The 25 Best State Parks in Maine

By Lisa Medeiros Sept. 01, 2021
(Credit: E.J.Johnson Photography/Shutterstock)

Throughout Maine’s 32 state parks, visitors can expect plenty of outdoor adventure and fun. From hiking and biking to boating and swimming, Maine is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. To help you plan your trip to Vacationland, we’ve identified the 25 best state parks in Maine based on visitor recommendations, amenities and unique features.

1. Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park

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The Best State Parks in Maine: Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park (Credit: E.J.Johnson Photography/Shutterstock)

Hours: 9 am – sunset, year round
Admission: $4 for Maine residents; $6 for out-of-state visitors; $2 for seniors

Just outside the busy town of Freeport lies 233 tranquil wooded acres known as Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. In addition to its lush forests and open fields, the park showcases stunning views of the Casco Bay region. Wolfe’s Neck is also known for its resident ospreys, who nest on nearby Googins Island just 50 feet offshore. To learn about these birds of prey, visitors can stroll the park’s Casco Bay Trail, which features interpretive panels  depicting the life cycle of this unique hawk-like bird.

2. Ferry Beach State Park

People
The Best State Parks in Maine: Ferry Beach State Park (Credit: Mac Armstrong/Flickr)

Hours: Open seasonally, 9 am – 5 pm, April – October
Admission: $5 for Maine residents; $7 for out-of-state visitors; $2 for seniors

Located on Maine’s southern shores, Ferry Beach State Park ’s 117 acres include a long stretch of white, sandy beach, making this state park a less-crowded alternative to neighboring Old Orchard Beach. Among the park’s modest 1.7-mile network of trails is the Tupelo Trail, a 0.4-mile trek taking visitors past a large stand of the park’s famed Tupelo Trees, a tree rarely found at this latitude.

3. Camden Hills State Park

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The Best State Parks in Maine: Camden Hills State Park (Credit: E.J.Johnson Photography/Shutterstock)

Hours: Open 9 am – sunset, year round
Admission: $4 for Maine residents; $6 for out-of-state visitors; $2 for seniors

Camden Hills State Park delivers scenic views of Penobscot Bay and its surrounding islands. This 5,710-acre park in the mid-coastal region of Maine sits just minutes from the quaint town of Camden, which is known for boutique shops and charming working harbor. Visitors enjoy hiking the Scenic Trail Cut-Off and Maiden Cliff Trail, which together form a 1.7-mile loop, for epic coastal views.

4. Baxter State Park

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The Best State Parks in Maine: Baxter State Park (Credit: Richard Seeley/Shutterstock)

Hours: Open 9 am – sunset, year round
Admission: $15 per car for out-of-state license plates; free for Maine license plates

In 1930, former Maine governor Percival Baxter began an initiative for a new state park. Today, the park sprawls across 200,000 acres, encompassing 220 miles of hiking trails and 40 peaks, including Maine’s highest peak, Mount Katahdin. Mount Katahdin’s hiking trail offers some of the most challenging terrain around and some of the state’s most unspoiled landscapes. With no paved roads or campsite amenities, Baxter State Park remains the remote backcountry destination Baxter had envisioned

5. Grafton Notch State Park

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The Best State Parks in Maine: Grafton Notch State Park (Credit: drewthehobbit/Shutterstock)

Hours: 9 am – sunset, May – October
Admission: $3 for Maine residents; $4 for out-of-state visitors; $1 for seniors

Grafton Notch State Park sits amid the Mahoosuc Range in eastern Maine, near the New Hampshire border. Known for its rugged landscape, the park features one of the most challenging portions of the Appalachian Trail. Its 3,129 acres are also home to a variety of wildlife like bears, deer, eagles, hawks and songbirds. In addition, anglers will have luck fishing for brook trout in many of the park’s streams.

