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One of the nation’s oldest parks, Cobscook Bay State Park is on a small peninsula of volcanic soil and sediment that extends out into Whiting Bay. Originally a part of Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Cobscook Bay State Park was split off in 1964, as a part of a change in Maine’s legislation. Moosehorn (and Cobscook Bay) was first created in 1937 using funds from the Federal Duck Stamp Program. The creation was engineered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after he summered on nearby Campobello Island. He was so entranced by the wild, fiery coast that he felt it had to be protected.
Cobscook is a Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Native American word that roughly means “boiling tides.” Tides in Whiting Bay change drastically from 24 feet to as high as 28 feet. In contrast, Maine’s southern coast’s tides average about 9 feet. As a result of the drastic tidal forces, the Cobscook Bay State Park campground is set back a significant distance from the shoreline. The largest town is Machias, about 25 miles southwest.
Though densely treed, Cobscook Bay State Park is surrounded by pounding, wild waves on all three sides, providing plenty of opportunities for birdwatching. Thanks to easy access to both salt and freshwater, thousands of different species of birds reside in this park or descent for a visit on their annual migration. A shortlist includes the Atlantic Puffin, a few types of plovers, great gray owl, and even a gyrfalcon (the latter two are threatened). There are a few short hiking trails, one of which follows the shore for a significant distance.
Nearby Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge boasts several miles of hiking trails that wind through woods, bogs, and over streams. A dense mix of pine, aspen, maple, birch and fir trees blanket the rolling hills. Trails passing through tidal marshes are on occasion obscured during particularly high tides. Photographers and nature lovers will appreciate seeing moose, deer, and even bears searching for food. In early summers, hikers may have to compete with bears for blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries found in thick brambles lining the meadows.
Heads up: for both parks, mosquitoes can be heavy, particularly in spring and summer seasons. Repellants are highly recommended.
The Sunrise Trail is Maine’s miniaturized version of the Appalachian Trail. Connecting Calais to Ellsworth in southwestern Maine, this 87-mile trail is open to snowmobiles, cross-country skiers, ATVs, dogsleds, and hikers. The Ayers Junction leg passes by Cobscook Bay State Park campground and continues to Machias. The trail navigates by known bald eagles nests, beaver dams, and several fisheries.
In this far-flung corner of Maine, the country roads are narrow and winding, often lacking a safe place to pull over. When you search for an RV in Washington County, be sure to find a campground or RV park that will help you make memories with the family.
Cobscook Bay State Park campground boasts over 100 sites, and although no electric and water are included, there are dump station, showers, and restrooms nearby. Dogs are permitted, though they must be leashed at all times.
For more motorhome camping options, look around Eastport. Seaview Campground and Cottages is a quaint, historic campground. The facility is a full-service one, offering several amenities like full hookups, WiFi, showers, and laundry.
It’s easy to think there isn’t much to do other than hike and fish in Maine. The wee little towns that dot the coastal region all have something to offer an intrepid traveler in an RV rental. Lubec disputes Eastport’s claim that they’re the easternmost town. Lubec is home to West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, which is a historic site. Built-in 1808 (and rebuilt in 1858), visitors can tour the keeper’s quarters, ascend the winding, tight stairway to the lighthouse, and learn how the lights were operated in the old days to guide boats into or out of the bay. Wander the walking trails and search for the elusive pitcher plant. Local art is on display at the visitor center, where they can be purchased.
Stop at Monica’s Chocolates, just outside Lubec. The charming chocolatier and store owner makes all of the confectionaries from scratch. The award-winning house specialties include cremes and bonbons.
Tide Mills Organic Farm, owned by a family that has been in eastern Maine for eight generations, hosts an annual “open farm” day, usually in July. Visitors can cuddle calves, pets downy yellow chicks, and learn how jams are made. Their produce stand is open to the public every Saturday, weather permitting. The food available for purchase depends on the season. In wintertime, fresh raw milk, eggs, and meat are usually available.
Are you hankering for craft beer? Machias has several pubs with locally made beer and wines. The type of bar where everyone knows everyone, it’s the perfect place to meet the friendly locals and learn about the best fishing spot in the area. Find the perfect RV camping adventure in eastern Maine!