About Maine Camping
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.