Good news, everyone! It’s still summer in Maine! That means there’s still plenty of time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Just about any hike you choose in the state will lead to wonderful adventures, but spending time near the water will give you some exceptionally special views. Here are just a few of our favorite waterfront trails in Maine. Each one – whether riverfront, lakefront or oceanfront – will make for a perfect summer day.
1. Greenbelt Walkway, South Portland
You can begin this almost 6-mile trip at Wainwright athletic fields and head to Bug Light Park in the north of town. While long, it's an easy, paved path that takes you away from the road.
2. Portland's Working Waterfront Walk, Portland
You can always stroll through the Old Port area in Portland, stopping along the way at various piers. However, one day a year the city hosts "Walk the Working Waterfront," allowing visitors to get a sense of what really happens on the wharves and piers. The event is completely free and allows access to some spaces normally closed to the public. The 2016 event took place in June, but don't let that stop you! Enjoy the waterfront on your own time, any time of year.
3. Klondike Mountain, Lubec
This trail is one of the more "outdoorsy" of the ones on this list. While it's only about a half-mile, the route is slightly more difficult in that it takes you up to the summit of Klondike Mountain. Once you're there, you'll love the views over the bay and over to Lubec, Campobello and Eastport.
4. Whiskeag Trail, Bath
This trail, suitable for lots of outdoor activites, is both beautiful and utilitarian. The 5-mile path follows the Whiskeag Creek and connects the Thorne Head Preserve, the Sewall Woods Preserve, the Edward J. McMann Outdoor Athletic Complex and the Bath Area Family YMCA.
5. Ocean Path, Acadia National Park
If you think Acadia National Park is only for the serious hiker, think again. It's absolutely possible to explore the classic Maine forest and coastline using your own two feet - even if you are not a seasoned hiker. Hiking Ocean Path will give you views of what many believe to be "classic Maine" - from coast to forest. There are many stopping points which make it a relaxing hike for those who don't want to have to constantly scramble uphill over rock. The trail will take you past Thunder Hole and will end at Otter Point with views of Cadillac and Dorr Mountains. The trip is 4 miles one way, about 8 round trip and will take anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on how many times you stop and enjoy the journey.
6. Thomaston Village Trail, Thomaston
Part of the larger Georges Highland Path trail system, the Thomaston Village Trail is the only urban portion. The easy (approximately) 2.5-mile loop will take you through town and along the waterfront.
7. Calais Waterfront Walkway, Calais
This wonderful 1.5-mile trail follows the St. Croix River and will lead you straight into the center of town. It follows the former Maine Central Line giving a bit of history to visitors. The Calais Walkeay is a part of the Cobscook Trails, which are managed by a group focused on providing more outdoor activities to the area.
8. Step Falls Trail, Newry
This moderately easy 1-mile trail will bring you directly to the base of the falls, which are among the highest in Maine. For a different vantage point, take the slightly more challenging (though not difficult) hike up to the top. The trail follows along Wight Brook and offers opportunities for wildlife viewing and swimming.
9. Penobscot River Walkway, Bangor Area
The Penobscot River Walkway is a lovely half-mile route along the scenic Waterfront Park of Bangor. Pick it up near the SeaDog Brewering Company and take it to the Cross Center. The entire trail sticks to the riverbank and there are lots of events held in the area throughout the year.
10. Cobscook Bay State Park, Dennysville
There are two separate trails that will allow you to enjoy the views of Cobscook Bay. Each offer a wonderful way to explore the area. Take in the wildlife, especially bird-watching. But, make sure you're there to witness an example of Maine's dramatic tidal changes. The range averages about 24 feet and can reach 28 feet. That's significantly larger than the 9 foot average along the coast of Southern Maine.
11. Bucksport Waterfront Walkway, Bucksport
This is another wonderful walk through a Maine small town. Not only will the mile-long route give you great views of the water, but it's also educational. Stop and learn through the many historic plaques along the way, or simply sit and enjoy a book in a pretty idyllic setting!
12. Hatchery Brook Preserve Walk, Rangeley
This 1.2-mile trail is located on the Northeast section of Rangeley Lake. It provides lots of opportunities for a picnic on the shore as well as boat ramp access into the lake.
13. Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge Trails, Caribou
Within the refuge are over 5 miles of trails, all focused around Chapman Pond and Greenlaw Brook. There are three distinct trail heads and each trail is maintained and relatively flat, making these hikes great for beginners and kids. In addition to hiking, running, snowshoeing and skiing are all allowed in the area.