Maine Beaches by Region
Maine’s outstanding scenic beauty is a natural treasure. Over a million acres of recreation lands capture the best of this amazing landscape of seashore, mountains and hills, lakes and rivers, salt marshes and bottomland, woods and fields, and the largest undeveloped swath of forestland remaining in the East. Beaches, state parks, nature preserves and public lands are a great place to start your Maine adventure, offering outdoor enthusiasts of all interests and abilities endless opportunities for year-round fun. The following is a sampling of the many different natural places that are open to the public in Maine’s eight regions.
Kennebec & Moose River Valleys
Visit the Kennebec & Moose River Valleys region and paddle your canoe through the wilderness waters of Attean Pond in the Holeb public reserved land. Ride your bicycle on the historic Solon-Bingham Multi-Use Trail, a scenic old logging railroad bed along the Kennebec River. Lace up your boots and hike the Appalachian Trail to the craggy summit of Pleasant Pond Mountain for great views of the north woods. Travel back in time at Fort Halifax, a colonial outpost built by early English settlers and the oldest remaining blockhouse in the U.S.
Reid State Park in the Mid- Coast region is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, watching shorebirds and saltwater fishing. Follow the trails of Frye Mountain Wildlife Management Area near Belfast where deer and other small mammals abound in the upland forests and old farmlands. The Whaleback Shell Midden on the Damariscotta River will amaze you with its enormous thirty-foot deep pile of oyster shells discarded by Native Americans over a thousand-year period. Walk the quiet paths of Fernald’s Neck Preserve along the pristine shores of Lake Megunticook in the Camden Hills.
Maine’s Lakes & Mountains
The wide sandy beach and grassy promenade of Range Ponds State Park in Maine’s Lakes and Mountains region are great for a leisurely day of swimming and picnicking. The Grafton Loop Trail traverses the mountainous terrain of the Mahoosuc public reserved land, providing day and overnight hiking. Bickford Slides in the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness of the White Mountain National Forest is a 90-foot series of cascades and a swimming hole accessed by an easy hike. Stroll through the woods along the placid Saco River at the Hiram Nature Study Area.
Greater Portland & Casco Bay Just northwest of Portland, the miles of dedicated single-track trails of Bradbury Mountain State Park are a mountain biker’s paradise. Take to the winding nature paths of Portland’s Baxter Woods, perfect for a brief escape from the busy urban environs. Find your place in the sun at Scarborough Beach State Park stretching for over a mile on Casco Bay, or surf the waves at nearby Higgins Beach. Explore the farmland and forests of Pineland public reserved land, the home to wild turkeys and other birdlife.
The Maine Beaches
In a region known for its 30- mile expanse of dazzling white sand, there is no shortage of spectacular beaches from which to choose. Enjoy the sand and surf, as well as the restaurants and entertainment, in classic beachfront communities, from Kittery to Old Orchard Beach. Laudholm Farm is home to the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Drake’s Island Beach and seven miles of kid- friendly trails. For bird watching, flock to East Point Sanctuary with views of Biddeford Pool and Wood Island Light. Historic Fort McClary on Kittery Point has occupied its important coastal location since 1689.
In Aroostook County, climb the trails on Deboullie Mountain to the old fire tower, and fish for brook trout and landlocked salmon in the ponds of Deboullie public reserve land. Hike a section of the International Appalachian Trail to the summit ridge of Mars Hill, site of the whirling turbines of Maine’s first commercial wind energy project. Plan a canoe trip to Maine’s first state park, Aroostook State Park, encompassing Echo Lake and Quaggy Jo Mountain.
The Maine Highlands – Bangor • Katahdin • Moosehead Lake
The Katahdin Iron Works—Roach Pond Tract is a 63,000-acre property owned by the Appalachian Mountain Club in the heart of the Maine Highlands region, where visitors can hike and fish by day and stay overnight in cozy log cabins. The lakes and mountains of the Nahmakanta public reserved land offer unspoiled and crowd-free boating, hiking
and camping. Sunning and swimming at the sand beach at Peaks-Kenny State Park is a relaxing way to enjoy the beauty of Sebec Lake.
DownEast & Acadia
The Downeast Sunrise Trail is the newest edition to the recreation scene in the DownEast & Acadia region, providing walkers, cyclists, ATVers and snowmobilers with 85 miles of outdoor fun along an abandoned railroad corridor. The Schoodic Peninsula of Acadia National Park is dominated by Schoodic Head, where a short hike rewards with panoramic views of Frenchmen’s Bay. At Donnell Pond public reserved land, launch a motorboat for a scenic tour of Tunk Lake, a favorite spot for lake trout fishing. Lamoine State Park is a popular place for sea kayakers wanting to explore the narrows along Mount Desert Island.