There’s no denying the natural beauty of Maine. It’s spectacular regardless of Season. But during Spring and Summer, it begs you to be outside. Whether it’s hiking, kayaking, biking, swimming or enjoying a picnic while reading or soaking in the sun there’s no better place to be than at a Maine State Park. As we approach warmer temperatures it seemed fitting I blog on Maine State Parks that are an easy drive from Elms of Camden. Definitely check out their website links for more information but I guarantee there’s a park or two just for you! The picture above is from Camden Hills State Park and since it’s the most famous that’s where we’ll start.
Camden Hills State Park
Located three miles from Elms of Camden, Camden Hills State Park is not to be missed. Made famous by the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, the view from the top of Mt. Battie is one of the most spectacular in the world!! You can hike the trail or auto road or drive to the top. Once at the top, you can see Camden, the many islands surrounding Camden Harbor, other mountains, and on a clear day Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Climb to the top of the WW1 Monument and read about Edna St. Vincent Millay and her poem Renascence. This is a must-see when in Camden.
“All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I’d started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.”
Birch Point State Park
Owls Head, ME
About a 30-minute drive from Elms of Camden, Birch Point State Park is the perfect setting for those looking to spend a day in peaceful serenity. Walk the crescent-shaped beach and enjoy the gentle surf. At either end of the beach, follow a short path to check out beautiful enclaves, smooth bedrock, and dunes of cobblestones and pebbles. Both 0.1-mile trails offer panoramic views of Penobscot Bay and the islands that dot the mid-coast region. Relax along the ocean, comb the beach, take in the abundant wildlife, go for a swim or try your hand at shore-line fishing. Birch Point provides the perfect leisurely getaway. And as a bonus, it’s right next to Owls Head Lighthouse!
Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site (Ft. William Henry)
New Harbor, ME
Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site is a publicly owned historic property operated by the state of Maine near Pemaquid Beach in Bristol, Maine. The site includes the reconstructed Fort William Henry, archaeological remains of 17th- and 18th-century village buildings and fortifications, and a museum with artifacts found on the site including musket balls, coins, pottery, and early hardware.
Pemaquid was a major regional flashpoint in the late 17th-century and early 18th-century conflicts between English and French settlers, and between English settlers and the local Native population. The site has been of historical and archaeological interest since the late 19th century and has been a state park since 1903. Fort William Henry is a 45-minute drive from Elms of Camden.
Fort Knox State Historic Site
Located on the west bank of the Penobscot River in Prospect, Maine, in an area known as the Penobscot Narrows, Fort Knox is one of the best-preserved military fortifications on the New England seacoast. The fort has many unique architectural features, as well as a rich history behind its walls.
During the country’s infancy, Maine was repeatedly involved in northeast border disputes with British Canada. In fact, the area between Castine and the rich lumber city of Bangor was invaded and occupied by the British during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Fort Knox was established in 1844 to protect the Penobscot River Valley against a possible future British naval incursion. Fort Knox is an easy, 45-minute drive from Elms of Camden and if you enjoy military forts and history, this is not to be missed.
Damariscotta Lake State Park
Damariscotta Lake was formed more than 10,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. This glacial lake boasts 4,600 acres of pristine water with normal visibility of 10 feet or better, making it a great place to cool off. Although there is no public boat launch in the state park, many are located nearby on the lake. Swimming is allowed and encouraged, and canoes, kayaks, and rowboats are often seen on the water.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, sit back and enjoy a picnic lunch by the water. Picnic tables and grills are available within the park, and a group picnic shelter is equipped with electricity and running water. To reserve the shelter during summer months, contact the park staff. If you are looking for a large lake with a beach for swim and sun this one is for you! Damariscotta Lake is about a 40-minute drive from Elms of Camden.
There are over 80 state parks in Maine and I was going to list four of them but I ended up with five. I couldn’t decide which one to omit so what the heck. I hope you have learned a little about some of the state parks in Maine and will visit one of them during your travels in Maine.
Safe travels and we hope to see you at Elms of Camden!
Gary & James
Elms of Camden