Thinking of camping in Maine, and you’re likely thinking of two regions: DownEast, where Acadia National Park and Portland steal the show, or along the southern coast, where Wells and Old Orchard Beach are popular. While these places are certainly well worth a visit, limiting your experiences to these coastal haunts, means missing out on some of the best camping in Maine…and there’s a lot. Indeed, Maine covers nearly one-half of the total area of New England. With over 30 state parks, the first national park east of the Mississippi, and, depending on the way you hike it, either the beginning or the end of the 2181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, Maine has a little something to offer even the greenest camper among us.
Southern Maine is a typically more crowded area. The water is a bit warmer than Maine’s northern beaches, and the beaches typically less rocky. For those looking for a break from the surf, there are shopping outlets, mini golf courses, and numerous spots to grab some fresh lobster. Old Orchard Beach has long been a New England summer tradition; trading quiet camping for go-kart races and thrilling rides, this area is chock full of summer fun. Looking to escape the crowds while camping in southern Maine? Head inland to kayak and camp along the Saco River, as it carves its way from New Hampshire’s White Mountains through to the Atlantic.
Most campers head to the ocean come summer, so you’ll find solitude amongst the trees, lakes and rivers of inland Maine. Moosehead Lake has some of the best camping in Maine, with numerous lakeside camp spots and deserted beaches off of one of the lake’s dozens of tiny islands. Bring your own canoe, or rent one, and spend the day leisurely paddling alongside loons and other waterfowl; if you’re quiet, you might even happen upon a moose. There are a number of campgrounds to choose from, and many offer secluded lakefront sites. If you are looking to stretch your legs and gain some altitude, head to nearby Baxter State Park. Hiking Maine’s highest peak, Mount Katahdin, is an intense hike that’ll reward you with unparalleled views over Maine’s seemingly endless backcountry. Fair warning: this hike isn’t for children (in fact, no children under six are allowed above the treeline anywhere in Baxter State Park). Nor is it for the faint of heart: its ridgeline is sheer, dropping off some 5,000 feet into Maine’s ancient wilderness below.
Downeast Maine is a remote area that has some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, and some of the most beautiful camping in Maine. Iconic lighthouses, piles of fresh lobster, and seaside hikes that rival inland Maine’s rugged peaks, exploring this area is a must. With Portland, Bangor, and small coastal towns like Bar Harbor, Kennebunkport and Freeport, there are no shortages of places to explore. Our favorite downeast adventure? Camp in Acadia, where you can hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain and watch as the sun sets over the rugged atlantic coastline. For those early risers, catching the sunrise from October to March means you’re catching the first of the sun as it rises over the US.
Whether you’re looking for backcountry seclusion or prefer the comforts of car camping, camping in Maine has a little something to offer all of us. True to its slogan, it really is the way life should be.
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We absolutely love sandy pines!! All of the staff are so friendly and helpful! I had to leave my wife and kids for a few days and they checked in on them to make sure they were ok. They went above and beyond as far as I’m concerned. There are planned upgrades over the off season that should put this place as the number one campground in Maine! We have seen the glamping sites and each is unique and special. Highly recommend at least a long weekend here. You won’t regret it!
The staff/owners were very friendly and my tent site was right on the beach. The sunrise and sunset were absolutely gorgeous. The price was incredible given the proximity to the water. The only negative was that the RVs were pretty loud.
A little of everything at this campground, 2 pools 2 hot tubes, a giant water slide that is even fun for the adults!!! Campsites are level and site is fairly easy to maneuver with bigger rigs. Have great activities daily for the kids a nice store onsite. If I have one issue it would be that it went to a KOA which isn’t bad but the transition year seemed a bit wanky and hopefully this year will be better as my kids love it there and we’ll continue to go back often
Been a seasonal camper for 6 years but there are many sites available, some right on the lake, for shorter stays. The owners have worked hard to make Vacationland one of the nicest campgrounds around. Crystal Lake is never crowded and perfect for boating, swimming, and fishing.
Head north out of Greenville on the east side of Moosehead lake and shortly before you reach Kokadjo, turn right and follow the road along the edge of First Roach Pond. Near the far end of the lake you’ll come upon a small campground with a number of named waterfront sites on the left and a grassy hillside area with additional spots. I drove past this place several times en route to ponds where I could kayak and look for moose before I finally decided to stop in. I couldn’t find much of anything online and that’s because they are old school, taking reservations by phone and tracking them on wirebound notepads. These are no frills sites; most of the outhouses are on the other side of the road from the waterfront sites and not necessarily nearby. Some of the sites occupy rises above the lake while others are right down on the water. There is a gravelly beach area. If you like to fish or boat or look for wildlife, you've come to the right area. Grab your Maine atlas and explore the back road and ponds. Book a moose tour out of Greenville if you want some help finding the moose. There are some small peaks in the area (Greenville promotes a Peak Pursuit). Kokadjo has a small trading post and restaurant, but you'll want to pick up most of your supplies in Greenville. Remember to bring water.