South Paris, Maine Vacation Guide

Paris Maine

Storm clouds over a rolling hillside near Paris Maine.

 Attractions | Events | Recreation | Lodging | Dining | Directory | Map

The roots of the South Paris region lie in the waters of the Little Androscoggin River. In the 1800s, the river was an important source of water power; as industry grew, so did the surrounding area. The town of South Paris expanded when the railroad reached Western Maine in 1850. Today the towns of South Paris, Norway and Oxford – as well as their neighbors, Hebron, Otisfield and West Paris — offer recreational, cultural and historic attractions in the scenic Oxford Hills region.

Attractions and Places of Interest

South Paris sits atop a bed of quartz crystals that date from the Paleozoic era, earning it the nickname “Gemstone Capital of Maine.” Rare stones and minerals commonly found in the area include amethyst, garnet and tourmaline.

Visitors won’t want to miss McLaughlin Garden. Since 1936, this 2-acre garden has opened its gates to the public from May through October. Set on a historic 19th century Maine farmstead, the garden features more than 200 lilacs and diverse plantings of perennials, annuals, ferns and Maine wildflowers, all shaded by evergreen and deciduous trees.

Catch a show at the Celebration Barn Theater. This unique arts center offers a series of live performances, workshops and retreats for performance artists of all types, from jugglers to singers, actors to storytellers, dancers to mimes.

The Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Association also hosts a schedule of live performances throughout the year, including musicals, dinner theater and plays.

Major Events

Arts lovers will love the annual Norway Arts Festival. Each July, downtown Norway comes alive with three days of musical, theater and dance performances, as well as displays from local and regional artists, the Norway Triathlon at Lake Pennesseewassee, and a juried art show.

If you’re visiting the South Paris region in fall, don’t miss the Big O, also known as the Oxford County Fair. This annual event highlights the area’s rich connection to the land, with displays of farm machines, produce and even woodsmen demonstrations.

Golf enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Leon Truman – Oxford Hills Chamber Golf Classic. Each year at the end of September, more than 100 golfers compete for cash and prizes.

In December, the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce sponsors the annual Festival of Trees, complete with appearances by Mr. Claus himself.

Outdoor Recreation

Paris’ Cornwall Nature Preserve and Ordway Grove in Norway together offer more than 150 acres open to the public. Visitors can hike, bike, or cross-country ski on the many trails that crisscross the preserve, or pack a lunch and enjoy a leisurely picnic.

The Oxford Hills region is dotted with lakes and ponds, including Norway’s Lake Pennesseewassee. In summer, the region’s lakes offer the perfect setting for canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing and ice-skating. For more water sports, head to downtown South Paris, where the Little Androscoggin River passes through town; the river offers smooth sections for paddling, as well as white water rafting.


The South Paris region offers several lodging options. Two motels are conveniently in downtown South Paris, and several inns and cottages are available in the nearby towns of Norway, Hebron and Otisfield. Campers can head to a tent and RV campground on Hogan Lake in Oxford.


The South Paris area has restaurants to suit every taste, from French cuisine to fast food, farm-fresh produce to casual pub fare. Whether you’re craving four-star service or just grabbing a quick bite on your way to your next South Paris adventure, the region’s many eateries will keep you well fed.

Paris – Oxford Hills Area Directories

Visit the following directories to find lodging, dining, attractions, shops, services and recreational activities in the Paris, Maine area.

South Paris Maine Map

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