If you are searching for a secluded park with a beautiful setting for camping and a great place to explore the untouched northeast coast of Maine, then look no further than Cobscook Bay State Park! This quiet spot in Maine is right on the water, houses some amazing (and quite large!) campsites with access to some pretty great places to visit right nearby.
While getting up to this part of Maine is a bit of a haul from pretty much anywhere, to those that make the trek they’ll be rewarded with a serene wilderness environment and exactly what you expect when you plan your Maine vacation.
While the park isn’t overly large, it still helps to do a bit of planning for your trip. We put together this guide on the best things to do in Cobscook Bay State Park to give you an idea on what there is to explore, as well as what to do in the area!
COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK HISTORY
To understand the origins of Cobscook Bay State Park, it’s critical to learn a bit about nearby Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was created in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to protect migratory birds. After it was established, the refuge created a recreation area on Cobscook Bay. This spot was offered at a no-cost lease to the State of Maine, and this land became Cobscook Bay State Park in 1964.
Today the refuge contains about 4,500 acres of land, and Cobscook Bay State Park is situated on 871 acres of that land. Moosehorn National Wildlife refuge is still alive and well, and is a great place to visit while you are in the area!
ACTIVITIES IN COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK
Cobscook Bay State Park map, courtesy of courtesy of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Cobscook Bay State Park is not overly large, and it is mainly centered around a great place to camp and just be outdoors. With that being said, there are still a few things you can do here in the park without having to leave the property. Most of the activities don’t take much time and require no planning, which makes it possible to squeeze in one or two of these things at the end of a long day of exploration in the area.
Our recommendations in the park include:
- Biking. While there are not specific biking trails, the roads are flat and well cared for here. They typically don’t have much in the way of car traffic, so getting around the park on a bike is ideal.
- Picnic at the Day Use Area. A great destination while biking or driving around the park is to head over to the day use area, which is in the southern part of the park. This spot, located on Whiting Bay, is a great spot for picnics (with covered shelters) and watching the tide come in, which is quite extreme in this part of the state. In fact, the sea level changes by about 18 feet every 12 hours! Unfortunately, there is no beach access at the park (or at this location) because of the large tidal changes and muddy shore that is hard to walk through.
- Kayaking around Whiting Bay and the nearby coves is quite enjoyable. There is a boat launch at the north side of the park. We recommend only kayaking this area is you are an experience sea kayaker, as the tidal changes and resulting currents can be quite challenging.
THE BEST HIKES IN COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK
Though Cobscook Bay State Park is not known for its hiking, there are a few trails that are nice to go on and are great for families. Here are the recommended hikes:
- The Cobscook Bay Nature Trail has some great variety. This easy hike is about 1.5-miles (round-trip) and makes a loop. If you pickup the trail near the park entrance booth, you’ll head onto the nature trail to the west before turning south at the 0.2-mile point. The trail has quite a bit of roots and rocks (like all New England trails!), but is a nice walk through the woods. At the 0.6-mile point you can continue along Burnt Cove (which is a dead-end and adds 0.6-miles onto the distance). When you return from the spur, head east to the Cunningham Mountain Overlook. While not high (136 feet), this spot provides a nice view. You can then head back the way you came, or continue 0.1-miles and hike back on Burn Cove Road. The trailhead can be picked up in two places, including near the entrance booth for the park (on the south side of the road) or on Burnt Cove Road as you approach the Day Use Area on the right (west) side of the road.
- Another easy and short hike is the 0.8-mile (round-trip) Anthony’s Beach Trail / Whiting Bay Beach Trail. This loop trail has minimal elevation gain (less than 100 feet) and has nice views along Whiting Bay. You can pickup the trail at Edmunds Boat Launch (at the northeast corner of the park on Landing Road) or in between campsites 16 and 17.
- One more hike that heads outside of the park is the Littles Mountain Trail. This 0.4-mile (round-trip) trail heads north from the park entrance station and climbs about 110 feet to the top of Littles Mountain. The trailhead for Little Mountain is on the north side of the parking area at the entrance station.
