The 5 Best Nature Spots Around Campus

Spring is almost here, and there is no better time spent than exploring the nature around you! Check out these five spots you should see before the semester ends.


Camp Ellis Jetty – If you’re not from a coastal state, you may not have heard of a jetty before.  In short, jetties are those big rock structures that extend out into the ocean.  There are two jetties at the mouth of the Saco River.  The first one is on the UNE side and can be seen from Freddy Beach; however, it is a part of Hills Beach and is not open to the public.  The second jetty is across the river at Camp Ellis, a considerably popular tourist destination.

Camp Ellis can be reached by crossing the Saco in town driving… unless you’re really good at swimming.  There is something mystical about adventuring out into the ocean on these monumental rocks.  It appears to be a natural formation, but it’s not.  How did it get here?  Why would someone go through all the trouble to make it this way?  These existential questions and more are yours to ask for free at the Camp Ellis Jetty.  It’s not recommended to traverse the jetty in the dark, but if you haven’t explored it yet, you absolutely should.  Plus, the Camp Ellis Jetty is located just outside of Huot’s seafood restaurant, which is totally delicious.

Freddy Beach – Freddy Beach is the obvious choice when it comes to enjoying some nature on campus, but have you used Freddy Beach to its fullest potential?  Freddy Beach is a perfect place to roast s’mores over a late-night campfire.  Just make sure you get a fire permit first! (Biddeford fire permits can be requested using this link:!/terms/16/461 ).  Plus, Freddy Beach is the perfect spot to head down to after midnight and watch shooting stars. If that’s not on your bucket list, it should be! If you would rather go during the day, you might get to see a Harbor Seal (one of the cutest creatures on Earth).  Or you could try relaxing on the beach.  Bring a towel, some sunscreen, a good book, and your friends.  A beach picnic could be thrown into the mix. While the water at Freddy Beach has no waves, you can still float out into the Saco on a tube or a bodyboard and let the current carry you downstream; make sure you bring a life vest. A trip to Freddy Beach is the easiest choice if you’re looking for a low-commitment activity on a warm day.

Biddeford Pool – Some people look for more waves or human activity then there is with Freddy Beach. Although Maine is made up of mostly coast, it can be hard to navigate the most beautiful or active beaches. You know, one with a view of endless ocean and waves that crash against the shore. Look no further than Biddeford Pool, a public beach not too far from Biddeford campus. That’s right, it’s just as much of a beach as Old Orchard (located about 25 minutes from Biddeford), but its tourism market is not nearly as oversaturated. If Old Orchard is your usual destination for a beach trip, you might find it relieving how quaint Biddeford Pool is.  Rather than the busy nature of Old Orchard, the tourism market in Biddeford Pool only goes as far as lighthouse tours and a quiet gift shop.  Plus, you can visit the beach without parking hassles due to its open availability for spots. Biddeford Pool is a classic Maine beach due its quality of waves and access to relaxation. Just a 2.5-mile bike ride or five-minute drive from campus, it is a must-see location.

UNE 363 – Just up the road on Pool Street, about a quarter of a mile from the gas station, there is a UNE sign on the left side of the road.  If you follow the sign and start walking into the woods, you’ll notice that there is absolutely nothing but trees in every direction. This is UNE’s own 363-acre nature conservation.  Environmental studies majors become familiar with this place in the spring during science labs or field work when several bogs and small ponds form on the property.  Students get the opportunity to study frogs, birds, chipmunks, and other wildlife that inhabit the place. If you enjoy looking at frogs, this is definitely the place. For other students, it makes for a great nature walk.  363-acre woods are a perfect place for trail running (careful as it can get a little muddy in some spots).  If you’re looking for a scary place to walk to on Halloween (or in general), this place is sure to give some goosebumps after dark.  In the fall, 363 is an ideal place to film a Blair Witch-type movie or anything related to Stephen King.

Jordan Point – It’s easy to take for granted that UNE has a nature park on campus. If you’re a student located in the Quad, it’s the closest spot to it. Just outside of Featherman Hall, there is a footpath going up the hill towards the riverbank.  At the highest spot on the end of the peninsula lies the Point, a pavilion with a gorgeous view.  You can come here in the spring to study, read, or just take it all in.  Keep walking to the right along the riverbank, and you’ll find a path going into the woods that leads all the way to Freddy Beach.  

This trail makes for a beautiful shoreside nature walk or a good trail running location.  From here, it’s easy to climb down to the shoreline, where you will find thousands of rocks that are flattened perfectly for stone-skipping.  Or you can search for seashells, snails, and hermit crabs. Jordan Point Park is an ideal place for many activities, including kite-flying, picnics, Instagram photoshoots, and walking an imaginary dog. The park is surrounded by trees ideal for climbing, so why not give it a try! If you’re looking to explore nature while staying on-campus, Point Park is one of the go-to spots.

Exploring the nature around you is both a free and easy way to explore the opportunities UNE has to offer in its location. If you find yourself in any of these locations be sure to not only enjoy yourself, but leave it better than you found it!