Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

This expansive complex of waterside gardens is well worth exploring—both for gardening and landscaping nuts and simply those who appreciate a sylvan place to stroll. Parts of the sprawling property still have an unmanicured feel, with pathways winding through mossy forest, past waterfalls, and in and out pocket gardens with different themes and flowers. All throughout, the walks are quiet and lush; one of the best trails runs along much of the tidal shoreline that’s part of the property.

Mid-November through December, the gardens are lit with hundreds of thousands of LED lights and open to drive-through tours—it’s something to see.

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The gardens are also a hit with kids, who love exploring the huge village of tiny fairy houses (made from sticks, rocks, and shells) and hunting for the five giant wooden trolls installed in 2021 by Danish recycled-materials artist Thomas Dambo.

From Route 27 in Boothbay Center, bear right at the monument, then make the first right onto Barters Island Road; drive 1 mile to the stone gate on the left.