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.
The #1 Camping App
Search 500,000 listings, reviews & tips from anywhere in the US. Our free app is the top-rated camping app on Apple and Android.
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.
The coast of Maine offers very few places for overnight backpacking or even just seaside hiking. The Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land is one great option. The length of the hiking trails makes this the ideal, weekend getaway location for a two-night campout– just get there early. The sites are few in number, small and difficult to get to, but oh-so-worth-it!
As backcountry sites, there are no picnic tables or fire rings, but each has a clean and convenient composting toilet with a stunning view of the Gulf of Maine. Each campsite is located close to a freshwater source and a few are within site of a small pebble beach– perfect for swimming if you don’t mind the chilly water. But, come prepared for bugs -- mosquitoes and black flies are impressive in the late spring and summer! And, the trails can be quite muddy and soggy. There is a price for this much beauty in one place!
Located 16 miles east of East Machias, the closest town with gas and a convenience store. Five miles further west along route 1 the town of Machias offers a wider selection of restaurants, farmers markets and grocery stores.
When we pulled up to this quiet campground during a warm and sunny day in October, the light shone through the trees on an idyllic pond wreathed in fall color. With no one else around we thought, “welcome to the perfect campsite.”
Each site offers a picnic table, fire ring, and access to the pond. The pit toilet bathrooms were clean and centrally located in the campground. There is a hand driven well pump for fresh water close to the boat ramp (canoes, kayaks, rowboats only). The water was a little rusty tasting, but perfectly fine to drink.
A trail lead directly out of the campsite to another pond about a mile away offering a short round trip afternoon hike. Further up the road, about a mile from the campground, the Mt. Albany trailhead offers a longer and more challenging hike up to the summit as well as connection to other trails in the area. Along the way we found amazing views of the surrounding mountains in all their fall glory!
The campground is only 8 miles from the town of Bethel, ME. This small hamlet offers a few restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores.
This gorgeous state park along the shores of Moosehead Lake near Greenville feels like the campgrounds of my youth. Sites are all tucked into the woods with easy access to trails and the lakeshore. Each site offers the usual picnic table and fire ring.
Well-kept latrines are scattered throughout the campground, as well as drinking water faucets. A centrally located, and clean bath house with flush toilets, warm individual-use shower rooms, and a great dishwashing sink is a recent addition to this large facility. The only downside is that it can be a 10 to 15-minute walk from the farthest campsite, making most people get in their vehicles just to take a shower or wash dishes.
The great network of trails offer opportunity for hiking and biking in summer and skiing and snowshoeing in winter. The lake, over 35 miles long offers sailing, paddling, swimming and even power boating. The closest town is conveniently located about 6 miles away for gas and groceries.