22 Best Maine State Parks for the Ultimate Outdoor Adventure

Viewfinders at Camden Overlook in Camden Hills State Park in Maine

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Planning to explore the Pine Tree State’s natural wonders? Maine is a haven for those seeking nature and adventure, with 32 state parks under its care. Whether you’re up for a forest hike or a splashy beachside adventure, these spots have got you covered.

For more destinations to explore in the state, try our list of things to do in cities in Maine and beautiful towns in Maine.

If you’re looking for the ultimate escape, read our Maine bucket list guide.

Best State Parks in Maine

For easier navigation and planning, we kick off our list of Maine state parks in the southwest along Saco Bay and end at Aroostook County in the northeast.

Ferry Beach State Park

Ferry Beach State Park in Saco, is located in the southeast part of the state.

A small set of woods, a few ponds, and about a mile of trails make up the park.

Additionally, a short strip of beach on Saco Bay can be reached by hiking a brief distance — that’s the only way to reach the beach.

Many of the trails run through a wetland ecosystem, and the beach offers great views of the many rocky islands that sit off the coast of Maine.

Crescent Beach State Park

If you’re looking for state parks near Old Orchard Beach, Crescent Beach State Park is less than 30 minutes away.

This park is perfect for visitors who want to enjoy beach activities.

Connecting to the adjacent Kettle Cove State Park, the park has a small system of trails that total around two miles.

Since the parks are shielded by the peninsula and Richmond Island, the water remains relatively calm in the coves, making it easier to engage in water-based activities at the park.

Between calm ponds, rocky points, and multiple miles of beaches, the Crescent Beach area is a perfect place to spend a day.

Two Lights State Park

Not far from Crescent Beach is Two Lights State Park.

This small park located on Cape Elizabeth is named for the two maritime lights that sit on the cape outside the park.

There are several frequent walking paths as well that take visitors down to rocky beaches and around an old battery situated in the park.

This park is one of the best places to see ships arriving and departing Portland Harbor and offers fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean on windy days.

Cape Elizabeth is always a favorite stop on a Boston to Maine road trip.

Two Lights State Park in  Portland, Maine.

Mackworth Island State Park

Mackworth Island State Park is unique in that it is only connected to the mainland by one road.

If you’re looking for state parks near Portland, this is located just less than a 30-minute drive northeast.

There is a trail that loops the island’s one-mile coastline.

The Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard Hearing is also located on the island, but access is limited for park visitors.

One of the island’s unusual sights is the many shallow rocks that lie off the coast of the island.

Orange-colored moss has accumulated on these rocks, adding another color to an already diverse park.

If you’re planning to stay in Portland, there are accommodations you can check out, including some that are pet-friendly, too.

Sebago Lake State Park

Sebago Lake is located northwest of Portland, and Sebago Lake State Park is situated on its north shore.

The park straddles the Songo River with most hiking being on the west side of the river, with campgrounds, boat ramps, and beaches on both sides.

Stretching nearly a mile along the lake’s shoreline, the park features a boat ramp for large craft, and the young Songo River provides both a flowing stream and numerous calm oxbow lakes to cater to various paddlers. 

Showcasing the scenic beauty of the low glacial foothills and lakes in the northern Appalachians, this park offers a multitude of activities for all its visitors.

You may also like our guides to romantic things to do in Portland as well as what to do there during fall or winter.

Bradbury Mountain State Park

Bradbury Mountain State Park boasts some of the best mountain biking trail systems in the state as well as one of the closest mountains to the Atlantic Ocean.

The park not only has the peak and overlooks but also has a whole set of mountain biking trails east of Hallowell Road to add to the experience.

All trails in the park are open to hiking, and 14 of the 18 trails are open to mountain biking, with the only sections closed being the paths to the overlooks.

The 450-foot peak offers a hardcore outdoor experience for mountain bikers while also containing features for hikers.

This is a convenient state park near Freeport; you can access it within just a 10-minute drive.

View from a rocky hilltop in Bradbury Mountain State Park near Freeport Maine

Popham Beach State Park

While Popham Beach has limited trails, this southern Maine state park has over one mile of beach where the Morse River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

The one trail the park does have leads out of the park to the Fort Baldwin State Historic Site on Atkins Bay.

The park is a popular place for typical water activities, as well as paddling on the river.

