Camden Hills is ideally situated for exploring midcoast Maine with its rocky shores, islands, and lighthouses. I made reservations for several nights in mid-August, hoping to catch the Perseid meteor showers from the top of Mt Battie. The weather cooperated for one night! That said, I enjoyed exploring trails in the park and the town. There's a road to the summit of Mt Battie which offers views of the town and harbor below. Climb the tower for a view of the sunset. Other trails lead to Megunticook and different views. Camden has a pretty harbor to explore and nice seaside shops plus a few homemade ice cream stands. Put your kayak in and explore the islands. Drive farther afield and check out some classic lighthouses or take a ferry to some of the offshore island.
There are rustic sites as well as those with water and electric. They offer a mix of reservable and first-come, first-serve sites and require a minimum of two night stay on peak weekends. This place really clears out Sunday afternoon (at least in mid-August), leaving a lot of sites empty. I made reservations late and was in site 106, in a field area surrounded by trees, with 4 spots. The site was level and easily accommodated my small teardrop trailer. I would NOT recommend this site however, nor do I recommend 102-104 because they are very close to the dumpster. A full dumpster, high humidity, and warm temperatures lead to a ripe odors wafting to your site. I was grateful I wasn't there much during the day, but I didn't want to sit outside by my fire in the evenings. I have no idea why they placed the dumpster so close to the sites…and then don't get them emptied often enough. It was nearly full when I arrived on Friday and didn't get emptied all weekend. Sites are on the hillside, but generally level. Those on the loop higher up the hill do not offer hookups. Rates vary, higher for hookups and also higher for out-of-state guests. If you make reservations online, be sure to print and bring your permit with you.
The road to the summit closes at 8:30pm and the road into the campground & park closes at 10pm (with check-in by 9pm), so plan to arrive before that or park outside the gate. I wanted to leave early one morning, so I moved my car to the parking lot outside the gate to facilitate a departure before sunrise.
Your firewood purchase helps support the wi-fi in the park and it is available at most sites. Each site may have 2 devices on the wi-fi and it's adequate for basic browsing, but don't count on it for data-heavy activities. Cell phone coverage (Verizon) is spotty; I had better luck closer to the restroom in the lower loop than I did at my site.
Camden Hills State Park was our third camping stop along Maine's coast and all three were wonderful. Our schedule allowed us to stay here only one night (disappointing!), but we loved this campground. Our site (74) felt private and was so beautiful among all the trees. While we didn't get to take advantage of the hiking trails, we drove up to Mt. Battie (part of this park) and the views were phenomenal! Had another friendly, helpful ranger check us in and, again, super clean bathrooms and showers. We explored the area a bit; loved Camden and headed down to Rockland to the Farnsworth Museum -- all within an easy drive. Also drove out to Owl's Head Point, but the fog overtook it. I bet it's super cool on a clearer day. Loved this place!
Stayed here for one night before moving. convenient place to stay but sights are close together and the amenities aren't great. Overall not bad, but nothing special to bring me back.
We have been coming to Camden Hills and the midcoast Maine area for years, and we love this park. We have camped, hiked, and mountain biked here many times.
The camping area has different loops. Sites 1-50(ish) are more wooded, sites in the upper loop for the most part are more open and field-like. Some sites are reservable, some are first come first serve. Be aware of events in the area (lobster fest, etc) as well as holiday weekends - the park books up quickly in nice weather.
The park itself has some great hiking/running trails, including Mount Battie (accessible by auto road also) and Mount Megunticook. Not huge peaks by any means, but the trails up (especially Megunticook) are challenging rocky/rooty New England trails. Both offer beautiful views over Camden Harbor and Megunticook Lake. Mount Battie also has a tower at the top which is fun to check out!
The campground was very clean, and the staff very accommodating (on one of our stays we ended up in a more open site in hot summer weather. We were able to easily switch the next day when some campers moved out of the first come first serve sites in the more wooded loop.
The area is beautiful and full of great things to do. Across the street from the camping area are some trails and and picnic areas along the ocean. Downtown Camden is a fun town with great restaurants, coffee shops, and a beautiful harbor with boat tours and kayak rentals. Head south to Rockland and Owls Head for the transportation museum, or head north to Belfast (don't miss Marshall Wharf Brewing). There is some amazing mountain biking at the nearby Camden Snow Bowl and adjacent Ragged Mountain Preserve.
As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. On this trip I tested some bars and a backpacking meal from Wild Zora. Wild Zora is a line of paleo bars (meats and veggies) and dehydrated meals - see their website FAQ here for more info on the company and their products!
