If you've been to Pawtuckaway already - located in Nottingham, New Hampshire, about an hour and a half from Portland - then I don't need to tell you about its charming moss-covered forest floor, its enormous glacial erratics, its mellow ponds and rad fire tower.
Stationed inside the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area, just south of Baxter State Park, the ice caves were created by glaciers during the Ice Age and now we humans can climb inside and pretend to hunt for bones and monsters.
You don't have to start every morning wandering the expansive beach at low tide scouting for sand dollars and marveling at the cliffs under a golden sunrise sky. But you should.
Holt Pond Preserve is a scenic and quiet place with an impressive diversity of terrain. You can wander through forest,
Summer heat calls for cool dips in Maine's lakes, rivers, and that refreshingly cold ocean - but first, a hike in the Maine (or New Hampshire) woods. These hike-and-swim pairings, ranging from easy-going trails to more difficult mountain summits.
Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary offers a pretty rockin' hike up Borestone Mountain and a small Nature Center chock full of outdoor education - from animal ID to insect life cycles, rocks and leaves and skulls and a selection of scat common to the area.
You don't HAVE to take a 50-minute ferry ride to Monhegan Island to enjoy a day of spectacular hiking along high cliffs and rocky coastline followed by a cold beer in the sunshine at a local brewery. But it'd be a lot cooler if you did.
The northeast's tallest peak AND home to some of the worst weather in the world. Two reasons that make people really really want to hike Mount Washington, even in the winter. Maine Alpine Guiding leads winter hikes on the mountain all season.
Dodge Point has 6.1 miles of trails and they're all lovely. (But come on, that Shore Trail, with its pine needle floor and that view of the Damariscotta River, is just perfect.)
Enjoy a short hike up Douglas Mountain and climb up the stone tower at the summit to enjoy views of the Maine Lakes Region - and maybe act out some dragon-slaying castle-saving fantasies.