In Maine, we love knowing some of the hidden spots that take tourists years to find. It takes time to get off the beaten path to search out the best mountains, waterways and forest that our state has to offer. But, we’ve found a list of a few things that even most locals might not be familiar with. Test yourself and let us know if you’ve ever been to these super-secret spots!
1. Swan Island, Richmond
Swan Island is Maine's only ghost town. It was once home to the small town of Perkins, which had about 100 inhabitants. The community slowly faded, but it can still be visited via a short boat ride along the Kennebec River from Richmond. It is now overseen by The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and is known as The Steve Powell Island Wildlife Management Area. Visit for the miles of trails that can be explored and consider an overnight stay if you're not too nervous about ghosts!
2. Little Wilson Falls and Gorge, Elliotsville
If you're a regular reader, you'll be familiar with this spot. We just wrote all about it in a recent article. But, those who aren't familiar should make the trek to this spot just off the Appalachian Trail. The upper falls are a bit of a challenge to find, which makes them even more super-secret! The lower falls are great for sliding around the rocks having summer fun. Click
to learn more about this spot!
3. Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary, Guilford
If you thought Maine’s Hundred Mile Wilderness was remote and untouched, you'll be surprised to hear that it's home to one of Maine Audubon Society's least-known gems. The Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary offers an incredible variety of natural wonders, and a forest that's been uncut since the 19th century, three crystalline alpine ponds, exposed granite crags and an awe-inspiring view of the area. The Sanctuary is open year-round and has lodges available for overnight stays. Visitors to Borestone Mountain can try the moderately strenuous, hike that ends with 360-degree views from two different peaks at nearly 2,000 feet.
4. Damariscotta Fish Ladder, Damariscotta
This photo shows an Osprey grabbing an Alewife as it heads to fresh water to spawn. Maine’s oldest fish ladder and most productive alewife fishery is located in Damariscotta Mills. It was constructed by the Towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle in 1807 after mills had blocked access to the fresh water falls for nearly a century. Check it out in the spring!
5. Cliff Island, Casco Bay
Cliff island has about 60 year-round residents, making it one of the only 15 Casco Bay islands with any type of constant population. The island is as far from Portland as you can get and still be in Casco Bay, but it's worth the hour-long trip on the ferry to check out the 18 acres of natural habitat at The Bluffs.
6. Seapoint Beach, Kittery
This is a lovely beach option for folks who prefer a calm place to dip their toes. But, that's not what makes it special. The secret part of this location is its restricted parking. During the summer, only those with Kittery Dump stickers can park here. If you want a chance to enjoy it, try showing up after the season, when your access is unfettered.
7. Giant's Stairs, Harpswell
Owned by the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust and the town of Harpswell, visitors to the McIntosh Lot Preserve will find the unexpected Giant’s Stairs halfway down a short cliff-walk trail. The ledges that appear by the sea, were formed when basalt rock eroded over the course of millions of years of geologic earth activity. Click
for more information.
8. Great Pond Mountain, Orland
The best thing about Great Pond Mountain might not be the mountain itself, but the views it provides once climbed. Great Pond Mountain is located within the massive Great Pond Mountain Wildlands preserve and is uniquely (almost!) surrounded by waterways. To the south are three individual and beautiful ponds, while you'll find Alamoosook Lake to the west. The Lake is fed by the Dead River, to the east is Hothole Pond, and past that is Branch Lake and Upper and Lower Patten ponds. The approximately 1-mile hike to get to the summit will be worth it when you can see all of these lakes, ponds and streams for yourself.
9. Parson's Beach, Kennebunk
Parson's Beach made this list based on its beauty and lack of obvious directions. The Inn at English Meadows says, "Bordered on the north-east end by the Mousam River, this small beach is open to the public but the access crosses land that is privately owned. The road to the beach, Parsons Beach Road, is directly off of Rt. 9/Western Avenue.
10. Abbott Mountain, Shapleigh
With only about a mile and a quarter of ground to cover, this hike isn't terribly challenging and proves to be great for kids. The top provides some wonderful views of Square Pond and Mousam Lake.