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Cutler, MAINE

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Gorgeous Coastal Backpacking along the Gulf of Maine

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.

Lots of privacy but that's the only positive

If you want the most private and quiet campground experience you can get without boondocking, this place is for you if you can deal with the negatives.  But in my opinion, it was too rustic and outdated for even me (and I've seen some bad campgrounds in my travels).

To start, when booking our site I was under the impression that it was on the water.. well it is, if you climb down a cliff with a sheer 30 foot drop.  So off the bat, I was already very disappointed because I was expecting we'd be able to launch kayaks directly from our site (there is a public boat launch in the state park, however).  Additionally, our site (and many others) are actually walk in sites with your own parking space - we had to carry our stuff about 30 yards into the site over tons of exposed roots, which for some people could be very dangerous; nowhere on the website does it say they are walk-in sites either.  Our site pad had almost no level areas at all, so our tent was at a slight angle, the bug house we put over the picnic table (totally necessary - see below) was all over the place, and even the included fire pit was on a steep incline, with barely any room for chairs unless you want to try and sit on a slope without falling.  We almost switched with a neighboring site that was more level but were glad we didn't - when it rained two days later, that entire site was flooded for half a day with about 2" of standing water! They really need to engineer the sites better by cutting down a few more trees to increase the size of the site and level them out better.  Also, because the place is so heavily wooded and damp, the bugs are INSANE.  If we didn't have a screen house to put over the table, I would have stayed in the tent the whole time because I was getting eaten alive.

The facilities were one of the worst parts of the stay, however.  I will preface this by saying I am used to using vault toilets, and generally do not have a problem using them for short periods of time.  But their toilets.. I don't even know how to describe them, as I think even calling them pit toilets is over selling them.  The toilets are located in what are essentially little wooden lean-tos, with no engineering whatever to cut down on the smell.  You could literally smell the out houses from about 30 yards away, and every time I would go to use one it was FILLED with flies.  I have never in my life had that experience using vault or primitive toilets.  They are clearly not cleaned very often either (although hard to tell because, surprise!, the toilets were black in color).  Additionally, They are open on the top and bottom, so you can hear EVERYTHING that goes on in them from pretty far away, and they don't even have hand sanitizer dispensers, which even porta potties have.  Their showers were marginally better - the stalls themselves were fairly clean, and they did have nice hot water.  They ask for 25 cents per shower which is totally fair considering there's no time limit.  But even something as simple as the shower curtains could use improvement - they had the cheapest of the cheap dollar store curtains that cling to everything and don't manage to do much to contain the shower spray.  Overall, their facilities need a huge improvement.

Also, this campground had a huge amount of downed dead wood throughout, which to me is very concerning.  If they had one lightening strike in the area, there could be a very dangerous wild fire that could put a lot of people in harm's way.  In my opinion, they should have a controlled burn in the off season, or let people take the downed wood for fires.

I will say that the amount of privacy between sites is probably the best I've ever experienced at a campground - we could barely see our neighbors.  This was probably the only positive to this campground, in my opinion.  Besides the rangers - they were very friendly and helpful.  Nearby Lubec was a fun town to explore, but the kayaking in the area was a little boring (the same views every place you look, at least when kayaking the coastal area near the state park).  There are tons of hiking trails, however.

I would not stay here again, and neither would my boyfriend.

Excellent scenic view and spectacular sunsets! Oh...and Bald Eagles 😍

Excellent scenic view and spectacular sunsets! Campground clean and well maintained. Outside sink available next to bathrooms. Water, electric (30/50) no sewer but dump onsite with blue portable waist containers for campers to use. Front row sites have cable.

Only suggestion…bathrooms could use update but otherwise very clean.

Loved the peace & quiet of the Schoodic Peninsula!

When we made the decision to visit Acadia National Park, I blindly made a reservation for a site at one of the campgrounds, not really paying attention to where specifically in the park the campground was located. The Schoodic Woods Campground is located on the Schoodic Peninsula, which is east of Mt. Desert Island. It’s still within Acadia National Park but is located outside Winter Harbor and is not near Bar Harbor like the majority of the park. At first I was a little bummed we were about an hour away from the main part of the park, but my mood immediately changed once we arrived. Oh my goodness, if you’re looking to connect w/the wonders of Acadia & avoid the crowds, stay here! It was amazing & the lack of light pollution at night made the star-gazing spectacular! There’s biking, hiking, a ferry that runs seasonally to Bar Harbor, and quaint harbor communities nearby. We loved it!

Fantastic

Amazing campground with huge spots and clean bathrooms. Easy pick up spot for the Schoodic bus line. No hot water of showers. Great nightly ranger programs. Easy access to trails and bike paths.

