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Washington County (Maine)

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Down East : Washington County
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Washington County is a large sparsely populated area in the Down East region of Maine lying just east (or "downeast" in sailing terms) of the states mainstream travel destinations and for most visitors that's the point. Visitors to "the Sunrise County" have the opportunity to enjoy rivers, lakes, coastal waters, beaches, and trails away from touristy crowds and possibly to have them all to themselves. Most weekends in the summer there is a festival going on in one town or another. There are a number of lighthouses to visit as well as state parks, historic sites, museums, wildlife refuges, and public lands. Lobster is often bought right off the pier and from mid to late summer fresh wild blueberries are in season.


Washington County can be divided into two regions: the coast and the interior. Most of the population lives in coastal towns more or less along US 1. Fishing and blueberries are the primary resource industries here. The interior is made up mostly of unorganized territories except for a few villages along the northern part of US 1 and the two east-west state roads that cut across the interior. Much of the interior is privately owned and managed for timber resources and the county's largest single employer operates a pulp mill here.

Towns and Cities[edit]

  • Machias - the county seat, site of U.S. first naval battle. Machias is centrally located on Rt. 1 along the coast. The town is situated around the falls at the mouth of the Machias river and is presently the eastern terminus of the Maine Island Trail. It is at about the halfway point along the Sunrise Multi Use Trail.
  • Calais - County's busiest border crossing with New Brunswick, Canada. Calais is situated around the falls at the mouth of the Saint Croix river. It is also the site of one of the first attempted European settlements in North America at St. Croix Island.
  • Cooper
  • Eastport - Easternmost city in the U.S. The only deep water port in eastern Maine.
  • Jonesport and Beals Island - Located on the mainland Jonesport is one of the bigger fishing villages in Washington county. There is a bridge to Beals Island which is in the picturesque Great Wass archipelago.
  • Lubec - Easternmost town in the U.S. West (yes West) Quoddy Head lighthouse is found here at the easternmost point in the U.S. There is a border crossing to Campobello Island (Canada) here.

Other destinations[edit]



Get in[edit]

Get around[edit]

There is no public transportation so unless you are planning to enjoy a specific destination while you are visiting -like canoeing one of the rivers, kayaking the island trail, fishing the grand lakes, or biking the multi-use trial system- a vehicle is a necessity for getting around Washington county. It's a big area with many things to experience and you'll find even from a central location like Machias that things on your to-do list require a 15-30 min car ride. The good new is there isn't much traffic!

See[edit][add listing]

  • Burnham Tavern Museum, [1].  edit
  • Fort O'Brien State Historic Site, [3].  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Machias River Corridor Public Reserved Land, [4].  edit
  • Saint Croix International Waterway, [5].  edit
  • Rocky Lake Public Reserved Land, [6].  edit
  • Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land, [7].  edit
  • Great Heath Public Reserved Lands, [8].  edit
  • Bold Coast Scenic Byway, [9].  edit
  • Cross Island National Wildlife Refuge, [11].  edit
  • Petit Manan Naional Wildlife Refuge, [12].  edit
  • Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, [13].  edit
  • Shackford Head State Park, [16].  edit
  • Downeast Lakes Water Trail, [19].  edit
  • Downeast Coastal Conservancy, [21].  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

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