The Capital Area offers a variety of year- round recreational activities for residents and visitors alike. The region is filled with hundreds of thousands of acres of forests, with several hundreds of acres dedicated to conservation and recreation. The region is filled with opportunities for locals and visitors alike to enjoy nature and exercise in the outdoors.
Surrounded by more than 30 lakes and ponds and the Kennebec River, the Capital Area is well suited for activities such as canoeing, kayaking, boating, swimming, water skiing, sailing, jet skiing, ice skating and fishing. Public boat landings located on the Kennebec River can be found in Augusta, Hallowell, Gardiner, and Richmond as well as on larger lakes in the region.
With miles of wilderness within the reaches of our city centers, there is endless opportunity for camping under the stars with the convenience of grocery and outdoor sporting good stores nearby. Pitch a tent along the shores of a freshwater lake or pond. Rent a cabin in the woods. Pull in your RV to a quintessential Maine campground. Let the calming sound of crickets and peepers soothe you to sleep as you make memories in Maine’s Capital Area.
Maine Campground Owners Association
229 Center St., Unit 5
Auburn, ME 04210
Whether you are looking to hook a big bass or take home some game for dinner, the Kennebec Valley can provide.
Lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers abound in the Kennebec Valley. In 2019, Great Pond in Belgrade was recognized on the “100 Best Bass Lakes” list for the northeastern division in Bassmaster. When winter comes and ice takes over, ice fishing is offers a unique way to enjoy the great outdoors and experience the thrill of a grabbing a catch from below the ice. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife offers two free fishing weekends each year, taking place in February and June. On these days, any person (except those whose licenses have been suspended or revoked) may fish without a license.
From wide open fields to forested hillsides and sparkling lakes, the landscape of the Kennebec Valley region makes it an excellent place for wildlife. From big game such as moose, deer, and bear to small game birds, grouse, and rabbits, there is great opportunity for hunting in our region.
Purchase your fishing or hunting license online by visiting www.maine.gov
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
State House Station 41
Augusta, Maine 04330
Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine
205 Church Hill Road
Augusta, ME 04330
Be sure to bring your clubs with you and get a round of golf in at the Kennebec Valley’s stunning golf courses! Practice your swing on a variety of courses. The capital area is home to five public courses – Belgrade Lakes Country Club, Cobbossee Colony Golf, the Meadows Golf Club, Natanis Golf Course, Western View Golf Club – and one private course – the Augusta Country Club.
Ice skating is a popular pastime in Maine. Lakes and ponds freeze, creating the perfect surface for an afternoon skate in the crisp winter air. Whether you’re playing in a tournament or just for fun, pond hockey is a classic Maine tradition. Visit the Camden National Bank Ice Arena for indoor skating. With music playing and a fun atmosphere, public skate at the Ice Vault is a great opportunity for the whole family to enjoy ice skating together.
Outdoor swimming pools are located at two area playgrounds and at area hotels/motels including Fairway Motor Lodge, Best Western Plus Civic Center Inn, and Quality Inn & Suites Maine Evergreen Hotel. Indoor swimming pools are located at Senator Inn & Spa, Comfort Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Kennebec Valley YMCA.
The Capital Area also hosts seven outdoor tennis courts. A four-court indoor tennis facility is located at the A-COPI Tennis and Sports Center in Augusta.
Pétanque is a low physical impact game with origins in France. The goal of the game is to throw “boules,” metal balls, as close as possible to a smaller ball called a cochonnet, which means “little piglet,” while standing with feet together in a circle. After all boules are thrown, the team that has the boule closest to the cochonette scores as many points as they have boules closer to the cochonette than their opponent’s closest boule. A game is played to 13 points. A pétanque court is located in Mill Park in Augusta, home to the Mill Park Pétanque Club.
