Look out across Portsmouth Harbor from this beautifully restored coastal fortification and discover the fort’s museum and military heritage.
Fort McClary State Park is home to the cherished Fort McClary State Historic Site and the steadfast structures that have stood overlooking the harbor for over 275 years. Trace Fort McClary’s fascinating timeline across five wars and learn about military technology and architecture through the decades at the museum housed within. Stroll around the fort’s spacious grounds and take in unbeatable views of the Piscataqua River from the fort’s strategic position on Kittery Point.
Walk across the grassy reserve and admire the fort’s interesting architecture. The hexagonal blockhouse went through several modifications throughout its centuries-long tenure. For this reason, it presents a unique insight into advances in military technology. Coastal defences were first established here in the 17th century, but the fort as you see it today was founded in 1809.
Enter the blockhouse to find a comprehensive museum, which explains the role that Fort McClary played in its active years. This building was built in 1845 and has been expertly restored to its former grandeur. Look through the narrow windows and spy boats sailing along the river and yachts moored in the harbor. Look across Pepperrell Cove to see Gooseberry Island and Fishing Island, or gaze across the river to Fort Point on the opposing banks in New Hampshire.
Make your way across the grassy foreshore and spot the ruins of some of the fort’s defensive structures. Peer over the defensive walls and look down on the rocky shoreline. The picturesque grounds make for an ideal location to enjoy a picnic. Feel the sea breeze and watch the Portsmouth Harbor yachts as you relax on the grass. There is also a picnic shelter for larger groups.
Fort McClary State Park is located on Kittery Point, near Maine’s south-westernmost point. It is a 5-minute drive east from Kittery. Parking is available on-site. The park’s museum and facilities are open to visitors between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, but the site’s grounds are accessible year-round. There is a small fee charged for accessing the site and museum.