Looking to venture to the most gorgeous state parks in Maine? Here are the parks you simply can’t miss!
It’s no secret that Maine is stunning. And the state has a slew of charming state parks perfect for various family-friendly activities. Most provide hiking and biking routes that people of all fitness levels can access.
Some people are fortunate enough to live near water, whether the ocean or a lake, where they can enjoy a relaxing swim or sunbathe. You can assure that the views and landscapes in Maine’s State Parks will be spectacular, ranging from the high highlands and crystal clear lakes to the rugged southern shore.
And don’t be stressed about the cold; many of these parks look their best when they’re snow-covered. Spend some time getting to know them, whether on snowshoes, skis, or even a walk.
If you’re looking for things to do in Maine then you’ll definitely want to check out one of these awesome state parks. For your next adventure, we’ve compiled a list of Maine’s most amazing state parks. Here are our top 13 Maine state parks, along with details on what to expect at each!
13. Peaks-Kenny State Park
Peaks-Kenny State Park, located on the banks of Sebec Lake, is a tranquil retreat for day visitors and overnight campers. Activities here include boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, and picnicking. It’s easy to relax and unwind at the campground’s 56 campsites, nestled amid majestic trees and huge glacial stones near the lake.
Nearby attractions include Moosehead Lake, the Appalachian Trail, Baxter State Park’s southern end, and other natural wonders. The Park’s 839 acres are located in the Central Maine Highlands, a region known for its natural beauty and recreational options.
Sebec Lake’s basin was carved out by a massive ice sheet that blanketed Maine some 15,000 years ago. For thousands of years, glaciers covered the area, melting the earth and creating a deep basin where the lake currently sits.
You can enjoy more than a mile of beachfront on Sebec Lake in the Park. It provides stunning views of Borestone Mountain’s 1600-acre nature refuge and its summit route from a sandy bathing beach served by summer lifeguards.
Wildlife watchers and anglers looking for cold-water species like landlocked salmon and lake trout will enjoy Sebec Lake’s clear and deep waters, which extend for 10 kilometers (togue). Upon arrival, camping guests can bring their canoes or rent one from the facility.
You may launch your boat at Greeley’s Landing, where Route 153 terminates at Sebec Lake (about two miles from the campsite).
It’s also possible to experience old-growth hardwood woods, hemlocks, and pines on the Park’s ten miles of moderate hiking paths.
12. Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park
Despite being just five minutes from the heart of Freeport’s shopping district, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park offers a calm escape into the wilds of nature. Climax white pine and hemlock woods are found throughout the Park, salt marshes, rugged shorelines, Casco Bays, and Harraseeket Rivers.
There is something for everyone at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, whether you’re looking for a place to get some exercise, a quiet area to have a picnic or a place to learn something new with a group. The Park has five miles of walking routes, including a wheelchair- and stroller-accessible path, but you can always find a space to relax, read, or dine on the coast, in the mowed field, or at a picnic site.
For a charge, visitors can book the picnic shelter, which seats 60 people and has a charcoal grill, bathrooms, and a drinking fountain. Groups of all ages are welcome and can take advantage of the free guided tours with advance notice.
On adjacent Googins Island, ospreys are the Park’s most famous inhabitants. Summering on the island and migrating to South America every fall, this elegant and graceful bird has an interpretative panel along its path that details its life cycle. It is possible to see newborn birds on their nests via high-powered lenses on a nature walk led by the Park Naturalist.
An informative panel describes the nearby islands of Eagle, Cousins, and others along Maine’s famed Casco Bay Trail, a major tourist attraction. After exploring the Park’s trails, you can stop for a picnic or a group barbecue beneath the shade of the Park’s new oak trees.
11. Aroostook State Park
With a gift of 100 acres from residents of Presque Isle in 1938, Aroostook State Park became Maine’s first State Park. The Park’s current area is around 800 acres, including the twin peaks of Quaggy Jo Mountain and Echo Lake shoreline.
At Echo Lake, tourists will find picnic tables and grills available for use, along with plenty of space to lounge in the sun. The lake is a magnificent place to cool down in the sun, and there are bathrooms nearby if you need them. Nearby bathrooms make the day-use facility completely accessible.
