Two Writers' Favorite Maine Camping Locales
Editor's Note: Diane Bair and Pamela Wright wrote this story about some Maine campsites that appeared in the Boston Globe.
Maine can boast of more than 200 campgrounds, ranging from full-service camping resorts with golf courses and gourmet coffee to rustic retreats — and when they say “rustic,” they mean “there’s the outhouse.” If you’re lucky, that is. Here are a few spots we love, from mild to wild.
- Not sure about this whole camping thing? Welcome to Searsport Shores Campground, where they offer enough creature comforts to win over even a city boy.
- With all the attention paid to Acadia National Park, it’s easy to forget that Maine has some lovely state parks. Twelve of them, plus the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, offer camping. If you don’t need all the amenities of a commercial campground, but don’t want to completely rough it, a state park campground is a fine choice. Lake St. George State Park in mid-coast Maine draws a mixed crowd of RVs and tent campers, who happily trade ocean views for a peaceful lakefront scene.
- Set in Maine’s western mountains region, an area famous for rugged beauty and great fishing, Rangeley Lake State Park offers a gorgeous, woodsy getaway that’s far from traffic-clogged, coastal Route 1.
- “We’ve been here since 1900, so we’re newcomers,” says John Flood of Flood’s Cove Oceanfront Campsites, whose family owns 72 acres on the waterfront in Friendship, plus an 11-acre island that juts into Muscongus Bay. Actually, Ames Island (as it’s called on charts) is an island when the tide is in and a peninsula when the tide is out — and it is now open for wilderness camping.
- Maine’s exquisite islands offer a world of backcountry camping for those with a sense of adventure — and a boat. For inspiration, get acquainted with the Maine Island Trail (www.mita.org), a 375-mile recreational waterway that’s mapped out for camping by boat. America’s oldest recreational water trail, it connects 200-plus island and mainland sites that are open for day use or overnight stays. Along the trail, you might camp on a sandy beach or a quiet bay, alongside a saltwater river or a dramatic shoreline.
- Another remote island for kayak camping is Jewell Island in Casco Bay. “The island has lots of history with old gun turrets and bunkers from World War I and World War II,’’ he says. There are several sand beaches, lots of campsites, hiking trails, privies, and a caretaker who knows the island inside and out. “Jewell is way out in the bay and you can see forever, including Halfway Rock Lighthouse, which is the farthest out in Casco Bay,” Maloney says. For details and maps, visit www.mita.org.
- And then there’s our favorite, Lily Bay State Park in Greenville. We’re purposely not telling you how great it is because we want to make sure we can always get a spot there. Anyway, it’s really far away. You probably won’t like it.
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