Good, clean fun might seem hard to find in Maine this time of the year.

That’s because Maine has a mighty mud season, where late-melting snow turns anything that’s not paved into a gooey mess.

Some folks might want to embrace the mud and get their hands (and other body parts) as dirty as possible. Other people might want to avoid the muck but still get outdoors and enjoy the (relatively) mild Maine spring weather. It’s a good time of year to do that, since a lot of the state’s scenic areas are less crowded in the shoulder season.

Here are a few suggestions for both muddy and clean things to do outdoors in the coming weeks.



No place in Maine is more famous for mud than its seashore clam flats at low tide. Digging for clams requires literally getting down in the mud to dig. It’s a backbreaking way to make a living, but one of those Maine things everybody should try. And if you’re only doing it for an hour, it can be fun.

To dig clams just for fun, you still need a license or day pass, which you can get at town halls. In Scarborough, a town loaded with clam flats, the day passes are $10 at town hall and come with a map of area flats. Pine Point and Ferry Beach are among the clamming hot spots in town. There are only 10 passes available each day, so you might want to go early.

There is some expense, though, to this muddy adventure. In Scarborough, you are required to use specifically designed clamming hoes and rakes. They start at around $40 at the local Ace Hardware stores in town and can be found online, too, but usually for more. For more information, go to

A clam digger makes his way through the mud flats along the Nonesuch River in Scarborough in February. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer


Mud season is a good time of year to explore coastal vistas or pathways that get crowded in summer. Many are paved, so you can keep your feet dry, too. One of these is the Greenbelt Walkway in South Portland, which stretches more than 5 miles from Bug Light Park, near Southern Maine Community College, to the Wainwright athletic fields near the Scarborough line. There are great views of Portland Harbor and Portland’s waterfront on the part of the path that runs from Bug Light to Mill Creek Park. A stretch of Ocean Street near Mill Creek Park has become a foodie destination, with two eateries making the Press Herald’s top 10 restaurant list this year, so it’s a good place to pause your walk or bike ride and have something to eat. Then, after crossing through some commercial areas, the path allows for a pleasant stroll or bike ride through more harbor neighborhoods, as well as fields and woods. For more information, go to

If you’re looking for a place to take a non-muddy spring bike ride, another scenic paved path is the Androscoggin River Bicycle Path in Brunswick. It’s a 2.6-mile-long, 14-foot-wide bike and pedestrian path that overlooks the river and connects downtown Brunswick with the Cook’s Corner area of town. You’re likely to see some happy dogs, as the path goes past the Merrymeeting Dog Park. For more information, go to


Bug Light Park is one of the many scenic spots along the paved Greenbelt Walkway in South Portland. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer


You shouldn’t feel too bad about not hiking or biking dirt/mud paths this year, because really, you’re helping the environment. There’s a mud season blurb on the Maine state parks website that asks people to respect mud season trail closures at parks, because they “help reduce trail ersoion while protecting water.” Pineland Farms in New Gloucester recently posted a blog entry explaining they close their hiking/biking trails this time of year to allow the frost layer under the mud – created by grooming snow on the trails in winter – to dry properly. So closing the trails now helps get them in better shape for summer and next winter.


If you really want to embrace the mud, but not too much, go see the Thomas College Dirty Dog Mud Run in Waterville on Sunday. It’s basically nonstop mud. More than 600 racers are expected, with heats every 15 minutes between 9 a.m. and noon. They run a course that includes some 15 obstacles filled with mud. In those areas, they can run, crawl or jump through the mud as they try to finish the 3-mile course. Registration has already ended, but it’s free to watch. There’s also a 1-mile kids’ race at noon, which costs $5. For more information, go to

Runners participate in the Thomas College Dirty Dog Mud Run in Waterville last year. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel


To really get your hands dirty, consider taking a pottery class. If you’re looking to just try it, Neighborhood Clay in Damariscotta offers a one-time, introductory class. During the two-hour class, people make two pots on the wheel and then decorate them. The studio then fires them later, and people can pick up their finished work in a couple of weeks. There are also eight-week classes. For prices and more information, go to



The Camden Harbour Inn in Camden offers a Maine Mud Package this time of year, so you can celebrate the season in style without getting a bit dirty. The package includes a mudslide cocktail to start. There are spa treatments, including a Rituals Hammam Body Mud shower treatment. The menu includes a Muddy Molten chocolate cake and muddy chip pancakes for breakfast. The package is offered until mid-May. For more info and prices, go to


Farms can be especially muddy places, but the farmyard at the nonprofit Pineland Farms campus in New Gloucester is mostly paved, though there is a grassy area around the animal pens. People can tour the farm’s barns and animals, on their own, with a two-hour farm pass that costs $6. There are also special spring programs at the farmyard. One, for kids, is the spring farmyard helper program, for $7. Kids get to help staff care for the animals and work in the gardens. Another is called “searching for spring” where kids are led into the woods to search for clues that spring has actually arrived. It’s also $7. For more information and to register for programs, go to

Peacocks perch at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, which has lots of spring programming. Mikayla Patel/The Forecaster

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