Reid State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Maine, besides Baxter. It was the first salty beach that the state ever owned. Without going into a history lesson we ourselves just learned about, let’s just say businessman and philanthropist Walter E. Reid was a stand-up dude who worked his butt off and then gave back to his community.
On December 1, 2017 we made the 60-minute commute from our home in Portland to the park. It was a milestone day in a couple ways; this was our 10th state park visit as a family and it was also Eloise’s first birthday!
Reid State Park is in the beautiful town of Georgetown, Maine. Drive to Bath and take a right until you run out of land. While driving through Bath, your inner child comes out as you’re rubber necking it going across the big bridge. You can’t help but try and see what Bath Iron Works is working on at the moment. We were lucky to see a modern Navy destroyer being finished and getting ready for its first sea trials. This drive in the summer months isn’t ideal most days, especially on weekends with tourist traffic, but this December day was a quick and easy ride.
If you forgo the ridiculously popular and overrated Red’s Eats lobster roll in Wiscasset, and head to the coastal town of Georgetown, you’ll find Reid State Park, but you’ll also find Five Islands Lobster. We didn’t stop there because they are closed this time of the year, but several people have told us it’s a worthy stop. It’s not overly crowed, has lots of tasty food, a great view and it’s BYOB! We’ll certainly be back to try this in the summer months.
We left the house right at Eloise’s nap time hoping she would sleep in the car. Of course, mama called it, when we were 10 minutes from he park Eloise finally fell asleep. At least she is starting to get better in the car after a year. Once she wrapped up a nice little nap we ventured out not knowing what to expect. Reid State Park is a hot spot in the summer months, but it’s so much more than a beach so anytime of the year would make for a great visit.
We lucked out that there was almost no wind and temperatures were in the high 30s/low 40s. All three stooges were well dressed and prepared for a couple hours of exploring outside. We started out at Griffith Head and this vantage point gives you the best view of the park.
Even on this calm day, you could see why this beach is so popular with surfers. The waves just seem to roll into the peninsula with some muscle behind them so it seems almost too perfect that there is a lagoon just over the sand dunes. This lagoon is nice and calm and would be ideal for families to relax in on a warm day.
There are 3 beaches located on the park property, two smaller ones, East Beach & Half Mile Beach on both ends and then Mile Beach located in the middle.
After studying the map we explored the rocky shoreline and walked along Mile beach with the birthday girl. She appears to love the beach, whether it’s July or December. We stopped to explore a drift wood tepee on the beach, which looked like a tiny home for Eloise.
While walking along on what felt like our own private mile long beach, we noticed a large white bird swoop down and fly toward Todd’s Point, another beautiful lookout along the ocean. We both glanced at each other and realized that it wasn’t a big beautiful seagull (because those don’t exist) but in fact it was a snowy owl who wasn’t happy that we were approaching. Neither of us had ever seen a snowy owl in the wild before and when something unexpected and wonderful like this happens, you can’t help but have a little pep in your step afterward.
Instead of walking the other two beaches we decided to hit the trails to loop back around to our vehicle. The loop we walked that day was approximately 3.5 miles from door to door. There was an option to extend the loop, but it was time to wrap things up and warm up in the car with some snacks.
We had an idea what to expect along the ocean, but we didn’t realize how much of a hike we would have through the woods. No complaints that’s for sure, and it was easy terrain to walk along but we would have prepared a little better with snacks and water if we had more information. Eloise got her mittens wet on the beach playing in the sand, so mom hooked her up with hers for the remainder of the hike.
We didn’t share the beach with anyone but the owl and no one was around on the trails that day either. It really was a three person show on a picture-perfect December day. Once we got back to the vehicle, you could see that several others realized how nice of an afternoon it turned out to be and started to make their way into the park.
We left the park and headed back South in search of lunch. After deciding to pass on the Flight Deck Brewery in Brunswick because we weren’t sure if they serve food, we accidentally ventured into downtown Brunswick and stumbled on a gem of a lunch spot, Big E’s. The name seemed fitting for lady Eloise and they had killer burrito bowls that you can customize to your liking. The menu made for tons of options for Little E to munch on as well. You could tell this place was no secret to the student body at Bowdoin College and the weekday lunch crowd. The staff and patrons at this place couldn’t have been nicer. Everyone was coming over to Eloise to wish her a happy birthday and to say hello. Momma was ready to pack up and move to Brunswick in the matter of a 30-minute lunch.
This being a Friday, the three of us played hookie from our normal weekday responsibilities to pull off this park visit. Eloise had her big birthday bash on Saturday and we had a busy Sunday lined up as well. Looking back on the weekend, we were very thankful that we took this chunk of time for ourselves because we had no idea how busy the 1st birthday festivities would end up being. It was also a nice reminder that anytime of the year is a good time of the year to get outside. After it appeared that Eloise had caught a viral infection by Sunday afternoon, it just confirms that being inside with a lot of people in the winter can be sometimes more risky health-wise than braving the outdoors.
Reid State Park is an awesome place and when you think of what this park has to offer year-round we give it 9 Rubies. We certainly will be back in the warmer months to test out that lagoon.