Pets are not allowed on the beach during summer, but from October through March all pets are allowed, including horses.

This is also a popular surf spot on the Atlantic Ocean, some dedicated surfers even go out there in winter!

Reid State Park

Reid State Park is another Maine state park with beaches.

They are split into two sections: Mile Beach and Half Mile Beach (they’re very literally named according to their lengths).

There is a lagoon near the entrance of the park that’s a popular place for paddlers, as the water tends to be calmer than on the ocean.

The two rocky points in the park also have picnic areas where visitors can enjoy lunch near the ocean.

Birch Point State Park

Moving further up the coast, Birch Point State Park is just south of Rockland.

This small park features a short beach in a cove open for swimming, as well as many places to go fishing.

The park is only open for the summer since it is so small, and it is a popular place for picnics.

There is a beach at Birch Point that is excellent for wading, as it stays below six feet for more than two hundred feet into the ocean.

Camden Hills State Park

From a little-known park to an outdoor destination, Camden Hills State Park is a 5,700-acre park with over 30 miles of hiking trails.

With six named peaks and more unnamed ones, the park is a hiker’s paradise with fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean from elevations of up to 1,360 feet.

The park is located just north of the town of Camden and has many other amenities besides the hiking trails.

Complete with a boat ramp on Megunticook Lake, a comprehensive campground offering standard amenities, a brief beach along the Atlantic Ocean, as well as a group camp, picnic shelters, and historical ruins atop Mount Battie, the park offers a diverse range of facilities and attractions.

Warren Island State Park

Warren Island State Park can only be accessed with a personal watercraft.

The island is 70 acres and has a fully-staffed tent campground on it, as well as almost two miles of trails.

Fishing is another popular activity on the island, especially with the number of boat owners around.

Fort Point State Park

Another small park inhabiting Maine’s coast is Fort Point State Park.

History lovers enjoy this park, from the native history here to the former English outpost to the lighthouse and maritime history, you can even learn about a luxury hotel that used to exist here!

The park has a series of short trails that lead between the picnic areas, beaches, fishing pier, and lighthouse, making for nice walks along the ocean and checking out the sites of the park.

On the north side of the park, there is also a dock where boats can tie up.

You’ll find this state park near Bangor; it’s about a 45-minute drive south.

Fort Point Lighthouse in Fort Point State Park, Maine

Lamoine State Park

Lamoine State Park’s main selling point is its access to popular tourist locations.

While the park itself may not be a standout attraction, its strategically situated campsites provide an affordable gateway to Acadia National Park.

That definitely makes Lamoine one of the state parks near Bar Harbor, at just less than an hour’s drive away.

The park also features a boat ramp, fishing pier, and playground.

Lamoine’s campground location is prime for campers and RVers who want easy access to the Bar Harbor area.

You might also like our guide to visiting Bar Harbor in the fall if you’re going for beautiful foliage and cool hiking temperatures.

Or you can try our recommendations for things to do at Acadia National Park, which is just around 30 minutes away from Lamoine State Park.

Roque Bluffs State Park

Heading northeast along the coast, you’ll find Roque Bluffs State Park just south of Machias.

This state park offers a variety of activities on the Atlantic Ocean.

The park also has about two miles of hiking trails in the wooded back of the park, as well as a 2,200-foot-long beach.

These hiking trails are good for beginning hikers and picnickers, they are relatively flat and there are multiple picnic areas along the trails.

Simpson Pond is also a small water body in the park which is open to fishing and paddling.

The park also has a boat launch into the ocean at the end of the park road.

Quoddy Head State Park

Did you know that continental America’s easternmost point lies in a state park in Maine?

Quoddy Head State Park lies on a peninsula south of Lubec, which is one of the first places you can watch the sunrise in the continental US.

Situated within the park is a renowned historic lighthouse, commanding a view over rugged rocks nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, while its extensive five-mile trail network meanders through woodlands and traces the southern and eastern edges of the peninsula.

These trails are popular, and they showcase the craggy cliffs that inhabit parts of Maine’s Atlantic coast.

Androscoggin Riverlands State Park

Moving away from Maine’s coast, Androscoggin Riverlands State Park lies just north of Lewiston and showcases the rocky banks of the Androscoggin River.

For those who love paddling, the park is a go-to spot with plenty of kayak entry and exit points.

And if you’re into hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or ATV riding, the park’s got you covered with its extensive multi-use trail network.

