Rivers and Lakes in Southern Maine: 6 Freshwater Shores to Explore

With magnificent beach views right at your doorstep in Ogunquit, it can be easy to overlook southern Maine’s freshwater shores. Woodsy river trails and quiet parks alongside lakes in southern Maine make for scenic getaways on a Dunes road trip. Here are a few of our favorite non-ocean waterfronts in our neck of the woods.

Sebago, one of the many lakes in southern Maine.
Photo: Carlos Castro / Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0.

1. Sebago Lake (Sebago, ME)

For a sizable lake to match those sweeping views on Ogunquit Beach, head up the interstate to Sebago Lake. The Lower Bay is about half an hour from Portland, so put it on your list for a little boat cruise after your trip to the city. If you have the time, you can enjoy more open space and wilderness trails at Sebago Lake State Park on the north shore of the lake.

2. Piscataqua River (Kittery, ME)

A short trip down Route One puts you in Kittery, situated on the gorgeous Piscataqua River. Shop ‘til you drop at The Kittery Outlets and stop for a bite as you gaze upon the natural beauty of Spruce Creek.

3. The Great Bay (Portsmouth, NH)

Searching for wildlife at the Great Bay in Portsmouth, NH.
Photo: Greg Thompson / USFWS / Flickr CC BY 2.0.

Well, it’s almost Maine. Portsmouth is an excellent destination for a day trip from The Dunes, and one of its many attractions includes the Great Bay. While you’re in the area, stop by the Wildlife Refuge and try to spot osprey on the Ferry Way and Peverly Pond trails.

4. Saco River (Saco, ME)

About 20 miles up Route One, you’ll bump into Saco River, which runs between the twin communities of Saco and Biddeford. Dine at delicious waterfront restaurants like The Run of the Mill, or have a picnic at Rotary Park and stroll along gorgeous walking trails on the river.

5. Little Ossipee Lake (Waterboro, ME)

About 30 miles north of The Dunes, Little Ossipee Lake is a prime spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. Hike up Ossippee Mountain and look out from the summit’s fire tower, or stop by the Waterboro Barrens woodland preserve to look for nearly a dozen species of rare butterflies that have been spotted there.

6. Long Lake (Naples, ME)

Why walk when you can soar? Head over to Naples Seaplane Adventures and soar over western Maine’s beautiful lakes and dense forests. The float planes at Naples can seat up to five people for an unforgettable family experience.

Soaring over the rivers and lakes in southern Maine.
Photo: Dana Moos / Flickr CC BY 2.0.

When you visit Maine, you don’t have to choose between saltwater and freshwater attractions — you can enjoy them both. Reserve a waterfront cottage at The Dunes for incredible seaside views at your doorstep, along with proximity to the countless natural wonders of the Pine Tree State.

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