Along a 3500-mile coastline famed for its natural beauty, Pemaquid Point stands out for its twisted rock formations pounded by the restless seas. ME 130 goes from Damariscotta (northeast of Wiscasset) through the heart of the Pemaquid Peninsula (the longest on the coast of Maine) to Pemaquid Point, a major destination for its natural beauty.
Point Reyes National Seashore
The windswept peninsula Point Reyes is a rough-hewn beauty that has always lured marine mammals and migratory birds as well as scores of shipwrecks. It was here in 1579 that Sir Francis Drake landed to repair his ship, the Golden Hind. During his five-week stay he mounted a brass plaque near the shore claiming this land for England.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
The dry, smoldering, treeless terrain within this 106,000-acre national park stands in stunning contrast to the cool, green conifer forest that surrounds it. That’s the summer; in winter tons of snow ensures you won’t get too far inside its borders. Still, entering the park from the southwest entrance is to suddenly step into another world.
Joshua Tree National Park
Taking a page from a Dr Seuss book, the whimsical Joshua trees (actually tree-sized yuccas) welcome visitors to this 794,000-acre park at the convergence of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. It was Mormon settlers who named the trees because the branches stretching up toward heaven reminded them of the Biblical prophet Joshua pointing the way to the promised land.
Channel Islands National Park
Don’t let this off-the-beaten-path national park loiter for too long on your lifetime to-do list. It’s easier to access than you might think, and the payoff is immense. Imagine hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, camping and whale-watching, and doing it all amid a raw, end-of-the-world landscape.