Baxter State Park-Millinocket-Fall

15 Best Maine State Parks (Our Favorite State Parks in Maine)

Although Maine is known as the home of Acadia National Park (the only official Maine national park), it is also home to over 30 smaller but scenic state parks that offer a wide array of fun and unique vacation adventures.

Most Maine state parks offer access to well-maintained hiking and biking trails for all athletic abilities. Some are blessed with gorgeous ocean or lakeside locations perfect for a refreshing swim or some sunbathing.

Each state park has something to offer visitors whether it be stunning views, bird-watching opportunities, swimmable bodies of water, or winter recreation. Maine has so much natural beauty that extends beyond its pristine beaches.

Visiting Maine’s state parks, you can be sure that the views and scenery will be outstanding – from stunning high mountains and crystal clear lakes to the rocky southern coastline.

While we highly recommend visiting all of the Maine state parks, here are our favorite state parks in Maine…

Aroostook State Park Presque Isle
Aroostook State Park | photo via ryanthecollegestudent

Aroostook State Park | Presque Isle

Aroostook State Park in Presque Isle is the best state park in Maine for those looking for challenging hiking trails. Though the trails are short, they are very steep and considered difficult terrain.

This is the perfect spot for an avid hiker who is looking for a half-day hiking trip. Once hikers reach the summits of the North and South Peaks, they get stunning views of the park.

Winter sports enthusiasts love Aroostook State Park for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and even ice skating at the park’s lake. And, there is a small, rustic campground with 30 sites for those wishing to stay within the park and enjoy an overnight stay.

Baxter State Park-Millinocket-Fall-Canoe
Baxter State Park | photo via northwoodsthornes

Baxter State Park | Piscataquis County

Located in the Maine Highlands in the town of Millinocket, Baxter State Park is a beautiful, well-maintained park and is home to Maine’s highest mountain — Mount Katahdin at 5,268 feet.

There’s so much to explore with over 220 miles of hiking trails and over 40 mountain peaks to scramble up. There are trails for all abilities — from very challenging all-day hikes of Katahdin to shorter, easier two-hour hikes around ponds and more level terrain.

Aside from the trail network, visitors can enjoy many picnic areas, kayaking, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. The mountains offer breathtaking views of New England, and hikers have been known to run into wildlife such as moose, bears, and deer.

If you’re looking to camp in the state park, Baxter has a no-frills campground with natural water sources. Bring your camping gear, and get ready to rough it as there are no supplies to purchase and no showers or toilets — just outhouses.

This type of campground is great for those who enjoy rustic camping. There are cabins, bunkhouses, lean-tos, and tent sites available to rent.

NOTE: This Maine state park is not overseen by the Maine Department of Conservation.

Quoddy Head State Park-Lubec
Quoddy Head State Park | photo via karengenzphotography

Quoddy Head State Park | Lubec

Lubec Maine, known as the easternmost point of the United States, is home to Quoddy Head State Park. Quoddy Head is over 540 acres, including 5 miles of trails. What makes this state park unique is its amazing wildlife-watching opportunities.

From the shores of the park, visitors might spot a whale, including minke, finback, or humpback. Or, visitors could catch a glimpse of shorebirds, sea ducks, or bald eagles. Bring a pair of binoculars to see these sea mammals and birds in detail.

For avid hikers, some trails pass by bogs and numerous species of plant life. The park even offers views of a nearby lighthouse — Quoddy Head Light.

Two Lights State Park-Cape Elizabeth
Two Lights State Park | photo via gene.bolinger

Two Lights State Park | Cape Elizabeth

Two Lights State Park at Cape Elizabeth is a favorite among locals because of the stunning views of Casco Bay and the coastline. It was appropriately named for the presence of twin lighthouses nearby, one of which is still functioning today.

The park is the ideal picnic spot because it has tables arranged so that visitors can enjoy a meal and the awesome ocean views. On-site there is a gift shop and full-service restaurant where visitors can eat fresh seafood.

Also, the park has easy trails that are family-friendly and rocky cliff walks for adventurers. And, visitors can take a walk on the rocky coastline where they can watch fishermen catching stripers or lobstermen hauling in their traps offshore.

Reid State Park-Georgetown
Reid State Park | photo via kmatero

Reid State Park | Georgetown

Reid State Park can be found in the Mid Coast Maine town of Georgetown. This state park has been consistently ranked as one of the best in the area for surfing. Reid State Park has a refreshing saltwater beach featuring wide sands and giant dunes.

Be sure to bring your camera because you can see multiple Maine lighthouses from the park, including Seguin Island, making for great picture-taking opportunities. Or, see if you can spot piping plovers nesting amongst the dunes and grassy areas on the beach.

