If you’re looking for a quick getaway from the regular monotonous life near Portland, Littlejohn Island Preserve might be just what you’re looking for. This quiet little spot is almost always completely devoid of other people, and is one of my favorite spots to watch the sunset over Casco Bay.
Littlejohn Island Preserve is an east coast island oasis reachable by car off of Cousins Island in the beautiful Casco Bay near Yarmouth. The boardwalk covered trails leads to the sea (as places often do in Maine), and private rocky beaches hidden from the stresses of everyday life.
These highly maintained trails, owned and managed by the Royal River Conservation Trust, are kept clean from debris all year long and has primarily wide flat trails, perfect for someone with little ones in tow or someone looking for a good trail run. The only time the preserve isn’t fully accessible is during some particularly bad mud seasons in March and April, due to dirt road and parking lot conditions. There is also limited parking – space for only 4 cars – which is both a blessing and a curse. It does mean sometimes you won’t be able to visit the preserve, but personally I’ve never had an issue and am the only vehicle there the multiple times I’ve visited. The preserve is free and open to the public during daylight hours and is conveniently close to Portland, so even if you have to try multiple times, it’s definitely someplace that’s worth the effort.
The main loop trail is 1.3 miles, and leads you under towering oaks lining the ocean, past beautiful stoney beaches and small tide pools filled with critters, and if you’re lucky you might even see some Bald Eagles and Great Horned Owls which are often found nesting here. For an extra bit of adventure, try visiting one of the many boat ramps off of Casco Bay and paddle to the preserve (just keep in mind that the docks surrounding the preserve and private, and Littlejohn Island Preserve only offers natural landing spots).
As the preserve feels so secluded, my favorite things to do here are climb up one of the oaks overlooking the ocean and curl up with a book, lounge on the rocky private beaches, and hunt for mysterious critters in the tide pool. Whether you’re looking for some alone time or something to do with the whole family, Littlejohn Island Preserve is a perfect quick stop close to home.
Shots from Littlejohn Island Preserve
Here are some of our favorites shots we got while exploring Littlejohn Island Preserve.
Where Is It?
After crossing the bridge to Littlejohn Island, take a left onto Littlejohn Road, and then another left onto Pemasong Lane. There are signs for the Preserve parking area off to the left; park and walk to the left down Pemasong Lane until you see the trailhead on the right of the road.
“Parking is intensely competitive, demand for access to the preserve has surged. Neighbors are towing, engaging legal counsel, and scoping options for cars parked outside of the 4 car limit.” For more information please check out RRCT.org
Littlejohn Island Preserve
180 Pemasong Lane, Yarmouth, ME 04096
(Plus Code: QV7J+9C Yarmouth, Yarmouth Town, ME)
What else is nearby?
Travel is the best kind of education so go get lost, even if it’s just outside your own doorstep! Here are some other great places to explore in the area:
- Spear Farm Estuary Preserve
- Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park
- Portland Head Lighthouse