6. Popham Beach State Park

People
The Best State Parks in Maine: Popham Beach State Park (Credit: Paul VanDerWerf/Flickr)

Hours: 9 am – sunset, year round
Admission: $6 for Maine residents; $8 for out-of-state visitors; $2 for seniors

Encompassing 605 acres on Maine’s southern coast, Popham Beach State Park is one of the state’s most visited parks. With a long stretch of sandy beach, swimming and sunbathing top the list of park activities. Anglers can cast a reel for striped bass and bluefish, while picnickers can take in views of nearby Pond Island lighthouse and Sequin Island Lighthouse.

7. Bradbury Mountain State Park

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The Best State Parks in Maine: Bradbury Mountain State Park (Credit: billandkent/Flickr)

Hours: 9 am –  sunset, year round
Admission: $4 for Maine residents; $6 for out-of-state visitors; $2 for seniors

Glacially formed Bradbury Mountain is the pride of Bradbury Mountain State Park, which occupies 730 acres along Maine’s south coast. Along with the park’s 21 miles of multi-use trails – many offering breathtaking views of Casco Bay – there are 35 campsites for visitors to extend their stay. Be sure to set up your camping chair and grab a pair of binoculars, as Bradbury Mountain State Park has some excellent birdwatching. Among the dozens of species of birds migrating to the area, the most notable is hawks, typically broad-winged and sharp-shinned hawks.

8. Reid State Park

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The Best State Parks in Maine: Reid State Park (Credit: Anthony Dolan/Shutterstock)

Hours: Dawn – dusk, year round
Admission: $6 for Maine residents; $8 for out-of-state visitors; $2 for seniors

Maine’s first state-owned saltwater beach, Reid State Park includes 770 acres on the state’s southern shoreline. The park boasts two uncommon features for Maine’s coastline: a flat, sandy beach and sand dunes. Along with sunbathing and swimming, visitors can hike the popular 2.14-mile Ski Loop Trail. The trail passes some interesting scenic and historic landmarks, like a pond and a former one-room schoolhouse.

9. Sebago Lake State Park

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The Best State Parks in Maine: Sebago Lake State Park (Credit: Phillip Sunkel IV/Shutterstock)

Hours: 9 am – sunset, year round
Admission: $6 for Maine residents; $8 for out-of-state visitors; $2 for seniors

Known as one of the five first established state parks in Maine, Sebago Lake State Park occupies a portion of the foothills of the White Mountains. This mostly wooded, 1,343-acre park sits on the shores of Sebago Lake, the state’s second-largest lake. One visit to the sandy shores of Naples Beach and Witch Cove, and you’ll discover why it’s one of the most visited parks within the state. Meanwhile, hiking trails range from family-friendly treks like the Twin Brook Trail, to strenuous trails with steep inclines like the Lookout Trail.

10. Lily Bay State Park

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The Best State Parks in Maine: Lily Bay State Park (Credit: Dan Lewis/Shutterstock)

Hours: 9 am – sunset, year round
Admission: $4 for Maine residents; $6 for out-of-state visitors; $2 for seniors

Sitting on the southeastern shores of Vacationland’s largest lake, Lily Bay State Park in central Maine encompasses 924 acres primed for outdoor adventure. Waterfront camping on Moosehead Lake is a big draw for visitors thanks to the two campgrounds located on its shores. Along with boating, trout-fishing and hiking, Lily Bay provides a good chance at spotting moose.

See the full list of the 25 best state parks in Maine:

1. Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park
2. Ferry Beach State Park
3. Camden Hills State Park
4. Baxter State Park
5. Grafton Notch State Park
6. Popham Beach State Park
7. Bradbury Mountain State Park
8. Reid State Park
9. Sebago Lake State Park
10. Lily Bay State Park
11. Two Lights State Park
12. Quoddy Head State Park
13. Scarborough Beach State Park
14. Rangeley Lake State Park
15. Aroostook State Park
16. Crescent Beach State Park
17. Moose Point State Park
18. Birch Point Beach State Park
19. Mount Blue State Park
20. Lake St. George State Park
21. Owl’s Head State Park
22. Fort Point State Park
23. Lamoine State Park
24. Rogue Bluffs State Park
25. Cobs Cook State Park

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