Desert of Maine

Midcoast Maine

William Tuttle came to Freeport in 1797 to farm potatoes, but his deadly combination of clear-cutting and overgrazing caused enough erosion to expose the glacial desert hidden beneath the topsoil. The shifting dunes, which are 90ft deep in some areas, cover entire trees and the old farm's buildings. Admission includes a 30-minute tram tour and lots of kiddie attractions, such as gemstone hunting and a butterfly room.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Midcoast Maine attractions

1. Bradbury Mountain State Park

3.13 MILES

There are several miles of forested hiking trails here, including an easy 10-minute hike to a 485ft summit. It yields a spectacular view all the way to…

2. Eartha

3.58 MILES

Geography boffins shouldn't miss a visit to the Garmin company – its lofty office atrium is home to a giant rotating globe named Eartha. Eartha has a…

3. Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park


Just outside Freeport, this park has 5 miles of easy hiking trails, including a scenic shoreline walk that skirts Casco Bay. To reach the park, take Bow…

4. Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum

10.14 MILES

This small but fascinating campus museum holds memorabilia from the expeditions of Robert Peary and Donald MacMillan, Bowdoin alumni who were among the…

5. Bowdoin College

10.15 MILES

Bowdoin, established in 1794, is one of the oldest colleges in the US and the alma mater of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne and US…

6. Bowdoin College Museum of Art

10.16 MILES

Set in a 19th-century building with a dramatic glass entrance pavilion, this campus art museum is small but impressive. The 20,000-piece collection is…

7. Joshua L Chamberlain Museum

10.22 MILES

This house museum exhibits artifacts from the late owner, who led one of the USA's great, eventful lives – first a college professor, then Civil War hero,…

8. Skolfield-Whittier House

10.3 MILES

Skolfield-Whittier House, a 17-room brick mansion adjacent to the Pejepscot Museum, is a virtual time capsule: it was closed off from 1925 to 1982…