A few trails are great for shorter hikes as well. The Little River Trail is just under 2 miles away and is perfect for beginners. Or, try the Ski Loop Trail for a mountain biking trail or cross-country skiing.

Sebago Lake State Park-Naples
Sebago Lake State Park | photo via jb2255

Sebago Lake State Park | Naples

Sebago Lake State Park begins accepting camping reservations as early as February because it books up fast!

NOTE: This park is next to Point Sebago Resort, voted the #1 Family Friendly Resort in the Northeast.

The campground and state park offer a variety of activities to choose from including sandy beaches, hiking, horseback riding, and kayaking, as well as cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing in the winter.

Visitors will also enjoy gorgeous views of the White Mountains and Sebago Lake.

Vaughan Woods Memorial State Park | South Berwick

Vaughan Woods Memorial State Park in South Berwick is a wonderful spot for hiking, exploring, and winter activities. This state park is located on the banks of the Salmon Falls River and brings visitors to the historic Hamilton House.

While traveling along the trails and river banks, visitors will feel a sense of peace trekking across the Wabanaki homelands.

This state park is gorgeous year-round — whether for hiking, cross-country skiing, or taking the dog on a walk. There are nice spots to stop along the way and reflect and even a playground for children to burn off some energy.

Birch Point State Park-Owls Head
Birch Point State Park | photo via sherrewilsonliljegren

Birch Point State Park | Owls Head

Birch Point State Park is worth a visit – if you can find it, that is!

Located literally off the beaten path, this secluded hideaway in Owls Head is home to beautiful views of Penobscot Bay and surrounding islands. The park is popular for sunbathing, swimming, fishing, and picnicking.

NOTE: Unfortunately, the park is only open during the day and during the summer months so be sure to time your visit.

Bradbury Mountain State Park-Pownal
Bradbury Mountain State Park | photo via stephen.wells

Bradbury Mountain State Park | Pownal

Bradbury Mountain State Park is one of Maine’s original five state parks and a great place to relax and enjoy the 800 acres of forest it has to offer.

NOTE: In the fall, Bradbury is home to migrating hawks and eagles.

Bradbury Mountain itself is a sight to see, with both flat and narrow paths that will accommodate any hiker. There are also several popular mountain biking trails.

Lily Bay State Park-Greenville
Lily Bay State Park | photo via canoejunkie401

Lily Bay State Park | Greenville

Lily Bay State Park, located at Moosehead Lake in Greenville Maine, could be the most family-friendly of the Maine state parks on our list. It’s a great spot for water activities like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. It has a boat launch located right in the park.

Children will love the playground and picnic area and will be delighted to spot rabbits, deer, squirrels, and native species of birds. Plus, there is a campground located within the park that is quite popular and includes nearly 100 camping sites.

Scarborough Beach State Park-Scarborough
Scarborough Beach State Park | photo via palm_oriel

Scarborough Beach State Park | Scarborough

Scarborough Beach State Park has one of the best swimming beaches in Maine due to its water temperatures that remain fairly warm throughout the prime summer months.

Visitors also enjoy hiking on a self-guided trail, fishing, and boating in the summer months. The “Shack” offers beachside food and daily rentals of chairs, umbrellas, and boogie boards.

NOTE: This Maine state park is not overseen by the Maine Department of Conservation.

Rangeley Lake State Park-Franklin
Rangeley Lake State Park | photo via bruce_ebrahimpour

Rangeley Lake State Park | Franklin

Rangeley Lake State Park is one of the most picturesque state parks in Maine, overlooking Maine’s western mountains and surrounding 10 square miles of Rangeley Lake.

Wintertime attracts snowmobilers and snowshoers while the summer months bring some of the best salmon and trout fishing in Maine.

There are also many campsites located in Rangeley Park with plenty of amenities including boat launches and picnic areas.

Camden Hills State Park-Camden
Camden Hills State Park | photo via hale.on.a.trail

Camden Hills State Park | Camden

If you love camping in state parks, Camden Hills in Camden Maine is one of the best camping spots among the Maine state parks. It offers year-round camping with amenities like picnic tables, fire pits, a playground, showers, bathrooms, and Wi-Fi.

Staying right in the park will give you more time to explore the miles of trails that range from easy to challenging. While visiting Camden Hills, take in the sweeping views of Penobscot Bay and Camden Harbor. These views are best seen from the summit of Mount Battie at 800 feet above sea level.

Camden Hills State Park is particularly popular amongst bird-watchers and bird-lovers, known as a retreat for migrating hawks and other bird species. It’s not uncommon to spot great blue herons, ospreys or even a bald eagle!

Horseback Riding-Popham Beach
Popham Beach | photo via themaineequestrian

Popham Beach State Park | Phippsburg

Known as the busiest of the Maine state parks that has a beach, Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg attracts locals and tourists alike. The park has amenities that you wouldn’t find at many state parks, including bathhouses, showers, and grilling areas.

