Maine state park campgrounds set an all-time attendance record during the pandemic – with 280,362 camping visitors. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

For the first time, attendance at Maine’s state parks topped 3 million last year, despite parks being closed in the spring and the camping season delayed two to four weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry reported Monday.

In all, 3,067,112 people visited Maine’s state parks in 2020. There were 2,786,750 day-use visitors, up 3 percent (or 75,532) from 2019 and better than the 2018 record of 2,718,924. The 280,362 camping visitors last year was an 8 percent increase (up 21,871) from 2019 and better than the previous record from 2018 of 261,589.

Most of the 48 state parks and historic sites remained open for day use during the pandemic – except for 10 coastal state parks that were closed from March 27 to June 1.

Still, attendance at Maine state park campgrounds broke the all-time record by September.

“Everyone wants and needs to get outside, and Maine State Parks are some the best destinations to relax and reinvigorate,” Andy Cutko, the bureau’s lands director, said in a news release. “In particular, with various travel limitations in place, it was great to see so many Maine families discovering our State Parks for the first time.”

State park reservations open for 2021 at 9 a.m. on Feb. 1, when Sebago Lake State Park begins taking online reservations. All other Maine state parks open for online reservations at 9 a.m. on Feb. 5. To make a reservation, go to or call 800-332-1501 or 207-624-9950.

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