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From parks and beaches to forests and mountains, the hardest part of exploring Maine’s park and recreation areas is deciding how many you can fit in your itinerary.
Explore Maine’s Most Beautiful State Parks
A good place to start is exploring one of the 32 state parks here, with unique activities in each. They cover half a million acres of public lands, from the 209,000-acre Baxter State Park at the base of Katahdin to the 92 miles of lakes and rivers known as the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
Here’s a little more on just a handful of the state parks awaiting you in Maine.
First thing is, it’s huge. Baxter State Park covers 209,644 acres of Maine woods, rivers, and mountains, including majestic Katahdin. There are 215 miles of hiking trails and 10 campgrounds. Not surprisingly, the opportunities for recreation are huge as well. It’s as beautiful and inspiring as nature gets.
Eight miles south of Portland is a mile-long stretch of amazing beach shaped in a crescent. In 1966 it was the shape of great things to come. That’s the year Crescent Beach State Park opened. And people have been coming ever since to bask and play in the beauty of this classic saltwater beach park and all its wondrous nature.
Grafton Notch has carved a special niche among Maine state parks. Its spectacular peaks and gorges, made possible by the mountains of the Mahoosuc Range, make for some of the best backcountry hiking you’ll find — from 12 of the most challenging trekking miles on the Appalachian trail to much easier walks, plus gorges and waterfalls.
The Central Maine Highlands are the home of Peaks-Kenny State Park, located on the south shore of beautiful Sebec Lake. The white sand beach of South Cove is an ideal spot for relaxing, recreating, and reflecting on the amazing view of neighboring Borestone Mountain. In other words, all things bright and beautiful.
The cities of Lewiston and Auburn are a great base camp for nearby Range Pond State Park. If you love a sandy beach and swimming, picnicking and hiking, there’s a lot to love here, including the 1,000-foot promenade that offers great strolling along the beach. Kayaks, canoes and windsurf boards are popular modes of transportation as well.
Explore Maine’s National Parks
Maine national parks and forests are popular with millions of visitors annually, for good reason. Some of the best reasons are listed here.
Many say America’s easternmost national park is one of the awesome-most. It’s hard to argue. When you experience an ocean sunrise from the majesty of Cadillac Mountain, arguing about anything will be the furthest thing from your mind. Here, you’ll enjoy adventure and recreation of all kinds, with 150 miles of beautiful hiking trails and long, winding biking trails. There’s camping, fishing, boat tours and wildlife, including 300 species of birds, many of whom enjoy the view from Cadillac Mountain too.
Most folks have heard of the Appalachian Trail, which spans 14 states, but not everyone knows it starts in Maine. The eastern section of trail from the town of Monson to legendary Katahdin is known as the “The 100-Mile Wilderness.” The 281-mile stretch of Maine’s Appalachian Scenic Trail offers breathtaking views and abundant wildlife, with a starter list of moose, black bears, deer and loons.
The North Maine Woods is about as wild as wild gets. In 2016, the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument was created to protect 87,563 acres of this remote and serene wilderness for today’s discoverers and generations to come. Wildlife, hiking trails, paddling, camping, waterfalls — it’s all here. And serenely waiting for you.
Explore Maine’s Rivers and Lakes
Canoeing and Fishing
Inland, Rangeley Lakes, Millinocket, Greenville and many other areas offer canoeing and fishing in their rivers and lakes. Find Maine hospitality at the state’s many campgrounds, resorts and wilderness lodges.
Other Natural Attractions You Need to Visit in Maine
Some of the best recreation in the world can be found around Maine’s southern beaches. The seven miles of oceanfront sands at Old Orchard Beach invite all sorts of activity, whether you’re on a weekend trip with friends or an annual adventure with the entire family. Go surfing, ride an oceanfront roller coaster, play games at the boardwalk arcade, or just relax in the sun.
Forests, Mountains and Woods
To the west, the White Mountains National Forest is beloved by skiers in the winter and by hikers in every season. The 45,000 acres of forest, along with the additional thousands of acres of ski resorts and hiking trails, make this recreation area a true travel destination.
Start your Maine parks and recreation journey now with our interactive map or the featured articles below highlighting many of the state’s beautiful recreational areas.