Great views

Older campground that is being redone and updated. Fantastic views from many of the spots. Great location to get to both parts of Acadia. Good food within walking distance (bbq and seafood and ice cream at neighboring local spots). Friendly campground owners who will answer any questions you have!

Spot 18

Spot 18 is perfect! The view is spectacular. The campground is small and very quiet. There are clean bathrooms and showers available. There is a quaint little store that has anything you could need or anything you might have left at home. Along with firewood and the regular stuff they have kayaks for renting. The owners can give you all sorts of wonderful recommendations for restaurants and destinations around town.

Peaceful weekend!!

We love state parks. We stayed here 3 nights. We had site 23. It was a huge, pull thru site. Mostly grassy. Very private. Only kind of complaint was it was very buggy. It had a huge grassy area with a playground, picnic area, and horseshoes.

Average Priced but Great Campground

Great campground with a decent price. I’ll give a list of pros and cons.

Pros: -Friendly Rangers, they do classes for the kids as well! -Beautiful area -Amazingly maintained -Super close hiking with awesome trails -Close to town but still very woodsy(we -had a rabbit sharing our campsite with us!) -Great access to bathroom facilities, there are outdoor sinks for washing dishes. -Spread our enough so you have privacy -Ground is great for a tent, nice and flat. -Lots of variety for campsites, tenting, RV/Camper, hike in sites and group sites -Tons to do and see with in a reasonable drive or hike from the campground

Cons: -I’ll start with a fairly important one, NO showers on the property. You have to drive to a different facility (there are a few options) and you have to pay to shower. Ours was $4 for 6 minutes not bad priced but when you’ve been hiking all weekend and it’s 90* 6 minutes is a bit of a rush to really get all the sweat and grime off you Wouldn’t be bad if you have a solar shower, enjoy being smelly or have a camper with a shower.

-Not all sites have electric AND water hook ups. Once again not a big deal. Most sites have both I believe, some only has electric like ours did and I believe some don’t have either. We didn’t need water because we brought plenty in water storage jugs and the bathroom/dish washing sinks was all we needed.

-Cannot carry in your own wood for fires, it’s reasonable and understandable. But it does make it a hassle to go buy wood, granted it’s cheap from people selling it along the road but I have a bunch split and dried at home to I needed to use but instead I had to buy some.

I don’t really have very many negatives, it’s a great place and it’s a National Park so it’s very well maintained! I definitely would recommend it for your next leisurely camping trip. It’s nothing hardcore but just enough to get outdoors and enjoy your time adventuring around!

I definitely will be back to this one.

Beautiful view

For me it wasn’t a typical camping experience, not a lot of trees and site are pretty close together, BUT the view is amazing, the people are amazing and activities in that area are endless. The owner of the campground is such a sweet lady, my friend and I ended up helping her set up an Instagram account because she had just opened the campground when we went, she even gave us a free night the next time we go back. She also recommended places for us to hike and swim in the area. There are hiking locations near for experts and intermediate hikers. Some trails even lead to swimming holes. You won’t be disappointed staying here.

Wasn’t able to find

No signs on the road and no obvious campground found

Charming campground

Lovely place on a small lake. Staff was wonderful, the site was lovely with a great view of the lake. The lake was clean and we swam, kayaked and crossed the lake on paddle boards. The campground is small with limited sites, but I would gladly return.

Wild and beautiful

Very private sites, many offer water frontage. There is a bathhouse with 3 showers and many pit toilets throughout the campground. No hookups. Limited RV sites and very limited for over 20 feet. Miles of hiking and close to many beautiful places like Reversing Falls, Quoddy Lighthouse, and the Bay of Fundy.

Quiet

This side of the park has less to do than Mount Desert, but it's still very lovely and very quiet. We were there in mid June and made reservations ahead of time, but there were still some sites empty on a Friday. The site was nice, staff was decent. One worker was somewhat short and condescending towards me, but overall alright.

Quiet campground with dark skies

This campground is out of the way and far away from the crowds on Mt Desert Island!  It's fairly compact, and the campsites a little close to each other, but each site still manages to feel private.  The campsite is brand new, and the amenities are very nice.  The welcome center even has free wifi (though, leave your devices at home!).  The bathhouses are clean and have flush toilets and running water in the sinks, but they do not have showers, which seems like an odd choice.

There are some good hiking trails nearby, and the sky is DARK at night!  On a clear night, this is the perfect place for some stargazing.

Each site has a campfire ring, but the rings do not have grill grates.  So bring your own or bring some roasting sticks if you want to cook over the campfire.  

You are not allowed to collect downed wood for fires, but there is a self service firewood stand in the nearby town of Winter Harbor, so bring some small bills for the payment box.

All-in-all, this is a highly recommended campsite!  Have fun!

