Maine’s state parks are the summer getaway for the rest of us.

Not everyone is lucky enough to own a lakeside camp or beach cottage, after all. But state parks are an easy way to spend summer days and nights in some of Maine’s most beautiful natural spots. Some are on lakes, ponds or the ocean. Some are in the mountains. They’re all affordable, usually between $15 and $30 a night.

So whether you want to do some swimming, canoeing, biking or mountain climbing, there’s a state park for you. There are state parks that will allow you some quiet isolation miles away, or a campsite close to home for quick weekend trips.

Here are some suggestions for which state parks might be best for you, whatever your outdoor desires might be. Some of these campgrounds fill up fast, so it’s a good idea to make your reservations early, if possible.

Information on all the parks, including reservations, can be found online at The site allows you to search for parks by name, facilities, region and activity.



If you’re looking for a place where you can capture the variety of Maine’s scenic beauty with your camera, try Cobscook Bay State Park, located way Down East in Edmunds Township. You can put in a canoe or kayak, so you can get out on the water for some photos. There are mud flats and eel grass. The wildlife includes osprey, eagles, seals and otters. Plus the area is known for its dramatic tides. You can also get a two-for-one in terms of photo ops, since the candy-striped West Quoddy Head Light – built in 1858 – is less than 30 minutes away in Lubec at Quoddy Head State Park.

West Quoddy Head light is a must-see photo opp, and it’s only 30 minutes away if you’re camping at Cobscook Bay State Park. Gregory Rec/Staff Photography


There are several state parks with hiking trails, but of course hiking means different things to different people and some hikes are tougher than others. One of the parks recommended for its family-friendly hiking trails is Camden Hills State Park, in Camden. There are some 20 miles of trails and great views of Penobscot Bay and Camden Harbor from the top of Mount Battie. On a clear day, visitors can see Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. There’s also a road to the top of the mountain if you think the climb, which is categorized as moderate, would be too strenuous.


If you want an affordable oceanfront spot, there’s Lamoine State Park in Lamoine, just across the water from Acadia on Frenchman’s Bay. There’s fishing and a boat launch, plus spectacular views. And it’s a good jumping-off point for exploring the Acadia area, Bar Harbor and the coast from Ellsworth to Machias. There’s a place to put in sea kayaks, and wildlife is abundant.

For state park camping with mountain views, try Camden Hills State Park. Photo courtesy of Maine State Parks



If you want to go camping in the wilds of Maine but not drive four hours to get there, try Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, just a half-hour drive from Portland. Mountain-biking, picnicking and hiking are among the favorite activities there. Bradbury Mountain is just 485 feet high, but it offers sweeping views of Casco Bay and surrounding towns. The quickest route to the summit is just a quarter mile, but there are some 21 miles of trails throughout the park.


Maybe you want to use a state park campground as an excuse to explore a part of Maine you’ve never visited. One place to do that is Aroostook State Park in Presque Isle, some 300 miles from Greater Portland, in northern Maine. It’s also Maine’s first state park, opened in 1939. The park includes trails around and on Quaggy Jo Mountain, and people swim, fish and canoe in Echo Lake.

For campers who want to explore far-flung corners of Maine, Aroostook State Park is a good choice. Deirdre Fleming/Staff Writer, File


While many park campgrounds have wildlife to see, Lily Bay State Park on Moosehead Lake in Greenville might stand out. It’s on the state’s largest lake and in the heart of Maine’s North Woods. You might see deer, a moose, otters, eagles and other birds and small animals. Fishing on Moosehead Lake for salmon and trout is usually best in May and September, according to the state parks website.


While many state parks offer biking trials, why not go riding in Maine’s biggest state park, Mt. Blue State Park in Weld, near Farmington. It boasts 8,000 acres over two sections, separated by Webb Lake. So you can camp on Webb Lake and then take your bike on some of the 25 miles of challenging, multi-use trails. Across the lake from Webb Beach is Mt. Blue, more than 3,100 feet tall.

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