National parks always get a lot of attention, accolades, and praise — and for good reason. However, some state parks rival even the best national parks, and seven of these are within the borders of Maine.
The state is already known worldwide as one of New England’s prettiest, most scenic areas, and it’s also home to countless coastal activities and attractions. To witness the best views the state offers, head to the best state parks near York, Maine.
Top State Parks near York, Maine, to Add to Your Bucket List
York has an amazing advantage over many other municipalities in Maine because of its central location to everything great this state has to offer. The following seven must-see state parks are all within an easy drive from York:
1. Crescent Beach State Park
Just a few miles south of Portland on Bowery Beach Road in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is Crescent Beach State Park. This beachy coastal gem is open year-round from 9 a.m. to sunset every day. The park opened in 1966 and offers a snack bar, a children’s playground, and picnic areas with grills.
Beachgoers can enjoy a mile-long beach and explore wooded areas, saltwater coves, and rock ledges. Trails for nature walks and hiking are popular, and in the winter, when vehicles are prohibited from entering the park, visitors on foot can enjoy cross-country skiing and winter hikes. Crescent Beach State Park is a 50-minute drive from York.
2. Ferry Beach State Park
About 36 minutes from York on Bay View Road is Ferry Beach State Park, offering pristine white sand beaches. You’ll find rare black gum trees here and nature trails for walking and hiking. If you’re a fan of fishing, you’ll be able to fish at the park, too.
You can also visit the nature center, which routinely offers a wide variety of nature programs. Ferry Beach State Park is open from 9 a.m. to sunset, but be aware that the nature center may close earlier on certain days.
3. Fort McClary State Historic Site
A popular destination for everyone from historians to geology buffs, Fort McClary State Historic Site is just a 15-minute drive from York on Pepperrell Road in Kittery Point.
Fort McClary was named after Andrew McClary, who died in the Battle of Bunker Hill. This site, open from 10 a.m. to sunset during the summer, has been home to the fort that guards the Piscataqua River for over 275 years.
4. Mackworth Island State Park
Mackworth Island State Park is open all year from 9 a.m. to sunset. You can enter the park via Andrews Avenue off Route 1 in Falmouth. The island stretches across about 100 acres and is just 47 minutes from York.
Here, visitors enjoy hiking and walking trails that encircle the island and breathtaking views of Portland and Casco Bay. Mackworth Island is a favorite destination for people who enjoy fishing, beachgoing, sunbathing, swimming, hiking, and wildlife watching.
5. Scarborough Beach State Park
One of the best state parks near York, Maine, is Scarborough Beach, just 46 minutes away via I-95. The beach is extremely popular and often busy, so make sure to arrive early. Scarborough offers beautifully warm water temps for swimming, along with sea kayaking and other water activities.
Enjoy dramatic seascapes and unusual geological sites at Scarborough Beach State Park. Since rip currents occur at the beach daily, there are lifeguards on site. Make sure to swim only in these designated lifeguarded areas.
6. Two Lights State Park
If you’re ready for adventure on a rocky Maine coast, you might enjoy Two Lights State Park — undoubtedly one of the most popular and unique state parks near York, Maine. The park got its name from the two lighthouses at the end of Two Lights Road. Built in 1828, they were the first twin lighthouses in Maine.
Two Lights State Park is located in Cape Elizabeth off Route 77 and features 41 acres of rocky headlands that attract visitors from around the globe. There are picnic tables on the hills facing the ocean, shoreline trails for walkers and hikers, and fishing areas.
7. Vaughan Woods Memorial State Park
A quick and easy 20 minutes from York, you’ll find Vaughan Woods Memorial State Park in South Berwick, ME. Open year-round with only walk-ups allowed during the off-season, this state park near York, Maine, spans 165 acres along the Salmon Falls River.
Visitors enjoy a hiking trail loop system over three miles long, and many take breaks at the park’s numerous picnic facilities. Additional activities include horseback riding and plenty of wildlife watching, and pets are allowed as long as they are on a leash no longer than four feet.
With so many one-in-a-million locations, stunning backdrops, and fascinating activities at every turn, it’s no wonder that Maine is one of the most beloved states for nature enthusiasts worldwide. The next time you are in the area, visit these seven state parks near York, each just a quick, convenient ride away.
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