Visitors flock to Popham Beach for the beach to swim, sunbathe, beach comb, or bird watch. But, you can enjoy surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and fishing too.

One of the neat features of Popham Beach is the number of sand bars that allow visitors to walk way out during low tide — keep your eye out for a starfish and other sea creatures! Fox Island is accessible by walking the sand bars during low tide as well.

Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park-Cumberland
Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park | photo via isabellachic

Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park | Freeport

If you’re looking to visit a state park but still want to be near local attractions like shopping and restaurants, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport Maine offers the best of both worlds.

Located a few miles from Freeport’s center, this state park will have you exploring nature for part of the day and enjoying modern amenities in Freeport the next.

At 230 acres, this relaxing retreat features activities such as clamming, kayaking, and boating. The park grounds’ mostly flat terrain makes it perfect for children or physically challenged visitors.

Wolfe’s Neck Woods features family-friendly walking trails, a small beach, picnic areas, and bird-watching opportunities. Visitors will cross through forests, marshes, and rocky shores.

Rangers at the park offer guided nature programs for an informative and fun look into Maine’s beautiful state parks.

Visit These Maine State Parks Today

As you’ve likely gathered after reading this list, each Maine state park has its own unique features and highlights. From Downeast & Acadia to the Mid Coast to the Southern Maine Coast, the best state parks in Maine are scattered throughout the state in every region.

The best state parks in Maine have hiking trails, great views, bird and wildlife sightings, and clean bodies of water. On your next trip to Maine, plan to visit one of these state parks and maybe even spend the night at one that has campsites.

More State Parks in Maine

While these might be our favorite Maine state parks, they’re not the only state parks in Maine. Maine is home to more than 30 state parks, plus many other public lands that are worth exploring. Start planning your Maine vacation today!

State ParkCountyTownEstablishedWater
Allagash Wilderness WaterwayAroostook,   
Androscoggin RiverlandsAndroscogginTurner Androscoggin River
Aroostook State ParkAroostookPresque Isle1938Echo Lake
Baxter State ParkPiscataquis 1931 
Birch Point State ParkKnoxOwls Head1999Penobscot Bay
Bradbury Mountain State ParkCumberlandPownal1939 
Camden Hills State ParkKnox, WaldoCamden, Lincolnville1947 
Cobscook Bay State ParkWashingtonEdmunds Township1964Cobscook Bay
Crescent Beach State ParkCumberlandCape Elizabeth1966Atlantic Ocean
Damariscotta Lake State ParkLincolnJefferson1970Damariscotta Lake
Ferry Beach State ParkYorkSaco Atlantic Ocean
Fort Point State ParkWaldoStockton Springs1974Penobscot Bay
Grafton Notch State ParkOxfordGrafton Township1963Bear River
Holbrook Island Sanctuary State ParkHancockBrooksville1971Penobscot Bay
Lake St. George State ParkWaldoLiberty Township Lake St. George
Lamoine State ParkHancockLamoine1949Frenchman’s Bay
Lily Bay State ParkPiscataquisGreenville1959Moosehead Lake
Mackworth IslandCumberlandFalmouth1946Casco Bay
Moose Point State ParkWaldoSearsport1952Penobscot Bay
Mount Blue State ParkFranklinWeld1955Webb Lake
Mount Kineo State ParkPiscataquisKineo Township Moosehead Lake
Owls Head Light State ParkKnoxOwls Head Penobscot Bay
Peacock Beach State ParkSagadahocRichmond Pleasant Pond
Peaks-Kenny State ParkPiscataquisDover-Foxcroft,  
Penobscot River CorridorPiscataquis,   
Popham Beach State ParkSagadahocPhippsburg Atlantic Ocean
Quoddy Head State ParkWashingtonLubec1962Atlantic Ocean
Range Ponds State ParkAndroscogginPoland1965Range Ponds
Rangeley Lake State ParkFranklinRangeley,  
Reid State ParkSagadahocGeorgetown1946Sheepscot Bay
Roque Bluffs State ParkWashingtonRoque Bluffs1969Englishman Bay
Sebago Lake State ParkCumberlandNaples, Casco1938Sebago Lake
Shackford Head State ParkWashingtonEastport1989Cobscook Bay
Swan Lake State ParkWaldoSwanville Swan Lake
Two Lights State ParkCumberlandCape Elizabeth1961Casco Bay
Vaughan Woods State ParkYorkSouth Berwick1949Salmon Falls River
Warren Island State ParkWaldoIslesboro1959Penobscot Bay
Wolfe’s Neck Woods State ParkCumberlandFreeport1969Casco Bay

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