Take a walk on the quiet side at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, adjacent to, but a world away from, the hubbub of Maine's Wells Beach. This 2,200-acre reserve, on the site of a 19th-century saltwater farm edging the Little River Estuary, comprises fields, forests, beaches, and a salt marsh. Plan ahead to take advantage of guided walks highlighting nature, habitats, or geology or field dem onstrations on butterflies, dragon flies, beaches, or climate. Begin at the visitors' center and Maine Coastal Ecology Center, where exhibits detail the reserve's history and habitats, then grab a trail map and explore the seven miles of trails lacing the landscape. Good bets are the Salt Marsh Loop, with interpretive signage and pan oramic views, and the Barrier Beach Walk, which passes through multiple habitats. Don't forget a picnic lunch, sunscreen, beach blanket, field guide, and binoculars to identify the more than 200 bird species observed here.
207-646-1555, wellsreserve.org, adults $3, children 6-16 $1.
(Text: Hilary Nangle; Photo: Courtesy Wells National Estuarine Research)