From epic coastlines to classic New England small towns, the state of Maine truly has it all. Maine has great state parks, but with so many to choose from, it can be hard deciding which ones are worth visiting… we can help!
This post includes all of the top must visit state parks in Maine, most of which are located right along the coast and offer breathtaking views of the water.
These Maine state parks are filled with fun activities like hiking, mountain biking, swimming, boating, and even camping in a lean-to for a night! Whether you’re looking for sandy beaches or high mountain peaks, you’ll find them in the Pine Tree State!
Read on to learn more about the top Maine state parks to add to your New England itinerary.
Table of Contents
Must Visit Maine State Parks
Quoddy Head State Park
Located in Lubec, Maine, Quoddy Head State Park is located at the edge of the United States. In fact, it’s as far east as you can get without leaving the country while still being in the continental USA.
The main feature of Quoddy Head State Park is the West Quoddy Head Light, which is a candy cane striped lighthouse overlooking the water. There are picnic tables right around it, where you can picnic while taking in the view. The area is incredibly picturesque.
When visiting Quoddy Head State Park, be sure to do one of the many hikes that the state park is known for. The most popular trail is the Bog Trail, which is only one mile long and is relatively easy. There are signs along the way that inform hikers more about the area’s plants.
Bradbury Mountain State Park
Situated about halfway between Portland and Lewiston-Auburn on Rt 9, this is one of the first five state parks Maine had.
Highly rated for mountain biking in particular, Bradbury Mountain State Park is the perfect place to head for a day spent exploring trails either on bike or on foot. You’ve got 800 gorgeous acres to explore, but the real star of the show is Bradbury Mountain, of course.
There are plenty of facilities at the park as well, including a picnic area, playground, showers, and campground.
Camden Hills State Park
Camden Hills State Park is another of the best Maine state parks. It’s located in Camden, Maine, and is on the water. The park is relatively large at just shy of 6000 acres of land filled with hiking trails, picnic spots, viewpoints, and more.
If you love hiking, you can’t miss out on the Maiden Cliff Trail. It’s just shy of 2 miles long and is moderate. The Maiden Cliff Trail is easily the park’s most popular trail and has quite a bit of elevation gain. However, the views from the top are incredible, so you won’t want to miss it.
Another of the best things to do while visiting Camden Hills State Park is camping. Stargazing is incredible while spending the night here! There’s even a campground within the park with showers and bathrooms, which are usually hard to come by when camping in state parks.
Plus, you’ll have worked up a nice appetite and you’ve got plenty of incredible options for where to eat in Camden!
Popham Beach State Park
Located in Phippsburg, Popham Beach State Park is a very popular Maine state park, especially in the summer! In fact, it’s said to be the busiest beach state park in Maine. There are lots of sand bars that you can walk at low tide, so this is a popular thing to do here!
Because this is such a busy beach to visit, there are ample facililties to accommodate the locals and tourists alike that flock here in the warmest weather months of the year. There are rinse off showers, bathhouses, picnic areas, and charcoal grills.
Currents can be very strong here, so it’s recommended to only enter the water when lifeguards are on duty from mid June to mid August. Water activities like paddle boarding and kayaking are popular here, as well.
Birch Point State Park
Birch Point State Park is located in Owls Head, Maine, and is a bit of a smaller state park, but it does feature a great beach that you won’t want to miss. The beach is shaped like a crescent and has incredible views.
At Birch Point State Park, you can go fishing, birdwatching, swimming, picnicking, hiking, and more. It’s open between Memorial Day and Labor Day, along with most other state parks in Maine.
Unlike other state parks, there aren’t hiking trails here, but you can easily take a pleasant walk right along the water’s edge. For an unforgettable experience, consider staying at the park until sunset to watch the sun go down right over the water!
Lily Bay State Park
If you’re going to be in the Moosehead Lake area, you’re going to absolutely want to explore 925 acre Lily Bay State Park!
Just 9 miles north of Greenville, this Maine state park is open year round, which is perfect for a year round vacation destination like Moosehead Lake. Summer is for swimming, boating, and picnicking, while winter is perfect for ice fishing and cross country skiing!
There’s a great playground for the kiddos and the two mile trail that meanders along the shore is a nice, easy stroll that’s fairly easy and doable for just about everyone.
Two Lights State Park
Next is Two Lights State Park, another of the greatest Maine state parks. This is a favorite park among locals and features not one but two different lighthouses that were built in the 1800s. These lighthouses are the first-ever “twin lighthouses” to be built along the coast of Maine.
This state park is filled with great activities that you can do to fill your time there. Go fishing, hike on one of the many trails, go picnicking, or even have fun on the playground if you’re visiting the area with children.
If you’re up for a scenic hike, consider doing the Two Lights State Park Loop. It’s only a mile long and is fairly easy. It’s stroller-friendly, kid-friendly, and dogs are allowed on the trail if they are on a leash.
Even though the path is short, it offers some of the best views that you can get of the coastline while visiting Two Lights State Park. You’ll also be just a quick drive up the road to Portland and all the great coffee shops, breweries, and restaurants to refuel afterwards!
Read Next: 12 Best Hotels in Portland Maine
Aroostook State Park
Aroostook State Park is located in Presque Isle, Maine, and is one of the few Maine state parks that is open year-round!
That means you can come and do incredible hikes and picnicking in the summer, or visit in winter and go cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or even winter camping.
Plus, this was the very first state park in Maine!
