject of a future post; Whale watching. As always if you have any questions about matching your interests nearby attractions and activities, do not hesitate to ask any of the friendly locals, from cleaners to clerks, staffing Atlantic Ocean Suites.