I had a variety pack of their meat and veggie bars as well as some paleo meals to try out. I have been snacking on the bars during hikes, as well as after a run and for a quick snack during busy times at work when I don't have time to get a full meal. The consistency of the bars is great - just chewy enough, and very satisfying. The flavors are interesting combinations and I haven't had any that I didn't like (parmesan beef was probably my least favorite, I really enjoyed all the others). We also tried out the Palisade Pineapple Mango meal to go for breakfast. The meals and bars have a good amount of calories in them - perfect for fueling before/during/after hiking, biking, etc. while camping. They also pack and travel well - stuff into a pack easily while hiking, but can also be thrown into a carry on for plane travel, etc - just add some water or open your bar and you have a healthy alternative during a long flight to your adventure destination.
My husband and I shared the Pineapple Mango meal as a snack with our coffee - it was tasty and filling. I liked the nutty taste and there was a lot of fruit in it (we had the older version, slightly bigger pouch with more calories). If I was fueling for backpacking or a long run/hike/bike the whole pouch would be perfect, over 600 calories in the older version, and 520 in the new pouches.
I would highly recommend Wild Zora as a fueling option for an active camping adventure. Interesting flavors and quality foods that are paleo friendly. My only improvement would be to see a couple of vegetarian meals to go incorporated into the lineup. I eat vegetarian most of the time and my husband is a vegetarian, so there weren't a whole lot of options to share with him that I could choose.
State park with a hiking trail at the foot of Mt Battie. Electric and water only, there is a dump station
beautiful state park! lots of good hiking and a short walk across the street to the ocean. Also a short walk (1 mile) into the town of Camden.
the campground was normal with nothing special, however, the park continues across the street and onto Maine rocky shoreline with access along the water which makes the entire thing more than worth it! the town is also quaint and everything Maine with ice cream on a pier and lobster boats galore! I’d go again!
This was the perfect location to explore the mid Maine coast. The camp sites are large and well spaced apart. Bathrooms were clean. We loved the view from the top of Mt. Battie. Definitely check out the trails along the ocean. Mt. Battie Take Out is a great stop after a long day of exploring.
I have come to Camden many times and have always loved it being in the area. The town is charming and there is so much to do in the immediate area and the surrounding towns of Rockland, Rockport, Owls Head, Lincolnville, and Belfast . . . just to name a few. One of the best parts of coming to Camden is Camden Hills State Park.
Overall, this is a really great park. Camden Hills State Park is located three miles from downtown Camden but the 5,700 acres provide you with that serene feeling that comes with being in the peaceful woods. We arrived just a few days after the park opened for the season so the campground was especially quiet. Our large back-in site was set in an open sunny area but most of the sites are nicely tucked into the woods with plenty of space between them. One of the real pluses of this park were the miles and miles of hiking trails just outside our doorstep. Driving the tour road to the summit of Mt. Battie (elevation 800') is a must and the views are spectacular (especially for watching the sunrise). If you would like to burn a few calories try hiking the trail to the top for a truly rewarding experience.
Sites and patios are gravel and level with a picnic table and fire pit. Approximately, half the sites have water and 30/50 amp electric and the others are no hookups. The campgrounds website has a very helpful map showing which sites are reservable and what they offer. There is a dump station and water spigots are scattered throughout the campground. Free showers are located in the bathhouse/restrooms and were clean.
For television watchers, there is no cable and satellite can be difficult due to trees. There are nine sites (55 - 63) located in an open field that may be able to pick up satellite. Our antenna found one major network and a few PBS stations. The Verizon signal on our phone and wifi on our hotspot were strong. The park does have free wifi at most campsites and the signal was very strong. (Sites #68-81 do not have wifi).
Reservations can be made on-line but only about half of the sites are reservable leaving the other half for walk-ups. I would advise making reservations if you want to stay over a weekend or during the summer season as this park really fills up. You can stay up to 14 days which would definitely require a reservation in the summer. Although the park accommodates larger RV's, there are a limited number of sites for those over 35 feet and the gravel roads are easy to navigate in a big rig. There are really no amenities at this park other than the tour road to Mt. Battie, a swing set from the 1970's, a picnic shelter, and the trails.
Camden should be on everyone's list of places to see if you are traveling the Maine coast. Within 10 miles are great museums like the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Maine Lighthouse Museum, the Sail, Power, and Steam Museum, and others. There are attractive lighthouses and great restaurants. In neighboring Rockport is Shepherds Pie - one of our favorite restaurants and the Market Basket a great shop for pastries, sandwiches, wine, and coffee. Downtown Camden has a great wine and cheese shop called Lily, Lupine, and Fern and excellent clam chowder at Cappy's Chowder House. If you are looking for a great place to paddle or cool off in the crisp Maine water, check out Lake Megunticook just five miles away from the state park.
What we really liked was the convenient location to downtown Camden and other cute towns, there are hiking trails just outside your doorstep, and you are within five miles of a grocery, restaurants, attractions, etc. The sites are large and have nice privacy. And the price was right at $27/night.
Short hike to the summit where we found two lean tos. Set up camp for the night.