State & National Parks
Maine is home to several world-renowned parks and recreational areas, each of which provides an unforgettable experience to the outdoor lover. There's Acadia National Park, one of the most popular destinations in the nation's park system. There's Baxter State Park, a 205,000-acre wilderness area of unrivaled hiking and camping. There's the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a ninety-two-mile corridor of lakes and rivers perfect for canoeing. There's the Appalachian Trail, the long, backpacking byway, which stretches 281 miles in Maine. And finally there's the White Mountains National Forest. Thought it was in New Hampshire? Not all of it. More than 45,000 acres are there to be explored in the western mountains of Maine. And those famous places are just the beginning. Maine has more than thirty sites in its state-park system, many of them almost as spectacular as their better-known cousins. In addition, the state owns or manages more than half a million acres of public lands, most of which are open to recreation.
Acadia National Park is often considered the crown jewel in the nation's park system. Opened in 1919, the park sprawls for 30,000 incredibly scenic acres across Mount Desert Island and several other islands and peninsulas Downeast. With wide-open ocean vistas, the tallest peaks on the Eastern Seaboard, the nation's only fjord, and well-known spots like Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, Otter Cliffs, and Cadillac Mountain, it's not to be missed. Whether you're looking to hike, bicycle the famous carriage roads, explore by kayak, or simply sight-see, Acadia won't disappoint.
Deep in the North Woods, Baxter State Park and the Allagash are two of the finest wilderness destinations in the East. The former was the gift of one man - Percival Baxter - to the people of Maine. Home to Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine and terminus of the Appalachian Trail, it has 10 campgrounds, dozens of backcountry sites, and hundreds of miles of trails through some of the most pristine country east of the Mississippi. Baxter's nothing short a hiker's paradise. The Allagash connects some of the state's fabled lakes – Chamberlain and Allagash and Churchill – in a long corridor that is perfect for a weeklong canoe trip. It's about as good as wild canoeing gets in the northeast. And the rolling hills of the White Mountains National Forest contain some fine climbs and some fine camping.
Spread all across Maine, the 32 parks in the state park system protect some of the Pine Tree State's finest features and they vary widely. Scarborough, Crescent, Reid, and Popham are beaches – some of the nicest strands in New England. Rangeley, Mount Blue, Grafton Notch, and Lily Bay are deep in the woods and offer great hiking and camping. Sebago, Peaks-Kenny, and Damariscotta Lake sit on popular lakes and are known for their freshwater swimming and recreation. Bradbury Mountain and Camden Hills are hugely popular among dayhikers. Quoddy Head and Fort Point feature lighthouses. And those are just the beginning. For a complete list, visit the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.