The dock and launch area is accessible to boaters and anglers. The cost of renting a canoe or paddleboat includes life jackets and paddles.
Thirty woodland campsites with picnic tables and fire rings are available in Aroostook State Park’s campground.
These campsites can accommodate tents or camping trailers. Next door to the campsite host, there is a hot shower and a kitchen pavilion with lights and running water on the camp road. The locations of the restrooms and water spigots are handy.
Quaggy Jo Mountain has 3-mile hiking trails that lead to view areas high above the campground. Your kids can have some fun on the modest playground.
Enjoy 20 miles of single-track mountain bike trails at the Nordic Heritage Center, an outdoor leisure center open all year long. In addition, the lodge is available to all visitors and has a sauna, bathrooms, and showers.
10. Ferry Beach State Park
In Saco, between Old Orchard Beach and Camp Ellis, you’ll find Ferry Beach State Park along Maine Route 9. This 100-acre region, which gives a panoramic view of miles of white sand beaches between the Saco River and Pine Point, has a unique stand of Tupelo (black gum) trees.
This State Park is a less-crowded alternative to Old Orchard Beach because of its 117-acre length of white, sandy beach. You can trek along the Tupelo Trail, a 0.4-mile route that takes them through a big stand of the Park’s iconic Tupelo trees.
Highways were rare north of Boston until the advent of beaches, which offered a reasonably safe and convenient mode of transit for commuters. Ferry Beach State Park got its name from the neighboring Saco River ferry crossing that serviced beachgoers.
There are restrooms, showers, and even a change area in the facility. There are several well-known Maine beaches without bathrooms, in case you were unaware. A shady canopy of trees shelters a large group picnic area with several picnic tables.
For a summer birthday celebration, this is the ideal location. If you don’t have cash or a park permit, the ranger station accepts debit cards.
Remember that a park permit is a must here!
The Nature Center, near to the parking lot, deserves special mention. It is a pleasure and a rarity among the beaches you’ve probably seen at any State Park.
It’s a type of place where you might quickly lose yourself for an hour. Adults and children will be entertained even if the weather is less than ideal.
9. Camden Hills State Park
Camden Hills State Park is situated in Camden, Maine, close to the city’s downtown area. It’s a 1.5-mile walk from the Inn. Many tourists start their day with a stroll around downtown, drinking coffee and people-watching, before making their way to Camden Hills State Park for the afternoon. From 9:00 am until sunset, this Maine state park is open year-round.
Mount Battie Trail is the most popular trail in Camden Hills State Park. Ascendants of Mount Battie will be rewarded with spectacular vistas of Camden and Penobscot Bay. Remember to bring your camera to take in all that beauty! These stunning sights are all yours to enjoy on this 1.1-mile-long route!
There are several different hiking paths in Camden Hills State Park for both beginner and expert hikers. It’s the Mount Megunticook Trail that comes in second place. Compared to Mount Battie Trail, this trail is a little more challenging to climb.
Among the many trails in Camden Hills State Park, some of our favorites are the Ridge Trail, Slope Trail, and Zeke’s Trail.
There is something for everyone at Camden Hills State Park! Activities like birding and horseback riding are available to guests depending on the season. Off-road riding, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling are great options for those who want a more physically demanding activity.
After a long day of hiking in Camden Hills State Park, relax at the Camden Maine Stay Inn. Guest rooms at the Camden, Maine, B&B are tastefully decorated and have high-end facilities, as well as communal spaces. A beautiful park-like garden and delicious daily breakfast are included in every overnight stay at the Inn.
8. Grafton Notch State Park
Take in the breathtaking views and embark on a wilderness hike across the stunning mountain peaks and canyons at this State Park!
All year round, Grafton Notch State Park is one of the most popular state parks in Maine for outdoor enthusiasts, located in the Mahoosuc Range of mountains, one of the most beautiful in Maine. Twelve of the AT’s most difficult miles are located here, making it a popular destination for backcountry hikers. On the Old Speck (4,180 feet) route, hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
You can glimpse some of the most spectacular waterfalls and gorges in the world by taking short hikes. Numerous pull-offs along the Grafton Notch Scenic Byway showcase notable natural features. Peregrine falcons, many songbirds, and northern forest species can all be found at its Maine Birding Trail.
