As most of you know, life with a new baby can be busy. With work, family visits and everyday responsibilities, there has been little time to get away. Last weekend, we had some time to get out and visit a state park, but of course our trusted meteorologists were predicting rain during our few free hours. The plan was to wake up Saturday morning and decide whether to go or not. With no rain in sight, we had decided that Wolfe’s Neck Woods would be the perfect spot to visit because it’s so close to home.
The rain never came but some nice sunshine and much needed warm weather did. Classic unpredictable New England weather. From Portland, it only took us about 20 minutes to get to downtown Freeport and then another 5-10 minutes to get to the state park. I’m not going to pretend to know the ins and outs of Freeport but I will say, if you are just going to the outlets, you are missing out on a gem of a town. Even after several years, Freeport continues to surprise us with beautiful spots besides the downtown area.
We had been to Wolfe’s Neck Farms for different occasions over the years, but this was our first time visiting the state park. There is a difference between both places in case you weren’t fully aware. A lot of people seem to lump them in together because of the proximity and name. We had a late start to the morning but it worked out well because we pulled in shortly after the gates opened, which is at 9:00AM. There are a couple small parking areas and both are close to one another. While pulling in a runner started running directly at our vehicle because she seemed to be avoiding puddles, all while maintaining a 5 minute mile pace. We stopped so she could do her thing and as she buzzed by, Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson gave us a wave. Pretty cool!
Wolfe’s Neck Woods has a great layout. You can access every trail in the state park from the parking lot. There are bathrooms, maps and brochures, doggie waste bags, picnic tables and even a pavilion. You could easily have a quiet picnic with your family, while someone throws a big birthday party in the covered pavilion.
There is a nice football sized field in the center of the picnic area, so you can cook and eat while the kiddos run around safely within view. A lot of the picnic areas have built in grills for charcoal use. Before we even left the parking lot area we were already loving this state park, especially with a young family. Also, this would be a great place to bring dogs, but we left our monsters at home because of our plans after the state park.
Not knowing what the trails were like, we headed up White Pines Trail with Eloise in our BOB stroller. It’s a nicely maintained trail with packed dirt that is perfect for using a stroller, however, after about half a mile the nice smooth path turns into rocks, roots, and stairs. It’s best to leave the stroller in your car and either walk or carry the kiddos. All the trails are walk-able for little ones. Instead of using your phone to track which trails you should follow, we recommend grabbing a map near the parking lot. There is too much beauty to miss out on while looking at your phone. You can choose some loops to hike or connect a bunch of trails together depending on how much time you have.
There are many lookout spots to stop at along the ocean’s edge and many have marked trails down to the shore so you can explore the rocks and beaches along the coast. The longest hiking loop is just shy of 2 miles.
If you’re interested in bird watching, you can get a close look at nesting ospreys through a spotting scope. The weekend we were there was the annual bird watching festival called “Feathers over Freeport.” There were many festival events at Bradbury and Wolfe Neck Woods State Parks. The park has several informational kiosks along the hiking trails explaining the different terrain and wildlife you may encounter on your hike. It is a really great place to take kids, not only to spend time outdoors, but there’s also educational value to the visit. This park offers many nature programs that take place throughout the year.
Wolfe’s Neck Woods is no secret in southern Maine, but many may not realize how great it is. This state park is incredibly gorgeous and caters to families. You can’t camp at the park, but you can camp overnight at Wolfe’s Neck Farm. Wolfe’s Neck Woods is a great day trip and our only regret was not packing a lunch so we could have a picnic in the park. There’s a very good chance this will be a regular spot for the Ruby family over the years. We would rate Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park 8 Rubies out of 10!
After the park we drove five minutes down the road and met up with my sister Jolene and her fiance Shawn at Wolfe’s Neck Farm. Be sure to stop in at this farm before or after your visit to the state park, even if it’s just for a sneak peek at the farm animals. The farm has many family friendly events and activities going on, which you can find on their website.
And lastly, since you’re in Freeport, why not stop downtown for lunch and some shopping! Eloise enjoyed the animals at the farm, but nothing quite like the fish at L.L. Bean.
Round trip, door to door we visited the park, farm and downtown Freeport in 4 hours. We could have spent many hours at each, but being able to experience it all made for a perfect Saturday morning and was just the little getaway we needed as a family.
The ocean in the distance from the farm.