CLARK ISLAND, MAINE
The most beautiful preserve you’ve never heard of is located just a few steps away from the Craignair Inn by the Sea and The Causeway restaurant. This 125 acre preserve maintained by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust offers a little bit of everything. Hiking, swimming, sandy beach, quarry views, wooded trails, rocky beaches, local wildlife, and more.
While there are many trails to explore, most visitors enjoy relaxing on the sandy beach as the tide comes in, warmed up by the sundrenched rocks and sand. The main trail is a 1.8 mile loop that starts at the Craignair Inn and works across the causeway and around a once-thriving quarry. It passes the brackish water swimming hole and continues on along the granite wharf that once docked great schooners to tote massive granite slabs down the Atlantic to the “big cities” Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. where Clark Island Granite was used to build some iconic buildings down the east coast.
The island preserve is steps away from the hip and new outdoor Clark Bar, which is open 7 days a week in the summer serving cocktails, snacks, and the freshest homemade ice cream in town.
CAMDEN HILLS STATE PARK
The Camden Hills State Park is the largest in the mid-coast featuring nearly 6500 acres of forest and mountains ripe for exploring any time of year. There are 30+ miles of trails and amazing water views looking out to downtown Camden and the open Atlantic Ocean.
The most popular trail is that to Mount Battie where hikers can choose one of 2 trails to the 780’ high summit. The first is not even a mile in length, but is extremely challenging in nature and requires appropriate hiking footwear and some sections of rock climbing. The second is a little longer at almost a mile and a half, but is quite walkable in almost any attire and great for children. Once at the summit visitors can climb the stairs of the lookout tower for great sunrise and sunset views.
For those looking for a little more of a challenge or a longer hike, the best views in the park can be found at the 1300’ high Ocean Lookout on the edge of Mt. Megunticook. There are several trails that lead here, but I would recommend trekking the 5 mile loop from the main parking lot up the Ski Shelter Trail then turning left on the Slope Trail to the top of Mt. Megunticook and then turning down the ridge trail and back down to the Ocean Lookout before venturing down the Megunticook trail back to the parking lot.
BONUS MIDCOAST TRAILS
Beech Hill Preserve in Rockland is another great local trail which is easy for all abilities and offers panoramic ocean views with great sunrise and sunsets! The preserve is only about 20 minutes away from the Inn and is about 2 miles round-trip. There are also additional trails that connect to the lower side for those looking for more of a workout.
Fort Point, Jones Brook, and Town Forest Trails all located right here in Saint George is about 5-10 minutes from the Craignair Inn. Fort Point offers a 1.5 mile round-trip hike to view the remains of an old fort situated atop the St. George River. Also, there is a crisp, clean spring that has the freshest cold water in town all year long. Perfect for filling up your bottles prior to hiking out and back, or pack a picnic and stay for lunch. The Jones Brook trail connects Fort Point to neighboring Town Forest Trail and a network of snowmobile trails great for hiking, running, and biking.
Ash Point Preserve features 1.3 miles of hiking trails along spruce forest to picturesque Maine granite coastline. Only about 15 minutes from the Inn, this is a great place for the whole family.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
If you’re looking for the perfect day-trip, look no further than the quick 2 hour drive up scenic Route 1 to Acadia National Park, the “Crown of the North Atlantic Coast”. Acadia offers some of the most majestic views on the entire east coast and is visited by millions of people annually, making it one of the top 10 most-visited national parks in the country. Acadia boasts 158 miles of hiking trails, including the famed Cadillac Mountain which is the first place in America that sees the sunrise from mid-October through March, though the auto road is not open in winter. You’ll have to put on snow-shoes for that view.
In summer, Cadillac Mountain still offers breathtaking views and short hikes (or a drive) to the summit to share the sunrise with a few hundred of your newest friends. Acadia also offers several oceanfront beaches and lakes to swim in as well as a 25 mile auto road around the park with several spots to pull over and soak in the views.
Visitors to Acadia often lunch or dinner in nearby Bar Harbor and we always recommend a stop at the Bar Harbor Cellars which offer Maine made wines and other snacks. Regardless of your plans for Acadia National park, you can rest assured it will offer lasting memories of your trip to Maine for many years to come.
No matter your outdoor goals, you can accomplish them from the comfort of the Craignair Inn by the Sea. We are open to guests year-round. Click below to reserve your room and begin planning your Maine outdoor adventures. After your day in the woods, you can relax by the fireplace and have dinner crafted by our world-class chef, Fernando at our in-house Causeway Restaurant.