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Karen Beaudoin

Karen Beaudoin is a life-long Mainer, which means she’s a fan of the Red Sox (World Champs again! Take that Yankee fans), whoopee pies, Ogunquit Beach, the L.L. Bean boot mobile and vacations in tropical locations in February and March. Ninety-eight percent of her work week is spent as web editor for; during the remaining “fun” percent she contributes to

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Things to do This week

Posted: May 13, 2014

26 of Maine’s most beautiful places (to see before you die)

Written by: Karen Beaudoin - Press Herald web editor -

Maine’s a beaut. Ain’t no doubt about it. She’s smart, too, and has quite the personality, but we can’t help stopping to stare at her rocky coast, cascading falls, and miles of mountaintops. No matter where you go in this state, there’s something unique to gawk at, but we’ve culled together a list of just some of the finest spots to get an eyeful of Maine. (And if you’ve got a favorite beautiful spot that’s not on the list, add it in the comments!)

West Quoddy Head Light greets the dawn in Lubec. Press Herald file photo

Quoddy Head State Park | Google map
Home to red-and-white striped West Quoddy Head Light, Quoddy Head State Park stretches over 541 acres in Lubec. It’s the eastermmost point of land in the U.S. and, around the equinoxes, is the first spot in the country to see the sunrise.


You don’t have to risk a high dive from a cliff to enjoy the waters of Coos Canyon. Press Herald file photo

Coos Canyon | Google map
The Swift River carved scenic, rocky Coos Canyon gorge through the bedrock of Byron. Some say gold can be found here but whether you leave with a nugget or not the natural views are worth the trip.


The Knife Edge as seen from Chimney Pond Campground. Press Herald file photo

Baxter State Park | Google map
More than 200,000 acres of wilderness and public forest make up this scenic park, which is home to Mt. Katahdin. Hikers will encounter plenty of wildlife and lush vegetation on more than 200 miles of trails. At 5,258 feet, Katahdin is Maine’s highest peak and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.


Bear Island Light on Bear Island in the Cranberry Isles provides the foreground to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Press Herald file photo

Cadillac Mountain | Google map
Cadillac Mountain, part of Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, is 1,532 feet of spectacular views. A winding, scenic 3.5-mile road brings visitors to the summit where many of the mountains on and around Mount Desert Island can be seen. From early October to early March it’s the first place in the U.S. to view the sunrise.


The beauty and charm of Islesford on Lesser Cranberry Island are evident. In background is the Islesford Congregational Church. Press Herald file photo

Cranberry Isles | Google map
See the Cranberry Isles from Acadia National Park or visit them on a 30-minute ferry ride and look back on Mount Desert Island. Great Cranberry and Little Cranberry welcome visitors, but Bear, Sutton and Baker islands do not.


Taking in the views overlooking Pulpit Rock on Monhegan Island. Press Herald file photo

Monhegan Island | Google map
Located 12 miles off the coast, Monhegan Island is accessible by ferry from Boothbay Harbor, New Harbor and Port Clyde. Visit to walk the cliffs, view the lighthouses, chat with the islanders and observe the artists at work. Adjacent Manana Island is part of Monhegan Harbor.


The Slater Forest Pond at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Press Herald file photo

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens | Google map
Already one of the country’s most distinguished botanical destinations, CMBG is still a youngster after opening in 2007. New elements are added each year, and with trails and forests included in the layout, the non-profit is open year-round.


The beautiful Moxie Falls. Press Herald file photo

Moxie Falls, The Forks | Google map
Moxie Stream flows from Lake Moxie to the Kennebec River and the falls drop more than 90 feet into a deep pool. Find several plunges, cascades and pools along the way after making the 20-minute hike in.


Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. Press Herald file photo

Portland Head Light | Google map
Towering over Casco Bay in Fort Williams Park, Portland Head Light has long attracted tourists to Cape Elizabeth. The iconic lighthouse is Maine’s oldest and is recognized near and far. The park is open year-round with a small beach, rocky ledges and plenty of grassy recreation areas.


The view from the grassy area is just as good as from the adjacent beach. Press Herald file photo

Kettle Cove

Google map
Sit on sand and gaze out to sea or sit on grass and take in the sights of Crescent Beach State Park. Sunsets are inspiring here and those relaxing can often watch local paddleboarders easing along atop the water.


Moosehead Lake’s iconic Mt. Kineo rises amid Moosehead Lake. Press Herald file photo

Mt. Kineo | Google map
Looming beside Moosehead Lake in Piscataquis County, Mt. Kineo features 700-foot cliffs rising dramatically from the water. The mountain is made of hornstone and is the largest known mass of this rock in the nation. Find a viewing tower at the summit, where hikers can get spectacular views of the lake.


View looking nearly straight down into the Gulf Hagas canyon where water continues its slow yet relentless carving of the canyon floor. Press Herald file photo

View looking nearly straight down into the Gulf Hagas canyon where water continues its slow yet relentless carving of the canyon floor. Press Herald file photo

Gulf Hagas
Also known as the Grand Canyon of the East, Gulf Hagas is a gorgeous three-mile-long gorge on the Pleasant River, east of Moosehead Lake. “Prepare for a weekend of scenic waterfalls, hiking at its best and camping the way it’s supposed to be” when staying in the Gulf Hagas area, says Rhon Bell, outdoors blogger on Also-scenic Screw Auger Falls is also in the area – a fine pit stop on the way to the Gulf Hagas Rim Trail.


