Favorite Inland State Parks
Waking to loon calls. Working your way up a challenging summit. Stretching out on a long, lakeside beach for an afternoon nap. Snowmobiling through the woods. At Maine’s inland State Parks, such enjoyments are everyday events. Some inland parks specialize in certain activities, so check below to see which ones fit your bliss.
A Day at the (inland) Beach
Damariscotta Lake State Park, Jefferson
One of the MidCoast’s most popular day-use parks, Damariscotta Lake has a broad sand beach favored by swimmers and sunbathers. Canoeists and kayakers are also plentiful, since the lake is great for exploring and fishing.
Lake St. George State Park, Liberty
This small, pretty park just off Route 3 in Liberty sits right on Lake St. George and is a great spot to stop for a swim or a break while traveling to and from the MidCoast and Islands region.
Range Pond State Park, Poland
This waterside park near Lewiston draws plenty of visitors who plunk down on the wide beach, swim in the pond and head out in kayaks and canoes. Short hiking trails run through the park’s forested acres.
Also consider Swan Lake State Park and Peaks-Kenny State Park.
Come to the Mountains
Grafton Notch State Park, Grafton Township
This park offers a near-perfect mountain experience. You can drive the park on the Grafton Notch Scenic Byway and gaze out at a scenic valley, mountain rivers and peaks. Leave your car and visit Screw Auger Falls and Mother Walker Falls, both close to the road. Experienced hikers can try the short-but-challenging Table Rock trail or the tough, 12-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail that winds through the park.
Four Season Fun
Aroostook State Park, Presque Isle
During the warmer months, people swim and play on Aroostook’s Echo Lake and hike through its forest, including up Quaggy Jo Mountain. In winter, the park has many groomed trails, including 15 miles for cross-country skiing, 6.5 miles for snowshoeing and a section of the ITS system for snowmobiling.
Mount Blue State Park, Weld
Visitors come to this large state park to boat and swim on Webb Lake, stay at 136 wooded campsites and hike in the park’s mountainous sections and in the adjacent Tumbledown Public Lands. Come winter, folks enjoy ice skating, sledding on Center Hill, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
While close to Lewiston and Auburn, this park on the banks of the Androscoggin River seems far from urban life. Much of it is forested and filled with wildlife. There’s more than seventeen miles of mountain biking trails—some shared with ATVs and hikers. With the river a constant presence, it’s also a wonderful place for boaters, with put-ins and picnic areas.
Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal
Bradbury has carved out a national reputation as a little park with a terrific mix of single and double-track trails. They range from really easy to are-you-serious! Bradbury’s closeness to Freeport and Portland only adds to its luster as a mountain-biking hub.
Stay on the Lake
Lily Bay State Park, Greenville
If you want to experience the North Maine Woods on the water, Lily Bay State Park is your place. This park on Moosehead Lake—the state’s largest lake—has 90 lake-side camping spots spread across two campgrounds. Visitors can enjoy cookouts by the water, swim at the beach, fish in Moosehead’s rich waters or launch boats. In winter, people come to ice fish and snowmobile.
Rangeley Lake State Park, Rangeley
On the shore of Rangeley Lake, beloved for generations for its beauty and its fishing, Rangeley Lake State Park offers up places for outdoor folk to camp, park their boats, and recharge between angling trips. The park is devoted to the lake, with 50 single-party campsites and two group campsites close to the water, a boat launch and finger docks for campers.
Sebago Lake State Park, Casco and Naples
This park on southern Maine’s largest lake is extremely popular and with good reason. It has 250 camping sites in two campgrounds, several beaches, a trailered-boat launch, a playground, miles of hiking trails and other amenities. Its beaches and shore-side picnicking areas also make it a popular spot for day trippers.
Also consider Peaks-Kenny State Park in Dover-Foxcroft.
Mount Kineo State Park, Moosehead Lake
Rising straight out of the waters of Moosehead Lake, Mount Kineo is an Ice Age survivor that has drawn hikers and explorers for generations. The 1,789-foot mountain, on a peninsula accessible only by boat, is the centerpiece of the park. Hiking trails web the peninsula and lead to the summit. Bonus: the peninsula also includes one of New England’s oldest golf courses.
Vaughan Woods Memorial State Park, South Berwick
This small, forested park on the Salmon Falls River is adjacent to Hamilton House, a grand restored mansion built in the 1770s. The park’s land was once part of Hamilton House’s estate and grew from former farmlands and working forest. It is now lined with short, pleasant walking trails.