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View of the boats on North Haven Island of the Maine Island Trail

View of the boats on North Haven Island of the Maine Island Trail

View from North Haven Island

View from North Haven Island

North Haven Island

North Haven Island

Paddling In Maine

For many Mainers and guests, the best way to experience the land is to go in the water. Especially when equipped with a kayak, canoe and paddle or two. With more than 3,500 miles of coastline waters, 6,000 lakes and ponds, and 31,000 miles of rivers and streams, there’s no end to exploring and enjoying Maine’s waters. From the serenity of a pristine lake to the exhilaration of whitewater rapids. And don’t forget our rugged but charming coastline. Maine is home to a number of epic waterways and trails. Whichever you choose, you’ll navigate a singular experience that will be yours forever.

Northern Forest Canoe Trail

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail connects waterways from western Maine to the Canadian border. Here the present-day dissolves into the past along traditional water routes used by Maine’s native people and early explorers. In some stretches, you’ll find shoreline camps and a range of lodging and activities in local towns. Other areas will appear much as they did to the original discoverers. There’s so much to explore, and planning as easy as gliding through a mist at dawn. Check out these suggested trips.

Maine Island Trail

The Maine Island Trail was America’s first waterway trail and is one of its most beloved and enjoyed. Stretching 375 miles along the Maine coast, it connects more than 200 islands and mainland sites. Some islands offer a range of accommodations. Others are as wild as the seals and porpoises that circle them. When you hit the mainland, enjoy town harbors, working waterfronts, tall ships and all things lobster. From a once-in-a-lifetime sojourn to a one-day jaunt, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience only Maine can offer. Visit the trail guide to plan your adventure or download the app.

Allagash Wilderness Waterway

When you hear about getting away from it all, this is it. No less an expert than Henry David Thoreau certainly did with his historic journeys. As part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is much as it was then - 92 miles of wildly inviting lakes, ponds, rivers and streams in the deep beauty of the Maine Woods. It’s the only waterway in Maine officially recognized in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.  Canoeing, kayaking, camping, fishing, wildlife watching – reading a little Thoreau by firelight – it’s all here. Guides, outfitters and float plane services are available to make your excursion truly epic.

St. Croix International Waterway

On one side, you have Maine, on the other New Brunswick, Canada. In between you have a 95-mile-long natural wonder called the St. Croix International Waterway. The Chiputneticook Lakes form the St. Croix River, which then forms the U.S.-Canada border all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Paddlers can enjoy spectacular scenery, Class I and II whitewater, wilderness campsites, wildlife viewing and fishing. There’s nothing like a fire-cooked dinner with a little international flavor. Tour operators, guides and outfitters look forward to hearing from you.  

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