Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center
Owned and managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the 3,100 acre estuary known as Scarborough Marsh was the largest salt marsh in the state, comprising tidal marsh, salt creeks, freshwater marsh, and uplands. The marsh is particularly important for wildlife as a resting, breeding, and feeding ground.
The Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center is a great place to explore the state’s largest salt marsh by foot, canoe, or kayak. The center provides a variety of naturalist-guided and self-guided tours, as well as exhibits, a nature trail, canoe/kayak rentals, and a Maine Audubon Nature Store.
An Important Message for Participants
If you are joining us for an adventure at the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, please be aware that the state has ordered out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine in Maine for 14 days before interacting with others or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Certain states are exempt; please check the Maine CDC website for updates.
Let’s Work Together to Make Our Adventures Safer
Due to the impacts of COVID-19 and in support of state and federal CDC guidelines, we are making several changes in how we operate, including the implementation of additional cleaning and sanitizing practices for all equipment used in our programs. As we do our part, there are some important steps we need you to take in preparation for your adventure:
- As of July 1, we are open for canoe/kayak rentals and guided tours. Please call 207.883.5100 or email email@example.com to make reservations.
- Please complete your participant agreement form electronically, using the link provided in your confirmation email.
- We are requiring that all participants bring a face covering (mask, bandana, or buff) to wear except when you are in your boat.
- Participants must remain 6 feet apart whenever possible.
- We recommend bringing your own life jacket if at all possible. We will have the orange style life jacket vests available for sale if you desire to purchase your own.
- It is always a good idea to bring a full water bottle (we have no running water on site), bug repellent, and sunscreen.
- We do not have a restroom. We suggest that you use facilities before you come. We have a Porta-Potty for emergencies, which is only cleaned once a week. Use at your own risk!
- Scarborough Marsh Trail Guide (pdf)
- Scarborough Marsh Nature Trail (pdf)
- Scarborough Marsh Nature Trail – French (pdf)
- Scarborough Marsh Scavenger Hunt Guide (pdf)
- Scarborough Marsh Scavenger Hunt Guide – French (pdf)
Directions & Contact
92 Pine Point Rd
Scarborough, ME 04074
From U.S. Route One in Scarborough, turn east onto Pine Point Road (also marked as Route 9 West). The nature center is located .8 miles on the left.
Visitor Center Hours
The Visitor Center is closed. As of July 1, we are open for canoe/kayak rentals and guided canoe tours. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
All rentals will require a reservation. Please call 207-883-5100.
Canoe & Kayak Rentals (Available June-September)
Rent a canoe or kayak and take a self-guided tour of the meandering Dunstan River to explore the unique habitat of the salt marsh. Maine Audubon will provide life jackets and a map.
- Rental Hours: 9 am-4 pm, and the last boat has to be back by 5 pm
- Friday – Wednesday $20/hour; $28/1.5 hours; $35/2 hours ($45 maximum)
- Throwback Thursdays – Cost: $16/hour; $23/1.5 hours; $30/2 hours ($45 maximum)
- At least one person in your group must be 18 years or older
- Children must be at least 4 years old
- Dogs are not permitted in the canoes
Wildlife & Habitat
Scarborough Marsh provides critical habitat for a broad array of wildlife, particularly birds. Waterfowl, egrets, herons, Glossy Ibis and many species of shorebirds depend on this rich ecosystem for food, a place to rest during migration, and nesting habitat. The marsh is also an excellent spot to find a number of grassland songbirds not commonly found in other parts of Maine, as well as various birds of prey that hunt in the marsh throughout the year. Muskrat, mink, otter, and deer also frequent the wetland.
For a virtual tour of a salt marsh and detailed guides to the plants and wildlife you’ll find there, visit Robert Zottoli’s excellent Field Trip to a New England Salt Marsh.
Scarborough Marsh has a long history of human use. Sokokis Indians hunted, trapped, clammed, and fished on the wetland. When European settlers arrived in the 1600s, they harvested the salt hay as fodder for cattle and sheep and used the marsh as summer pasture. The 19th century saw increased ditching, filling of pannes, and the introduction of tidal gates, which prevent the tide from flooding portions of the marsh. Channels were dug to allow boats built inland to float through the marsh out to sea.
When haying declined in the 1900s, people began to view marshes as sacrifice areas for airports or cheap space on which to fill and build. Scarborough Marsh was even proposed as a site for the town dump. Recognizing that a significant coastal wildlife habitat was threatened, in 1957 the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife began the twenty-year process of acquiring the marsh. In 1972, Maine Audubon initiated a partnership with the state to convert into a nature center an old clam shack at the edge of the marsh.
Today, Scarborough Marsh is a workplace for clam diggers, a classroom for schoolchildren, a laboratory for biologists, prime territory for fishermen and hunters, and a fascinating, ever-changing world for naturalists, especially birders. Every spring and summer, more than 10,000 people begin their journey into the marsh at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center.
Connect with Us
360° Aerial Tour
Many thanks to Biddeford Savings Bank for its support of educational programming at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center.