Cobscook Bay is an unusual estuary with a narrow opening to the sea; long, convoluted shoreline; and few tributaries. Twice-daily tides in the Bay average 24 feet, with occasional tides as high as 28 feet (average tides in southern Maine are 9 feet). These large tides bring nutrient-rich water from the Gulf of Maine, which stimulates phytoplankton growth that feeds a notable diversity of invertebrates, including multiple intertidal species normally found in subarctic waters. Cobscook Bay contains some of the last great scallop beds in the State of Maine. Eagles, ospreys, seals, otters and even the occasional bear enjoy the Bay’s abundant fish, including smelt, alewives, shad, sea-run brook trout, striped bass and the Atlantic salmon. In summer, finback, minke, and right whales visit the Bay.
The Bay’s productive food web nourishes more than 200 bird species. Attracted by Cobscook Bay’s sheltered coves, mudflats, and eelgrass beds, thousands of shorebirds stop over each fall to rest and forage as they migrate south from northern breeding grounds. Cobscook Bay has the highest density of nesting bald eagles in the northeastern United States, and has played a key role in restoring eagle populations. During the winter, the bay’s convoluted shoreline and strong tidal flow keep it relatively free of ice, making it attractive to waterfowl such as black ducks and Canada geese. Up to 25% of Maine’s wintering black ducks can be found in Cobscook Bay.
Outdoor recreation opportunities include hiking, biking, paddling, birdwatching, photography, Plein air arts, camping, beach-combing, and more.
Mowry Beach Preserve in Lubec includes 1.2-miles of sandy beach overlooking Lubec Channel. A 1,700-foot boardwalk crosses coastal-scrub, sphagnum bog, and cattail swamp. Low tide reveals the remains of a primeval forest that migrated inland as melting glaciers caused sea level rise. Mowry’s long sandy beach, a site on the Maine Ice Age Trail, is a rare geological phenomenon on the Bold Coast.
Cobscook Shores/Red Point Park includes several connected sites with hiking trails, kayak launching sites, carriage roads for biking, picnic areas, and access to incredible birdwatching. Numerous public conservation sites around Cobscook Shores contribute 138 miles of hiking trails, beaches, and islands with public access.
Cobscook Bay State Park has many campsites located at the water’s edge. At low tide, campers may dig for the delicious soft shell clam. The Park is a great base for family camping and regional explorations.
Shackford Head State Park in Eastport offers 2 miles of trails across rocky headlands rising 173 feet above sea level, and sweeping views across Cobscook Bay toward Atlantic Salmon aquaculture pens off Campobello Island.
The Bold Coast Scenic Bikeway connects each of these parks, trails, campsites, beaches, boat landings, and more along the entire length of the Scenic Byway; the Cobscook Bay area provides some of the most magnificent views and Byway experiences for road bicyclists.