Visitors often see giant creatures at lower levels, even right along Route 26. Deer, bear, and grouse are also targets for hunters.
It’s also a great time to go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling in the winter here. From Andover to Trail 18 in New Hampshire, the popular snowmobile routes ITS 82 pass through this area.
There is a 9,993-acre Ecological Reserve established by the State of Maine to preserve vulnerable ecosystems in their original state and monitor ecological changes over time in the Mahoosuc Public Lands. It has a subalpine tarn, Speck Pond, and a variety of unique plant and animal life.
The Mahoosuc Public Land Unit in Maine is managed by the Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands for timber harvesting. The forest management methods used on public lands are eco-friendly and contribute to their upkeep.
7. Lamoine State Park
Near Bangor, at Lamoine State Park, you’ll find a statue of Paul Bunyan and the Maine Discovery Museum. Ellsworth is the place to go if you want to visit the Telephone Museum or Birdsacre Stanwood Homestead Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary. Only 10 miles northeast of the Park, this little village is renowned as the “Gateway to Downeast Maine.”
But Mount Desert Island’s Acadia National Park is one of the area’s most popular attractions. To the south of Bar Harbor Road, you’ll find an abundance of family-friendly attractions. The activities available to tourists are whale-watching, horseback riding, hiking, live entertainment, boating, and mountain-climbing.
If you’re planning an RV trip at Lamoine State Park, don’t forget to bring your beach gear; the Park’s beach extends for miles. If you’re going to be at the beach, get a pail and shovel so that you can search for clams, construct a sandcastle, or jump in the ocean.
Because the water is shallow at this beach, it is not as chilly as other beaches. If relaxing in the sun and warm water isn’t enough for you, take in the view of Mount Desert Island from the beach.
Although Lamoine State Park does not have many hiking paths, the 1.3-mile Lamoine State Park Campground Trail is a fantastic place to exercise, walk the dog, or take the kids on an adventure.
A trip in the woods can teach you a lot about nature, but if your kids become bored, a treehouse is a great place to occupy them. There is indeed a treehouse, and you should use it with your kids.
If you can’t locate what you’re seeking at Lamoine State Park, walk over to the island, and you’ll be sure to find it.
6. Bradbury Mountain State Park
Bradbury Mountain State Park, located on the southern coast of Maine, has breathtaking views of Casco Bay and an extensive hiking trail network. The mountain is encircled by many acres of thick forest, making it one of the state’s best natural beauties.
Explore the Park and take in all of Maine’s natural beauty on foot. You’ll never run out of things to do since there are more than 21 miles of trails to choose from. It’s not only hiking and running that you can do at this Park; you can also go mountain biking, horseback riding, and even snowmobiling on the trails. You’ll also be able to see a wide variety of birds, including hawks that migrate every spring.
Several hiking routes wind their way around Bradbury Mountain State Park and its surroundings.
If you’re up for some challenging ascents, look no further. Take the Summit Trail to the peak of Bradbury Mountain for spectacular views. A 3-mile journey can easily be turned into a 10-mile one by connecting with other paths in the Park.
While the hiking is lovely all year round, the peak season is April through October. The best time to visit this Park is in the fall when the foliage is at its most vibrant.
The paths are shared with hikers and have numerous abrupt curves, so be careful if you intend snowmobiling. Because the Park does not provide snowmobile rentals, you’ll need to make arrangements ahead of time to secure your own.
All of the Park’s pathways are within walking distance to the Park’s 35 campsites. No matter how long you stay, there are always new things to discover at Bradbury Mountain State Park.
5. Reid State Park
Reid State Park illustrates the variety of the Maine coastline, from Griffith Head, a rocky outcropping, to sandy beaches, dunes, and a tidal lagoon. The Park has a wide variety of settings for visitors to explore and enjoy.
There are two primary parking lots for Griffith Head and Todd’s Point. In both parking areas, there are shower and restroom facilities.
There are few beaches in Maine as long and broad as Mile and Half Mile at Reid State Park. Beaches are attractive recreational areas, but they also serve as critical breeding and feeding sites for endangered species such as the least tern and piping plovers. There are fewer substantial dunes in Maine than beaches along the coast.
