Forests, mountains, a sprawling coastline—Maine has plenty to offer by way of natural beauty. And one of the best ways to experience it is by visiting one of the many state parks that call Maine home. From parks centered around the magnificent Mount Katahdin to birdwatching havens, here are the best state parks in Maine.
Known best for Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park is home to moose, black bear, river otters and a huge variety of bird species. Visitors won’t find paved roads, electricity or running water inside the park, so they must be willing to rough it. In addition to hiking and camping, 25 percent of the park allows hunting and trapping. Fishing is allowed throughout its waterways, as deemed lawful by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Peaks-Kenny State Park is open seasonally, and allows for camping, as well as swimming, boating and fishing on Sebec Lake. A lifeguard is on duty during the summer months. There are picnic tables and a boat launch. The 800+ acre park features a mile of shorefront. Visitors may enter year round, but will have to park outside the gate.
Located on beautiful Swan Lake, Swan Lake State Park offers visitors picnic sites with grills, as well as walking trails. The lake is perfect for swimming and fishing. A lifeguard is on duty from May through October. There are restroom and changing facilities. This is an excellent spot for enjoying a day outside.
Maine’s largest state park, Mount Blue State Park is open all four seasons, offering opportunities for swimming, fishing, camping, hiking, canoeing, boating, bird watching, riding an ATV, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and more. The park is comprised of more than 8,000 acres, separated by Web Lake. Visitors especially love the sandy beach and picnic areas. Boat rentals are available May-October.
Located near Ellsworth, Maine on Frenchman’s Bay, Lamoine State Park is a popular tourist destination. Offering camping, boating, fishing and more, it is a quiet alternative to the insanity that nearby Bar Harbor has become. There is easy access to Bar Harbor from Lamoine, however, as well as to all of Acadia National Park and local islands and lighthouses.
Perfect for camping, swimming, boating, canoeing and fishing in the warmer months, Sebago Lake State Park is also great for snowshoeing in the winter and hiking all year long. One of the first five state parks in the Pine Tree State, it has been a favorite summer destination point since 1938.
Popham Beach State Park is a beautiful sandy beach that affords visitors the wonders of the Atlantic Ocean. Whether they visit for swimming, sea kayaking, fishing or collecting seashells, the view itself is stunning. The activities are bonuses. Countless bird species have been spotted here. Hunting is allowed in season.
Hikers love to climb Mount Blue when visiting Mount Blue State Park. The 3,187-foot mountain is perfect for a day hike. Visitors love swimming, fishing, boating, camping and more within the park, with water activities taking place on Webb Lake. Open year round, the park is a popular spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.
Damariscotta Lake State Park is an excellent spot for picnicking and swimming throughout the summer. Bordered by a sandy beach, the lake is also a great spot for fishing. Pack a lunch and plan to spend the day.
Sun and surf are the big draws at Crescent Beach State Park. Located just a few miles from Portland, it’s a favorite spot for city dwellers to enjoy some down time. Roads and paths are perfect for walking with beautiful ocean views. The sandy beach is a favorite of those in southern Maine.