This 90-acre park is one of the country’s eastern most public places to visit. It is located in the Bay of Fundy and Campobello section of the Bold Coast National Scenic Byway. The park is in Eastport on Moose Island in Cobscook Bay, just west of the U.S/Canada line.
The park is one place at which to watch the swift turns of the Bay of Fundy globally-renowned tides.
This Maine state park is 115 miles from Bangor and about the same from Houlton. No matter where you’re coming from, the ride here is worthwhile. The park has unique trails with vast views from magnificent, high cliffs.
This state park is not staffed. Be sure to read the Special Considerations and Rules sections on the website to be aware of the variability of weather and trail conditions.
Activities at Shackford Head State Park
This is a setting where you can get away to deeply enjoy hiking in a natural setting. That means being able to bring your pet, pack a picnic, and prepare for hours on the trails. You’ll get to watch for birds and wildlife, along with enjoying views from several scenic outlooks.
You can swim while being aware of the quickly shifting tides of the area. Although there aren’t boating options right here, there are in the nearby Eastport and Cobscook Bay State Park.
The park is listed as having no access, although there is some, though limited. There is some access for wheelchairs on the trails by the parking area, allowing full access to bay views and the picnic spot. You’ll also find an information kiosk and toilets nearby.
Boating at Shackford Head State Park
There’s plenty of boating in Eastport, just minutes away. You’ll find the public boat launch on Sullivan Street, as well as windjammer and scuba diving excursions.
Swimming at Shackford Head State Park
Swimming is permitted at the park’s pocket beaches. That is, all but one! Even though shore access is best at Cony Beach it’s best to steer clear of swimming there. The reason is that Civil War ships were demolished to salvage metal. If you decide to swim at the other beaches, please beware of those infamous tides.
Hiking at Shackford Head State Park
Shackford Head State Park Hiking Trails are a networked system with easy, moderate, and advanced options. Surfaces vary from forest floor and gravel, to rocky ledges and boardwalk. Please be prepared with the right footgear and clothing so you’re ready for weather changes.
- Shackford Head and Overlook offers expansive views as you hike their 1.2-mile roundtrip loop.
- Ship Point and Schooner Trails are more strenuous, while adding other views and another two miles to your trek.
Biking at Shackford Head State Park
Although there aren’t biking trails here, there are some in the greater general area, like those at Cobscook Shores that’s a 45-minute drive. It’s part of a system of several parklands that include biking and hiking trails.
If you decide to spend time at Cobscook Bay State Park, there’s biking there. That site is just over a half-hour from here.
Fishing at Shackford Head State Park
Views from the park look out on the salmon farming done in the area. Aside from that, park information does not designate fishing as an activity. The Eastport Municipal Pier is only five minutes away on Water Street. Reports are there’s good mackerel fishing at the pier. A quick online search will bring up fishing charter boats in the area.
Birding at Shackford Head State Park
Eagles abound in this area rich with fish and onshore prey. There are nesting sites within the park and access to some trails is limited to protect the eaglets. Shore birds include terns and sandpipers, especially during the summer. Near the cliffs and with offshore views, you’re likely to see hooded mergansers, osprey, and black guillemots. The woods are habitat for various thrushes, warblers, and woodpeckers, as well as the frequent chickadees.
Nature & Wildlife at Shackford Head State Park
The parks wooded areas are home to white-tailed deer and smaller mammals such as weasels, porcupine, skunks, squirrels, and chipmunks. Given the protections of the area, you may see signs of moose or bear.
Off shore wildlife sightings during summer and fall can include seals, porpoise, dolphin, and various whales. If you long for more, you’ll find whale watching tours out of nearby Eastport or Lubec, about 45 minutes away.
Pets at Shackford Head State Park
Leashed pets are permitted on the park’s trails. Please clean up after your furry friend.
Camping at Shackford Head State Park
Although there is no camping here, you’ll find:
- Seaview Campground and Cottages located on the other side of Moose Island on the water. There aren’t any tent sites. There are field and RV sites available for various lengths of time. This dog-friendly spot also has cottages for rent. There’s a beach and pier on Passamaquoddy Bay.
- 125 campsites at Cobscook Bay State Park that’s 25 miles south. There are sites for tents, popups, and campers of various sizes. Many of these are by the water with some that can be reserved and others that are first-come, first-served. A few sites are ADA accessible. Each has a table and fireplace. There are water spigots, restrooms, trash/recycling stations, and showers near the campground entrance.
Shackford Head State Park
Eastport, ME 04631
Here is a short YouTube video with some aerial footage of Shackford Head State Park: