Discover the 6 Best National Parks in Maine 

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: April 25, 2022
Image Credit drewthehobbit/Shutterstock.com
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Maine is a northeasternmost U.S. state famous for its cold seas and abundant fishery, particularly the Maine lobster. It is enthralling in many ways, with its lush forests, long, rugged coastline, and rich history. The Pine Tree State is much more than gorgeous coastal villages, mountainous beaches, and a thriving fishing and maritime tradition. Maine has a plethora of state parks, recreation centers, and public lands that provide a diverse range of leisure activities, gorgeous landscapes, and breathtaking views.

Maine is a unique and beautiful outdoor designation state. This state is home to six National Park Service sites, as well as a worthwhile outdoor destination for public engagement. These national parks offer a wide range of recreational activities and highlight some of the most iconic places you will want to see on your visit.

Now, let’s look at these parks in detail.

1. Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is located in Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island and is the only U.S. national park in the Northeast.

Eric Urquhart/Shutterstock.com

Acadia National Park
Size49,075 acres
Animals to seeMoose, whales, bears, and seabirds
Attraction to seeThunder Hole, Otter Point, Jordan Pond, and Sand Beach

Acadia National Park is located in Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island and is the only U.S. national park in the Northeast. It was established in 1916 as Sieur De Monts National Monument by President Woodrow Wilson and was renamed Acadia in 1929. The park offers a stunning scenic drive along the 27-mile Park Loop Road that you will love to explore. Park Loop Road takes you by Thunder Hole, Otter Point, Jordan Pond, and Sand Beach, all of Acadia National Park’s top destinations.

The 49,075-acre park is home to a diverse range of animals, including moose, whales, bears, and seabirds. It includes magnificent landscapes, including rocky beaches, lush woodlands, and magnificent granite summits, the highest point on the U.S. East Coast.

The park combines three types of scenery: mountains, lakes, and the ocean. It is blessed with various landscapes and boasts the first point in the United States the sun touches each morning. There are over 200 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads to explore in the park. The park is open from spring through winter and offers a broad range of inspiring recreational opportunities such as hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and horseback riding. 

2. Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Appalachian National Scenic Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath on earth that traverses through 14 states.

EWY Media/Shutterstock.com

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Size2,193 miles
Animals to seeMoose, loons, black bears, deer
Attraction to seeAppalachian Mountain

According to the Conservation Science and Practice, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath on earth that traverses through 14 states, 8 national forests, and 6 units of the National Park System, from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak. This trail extends from Northeast to Southeast for about 2,193 green and rocky miles along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains.

As you hike along this trail, you can experience the best wildlife viewing on the whole trail. This wildlife includes moose, loons, black bears, deer, and many beautiful lakes. It was established as the first National Scenic Trail by the National Trails System Act of 1968. The park is open through late spring and early fall when the temperatures are mild.

3. Katahdin Woods And Waters National Monument

Katahdin Woods And Waters National Monument
The Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument passes through some of the most stunning natural terrains that inland Maine offers.

Zack Frank/Shutterstock.com

Katahdin Woods And Waters National Monument
Size 87,563 acres
Animals to seeBlack bears, Canada Lynx, moose, river otters
Attraction to see Penobscot River

On August 24, 2016, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, an 87,563-acre parcel of mountains and forest land in Northern Penobscot County was designated as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument by former President Barack Obama. The monument is located on the eastern border of Maine’s Baxter State Park in North Central Maine.

The monument was created to protect and encourage public access to Maine’s natural beauty and outdoor adventures. It offers you a great camping experience and spectacular views of its river, streams, geology, vegetation, and night skies. This park is fascinating and worth a visit.

The Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument passes through some of the most stunning natural terrains that inland Maine offers. Boating, kayaking, canoeing, camping, fishing, historical landmarks, hiking trails, snowmobiling, whitewater rafting, and wildlife watching are some of the activities available at the park.

4. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site
Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is home to the oldest permanent settlement in New England.

Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD / Creative Commons – License

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site
Size 44.9 acres
Animal to see Harbour seal
Attraction to see Bronze sculptures of French settlers and Passamaquoddy people

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is located in Calais, Maine, at the northeastern point of the state on the Canadian border separating Maine from New Brunswick. The site is home to the oldest permanent settlement in New England. In 1604, the island was the site of an early attempt at French colonization by Pierre Dugan, Sieur de Mons, accompanied by Samuel Champlain, and 77 other men. The United States Congress designated it as Saint Croix Island International Historic Site in 1949.

The broad presence of France in North America began on a speck of land in Maine’s Saint Croix River. On visiting, you can see bronze sculptures of French settlers and Passamaquoddy people and learn more about the settlement. You can also learn more about Samuel de Champlain’s exploits in the early 1600s. The National Park Service site is open from late spring to early fall.

5. Roosevelt Campobello International Park

Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Roosevelt Campobello International Park covers 2,800 acres of land.

Jay Yuan/Shutterstock.com

Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Size2,800 acres
Animal to see Whales
Attraction to seeBay of Fundy

Roosevelt Campobello International Park is located on the southern tip of Campobello Island in the Canadian province of New Brunswick by the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge in Lubec, Maine, in the United States. The Park preserves the house and surrounding landscapes of the family summer retreat of President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. In August 1921, Franklin Roosevelt, who frequently summered on Campobello Island with his family, fell ill and was diagnosed with polio. Although this restricted his stay, Campobello remained significant to him, and he often visited in 1936 and 1939.

Presently, Roosevelt Campobello International Park serves as a memorial to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and a symbol to honor the legacy of friendship between the U.S. and Canada. The park measures 2,800 acres and is dedicated to conserving the grand cottage of America’s second President, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Willard T. Sears designed the cottage, which was built and completed in 1897. You will enjoy the amazing scenic trails, beautiful carriage roads, numerous picnic areas, and flower gardens. 

The island, located at the mouth of Passamaquoddy Bay in the Bay of Fundy, features several fascinating sites, including the 34-room Roosevelt summer residence and the historic Hubbard Cottage gardens, both of which are open to visitors on guided tours. Lighthouse excursions, whale-watching cruises on the Bay of Fundy, and many bird-watching possibilities are just a few of the daily activities.

6. Maine Acadian Culture

Acadia National Park Acadia - Maine
The Maine Acadian Heritage Council helps with cultural conservation in the Saint John Valley through the Acadia National Park.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / – License

Acadians are the descendants of French colonists who settled in Acadia during the 17th and 18th centuries, some of whom are also descendants of the indigenous people of the region. Maine Acadian Culture links various sites on the U.S. side of the Saint John River Valley on the Maine-New Brunswick border. It is run by the Acadia National Park, which is the closest staffed United States National Park System. The Maine Acadian Heritage Council helps with cultural conservation in the Saint John Valley through the Acadia National Park.

Acadians speak valley French, that is, a mixture that includes old French, Quebecois, and English terms. There is no national park fee to visit the Maine Acadian Culture area. You can explore the museums, historical societies, and scenic sites that preserve the heritage of Maine Acadian Culture.

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