WHAT IS THERE TO DO NEAR COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK?
Nearby Cobscook Bay State Park there is quite a bit to do! Our recommendations include:
- We highly recommend taking a day-trip to nearby Lubec, ME. This is the most eastern town in the US and is quite charming. We loved looking at the fishing boats and grabbing a bit to eat here while walking around. Lubec, ME is located about 17 miles away to the east, on Highway 189.
- Quoddy Head State Park is a great place to visit as well. Here you’ll find West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and some amazing hiking right on the coast. Quoddy Head State Park is located about 20 miles away, and can be easily combined with a trip to Lubec, ME.
- Exploring the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is a must. We loved driving through here and just checking out the wildlife and being completely immersed in nature. Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is located just to the west of the park. Allow about one hour to drive through the southern unit.
- Just to the east of Lubec, ME is the Roosevelt Campobello International Park. While Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s former summer home is located in Canada, you can learn about the area with the amazing staff that helps out. Roosevelt Campobello International Park is located just east of Lubec, ME.
HOW TO GET TO COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK AND OTHER TRAVEL INFORMATION
Though it’s not necessarily hard to find Cobscook Bay State Park, it is out of the way. Really take some time to plan out your route here, as you have a few options and the fastest way isn’t necessarily the best way. We enjoyed traveling along Route 1, even though it isn’t along the coast the entire way as you get past Bar Harbor, ME. Still, it’s pretty and you’ll go through some cute towns. The other option is to come via the north (on Highway 9). This is the fastest way, but you won’t have much in the way of places to stop and explore along the way. It really all depends on what you are in the mood for!
- Here are the directions from Calais, ME to Cobscook Bay State Park. The drive will take about 45 minutes and is about 32 miles.
- Here are the directions from Portland, ME to Cobscook Bay State Park. This is a 4-hour drive and takes the highway most of the time. You can also take Route 1after you get to Augusta, which adds about 20 minutes (and is what we would recommend).
ENTRANCE FEES AND REQUIRED PASSES FOR COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK
A nominal entry fee is charged for anyone visiting the park without camping reservations. You can pay at the entrance station.
COBSCOOK BAY PARK CAMPING
The entire park is essentially centered around camping, and most people who visit are also campers. This is a bit of a “secret” spot in Maine, as the campsites are very large, the campground is quiet and the setting is just so beautiful. If you visit, here is what you can plan on for camping:
- Accessible via: Some sites are walk-in, tent only, but most can be accessed by any type of car.
- Reservations: Offered May through September, and highly recommended. After mid-September, the campground is first-come, first-served. Cobscook Bay State Park Campground Reservations.
- Capacity: 107 sites (tent only).
- Electricity / Water Hookups / Dump Station: Yes / Yes / Yes.
- Toilets / Showers: Pit toilets and showers.
BEST TIME TO COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK
The park is only open to for camping between May and October, but you can visit anytime of year. Our recommendation would be to come in the mid to late summer to have the best, bug-free experience (they are bad in the early summer in particular). This is also the ideal season for getting fresh blueberries from the local farmstands!
VISITING COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK IN THE WINTER
If you really are in search of quiet, then head up to Cobscook Bay in the winter. The hiking trails are terrific for snowshoeing as they are relatively flat, and the park maintains skiing and a sledding hill as well as a pond for ice skating!
ARE PETS ALLOWED IN COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK?
Pets are most definitely welcome, but you are required to keep them on a leash at all times.
RELATED INFORMATION ON COBSCOOK BAY STATE PARK AND THE SURROUNDING AREA FROM JUST GO TRAVEL STUDIOS
- If you are coming to Maine, then you need to check out our blogs on nearby Acadia National Park.
- Another great park that is to the south about three hours is covered in our blog, What to See and Do in Camden Hills State Park.
- After you get back from your time in Sedona, check out our custom, vintage travel poster, where we take a photo that you send to us and turn it into an amazing travel memory!