Updated: May 19, 2022
Are you looking for a decent day trip that is beginner friendly, dog friendly, where you can shop, see some beautiful scenery and grab a couple of beers that are made locally? Freeport is the town for you no matter what season it is!
Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park is a great little gem 10 minutes outside of the center of Freeport. There are park admission fees that were by the honor system when we were visiting in February so you have to bring exact change. There was a booth so they may have someone collecting the fees during the summer but I am not sure. Maine residents are $4 each while non-residents are $6 each. There are also restrooms on site not far from the large main parking lot. In my opinion, the park is worth the fees.
Even on the cold windy day that we went, once we stepped out onto the rocks next to the Harraseeket River, looking out into Casco Bay, you could feel the instant warmth from the sun. We took the Harraseeket and White Pines trails to create a nice loop. As you can see from the images, micro spikes were needed in quite a few sections of the trail. This look took us around the outskirts of most of the park and was just shy of two and a half miles. There are so many connector trails and other options in the park that it makes it very easy to spread out amongst the park.
The day we went, we didn't see anyone until we got back to the parking lot which was fantastic. It meant we got to enjoy the park to ourselves the entire time we were there. There is a nice mix of terrain that is suitable for beginners who want to become more comfortable with signs within a park and don't want to start with a lot of elevation gain.
The park also offers several informative signs about the landscape and the surrounding wildlife. I would say that this park is also great for young kids as long as you can carry them or they are trustworthy going up and down a decent size flight of stairs. Brock and I would give this park 5 stars! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Hedgehog Mountain is a nice little local system that has multiple different trail options. To make it worth our while, we did a loop that was just about one mile. We went up towards the mountain lookout point and then came back down the stonewall trail. I think locals use this trail for daily exercise as there isn't a lot of elevation gain, yet gets you outside. I'm not sure I would make the trip to just visit this trail system, but it wasn't too bad to add on to our day since we were already in the area.
Mast Landing Brewing Company & Nighthawk's Kitchen
You can't miss the brewery once you are in the parking lot. They have a huge inviting space which a large bar and multiple bar tenders. They offer a wide variety of beers which is somewhat overwhelming so, I would suggest asking someone behind the bar for a suggestion.
Currently, Nighthawk's kitchen has a small kiosk you can order from and pick up at the end of the bar once you receive a text saying your order is done. You can also order from your phone no problem. Their food was incredibly good and reasonably priced! I have read they plan on opening up fully next door but the dining area isn't complete yet.. so I would be on the lookout for that!
I ordered a combination of "A Beer Named Duck" a pale ale and from Nighthawk's kitchen we got an order of French fries, corn fritters (that were so good) and a pretzel with beer cheese. Our eyes were definitely larger than our stomachs that day because we boxed a lot of the food up to bring home!
Stars & Stripes Brewery is veteran owned and right across the road from Mast Landing. They do not offer food, but they make up for it with their customer service and awesome space! There is a local restaurant, Antonia's Pizza that offers a discount if you let them know you will be bringing your food over to the brewery to eat. Their beers are great and they offer really nice apparel! My favorite beer was the Veterans Blonde. Once the weather warms up, they have outdoor seating where dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed.
Make sure when you visit Freeport, you also check out the local shops! Most are dog friendly so Brock was able to come into the stores with me as well! The L.L. Bean flagship store doesn't allow dogs because they have a cafe, but they are allowed in the buildings that are separate as well as the outlet in the shopping mall center! Freeport has multiple free parking lots as well as a no charge parking garage. There are so many great things to check out in Freeport, Maine. Plan your trip today!
Happy Hiking & Keep Checking out the Maine Beer Trail!
-Amanda & Brock