Your 10 Favorite Maine State Parks

Are you addicted to the smell of campfire smoke, or is it the salty sea air that does it for you? Do you wake up on weekends dying to hit a mountain trail, or is a mellow jaunt through history more your speed? Are you a wildlife watcher? A lighthouse lover? We asked Down East readers to swallow hard and pick one favorite from among Maine’s more than 50 stunning state parks and historic sites. Hundreds of you answered the call. See if your favorites made the list — then pack a picnic, grab your backpack, and go outside to play. (Click images to view larger size.)


Quoddy Head

“The shore has a raw beauty, with the cliffs rising up, crowned with forest. Both the lighthouse on the point and the view of the ocean and Grand Manan Island are spectacular. Hike the trails along the cliffs and bluffs.”
Skip Dickson, Salem, Connecticut

Quoddy Head State Park, Maine

Quoddy Head State Park
973 South Lubec Rd., Lubec
Photographed by Benjamin Williamson


“This park is a gem. We love camping here — the sites are large and wooded, the restrooms clean and spacious, the whole park is well kept. Echo Lake is so beautiful! For more hardy souls, Aroostook has hiking trails, swimming, and canoes and kayaks for rent.”
Joe and Kathy Meyer, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

Aroostook State Park
87 State Park Rd., Presque Isle
Photographed by Paul Cyr

Popham Beach

“Even on the busiest summer days, you can still feel alone walking along the ever-changing shore. At low tide, visitors collect sand dollars and traipse to Fox Island. High tide delivers a new personality, along with just the right waves for bodyboarding and, for some, surfing. Our family has been visiting for decades and plans to keep it ‘our spot’ through our last days.”
Christen Graham, North Yarmouth, Maine

Popham Beach State Park, Maine
Popham Beach State Park
10 Perkins Farm Ln., Phippsburg
Photographed by Cait Bourgault


“Baxter is the ultimate uncharted territory of the Maine wilderness. Its deep woods, changing weather, and foggy mountains evoke an almost spiritual sense. After visiting the park nearly every year as a child — hiking Mount Katahdin, canoeing on South Branch Pond, and watching for moose and wildlife in the many ponds and marshes — Baxter holds a special place in my memories.”
Valerie Collins, Middletown, Connecticut

Baxter State Park, Maine

Baxter State Park
Togue Pond Gatehouse (South Entrance), 8 miles west of Millinocket on Baxter State Park Rd. Matagamon Gatehouse (North Entrance), 26 miles northwest of Patten on Shin Pond Rd.
Photographed by Matt Milone

Two Lights

“I love the breathtaking ruggedness of the rocky shoreline, the rhythmic thrumming of the waves, and the accessibility of the rocks for climbing and exploring eddy pools. The vista is hypnotic and mysterious when the fog rolls in.”
Pam Kowal, Buffalo, New York

Two Lights State Park, Maine
Two Lights State Park
7 Tower Dr., Cape Elizabeth
Photographed by Cait Bourgault


“The memories, the water, and the waves. Staying in that water all day until we were red as lobsters. Falling asleep on the way home, with that dried-up skin from too much salt. Looking forward to the next trip, always on the perfect summer day with warm sunshine, cold water, and best friends.”
Barbara Allen, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Reid State Park, Maine
Reid State Park
375 Seguinland Rd., Georgetown
Photographed by Benjamin Williamson

Camden Hills

“Drive up Mount Battie, climb the tower, read Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, enjoy the view, and picnic. Where the mountains meet the sea: the best of both Maines.”
Cindy Rideout, Harpswell, Maine

Camden Hills State Park, Maine
Camden Hills State Park
280 Belfast Rd., Camden
Photographed by Benjamin Williamson

Fort Knox

“The fort’s history is so well documented, and the scenery of Penobscot Bay is gorgeous! I like to walk the whole area and try to imagine what it was like for those stationed here.”
Jean Bickford, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Fort Knox State Historic Site, Maine
Fort Knox State Historic Site
711 Fort Knox Rd., Prospect
Photographed by Cait Bourgault

Rangeley Lake

“My family loves to watch the bald eagles swoop down into the lake to catch fish, spot otters scurrying around on the rocks, and catch crayfish by flashlight. Swimming in the cold, clear water of Rangeley Lake, surrounded by the unspoiled natural landscape of woods and mountains, is the perfect way to reconnect as a family. Mostly, I love to have my camp coffee in the morning in a private lakefront campsite, listening to the lapping of the waves on the rocks. Oh yes, and the stargazing is out of sight!”
Samara Yandell, Portland, Maine

Rangeley Lake State Park, Maine
Rangeley Lake State Park
South Shore Rd., off Rte. 17, Rangeley
Photographed by Cait Bourgault

Cobscook Bay

“I love to camp at Cobscook, do some hiking, and maybe even bring my mountain bike. It’s large and quiet, with breathtaking ocean views and abundant wildlife.”
Chris Colter, Houlton, Maine

Cobscook Bay State Park, Maine
Cobscook Bay State Park
40 S. Edmunds Rd., Edmunds Township
Photographed by Benjamin Williamson

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