Blissful beaches may not spring to mind when you think of Maine, but they should. The state's coastal parks are glorious in any weather, and in summer, spring, and fall they are the perfect family vacation destination. Here are some of the best:
Families gather by the lakeside come summer to witness its stunning scenery, and take part in water sports on the crystal-clear water. Some 1,400 acres are the perfect summer playground for young and old, with swimming, fishing, boating, and sunbathing all on the agenda.
A microcosm of all that's great about Maine, this State Park is a firm favorite with families due to its magical landscapes, multiple rivers, and immaculate beaches. Come and collect shells on the beach, or go swimming in the sea. Children will love kayaking on the Kennebac and Morse Rivers too.
Skirting the border between America and Canada, Maine's easternmost State Park stretches for 541 acres. Candy cane Quoddy Head Lighthouse offers picturesque views of the sparkling Quoddy Channel, while the park is teeming with wildlife. Dramatic cliffs offer views of minke, humpback, and finback whales in the spring and fall, and birdlife is in abundance at the Lubec Flats.
Keep your eyes peeled for black bear and other beautiful species as you ascend Maine's lofty mountain ranges. Ramble through snow-covered peaks and look out on eye-popping panoramas. Here's where to find them:
Back in 1931, Maine Governor Percival Baxter donated 6,000 acres to the State for "those who love nature and are willing to walk and make an effort to get close to nature". Do the man proud in Baxter State Park, which stretches for a total of 210,000 acres of granite formations and rocky ridges with some 215 hiking trails. The highest peak in the state, Mount Katahdin is located in the park, while the Hunt Trail rewards intrepid hikers with some of the parks most sublime views.
For the most challenging trails in the Appalachian range, come to Grafton Notch. Some reach to an elevation of 4,000 feet, including Old Speck, which stands at a proud 4,180 feet. You can appreciate the same peaks from below however, on less challenging hikes to gorges and waterfalls. Black bear and deer sightings are not uncommon in these parts.
The mountains plunge into the sea in Camden Hills State Park, from which you can look out onto vistas of Penobscot Bay and its collection of islands. Climb Mount Battie to watch the sunrise, or snowshoe and cross-country ski through this natural paradise in the winter.
From almost endless rivers to Maine's cloud-reaching peaks, these State Parks offer visitors exceptional space and resources for outdoor sports adventures. Don't miss:
This gleaming channel of water runs for nearly a hundred miles of lakes, ponds and streams. Famed back-to-nature writer Henry David Thoreau was among the visitors to have appreciated this spectacular crystalline waterway across the state of Maine. Adventurous types can rent a canoe and travel down its entire length, all the way from Telos Lake to Allagash. Arrive between May and October for optimal canoeing conditions. Naturally, the fishing is excellent too.
There's a reason that Mt. Blue State Park is forever popular. Tucked in the Western Mountains, the park is a year-round playground for adventure sport fans. Fish on Lake Webb in the summer, and snowmobile and cross-country ski here in the winter months. You can also hike Tumbledown Mountain for panoramas of the range, an activity that is especially enjoyable in summer and fall.
The largest body of fresh water in New England unfolds before eager water sports fans in Moosehead Lake State Park. There's plenty to keep you busy here, from hunting to paddling, snowmobiling to cross-country skiing. The flat face of Mount Kineo is the focal point of the park, while the Northern Forest Canoe Trail runs for 740 miles to Quebec. Fish for brook trout and salmon, or hunt black ducks, and partridge. The region is also known for its moose population and you might just spot a bear.