Mosquitos, Mosquitos, Mosquitos

This is a National Park which was very clean with some large sites. It was somewhat big rig friendly. I was traveling with two other motorhomes (caravan) and my site was the smallest. Electric and water was good - no sewer. WiFi was non-existent unless you got a site near the main office. Cellular reception was very mediocre. If you want to lose contact with family, friends, business… this is the place to go.

The rules are extremely enforced. My left tire on the car was 6 inches on the grass… the rangers left a violation notice on my car. Unfortunately my site was quite small for a 40 foot motorhome so I had to park very close to the road. One evening, just after showering, I hear a bang on the front door. Ranger S.S. (Initials of ranger) told me I am not allowed to run the generator. My generator was not on. It was the 3 air-conditioners on the roof. Standard AC’s from the factory. His body language was obvious that he did not believe me so I offered to show him where the generator was - since it is a diesel pusher, right up front where we were talking. Also… why would I be running my generator if I was hooked up to 50AMP service. I also told him that generators are not located on roofs of RV’s. He finally relented when he saw I was getting quite aggravated with his body language. Another camper near our site told me that she was treated very rudely by the staff. I do not know who she spoke to but Ranger S.S. needs to take interpersonal skills classes and maybe a class on where generators are looked on motorhomes. They obviously will harass someone that is not doing a generator violation but do not enforce barking dogs…

There was only one dump station for Loop B. Each RV took about 15 minutes. If you are third in line, you will be waiting… Since there is no sewer, you would think they would offer more than one dump station.

No matter if you wear long sleeves and long pants, plus use bug spray, the mosquitos are vicious. Between gnats and mosquitos, sitting outside to eat is nearly impossible. Otherwise, this is a visually beautiful park.

Sea air & ocean views.

My favorite campground, the sites are grassy and huge! There are no hookups, it’s a State Park. There is a dump station. There are flush toilets and showers that are outdated, but I would guess that by this year they would have been replaced with the new ones in all the other campgrounds. Almost all the sites in the RV loop are pull through. So much privacy in these sites unless you choose the two that are right on the road. Some RV’s can get into the water sites. This campground doesn’t seem as crowded as the other parks. It’s a drive to get here, but I think it’s worth it.

Loved it.

It’s been several years since our family stayed at this campground. We had a secluded site which sloped down to the bay. Very quiet and an incredible place to star gaze. I hope to return someday.

The Quiet side of Acadia

This is a tough Campground to get into. Reservations are almost a must. These sites have power and water. Dump station nearby in the park. Beautiful new Visitor Center.

Worth the effort. Many things to do in the area, and great seafood.

Loved our campsite at Acadia East Campground!

We had a beautiful view of the night sky from the Acadia Mtn campsite! My boyfriend and I brought our dog, who had plenty of room to enjoy.

Paddlers Paradise!

Surrounded by water on 3 sides, this state park has a lot to offer. Well off the beaten track on the tidal backwater of Cobscook Bay, this park has a wide variety of sites to suit everyone’s style of camping. From full water and electrical RV hook-up sites, to tent-only camping loops, you can find your own camping bliss in this amazing park. 

Each site comes with the standard picnic table and fire pit, but many have a shelter over the table as well. There are many pit-toilets scattered throughout, and the centralized bath house only offers inexpensive showers and sinks, no flush toilets however. 

Additionally, there is a huge playground for the kids, as well as designated picnic sites complete with fire pit and picnic shelters. The campground loops wind around small headlands into the bay, so there are literally dozens of waterfront sites, but they are of course the most popular. 

The bay is tidal, and has a HUGE tidal range, so opportunities for tide pooling, paddling, and other water sports just need a little planning ahead.   Be sure to check out the reversing falls, just a 20 minute drive from the park. There is a nice boat ramp and picnic area just north of the park on the main road. 

Calais is the nearest town, about 30 minutes away, and has all the you need while camping in the area.

Light on amenities, heavy on coastal views!

Just a few miles off the beaten track of Route 1 in Milbridge, Maine, lies a simple and inexpensive little campground with few amenities but with direct access to a stunning, rocky coastline. With just 12 sites, the campground can only accommodate a few larger RV’s. The sites are simple and rustic with a small spot for a few tents, fire pit and a picnic table. The bathrooms are a bit of a walk from the farthest site, but offer flush toilets and a single outdoor shower. Be the first one in the morning and you’ll get some hot water, but if there is a line, you are better off waiting it out. But what can you ask for when the site is only $10 bucks? It’s ocean view you’re there for!  Water sport options abound.

There was a sign saying, “no trailers” on the road, but we made it just fine and the camp hosts never said anything about it. With that said, if the campground is busy, large RV’s would have a very hard time turning around at the end of the road, as there is no circle drive. So scout it out first before you head down the road.

We also had a run in with one of the park’s Red Squirrels who chewed through our engine’s fuel line while we camped there. Have never had this happen anywhere else and it probably never will again. Super helpful campground host helped us get the truck fixed!  Full story about the psycho rodents can be found here.