There’s a tidal lagoon behind the beaches. The lagoon’s tranquil waters are usually warmer, provide a protected swimming area ideal for small children, and offer paddling possibilities.
You can visit The Geology of Mile and Half Mile Beaches for geological exploration of the coastline.
It’s possible to see the lighthouses on Seguin Island and The Cuckolds from Griffith Head, a rocky promontory overlooking the Park. Other attractions include Damariscove (a significant fishing hamlet in Colonial times), Outer Head (a tern refuge), and Southport (the home of scientist Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring). You can enjoy all of these islands from the mainland.
At least from sunrise to sunset, every day of the year is a good day to visit.
4. Sebago Lake State Park
Sebago Lake State Park, one of Maine’s original five state parks and a popular destination for RVers, is only a short drive from the scenic resort town of Naples. A 45-acre lake, Sebago Lake, was formed by ancient rivers and glaciers millions of years ago, and the Park’s history begins then.
Since its initial opening in 1938, the Park has evolved to become one of Maine’s most popular RV-friendly destinations. There are more than 1,400 acres of land in the Park, which encompasses a variety of habitats, such as bogs, wetlands, and woodlands. If you’re looking for a fast weekend getaway, this is the place to go.
Spend your vacation at Sebago Lake State Park in an RV where swimming, boating, picnicking, hiking, skiing, participating in nature programs, and exploring the Park’s nature center are all available. Visitors of all ages travel to Sebago Lake State Park year-round because they can find everything they’re looking for.
Snowshoeing is permitted on all trails, but skiing is not. Even if you’ve already hiked the paths in the summer, the landscape changes dramatically as the snow thaws. It’s a good idea to carry your snowshoes if you want to go snowshoeing while on vacation in an RV.
Camping at Lake Sebago State Park is a breeze with hundreds of RV-friendly sites with water and electric connections. Your RV vacation at the Park will be refreshing, rejuvenating, and an experience you won’t forget. All campers are welcome at this campsite, from first-time campers to seasoned veterans. Dogs are permitted on the beaches; however, pets are not allowed on the campground.
3. Birch Point State Park
It is challenging to find Birch Point Beach State Park because of its location in the mid-coastal area of Maine. On the western side of Penobscot Bay, just south of Ash Point near Owls Head, Maine, is a little peninsula that borders Mussel Ridge Channel.
It can be challenging to track down, but the effort is worth it. Birch Point Beach State Park has some of the most beautiful views in the mid-coastal area. The Mussel Ridge Channel has a crescent-shaped beach located between two rocky regions. There is a wide-ranging view of all the islands in Penobscot Bay from this location.
Because this is a day-use only location, there’s no need to bring your camping supplies. But visitors to this Park typically participate in a broad range of activities. Swimming in Penobscot Bay’s sometimes chilly but always-refreshing waters is a favorite. Since no lifeguards are stationed here, it’s usually best to exercise caution.
Shore fishing for saltwater rock bass or mackerel in season is also a popular pastime at this site. Enjoy a peaceful picnic, go shell hunting, or sit back and take in the local fauna while you’re here.
Hundreds to thousands of images have been taken there throughout the years, making it a favorite destination for photographers.
Despite its small size, the Park is free to visit for as much or as little time as you choose. Locals know about this quiet Park since it isn’t on the main road. The only method to get into the Park is to drive through an open gate at the end of a gravel road.
2. Rangeley Lake State Park
Rangeley State Park is one of the most well-known tourist sites in Maine. It is part of a governmental program to protect natural areas that are yet undeveloped while also making them accessible to the public. Lakeside campground, located on Rangeley Lake, provides RV campers and leisure seekers with panoramic views of the lake’s water.
Rangeley Lake’s trout and salmon fishing is a powerful lure for seasoned anglers. Although trout and salmon fishing attracts visitors worldwide, inexperienced anglers can find plenty of fishing chances in the area. Try your luck at catching a brook trout, yellow perch, or landlocked Atlantic salmon by fishing from the shore or in the water.
You can utilize the Park’s boat launch or hire a boat from neighboring marinas or rental shops for anglers who don’t own a boat. Catch and release restrictions must be followed by non-residents over the age of 12 and residents over 16 who want to fish.
