Maine State Parks Activities
The Pine Tree State has a great number of parks made for camping! Although Acadia is national park, not a state park, it is well worth mentioning. At Acadia National Park, Blackwoods Campground and Seawall Campground are both highly sought-after by avid campers from all over the country. The former is a primitive site ideal for those who wish to fall asleep to the crashing sounds of the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Seawall Campground, on the other hand, is a bit more modern and is always often fully-booked. Don’t forget any gear when getting ready for your camping trip by following our camping checklist. The ground can be a little cool to sleep on in the spring and fall so you may want to consider getting a camping cot or a camping mattress to keep you up off the ground.
Sebago Lake State Park, one of Maine’s original parks, is also a popular camping trip for many families, especially those with young kids, due to the abundance of hiking trails, fishing holes, and beaches inside the park.
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One of the best things about Maine is the many hiking trails that can be found meandering throughout the state. Acadia National Park has several popular trails although the most famous one is North Ridge Trail, a moderately-challenging climb that takes hikers to the summit of Cadillac Mountain where they can take in breathtaking views of the sunrise and the surrounding forest.
Knife’s Edge Trail at Baxter State Park is also a well-traveled route that goes up Mount Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine. This hair-raising trail involves a daunting tight-rope along a ridge near the summit. This trail has only been taken on by the most daring of hikers!
Those who want a different sort of view should check out the West Quoddy Head Coastal Trail at Quoddy Head State Park, which passes through vertical rock rifts and outcroppings carved by the crashing waves of the Bay of Fundy. If you’re hiking this trail in the summertime, keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of finback and humpback whales!
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Maine boasts of some of the most incredible backpacking trips in the United States. At Camden Hills State Park, one of the most popular backpacking routes is a loop that takes you up Bald Rock Mountain where shelters can be availed of. The hike may be a bit short but the incredible views that it offers are unmatched.
More adventurous backpackers can choose to head over to Grafton Notch State Park where part of the Grafton Loop Trail connects to a backpacking route that goes up to the Baldplate Lean-To, situated just below the summit of West Baldplate Mountain. This route isn’t very long but the rocky trails may be challenging for some. Always a good idea to bring a backpacking hatchet and thermometer on your trip.
Maine may oftentimes be associated with blueberries and lighthouses but the state is also famous for its many fishing spots! The various bodies of water found within the Pine Tree State offer anglers many opportunities to catch both saltwater and freshwater fishes, making it the ideal trip for many.
Perhaps the most popular fishing hole in Maine is Sebago Lake State Park whose Sebago Lake produces landlocked salmon considered to be a local specialty. The lake’s salmon is famous all over the country and has been served by many United States Presidents during their numerous White House functions. Those who want to try their hand at catching rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and perch may also do so in the park.
Many geocaches are cleverly concealed within Maine’s parks and historic sites. Caches may be tracked and sought at Aroostook State Park, Cobscook Bay State Park, and more!
Many flock to Bradbury Mountain State Park during the hunting season for the chance to take home some deer. At the public lands of Grafton Notch State Park, popular catches, aside from deer, include bear and grouse.
Before hunting in Maine, be sure to keep yourself in the know of the state government’s announcements and restrictions. There are many hunting-free zones within the state and the rules can be confusing for some so don’t forget to check before heading out!
Day Use Areas
The incredible and well-kept day-use areas are made for relaxing afternoon picnics! At Quoddy Head State Park, families love to set up near the red-and-white striped lighthouse tower for a surreal view while digging into some food. The park also has over 4.5 miles of hiking trails, perfect for walking off the heavy meal that you just ate!
Reid State Park is also a popular picnic destination with residents and out-of-towners alike. There are plenty of barbecue grills and picnic tables scattered all over the park and children love to cool off in the waters of the lagoon.
With plenty of challenging and diverse terrains, Maine is definitely a popular spot for mountain bikers! The trail systems at Bradbury Mountain State Park vary from smooth routes to those that are filled with rocks, mud, and feature plenty of bridge crossings. There’s a cycling trail for everyone here, regardless of their abilities and skill level.
The single-track routes at Range Pond State Park are also another favorite. The trails run for approximately 4 miles and make for a relatively easy ride, despite a few steep areas. The park’s biking trails also remain dry during the rainy season, meaning that they’re great to ride on all year round.
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Explore the stunning nature and wildlife of Aroostook State Park on a boat; the park has a large boat launch area, as well as canoe and kayak rentals. Boat enthusiasts also rave about Rangeley Lake State Park and Lake St. George State Park, both of which make for a great boating excursion.
As one of the premier birdwatching hotspots in the United States, Maine in a bucket-list destination for avid Birders! Grab your birding binoculars and go.
Popham Beach State Park is a year-round bird paradise; in the winter, hordes of red-throated loons, scooters, and long-tailed ducks nest inside the park while piping plovers are abundant during the summer. Many blue herons and snowy egrets may also be observed in the salt marshes situated near the park.
Perhaps the most popular Birding hotspot in the state is Acadia National Park where over a thousand different bird species have made their home inside the park’s lush forests. Take the Precipice Trail to spot nesting peregrine falcons while the routes leading to Sieur de Monts Spring are the perfect opportunity to observe many colorful songbirds.
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There are tons of incredible swimming holes in Maine due to the state’s beaches and coasts. Crescent Beach State Park is perhaps the most popular swimming spot in the Pine Tree State with its crystal-clear blue waters and plenty of recreational activities. The park can get quite crowded in the summertime, though, so make sure to get there early to reserve your spot!
The large freshwater Damariscotta Lake at Damariscotta Lake State Park is also another beloved swimming hole. Cool off in its waters and enjoy a delicious picnic afterward on the many picnic tables and grills scattered around the shore.
If you’re into digging for clams then Ferry Beach State Park is perfect for you! Enjoy the sunset, as well as views of the Atlantic Ocean, or comb the beach for some interesting finds.
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Maine is a rock climbing paradise due to its abundance of rocky coastline and granite peaks. At Acadia National Park, classic climbing routes include The Great Chimney and Otter Cliffs although advanced hikers prefer the challenge of Chitlin’s Corner and Old Town. Newbies to rock climbing may sign up with the Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School, which offers classes and workshops for those who want to get into the sport.
Camden Hills State Park is another popular climbing destination with approximately 140 different rock climbing routes. Beginners can test their skills on the Glory Hole while those who are up for a challenge should check out the formidable Voluntary Madness. Many climbing routes in the park can also be accessed during the winter months although be sure to double-check your safety equipment and protective gear!
Thrill-seekers will be pleased to know that Mount Blue State Park has over 25 miles of ATV trails that take you through deep forest vegetation. Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of deer, black bears, foxes, and moose! After an afternoon on ATVs, unwind in the park’s shady campsites or relax on the shores of Webb Lake.
With over a hundred miles of horseback riding trails, Maine is a favorite destination for equestrians and avid riders. The rustic carriage road trails at Acadia National Park let those on horses explore the park’s mountainsides and lush wooded forests. There are also many available parking spaces for horse trailers in the park although these tend to fill up quickly during the summertime.
The horseback trails at Bradbury Mountain State Park take riders through diverse and challenging terrain ranging from flat and wide meadows to elevated fields and steep hilly areas. Some trails lead to the summit of Bradbury Mountain where you can end your excursion with an incredible view of the surrounding landscapes.
For a riding experience like no other, check out the approximately 24 miles of horseback riding trails at Mount Blue State Park, which wander through lakeshore and densely wooded areas,
Recreational Equipment Rentals
One of the best things to do in Maine is to explore the state’s stunning nature on bikes. Off-road biking rentals are available at Camden Hills State Park and Bradbury Mountain State Park, both of which have great biking trails that are perfect for an afternoon adventure.
If you want to try your hand at some winter sports then Cobscook Bay State Park is perfect for you! Visitors can rent skis, skates, and snowshoes from the park although be sure to take good care of the gear that you avail of as equipment loans are free of charge.
Maine is home to many historical sites and parks that give visitors an incredible overview of the area’s history. Learn all about military architecture at Fort Knox State Park, the state’s largest historic fort where many mid-19th century granite coastal fortifications have been preserved.
The Fort McClary State Park at the mouth of the Piscataqua River is also a fascinating historical site to visit. Used primarily as a defense point against approaches to the U.S. naval shipyard located at the harbor of Portsmouth, the site today features many surviving structures from the period, including a blockhouse dating back to 1844.
For an unforgettable winter adventure, Maine is a great place to go! Cobscook Bay State Park hosts an annual family fun day with horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and more. The park’s nature exploration program is especially popular with young kids who line up for hot chocolate and soup after their freezing day out. No need to worry if you love the outdoors but hate the cold. Take a look at our best heated jacket review. A heated jacket will keep you warm for hours on the coldest of days.
Wolfe’s Neck State Park also has a ton of winter-themed nature programs for children and teenagers. Their most popular one teaches participants how plants and animals hibernate and survive the cold snow-filled months. For Bird-watching enthusiasts, the park hosts several bird events where you have the chance to observe birds in their winter habitats.
The trails at Camden Hills State Park are extremely popular during the holiday season when they’re used by cross-country skiers and fat-tire bikers. The 2-mile cross-country skiing loop at Range Pond State Park is also another beloved spot for skiing.
The icy waters at Acadia National Park make for a great scuba diving and snorkeling experience! The park is situated in the state’s Schoodic Peninsula where you can observe a great number of diverse marine animals, such as lobsters and brightly-colored anemones on the ocean floor. The park also has several diving sites, which visitors can access by boat.
Thrill-seekers and surfing enthusiasts will love the waters of Reid State Park in Georgetown, Maine. As the top surfing beach in New England, the park’s soaring waves and crashing breaks challenge surfers of all skill levels. Avid surfers will even brave the frosty waters of the beach during the winter season just to ride the park’s unique surf!