State & National Parks
From primal forests and majestic mountains to glacial lakes and the coastline that launched a thousand paintings, Maine’s natural world is unlike any other. Which makes each of our state parks and our national park, Acadia, a one-of-a-kind experience.
Acadia is 47,000 acres of wooded, rocky beaches and majestic, glacier-sculpted granite peaks. Its awe-inspiring landscapes, rich diversity of wildlife and four-season recreational opportunities make Acadia one of the most visited of all national parks. The 30,000 acres of Mount Desert Island make it the largest area of the park. Schoodic Peninsula, Isle au Haut and 16 smaller islands comprise the rest. All told, Acadia has 27 miles of historic roads, 158 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of unique carriage roads. For much of the year, Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the U.S. Atlantic Coast, receives the first rays of morning sunshine in America. For visitors, it’s only the beginning of an inspiring and unforgettable travel experience.
Popular State Parks
Explore our top parks and their range of activities and unique features. Note that during the summer months, these parks are often crowded. Consider visiting in the early mornings or late afternoons, when it is calmer. Much of the rest of the year, these are wonderful, quiet places to explore.
Reid State Park
An hour north of Portland, with two beaches, large sand dunes and views of lighthouse islands.
Popham Beach State Park
Popham Beach features sandy sunbathing areas and sparkling views of Fox and Wood islands.
Quoddy Head State Park
Quoddy Head features a candy-striped lighthouse and spectacular wildlife watching.
Unique State Parks
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway, part of the National Wild and Scenic River System, is a 92-mile stretch of the Allagash River, along with connected ponds and lakes. Once a center of commercial forestry, it’s now a nationally renowned destination for canoe and kayak adventures.
Baxter State Park, created with gifts from former Maine Gov. Percival P. Baxter, includes more than 209,000 acres of Northern Maine forest, rivers, streams and mountains, topped by Katahdin, the state’s tallest peak. Offering few amenities, Baxter provides a wilderness experience rare in the East.
In southern Maine, Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth is a favorite of sunbathers and swimmers, while in the MidCoast, Camden Hills State Park in Camden is known for mountain hiking beside the ocean. Cobscook Bay State Park in Edmunds Township is popular for scenic camping and exploring on the rugged DownEast coast. For more favorite coastal state parks, check with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands for a complete list.
Maine’s inland parks stretch from the heights of the Western Maine mountains to scenic lakesides in the far north in the state’s forests. Swimmers and boaters appreciate Range Pond State Park in Poland, mountain bikers love the trails at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, and hikers are drawn to mountain trails of Grafton Notch State Park in Grafton Township. For more favorite inland state parks, check with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands for a complete list.
Breathtakingly Beautiful Maine State Park Gems
A reconstruction of Fort William Henry in Bristol, with archaeological remnants of 17th- and 18th-century villages and a museum.
- Historic feature: archaeological site of 17th- and 18th-century structures, partial reconstruction of Fort William Henry, historic fort house, replica 17th-century house, historic interpreter dressed in period clothing during summer months
- Water activities — boat ramp, sea kayak rentals through Maine Kayak
- Restaurant — The Contented Sole
- Public pier and marine floats accommodate visitors arriving by boat
- Gift shop
South of Machias on Schoppee Point, the park offers a half-mile crescent beach of sand and pebbles, the 60-acre Simpson Pond, and a 6-mile trail network.
- Trail activities — hiking
- Canoeing, kayaking on fresh water pond
- Beaches/swimming — no lifeguards
Situated on 100 acres between Old Orchard Beach and Camp Ellis in Saco, with picturesque sand dune beach views and a rare stand of tupelo trees.
- Trail activities — hiking trails include boardwalk through a bog with tupelo trees
- Beaches/Swimming — lifeguarded beach during summer months
- Nature Center with pilot whale exhibit featuring pilot whale skeleton suspended from ceiling
Maine’s first state park, created in 1838 in Presque Isle. The park’s 800 acres encompass the twin peaks of Quaggy Jo Mountain and scenic shoreline on Echo Lake.
- Trail Activities — hiking on Quaggy Jo Mountain
- Snowmobiling and groomed cross-country skiing, snowshoeing
- Canoeing, kayaking and other water activities, kayak and canoe rentals, boat ramp on Echo Lake
- Picnicking, group shelter
North of Portland, Eagle Island was the home of Arctic explorer Admiral Robert E. Peary. It includes Peary’s home, originally constructed in 1904. Eagle Island is a National Historic Landmark.
- Island is accessible only by boat — tour boats provide transportation to the island
- Trail activities — hiking trail
- Tour boats provide transportation AND guided tours of the house and island — this is a half-day trip and is available June 15-Labor Day
- Historic feature — museum/summer home of North Pole explorer Admiral Robert E. Peary
- Other water activities — 10 moorings with launch service to island
- Welcome center
- The Peary MacMillan Arctic Museum, which is located in Brunswick on the Bowdoin Campus and open year-round
Eastport is home to this 87-acre park on Moose Island, named for American Revolutionary War soldier and original landowner John Shackford.
- Trail activities — hiking trail to a rocky headland providing beautiful views of Cobscook Bay
Lovers of lake recreation get along swimmingly on the park’s 676 acres, featuring scenic 3-mile long Swan Lake. Located in Swanville, Waldo County.
- Beaches/swimming — lifeguarded beach during the summer months
- Canoeing, kayaking — canoe and kayak rentals
- Picnicking — group shelter
A forested 200 acres along Salmon Fall River in South Berwick. Offers scenic hiking loops through old-growth pine and hemlock trees.
- Hiking and horseback riding — trails through old-growth stands of pine and hemlock
Maine’s largest state park, its 8,000 acres include 136 wooded campsites and beautiful Webb Lake where you’ll find sandy beaches and a Nature Center.
- Trail activities — hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, ATVing
- Snowmobiling and skiing
- Water activities — boat launch on Webb Lake
- Beaches/swimming — lifeguarded beach during the summer months
- Nature center
- Kayak, canoe, paddle boat rentals