One of the things that makes Southern Maine a special region for vacationing, aside from its sandy beaches, cultural intrigue, renowned shopping and divine dining scene, is it’s fantastic outdoor appeal. Though claiming a small province at the southern tip of the state, there are diverse natural landscapes from tidal salt marshes, paved nature walks, deep woods, gentle mountains, and even deserts of Maine. While the Western Lakes and Mountains and Maine’s Highlands are great for seasoned hikers, Southern Maine is a great spot for amateurs and perhaps those daunted by big mountains and serious trails.
Mt Agamenticus (York, ME) is a scenic gem, a panoramic pinnacle overlooking the Atlantic, and very accommodating for youngsters and even elders, especially if you consider driving up to the summit for the view of Cape Neddick and the Atlantic all the way to the Boston skyline. For some, the hike is part of the journey, but there’s nothing wrong with skipping the work and still getting the rewards. Though the hike on Mt Agamenticus is rather amateur, the impressive trail system allows for spending hours upon hours in the woods. Mt A, Agamanticus was once a ski area and the old chairlift towers and ski trails remain. With the drive to the summit, or an easy hike, Agamenticus is certainly worth the visit when staying in York.
Bradbury Mountain, (Pownal) – is a hiker’s favorite in the Pownal – Freeport Maine area. The short hike to the summit is a good choice to escape the summer crowds or to get off the couch in the winter. Bradbury is great even for non-hikers – bring the family and friends for an outdoor cookout and also let the kids be kids at the playground.
Bauneg Beg Mountain, (Fox Farm Hill Rd, North Berwick) – barely passes for a mountain – really, it’s just a big hill. Like Agamenticus, this was once a ski area in southern Maine. Though the reserve is just a 10 minute drive from Sanford’s city center, the hike offers a quiet escape as very few hikers visit Bauneg Beg save for locals.
Mousam River Estuary Trail – (Kennebunk) offers a beautiful respite from the sights and sounds of city life despite its locale near the bustling seaside town of Kennebunk Maine coast. Hiking here will bring you through sand dunes, tidal marshes and wooded terrain.
Vaughn State Park, (South Berwick), straddling the New Hampshire – Maine border is a 250 acre forested realm with a 3 mile trail system following the Salmon Falls River. Though it’s quite an easy hike lacking any mountain summit, the appeal in this old forested land is extremely tranquil.
So there you have it – for some peace and solitude, these hikes will certainly deliver. You may note that many of these hiking trails are rather close to popular Maine towns, offering a place for repose without traveling too far.