The top trail to hike when visiting Aroostook State Park is the North Peak, Ridge, and South Peak Trails Loop. It’s just over 2 miles long and has a little less than 1000 feet of elevation gain.
The trail takes about an hour and a half to complete, and the views are incredible the entire way, especially if you’re up for a bit of a longer hike.
If you’re not into hiking, don’t worry, there are many other fun things to do when visiting this state park. You can go swimming, picnicking, fishing, and even boating. This is the perfect place to spend a hot summer’s day with family in the state of Maine.
Keep your eyes peeled for moose while in this area, this is the place to see them!
Scarborough Beach State Park
One of the most popular Maine state parks to visit is Scarborough Beach State Park. That’s because it’s right on Scarborough Beach, a beautiful blue and turquoise body of water that will completely take your breath away.
Plus, there are lifeguards, giving families with children peace of mind. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Maine.
As the name suggests, the main thing to do here is enjoying the beach and swim all day. You can also relax by the water, play sports, and even have a picnic if you want.
The best time of day to enjoy the beach is at sunrise or sunset when you can witness the gorgeous colors of the sky reflected on the water. It’s a time like no other!
There is an admission fee at this state park, and the state park pass is not accepted. Dogs are allowed and multiple parking lots are available, but they do fill up, especially in the summer!
Grafton Notch State Park
Grafton Notch State Park is a beautiful place to hike – as long as you know what you’re doing! Grafton Notch State Park and the Mahoosuc Public Lands are popular for backcountry hiking, and home to 12 of the most challenging miles along the Appalachian Trail.
Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing are popular wintertime activities at this state park, but again, it’s not for amateurs! This is the place to go when you’re at the top of your game and are up for the challenge of this beautiful yet rugged terrain.
Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park
This beautiful ME state park is quite large at 244 acres and is on a peninsula. The water surrounding it will genuinely take your breath away, as it’s located right on both the Harraseeket River and Casco Bay.
Like other Maine state parks, there’s so much to do at Wolfe’s Neck Woods. You can go birdwatching, picnicking, hiking, and more. If you visit in the off-season in winter, you can also snowshoe and cross-country ski at this park.
There are two different popular trails located in Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. You can hike the 2-mile Harraseeket and White Pines Trail Loop, which takes about an hour, or the Old Woods Road, Harraseeket and White Pines Trail Loop, which is 1.2 miles and takes closer to a half-hour.
Crescent Beach State Park
Another one of the nicest beach state parks in Maine, Crescent Beach State Park is located in Cape Elizabeth, about 8 miles south of Portland. As you might be able to imagine, the beach is a lovely crescent shape.
A popular state park to swim at for both locals and tourists alike, swimming and strolling the beach are popular activities here. There are plenty of facilities here as well, with bathhouses, a snack bar, picnic tables, grills, and a kid’s playground.
Reid State Park
For an even larger state park, head to Reid State Park, which is around 800 acres large.
This is one of the more unique state parks, as it is by the water, but it also has a lagoon, tidepools, and even sand dunes, which are hard to come by in Maine.
It’s located in Georgetown and officially became a state park back in the 1940s. This is another of the handful of state parks in Maine that is open year-round. Fun activities here include bird watching, swimming at the beach, hiking, fishing, and of course, relaxing by the water.
For an excellent hike (or walk), check out the Mile Beach Walk. It’s a mile and a half and is relatively flat.
Plus, it’s an out and back trail right near the water that offers great views the whole way. It’s a trail that “kind of qualifies as a trail” but is mostly just a scenic beachside stroll.
Sebago Lake State Park
Sebago Lake State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks Maine has, with 1400 acres of forested lakeside scenery.
This is a very popular state park to visit in the summer, when Mainers come to swim, boat, fish, picnic, hike, and camp. If you’re a fan of freshwater fun, this is a perfect summer destination!
It is open year round, as well, with snowshoeing being a popular winter activity at Sebago Lake State Park.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park is arguably one of the most beautiful state parks in Maine that you can visit!
It’s one that’s located inland, which is unlike many of the other state parks on this list. This park is located in Millinocket, Maine, and has tons of wilderness areas waiting to be explored.
At Baxter State Park, there are many things to do. You can go rock climbing, fishing, biking, and even boating.
As you might imagine, rock climbing is an activity that’s not common at state parks, especially the ones in Maine. The best routes are located from Chimney Pond.
There are so many incredible hiking trails within Baxter State Park; in fact, there are more here combined than all of the other parks on this list!
The most beautiful one is the Mount Katahdin and Hamlin Peak Loop, which is 10.9 miles and takes a full day, or about 8 hours or so, to fully complete. This is a very challenging trail, but the view from the top of the park from above is well worth it.
There are so many great Maine state parks, both coastal and inland. So many to choose from, that you might just have to plan multiple Maine trips just to get a taste of them all!
Read these next:
- 10 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park
- Camping in Acadia National Park: A Guide
- 8 Wonderful Weekend Getaways in Maine
- 8 Best Maine Campgrounds for Camping in Maine
- 10 Breathtaking Swimming Holes in Maine
Amy Hartle is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of New England With Love, a comprehensive resource for travel in the New England region. Amy has been exploring New England since 2001. She lived in Vermont for many years and is a graduate of Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. On this site, Amy aims to share her love of New England and help you to have the best possible adventures!
Amy has been writing about travel for over a decade, and is a full time blogger, publishing both Two Drifters and Let’s Adventure Baby. When not traveling the world or creating epic blog content, Amy can be found cuddling with her husband, son, and cats, & drinking a maple latte.