The National Parks in Maine – My family and I’ve had a dream of touring the U.S. in an RV and visiting every national park that there is (and a few state ones too!).
While we do want to do the touristy things in every park and snap photos of those famous attractions, we also want to “go off the beaten track” if you will, and explore.
We planned that our journey would begin in Maine, and so I set off to find out everything I could about what national parks are in Maine, what you can do there, and more. Here’s what I learned!
The National Parks in Maine
There are 4 national parks in Maine, and each of these contributes to the beauty—both cultural and natural—you will find in this state. However, not all of these are technically parks, but they are properties that the National Park Services (NPS) manage or that are affiliated with NPS. First, there is Acadia National Park, which is famous for broken-stone or carriage roads, beautiful fall foliage, hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Second, there is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which is the longest hiking trail in the world. The most challenging sections of the AT can be found in Maine. Third, the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is well-known for Mount Katahdin and many rivers and streams. And lastly, the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is well-known for France’s failed attempt to colonize Saint Croix Island.
The National Parks of Maine
I learned that Maine has 4 national parks. After conferring with my family, we decided we wanted to visit every one of these as they each have something special to offer.
National Park #1: Acadia National Park
Called a stunning national treasure, Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island in Maine.
With 47,000 acres of land, there is a lot to see and do in this recreation area. Established in 1916 (though it has changed its name twice over the decades), the park receives about 3.5 million visitors per year.
Nature offers an abundance of mountains, woodland, and rocky beaches. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the East Coast of the United States. You can also spot bears, whales, and seabirds here.
My family and I love hiking, so while 158 miles of hiking trails are a lot, we plan to spend a few weeks exploring as many of these trails as we can, even though the average stay is 3-4 days.
We can’t wait to drive the 27 miles of historic motor roads, called Park Loop Road. The 45 miles of carriage roads or woodland broken-stone roads for horse rides or cycling also sounds appealing.
National Park #2: Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which was founded in 1921, spans 14 states. It starts in Maine at Mount Katahdin and ends on Springer Mountain, Georgia.
Or, it ends in Maine—depending on how you look at it. In Maine, the park is located in the central part of the state, starting from the New Hampshire line and ending at Baxter State Park.
The Appalachian Trail (AT) comprises nearly 2,200 miles of hiking trails, of which approximately 300 miles are located in Maine.
Some of the most challenging parts of the AT can be found in Maine. For example, many hikers think Mahoosuc Notch is the hardest mile of the AT.
Since early fall or late spring is the best time to visit this national park, we are looking at spring. The weather will be cool enough for us to go hiking.
National Park #3: Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
In north-central Maine, you will find Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. It is located close to Baxter State Park. Covering an area of 87,563 acres, we are expecting to see spectacular views, streams, rivers, flora, fauna, as well as Mount Katahdin.
The peak of the mountain reaches 5,269 feet, and in the native Penobscot tribe language, Katahdin means “the greatest.”
We are also planning on checking out the Katahdin Loop Road, which is 17 miles long. While on this road, we can explore the southern part of the park.
There are many scenic views and hiking trails; however, I’ve learned that the roads here are mainly used by loggers so we need to yield to logging trucks.
My family and I are also looking forward to seeing the rock formations and development in the park, as well as learning about how the area is home to a human settlement that dates back 11,000 years ago.
National Park #4: Saint Croix Island International Historic Site
The other site managed by NPS I’m excited to explore is Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. Close to the U.S.-Canadian border, this park is located in Calais, eastern Maine.
In 1604, Henry IV of France tried to colonize Saint Croix island, which is called Dochet Island among the locals. However, a harsh winter wiped out nearly half of the settlers. The survivors left the island and settled in Port Royal, Nova Scotia.
The island is currently uninhabited and is near the Saint Croix River. This island covers an area that is nearly 50 acres big but the actual historic site is only 6.5 acres.
We won’t be visiting the island as this isn’t encouraged due to its “fragile nature” but we’ll check out the Historic Site, from which the island can be seen.
Frequently Asked Questions About Maine National Parks
How many national parks are in Maine?
There are 4 national parks in Maine. These National Parks in Maine are the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Acadia National Park, Saint Croix Island International Historic Site, and Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
How many days do you need in Acadia National Park?
You need between 3 and 4 days on average to explore Acadia National Park, which is located along the coast of Maine on Mount Desert Island.
What is the most visited national park in Maine?
The national park that is most visited in Maine is Acadia National Park. It is even one of the 10 most-visited national parks in the U.S., boasting 3.5 million visitors per annum.
Conclusion On The National Parks In Maine
The 4 national parks in Maine are:
- Acadia National Park
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
- Saint Croix Island International Historic Site
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