If you find yourself in southern Maine with wooded trails and beaches on your mind, head to Mackworth Island, where you can enjoy a leisurely hike as well as a dip in the Atlantic.
Tucked behind a seaside neighborhood off of Route 1, it’s conveniently located just beyond the main drag, but it feels like you’re a world away. And while you won’t find steel drums and piña coladas on this island – nor will you need a boat, thanks to the causeway – the 1.25-mile coastal trail gives access to a handful of small beaches. Stumble upon one of these empty inlets, and you’ll feel like you’ve found your own little oasis.
One of the best parts about Mackworth Island is that it’s dog-friendly, just pick up after them and keep them on a leash. These miniature beaches are the perfect place to let your water baby splash around, especially if, like mine, she gets easily distracted by other dogs (to put it nicely).
I’ve taken Luna to Mackworth Island several times this summer, and she loves walking along the shaded trail and stopping to dip her paws in the water. She’s almost three years old and she’s never technically been swimming, but given her splashing skills, I think she’s almost got the hang of it.
Luna tends to be a bit on the rambunctious side, but even when there are summer camps going on, the trails never seem too crowded. One thing, though, is that the parking lot is small and can fill up quickly, but there’s usually a pretty good flow of people arriving and leaving.
Whether you want to spend an hour hiking, an afternoon picnicking, or the whole day enjoying the serenity of the woods and the beach, you can explore the scenery of every season since Mackworth is open year-round. I can’t wait to bring my pup back once the leaves start changing!
There is a small entrance fee – $3 for Maine residents, $4 for non-residents, $1 for seniors – but it’s more than worth it to spend the day there! Although it’s a state park, it feels like a hidden gem suspended in Casco Bay, off the beaten path.