One of World’s Smallest Deserts Lies on Maine Coast

Desert of Maine near Freeport PhotoYou don’t need to travel to the Southwest to see a desert-just visit the Desert of Maine near Freeport!

Though small in area, this is a true desert, sand dunes and all. At 300 acres, it’s even smaller than Alaska’s 462-acre Carcross Desert, which makes it one of the world’s smallest deserts.

In the 1700s, this area was covered with trees and vegetation. But the trees were cut down, the stumps were removed and the land became pasture.

The topsoil was so thin that animals pulled up the sod as they grazed. Eventually the soil disappeared, exposing vast quantities of sand deposited by glaciers.

Visitors can take narrated tram tours, hike the desert’s marked nature trails and watch artisans turn the desert’s multi-colored sand into artwork. There’s also an interesting museum housed in a barn built in 1783 by the farm’s original owners.

The desert (95 Desert Rd.) is about 20 miles northeast of Portland, 2 miles west of I-95 via Desert Road (take Exit 19). It is wheelchair accessible.

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Interested in camping nearby? Check out KOA campgrounds in Maine.