Most of the hiking trails remain along the river, while other uses tend to go through the upland woods.

Avid hikers will enjoy Androscoggin Riverlands, as many of the trails are moderate to difficult, and some are primitive and minimum maintenance.

Grafton Notch State Park

While Grafton Notch State Park is actually small, its trail network makes it seem like one of the largest parks in the state.

The Appalachian Trail runs through the park, connecting it with the trails of the Mahoosuc Public Reserve land, which is much larger than the park, and features several mountain peaks.

Grafton Notch is a well-known and popular place, particularly for its waterfalls and mountain peaks, but it also has caves and ponds as well.

At the park, you’ll find elevations reaching nearly 4,200 feet above sea level, providing hikers with incredible views of the Appalachians. 

If you’re up for an overnight adventure, the only option is hike-in camping on the reserve land, with seven sites along the trail system. 

Additionally, the park occupies a notable drainage divide: northward flows feed the St. Lawrence River, while southward waters find their way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Appalachian Trail information sign

Mount Blue State Park

Continuing into Maine’s mountains, Mount Blue State Park is similar to Grafton Notch in terms of geography and layout, but has fewer natural features and is more centered around the mountains themselves.

There are a number of peaks in the park, the highest one being Mount Blue at 3,187 feet above sea level.

Hedgehog Hill, Center Hill, and Little Blue are other peaks located in the park, and many have trails reaching their summits.

The park is two units, with the campground being in a separate unit down on Webb Lake southwest of the main unit.

There is a playground, boat ramp, picnic shelters, and a group camp in this area.

Webb Lake is open to large watercraft as well as paddlers, there is also a nature center near the campground.

Nearby to the state park are the Tumbledown Public Lands, which have a range of snowmobiling and ATV trails for interested parties. 

They can be reached in just a short drive or ride from the main park unit.

Peaks-Kenny State Park

Showcasing the state’s Northwoods, Peaks-Kenny State Park is situated on Sebec Lake, 40 miles northwest of Bangor.

This is a popular local getaway for campers looking to spend time on the lake.

The glacial hills of the park make for an interesting hiking experience and great views while paddling or boating on the lake.

There is a short beach near the campground but the rest of the lake is surrounded by rocky shore, something that the Birch Mountain Ledge Trail showcases well.

Mount Kineo State Park

The Maine state parks system includes many islands, but they don’t all have to be in the Atlantic Ocean!

Mount Kineo is a 1,800-foot peak situated on an island in Moosehead Lake.

The park is composed of nearly the entire island that Mount Kineo sits on, and there is a trail that follows the shoreline around the island that composes most of the trail mileage in the park.

There are various routes to the high peak, and an observation tower atop it offers fantastic views of Moosehead Lake and the surrounding mountains.

The only way to reach Mount Kineo State Park is by ferry, and only foot travel is permitted within the park.

Baxter State Park

Maine’s most well-known state park is, without a doubt, Baxter State Park.

Baxter State Park is by definition a state park (the land is owned by the state), but is managed by a different entity than the rest of the Maine state parks.

The Baxter State Park Authority is different from the Maine DACF and is just a three-person authority headed by the attorney general.

As the largest state park, it comes with some impressive credentials—it’s home to the final miles of the Appalachian Trail and boasts the state’s highest peak, Mount Katahdin.

Dedicated to its conservation mission, this park plays it really strictly, so brace yourself for a few more hoops to jump through to gain access compared to the other state parks in Maine.

This is all rewarded though, with Baxter having the best scenery in the state, dotted with mountains and lakes.

The park includes over 200,000 acres and has over 300 campsites and more than 200 miles of trails.

Mount Katahdin in Maine in autumn in Baxter State Park

Aroostook State Park

The state’s northernmost state park is located on Echo Lake south of Presque Isle.

Aroostook State Park is a popular place in summer but is also well-known in winter for its well-groomed cross-country ski and snowshoeing trails.

The park has two high hills that overlook the lake and trails leading to the top of both of them.

Trails extend outside the park as well, with winter trails that run south of the lake into the woods.

There are 30 campsites in the park and a warming house for snowshoers and skiers.

Final Thoughts

We hope our Maine state parks list has inspired you to explore some of the best natural wonders in the state.

Which one are you looking forward to visiting? Let us know in the comments below.

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