A climber repels down a rock face at South Otter Cliffs. Press Herald file photo

Otter Cliff | Google map
The rocky shoreline of Monument Cove is nestled in just before Acadia National Park’s Otter Cliff, making the headland seem even higher than its 110 feet. Walk the Ocean Path and pass by powerful Thunder Hole on your way to the cliff where the views are unmatched.


Press Herald file photo

Pemaquid Point Light | Google map
The impressive lighthouse was selected by residents to represent Maine in the 50 State Quarters Program and is one of the most photographed on the Maine coast. The scenic landscape of the park includes exposed bedrock stretching to the sea and visitor’s can lounge on the rocks with the Atlantic below.

Fairweather clouds gather on the horizon in this view from a pathway that leads down to the rocky shore at Two Lights State Park. Press Herald file photo

Two Lights State Park | Google map
Forty-one acres of rocky headlands make up the Cape Elizabeth park where rolling surf combines with sweeping views of Casco Bay and the Atlantic beyond. Stroll the small beach area or through the grasses atop the cliffs or climb along the rocks with a lighthouse in view.

Looking out from the summit of Mt. Blue, where the views include Saddleback, Abraham, Spaulding and Sugarloaf mountains, as well as the Presidential, Carter and Mahoosuc ranges. Carey Kish photo

Mt. Battie | Google map
Located in Camden Hills State Park, a drive up the Mt. Battie Auto Road reveals sweeping views of Camden, Penobscot Bay and surrounding islands. When the weather is clear, visitors can see all the way to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.


Views of Camden and the surrounding islands from the summit of Mt. Megunticook. Press Herald file photo

Mt. Megunticook | Google map
The highest of the Camden Hills offers plenty of hiking opportunities that lead to views similar to those atop Mt. Battie. Lake Megunticook sprawls below the peak, which is the highest on the mainland. The spot is particularly popular during leaf-peeping season when the surrounding hillsides are awash in fall colors.


A pair of riders and their horses take in the sunset. Press Herald file photo

Crescent Beach State Park | Google map
This Cape Elizabeth location has a little bit of everything – sandy beach, salty coves, grassy dunes, rocky ledges and shady wooded areas. It earned its name from the shape of the mile-long beach and is a perfect spot to watch for sea birds and fishing boats.


Press Herald file photo

Popham Beach State Park | Google map
For a great view of the sandy beach and dunes, walk to neighboring Fox Island at low tide. Popham is bordered by both the Kennebec and Morse rivers and, in addition to Fox, Wood Island can also be seen from the shore. A stroll along the edge of the Atlantic may result in a treasure trove of sea shells.


Press Herald file photo

Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land | Google map
A visit to Cutler Coast is an adventure filled with variety. Find blueberry barrens, woodlands and peatlands in 12,234 acres, along with 4.5 miles of headlands. Explore pocket coves and enjoy sightings of many species of birds. Sightings of seals, porpoises are whales aren’t uncommon during summer and fall.


Press Herald file photo

Table Rock | Google map
The hike to Table Rock, a granite ledge overlook, is short but challenging, and the views of Grafton Notch State Park are amazing. The park, located near Newry, contains 12 of the toughest miles of the Appalachian Trail and is a favorite destination of birdwatchers.

The Screw Auger Falls hiking trail in Grafton Notch State Park. Press Herald file photo

Screw Auger Falls | Google map
Take a walking path from Route 26 to this natural wonder in Grafton Notch State Park. The 23-foot waterfall follows a narrow gorge along the Bear River and offers shallow wading pools. The best view of the falls is from the rock ledge overlooking the gorge.

Lake Webb as scene from Tumbledown Mountain. Press Herald file photo

Tumbledown Mountain | Google map
Mountain, located in Franklin County. Several trailheads begin on Byron Road near Weld and views include Crater Lake just below the summit. Outdoors writer Josh Christie talked about Tumbledown in a story for the Portland Press Herald: “Many of Maine’s hikes allow access to dramatic cliff faces, Alpine ponds, bald ridges and closely-clustered peaks. One reason that Weld’s Tumbledown Mountain is my favorite hike in the state is because it offers all these features in one place.”


Press Herald file photo

Sebago Lake from Douglas Mountain | Google maps
Located near the town of Sebago, a stone tower at the summit of Douglas Mountain offers an expansive view of Sebago Lake that can’t be found elsewhere. In the other direction, see spectacular views of the White Mountains when the weather is clear.


Press Herald file photo

Allagash Wilderness Waterway | Google map
Stretching for 90 miles, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway includes a plethora of natural sights, including 40-foot-high Allagash Falls, Twin Brook Rapids, Round Pond Rips and Churchill Depot. Views are best from the water but paddlers should use caution with frequent low water depths and exposed rocks mixing with rapids.


People enjoy the view from the Height of the Land scenic overlook on Rt 17 heading into Rangeley. Press Herald file photo

People enjoy the view from the Height of the Land scenic overlook on Rt 17 heading into Rangeley. Press Herald file photo

Height of Land | Google map
The Height of Land scenic overlook is a stopping point – and gawking point – on Route 17 near Rangeley. “Crowds can be found gathering at the Height of Land, where even on a hazy day the view pours over Mooselookmeguntic Lake and Toothaker and Students islands,” wrote Deirdre Fleming, staff writer at the Portland Press Herald. “On a good day the site lets a visitor travel in their mind over Rangeley and Cupsuptic lakes, west to the White Mountains and east to Saddleback Mountain. Dusk draws locals to see a sky full of shades of purple and orange.


Know a gorgeous place in Maine that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments.

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