Milbridge is the closest town, about 6 miles away and has all that you need while camping in the area.

Heaven

This is as close to heaven as you can get. Huge state park. Tent sites and RV sites are on separate peninsulas. No electricity so it’s quiet. Absolutely stunning sites on the ocean. Great place to launch your exploration of Maine’s Bold Coast.

Quiet, private, scenic

Loved the privacy and remoteness of this park. We had a tent site (53) that had a short root-laden walk into the site, but not bad and well worth the bay view. Woke early enough for the sunrise on the bay, which was spectacular (and first in the country!). Great home base for exploring this rustic coastal part of Maine; totally enjoyed: Lubec, West Quoddy Lighthouse, Campobello Island, Eastport, Reversing Falls, Western Head Trail (amazing) Sipps Head Trail, Shackford Trail (careful; not well marked interior and we nearly got lost at dusk) and Machias. Love this area! And the campground, while rustic, has quarter-operated showers; excellent bonus! Highly recommend this place.

Really great hammock sites

A lot of these campsites are near the bluffs. The tide goes in and out, so be prepared for that. We enjoyed hearing the water from our hammocks at night. There was a big grassy field I that had millions of fireflies at night. I remember just standing there with my mouth open staring. It was on the the way to the restrooms from the Bluffs area. Being near the water offered a nice breeze also. I wouldn't mind coming back to this site, we didn't get to stay as long as we wanted.

While you are here - good day trips are into the town of Lubec, Quoddy Head, Hamilton Cove, and a tad of a drive Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.

Serious Middle of Nowhere

To reach Third Machias Lake, take the Little River Road (which runs north off the Stud Mill Road along the east side of the Machias River). Turn left after 4 miles onto a side road that leads to the boat launch. This is a logging road, beware of log trucks. Pull OVER when you see one and let them pass. They are going really fast with really big loads of logs.

We park at the boat launch. There has usually been 2-3 campers there when we park there. There are porta potties there. But…. we don't stay there. Kayaks in, camping gear into the boats. Off we go. It can be a rough paddle if it's windy. This lake is HUGE and can and has gotten 2-3 foot waves when the weather is not so great. It usually takes us about an our to get to the island we camp on. It has no name I know if but, many people call the next island past ours, Fairy Island.

I actually prefer Fairy Island. it's more open, smaller island, and better trees for hammocks. Plus the breeze there is awesome but bring a big tarp and road to give yourself a wind block.

The kayaking in this area is the BEST I have had in Maine. It's an absolute wonderland of variety. We took many river routes going out of the lake, into other lakes, through marsh/swamp, portaging beaver dams and such. One time had to go over a dirt road. Hardly ever ran across a person except this one time, a guy who has a cabin on the main shore not too far from our island (maybe 20 min paddle) was out fishing and invited us to his cabin where he and his wife gave us drinks and made awesome food at their campfire. They were so cool. I hope I have a house like that at some point.

Anyway; if you crave adventure this area is for you. Just jump in your boat, with your gear, and hunt down an island of your choosing. There are a bunch out there. Beware of rocks even in deep water! The glacier rocks are absolute huge. See my photos for yourself. Respect nature. Don't leave your garbage out here, no one wants to see that!

Stunning landscape. Hardcore hike. Worth it

This was on of my most favorite hikes/camping. You don't have to hike too long from the trailhead until you come to an awesome cliffside view overlooking the water. The breeze feels devine. This hike is not for the inexperienced, unless you are some hardcore hiker or something. I thought it would be cake, but it was h-a-r-d we rested a lot. But; I think we did pretty damn good even though my feet were killing me by the time we found a campsite.

The first couple sites we went up to had people so we were getting worried as there are not that many. But; stumbled onto one just before dark, whew! Such an awesome view of the night sky oh my gosh. I could stare at it forever. We could see the milky way. I loved our little campsite. Small but cozy and all we needed. I am a light sleeper, so the only thing that bugged me is there was some kind of horn from the lighthouse in the distance that was kind of driving me up the wall before I fell asleep. Other that that… everything was absolutely awesome, stunning landscape everywhere.

Real outdoor experience, private

We recently stayed three nights at the Acadia MTN campsite. This was my first time camping and we (my boyfriend, pup, and I) had a blast. Loved the little hike into our campsite. Plenty of space and privacy. We plan to be back in the future. Short drive from some great hikes. We took the pup to Schoodic Head trail & also Taft Point Preserve which was a very close by gem. Also if your looking to get away from camp style food there was an awesome little Mexican restaurant a short drive down the road.

GOrgeous, quiet, private, clean, memory making.

The sites on the water are amazing but even wooded sites are private and fun. Some require a little "hike" in but make it worth it for the privacy. Bring bug spray.