The Park also has several minor hiking routes that meander through the woods for those who like the great outdoors. The Moose Corridor Trail is only 0.75 miles long, but it’s plenty to get hikers’ hearts pumping. It begins at the park entrance and finishes close to the contact station.
The beach walk connects with the boat launch by an unidentified track. On this 0.9-mile trek, hikers can explore the Park’s woodland areas around the lake. The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust can provide you with information about hiking routes beyond the State Park’s limits if you’re looking for a more challenging or long trek.
1. Baxter State Park
Unlike any other state park, Baxter State Park stands apart. Located in northern Maine, the Park encompasses a mountain range dominated by Katahdin, the state’s tallest peak. Percival P. Baxter gave this Park to the people of Maine as a gift; hence it’s not a “State” Park.
Percival P. Baxter saw land and animals as the most critical resources, with humans occupying a secondary position. As a result, Park management is making a concerted effort to meet this crucial resource-first and people-second criterion.
It’s a camper’s dream come true in Baxter State Park. Several lodging options are available in this Park, from rustic cabins to isolated wilderness locations.
Visitors to Baxter State Park can choose from ten campgrounds, several far from the Park’s main entrance. Tent sites, bunkhouses, cabins, and Adirondack-style lean-to shelters are available camping options.
Hikers can find both charm and adventure in Baxter State Park’s 220 miles of hiking paths. You can find numerous trails, from easy treks through the wooded areas to arduous scrambling on narrow granite slopes above the timberline.
Aside from hiking, Baxter State Park’s paddling options are among the best in the area. You can set up camp by canoe on Matagamon Lake and South Branch Pond. For skilled canoeists, Webster Stream is a popular canoeing route. Paddling is one of the ideal ways to explore the surrounding mountains, and it’s also a great way to see wildlife.
Baxter State Park’s fauna is a major draw for many tourists. For many of Maine’s larger animal species (such as bears and lynx), the Park is their natural habitat. It’s possible to see a wide variety of rare and exciting bird species when birdwatching. There are 857 plant species in the Park, including the state’s highest concentration of endangered and rare species.
State Park Safety Tips
Even though each Park has its own set of rules governing the safe handling of food, fire, and animals, there are specific general guidelines to follow. Prepare yourself for your excursion to the woods by reading these essential State Park safety tips.
Keep Your Distance from Wildlife
Keep your wanderlust at a safe distance, even if it’s the reason you’re out in the woods. Allow wildlife, such as bears and mountain lions and squirrels and chipmunks, to be wild and free. Doing so might save you from a potentially life-threatening incident and perhaps a trip to the hospital.
Observe the Park’s Fire Prevention Policy
If you’re visiting a park in a dry region of the nation, be sure to read the Park’s fire regulations before you enter. As a camper, you are responsible for protecting the animals and homes of those who live near you. Wildfires have been sparked by unattended campfires, spreading to hundreds of acres of land.
Stay Safe While Hiking in State Parks
Are you hiking at a State Park? Use the marked routes only. The most popular and safest trails are listed on the guide maps. You should always go hiking with a friend so that if one of you is harmed, the other can obtain aid. When trekking, be sure to have enough water and food if you get lost. Make sure you’re prepared for any weather by dressing in layers and wearing appropriate footwear and clothing.
Know Your Stuff
If this is your first time in the Park, we don’t expect you to know all the trails. Keep a few paper maps in your bag for reference. If your map app or GPS fails, you’ll need a safety plan in place. Think like you’re in the pre-digital world and bring non-digital tools like a compass, map, and watch. Some of the more experienced hikers even carry GPS beacons in an emergency.
Camping Food Storage Caution
There are strategies to keep your food that you’ll need to know whether you’re a rookie camper or a seasoned one. There may be significant differences in the food rules at each Park you visit, so make sure you ask ahead of time. In some instances, bear canisters or tree-hangings are required to keep food safe. Observing animals up close or from a distance might depend on how well you guard your food.
Want to see more fun in Maine? Visiting Maine’s state parks is an excellent place to find out more about this beautiful state and the best ways to take full advantage of all it has to offer! This list of the most amazing state parks in Maine can help you plan your trip.