With 10 miles of single-track trails for mountain biking, walking, and snowshoeing and 5 miles of Nordic ski trails, Bond Brook Recreation Area is an urban wilderness area within the city of Augusta. Pet-friendly. 34 Bond Brook Road, Augusta | www.augustatrails.org
Open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day 9:00 a.m. to sunset, visitors can enjoy picnicking and swimming at the park located on Damariscotta Lake in Jefferson. The park has a sandy beach along the shores of the freshwater lake. Picnic tables and grills are available for use. Fee charged | 8 State Park Road, Jefferson
Along the shores of the Kennebec River, Gardiner Waterfront and Boardwalk boasts art installations, scenic overlooks, a public boat launch with trailer parking, a dedicated kayak launch, and a boardwalk for strolling along the river. The park is often the site of community events including the annual Greater Gardiner River Festival, Johnson Hall’s Summer Concert Series, a weekly Classic Car Cruise-In, and riverfront yoga classes.
Located in the north end of Hallowell, Granite City Park lies along the banks of the Kennebec River with the last crane found standing in one of the old granite quarries in the city. Hallowell has a storied history as a supplier of granite. A picnic table made of granite is also in the park for visitors to enjoy. A boardwalk lines the shore with colorful Adirondack chairs lining the edges during the warmer months. The park is a popular spot to relax and watch the river flow by.
As the centerpiece of a 550-acre wildlife management area maintained by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area is located in the towns of Manchester, Hallowell, and Farmingdale. The trails have connecting loops that allows hikers to choose shorter or long walks. Pet-friendly. Jamies Pond Road, Farmingdale | Meadowhill Road, Manchester | 10 Carlson Drive, Manchester
Running along the Kennebec River, the Kennebec River Rail Trail is a 6.5 mile paved scenic trail with access points in Augusta, Hallowell, Farmingdale, and Gardiner. The trail provides opportunities for all-season biking, running, and walking. The trail is also pet-friendly. www.krrt.org
For generations, Mainers have enjoyed hiking and picking blueberries on Mount Pisgah. The former Maine Forest Service fire tower – used from 1949 to 1991 – stands on the forested summit of Mount Pisgah, offering spectacular panoramic views. Mount Washington can be seen to the west and Camden Hills to the east on a clear day. 427 Mt Pisgah Road, Winthrop
At the head of Merrymeeting Bay, Swan Island us a 1,775 acre wildlife management area in the Kennebec River between Richmond and Dresden. With six historic homes from the 1700s located on the island, Swan Island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The island is managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and offers hiking and camping. Reservations are required for both day and overnight camping in the huts. (207) 547-5322 | Corner of Routes 197 and 24
Adjacent to the Augusta Civic Center, the Outdoor Fitness Center is a 2.2 mile network of wooded paths with monkey bars and pull up bars along the path to encourage users to exercise their whole body. Pet-friendly. Community Drive, Augusta
The former Pine Tree State Arboretum, a 225-acre tract of land where trees, shrubs, and plants are cultivated for educational, recreational and scientific purposes was renamed Viles Arboretum in honor of late Augusta philanthropists William and Elsie Viles. Recreational opportunities include bird watching, picnicking, hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. The Arboretum located at Hospital Street and Piggery Road includes six- miles of trails, which offer a fine view of the Kennebec Valley, with a visitors’ center open to the public. 153 Hospital Street, Augusta | (207) 626-7989 | www.vilesarboretum.org
Augusta Trails is a nonprofit organization that creates, supports, and promotes public recreation trails in the Augusta area. Their mission is to provide year-round outdoor recreation opportunities to get both adults and children out having fun. Visit augustatrails.org to view area trail maps. (207) 626-2305
The Kennebec Land Trust (KLT) works with landowners and communities to conserve the forests, shorelands, fields, and wildlife that define central Maine. KLT has partnered with landowners in 21 communities to conserve landscapes and has developed many miles of trails on KLT land. KLT also has two historic cabins available for rent at the Wakefield Wildlife Sanctuary in West Gardiner. Visit their website to view their trail maps. www.tklt.org | (207) 377-2848
Maine Trail Finder connects you with information on trails from near to far. Visit www.mainetrailfinder.com to find all the trails available in the Kennebec Valley region, their difficulty, and directions to the trailheads and parking.