Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mackworth Island Hike - Easy Family Trail with Beach, Forest, and Fairies!

Lone fisherman enjoying solitude on Mackworth Island
 Just a short drive from Portland, Maine and you find yourself on magical little island with forest, cliffs, and beaches.  An easy 1.25 mile packed gravel/dirt trail loops around the island.  Children and adults alike enjoy the peaceful views as well as the communities of little "fairy houses" built by visitors in the woods along the trail.

I hadn't visited Mackworth Island in years, and when by friend Daneel suggested we take our little ones for a trip around the island I jumped at the chance.  The twin two-and-a-half year-olds were able to do the entire loop and my 2-month old snuggled in his soft carrier.  We also saw other parents complete the loop with sturdy strollers.  This was the perfect little outing for a sunny summer day.  It's a great options for families, joggers, or anyone looking for a little taste of 'vacationland'.

Here is how to recreate this adventure...

Adventure: Nature walk around Mackworth Island, Falmouth, Maine
Typical beautiful view along trail on Mackworth Island

Getting there: From the south, Take I-95 North to I-295 North toward Portland.  Take Exit 9 toward Route 1 North toward Falmouth Foreside.  Then, take Route 1 North for about 2 miles.  Turn right onto Andrews Ave, then left to cross the causeway onto Mackworth Island.
The only thing on the island beside the trail is the Baxter School for the Deaf.  When you enter the island, there is a gate.  The attendant will ask you if you are going to the school or the park. There is a $3 parking fee.  Get there early to ensure parking (the lot is small).  If full, you will have to wait for someone to leave or be turned away).

Fairy Houses like this one are hidden in the trees.
Trail:  The 1.25 mile trail travels around the edge of the island.  It is a narrow packed dirt/gravel trail that forms a complete loop.  The trail mostly travels through hardwood forest with peaks of cliffs and beaches along the way.  There are multiple places to drop down onto beach if you choose or break at a bench along the trail.  Another charming aspect of the trail is that visitors have built "fairy houses" at various places on the journey.  These little homes of sticks, shells, and rocks at the base of trees create a magical and lovable treat for young and old alike.  The trail pops you back out at the original starting point - a mowed lawn area - where we enjoyed a picnic lunch before heading back home.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance:  1.25 mile loop


Beautiful beaches along the hike.
- The only bathroom facilities available to hikers and recreationalists is a single outhouse.  Plan ahead that there is no running water.

- Parking is limited.  Be prepared to wait for a spot.  I got there at 10 am and there was only one spot available at that time.  It costs $3 but your time is not limited.

- Bring sunscreen and bug spray.

- Dogs are allowed but be aware that there are many children and joggers on the trail.

Daneel and I enjoyed sharing this adventure with the children.  We kept marveling at how amazingly beautiful the Maine coast is.  It was a perfect taste of Maine loveliness.  I can't wait to go back!
Great hike with kids!

You might also enjoy these adventures:

Mt. Agamenticus in Snow

5 Best Family Hikes in the White Mountains

A Brisk Lighthouse Walk