Maine National Parks

March 10, 2023

national parks in Maine

With a stunning landscape and fascinating heritage, Maine is home to a number of national parks that preserve the state's incredible beauty.

Acadia National Park, for example, spans the Atlantic coastline and covers Mount Desert Island. Its forests, mountains and lakes are an amazing place to visit and explore.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is one of the most visited parks in the United States. Located on Mount Desert Island, this park is known for its rugged coastal beauty and scenic views of rocky coastlines and crashing waves.

The landscape is a series of cliffs, ponds and lakes that offer visitors a range of activities to explore. From hiking trails to catching the first sunrise in the United States on Cadillac Mountain, visitors will find plenty of options for their time at Acadia National Park.

Summer is Acadia's busiest season. It's a good idea to purchase your admission pass in advance to beat the crowds.

The most popular things to do in Acadia National Park include hiking, biking, boating and fishing. It's also a great place for families with kids to learn about nature through museums, tours and programs.

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

Located along the East Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is home to more than 30 miles of pristine rivers and streams. It also protects prime habitat for moose, deer and other wildlife.

The 87,500-acre monument is part of an extraordinary natural and cultural landscape that has been conserved by private and public efforts over the past century. The area includes mountains, forests and pristine waterways, as well as a rich Native American heritage.

Visitors are often drawn to this wilderness landscape by the scenery, geology, flora and fauna, night skies, and other features that make this place unique. Unfortunately, most of the land in America’s national parks is already full of visitors – and it can be difficult to get to the real gems within them.

Thankfully, Senator Angus King (I-Maine) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) are working to expand the boundaries of Katahdin Woods and Waters by permitting the Park Service to acquire additional land. This expansion would improve access, increase tourism and help connect the monument to major roadways.

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

The National Park Service and Parks Canada jointly manage this site, preserving the history of the French expedition that settled on Saint Croix Island in 1604-1605. This was one of the earliest French settlements in North America, preceding Jamestown and Plymouth.

The winter of 1604-1605 on Saint Croix Island was a brutal experience for Pierre Dugua's French expedition; ice floes cut off their food and water, and 35 of the 79 men died from scurvy. The Passamaquoddy Indians, who were native to the region, saved the survivors' lives by bringing them back to their summer homes on the island that spring.

The National Park Service maintains a shoreside interpretive site overlooking the island, with sculpture-laden walking trails, bird watchers can also enjoy the scenery or speak with rangers. The Canadian Parks Service also operates a similar exhibit from their side of the river opposite the U.S. - both sites are dog friendly, but no pets are allowed inside the buildings on the island.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

One of the world's most famous hiking trails, the Appalachian Trail (AT) stretches 2,193 green and rocky miles between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Katahdin in Maine. Explore this trail for breathtaking views of mountains, forests and lakes.

The AT is used by day and weekend hikers, section-hikers and thru-hikers who challenge themselves to walk the entire trail in one season. It passes through 14 states and links 6 units of the National Park Service, 8 national forests, dozens of state parks and private land.

Hiking along the AT is a popular way to see Maine's natural beauty and a great way to get away from busy tourist areas. The trail is protected along more than 99 percent of its course by federal and state ownership or rights-of-way.


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