June 22, 2020
Sebago My Day!
Big, deep, readily accessible and sparkling clean, Sebago Lake is a Maine getaway that offers a little something for everyone. By Ken Textor; Photos by Tom Richardson
Whether you want to be in the middle of the action or off in some quiet corner of the lake fishing, Sebago can provide. Even sailboat owners laud its winds, which can zoom out of the White Mountains to the northwest or gently waft in off the ocean to the southwest.
Port Harbor Marine is one of the largest marinas on the lake, and offers boat rentals, fuel, service and a unique club that allows members to use a variety of boat models at both its Sebago and South Portland facilities. It also offers prime access to a popular and easy-to-reach part of the lake.
Jordan Bay is the portion of Sebago that’s most active, with or without the white, sandy expanse of Tassel Top Beach, just a little south of the Port Harbor facility. Most of the concentration of waterfront homes, marinas, an amusement park and other facilities are in this area due to its close proximity to Portland and its suburbs, just 20 miles away. Many of the people enjoying Jordan Bay tend to be locals, although lots of boat owners who live farther south and west have also discovered the joys of Sebago.
As the second largest lake in Maine (just behind Moosehead), Sebago offers a total of 45 square miles of water to consider, although the last two miles of the lake’s southernmost bay is off limits. That’s because Sebago is the source of drinking water for fully 15 percent of Maine’s population, including the City of Portland and its suburbs. The water is so clean that it’s piped, pretty much untreated, straight from the lake to local taps miles away.
Party at the Spit
One of the best places to enjoy that clean water is on the north shore, where Sebago Lake State Park is located. From the water, it’s easy to find the Songo River, which links the park’s launch ramp to the wildly popular beach known as The Spit. On some summer days, the bows of powerboats resting on the beach are so numerous as to obscure the edges of this riparian delight.
The Spit is a watery playground with few equals. On the inland side are warm, shallow waters that are perfect for acquainting small children with what covers 75 percent of the Earth’s surface. On the lake side, the water is cooler and usually only chopped up by boat wakes‚ although a brisk southwesterly can render stern-anchoring untenable.
If the lake is uncomfortably choppy, another alternative is close at hand at Point Sebago Resort, a 775-acre complex of golf courses, beaches and various terrestrial amusements aimed specifically at boat owners and their children. It’s located a few miles southeast of The Spit, protected by several islands that create an inside passage to the resort’s marina and other facilities.
Frye Island Fun
And speaking of islands, the lake’s best-known isle is worth a stop both for its waterside dining options and as a place to stretch your legs for a bit. At Frye Island, the hangout for just about everyone is the Frye’s Leap Café, next to the ferry terminal on the northeast side of the island. It’s funky-looking, but the food is good and they’re very nice about allowing boaters to tie up for a while.
Once fortified, you may want to return to the lake’s deep waters and try your hand at fishing for landlocked salmon, several varieties of trout, bass and northern pike. Except for the over-abundant pike, most anglers stick with the catch-and-release approach—again, to help keep Sebago predictably fun for the next visit.
Sebago Names & Numbers
Chart: Maine Lake Charts (207-485-0330)
Head north on the Maine Turnpike (I-95) until you reach exit 63, where you connect with U.S. Route 202/State Routes 4 & 115 westbound to North Windham, the main service town for most people who live and play on the lake. Just before you get to North Windham, State Route 115 branches off from 202/4 to the right and takes you through to the intersection with U.S. 302/State Route 35. To reach Sebago Lake State Park and launch ramp, go north about 9 miles on 302/35 until you see the somewhat diminutive directional sign on your right, marking the left-hand turn to the Park entrance. Follow the local road a mile or so to the prominent sign and entrance to the park access road. From Boston, the trip is about 130 miles or 2 1/2 hours; from Portland it’s 25 miles or 30 minutes.
Note: All motorized watercraft on inland waters must display a Maine lake and river protection sticker (“Preserve Maine Waters” sticker). The lake and river protection sticker is also referred to as a “milfoil” sticker. Click for more details.
- Port Harbor Marine-Jordan Bay (207-655-3845): Water/electric, gas dock, pump-out, shower and restrooms, launch ramp, ice and supplies, chandlery, tackle shop, boat and kayak rental, storage.
- Richardson’s Boat Yard (207-892-4913): Full-service marina with gas dock and transient slips on Jordan Cove in North Windham.
- Kettle Cove Marina (207-655-4775): Full-service marina located in South Casco. Offers gas dock, boat rental, transient slips (to 30’), service, WiFi, water, power, showers.
- Sebago Lake Marina (207-787-2444;): East Sebago. Offers a launch ramp, boat rentals, slips and service.
- Point Sebago Resort (800-530-1555;): South Casco. Offers a basic marina with transient slips, ramp and boat rental.
- Long Beach Marina (207-787-3908): Gas dock, moorings, watersports rental, powerboat and PWC rental.
- There are at least a dozen private launch ramps on Sebago Lake, most of which charge a fee or are limited to the patrons of the marina that owns the ramp.
- Sebago Lake State Park (207-693-6231): At the northern end of the lake on the winding Songo River. No fee.
- For more information on access, check out Maine Lake Charts Inc. of Gardiner (207-485-0330). They publish an excellent—and essential—chart and boating guide for Sebago showing all of the lake’s ramps.
- Sebago Kayak Company (207-935-4763): Kayak and canoe rental.
- Sebago Lake Marina (207-787-2444): Small-boat, kayak and canoe rental.
- Point Sebago Resort (800-530-1555): Small-boat, kayak and canoe rental.
- Long Beach Marina (207-787-3908): Powerboat and PWC rental.
- Jordan’s Store (207-787-3866)
- Four Seasons Variety (207-787-3666)
- Gemmes General Store (207-787-3838)
- Frye’s Leap General Store & Café (207-655-4256): Dock n’ dine on the northeast tip of Frye Island, next to the ferry landing. Lunch and dinner menu.
- Gary’s Old Towne Tavern, Naples. Pub food and craft brews.