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Desert of Maine

95 Desert Rd, Freeport, Maine 4032 USA

Open Now
Sat 9a-5p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair
  • Public
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“Maine's famous natural phenonmenon”

When you hear the words "American desert", your mind will most likely snap to the Mojave or even the Sonoran, two of the driest, sandiest places in the Southwest. But would you believe there exists a desert in the middle of the Northeast's lush pine forests? Well, there does. Sort of. The Desert of Maine is a curious geological quirk located near the town of Freeport. While not exactly a true desert (it receives an abundance of precipitation), the 40 acre patch of sand is a bizarre sight to behold in the middle of the woods, and stands in stark contrast to its surroundings. So just how did this "desert" wind up in the middle of Maine? Weirdly enough, the desert is the consequence of farmers who were really terrible at their jobs. In 1797, the land was green and fertile, and the Tuttle family thought it would make a perfect place to set up a farm. For the next hundred years the Tuttles used the land to grow their crops and feed their sheep, but little did they know that they were ruining the land.  Overgrazing and a refusal to cycle crops led to soil erosion, and by the 1900s, a small patch of sand appeared... and it just kept growing. The damage had uncovered a dune of glacial silt on the Tuttle's land, and by 1919, their farm had turned a "desert" in the middle of the forest. The family was so frustrated with their repeated attempts to repair the land that they abandoned it and sold their property to Henry Goldrup for a mere $300. Goldrup did what any good businessman would do with a local curiosity: he turned it into a tourist attraction. Today, the Desert of Maine is one of the weirdest attractions in the state (second only to the International Cryptozoology Museum). For a $10 admission, visitors can wander the odd dunes, complete with camels, fill glass souveniers with "desert" sand, and even see the Tuttle's old barn, a monument to responsible farming. The best part of visiting this desert? You don't need to pack a canteen, just grab your water at the gift shop. -Roadtrippers Come and check out the amazing phenomena that is the Desert of Maine. Learn how this glacier desert was formed! Meanwhile, bring your camping gear and camp out at our Desert Dunes Campground.  We have many activities such as Desert Tours that leave about every 30 minutes, Gift shop to make your Desert experience memorable, Nature walks, sand artist, Gem stone hunts and much much more! Visitors find it difficult to imagine among the rolling hills and rambling brooks at the end of Desert Rd. there is a Desert. Once you take your first step through the gift shop's front door, however, your doubts will vanish as you enter the vast and sandy DESERT of MAINE. The owners welcome you to a very unusual experience and they will do everything they can to make your visit a pleasant and informative one.

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Reviewed by

  • 14 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
September 01, 2020
Rated 3.0

If you don't have little kids its not worth it.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
July 15, 2015
Rated 5.0

This is definitely worth a stop. They staff is friendly. We loved taking the tour and hearing about its history. Then we got to walk around a couple of trials. My son enjoyed getting to dig 3 "treasures" out of the sand. We plan on going back one day.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
August 21, 2020

Really cool place to see. My 10 yo loved it.

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Desert of Maine

95 Desert Rd
Freeport, Maine
4032 USA


Open now until 5:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Laundry
  • Showers
  • Big Rigs
  • Dump Station
  • Sewer Hookup
  • Swimming Pool
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