Maine cheaply, chiefly.
August 11, 2010 11:58 PM   Subscribe

36 hours in Maine this weekend with a rental car. I am thinking of not getting a hotel room and instead car-camping. I'll be in Camden Maine for a wedding Friday and Saturday and plan to return to Boston late on Saturday to take a bus to DC. I want to spend as much of Friday wandering around Portland before driving to Camden and kind of want to spend the morning in Portland on Saturday, too. Is this a good idea? Any tips on quiet places to park and snooze?
posted by parmanparman to Travel & Transportation around Maine (6 answers total)
Years ago, some friends and I drove up to Maine (Camden area and Kittery I think) from Boston in the middle of the night to escape the heat. We headed to the L.L. Bean outlet which was open 24/7, but afterwards had to sleep in the car until restaurants and other things opened. We got hassled for it; police knocking on the window to ask what we were doing, if we were alright kinda thing. Ultimately it didn't result in any trouble, but it was almost time for things to open by then and we were driving back to Boston later that day.
posted by kaybdc at 5:31 AM on August 12, 2010

You can stay at Camden Hills State Park, just outside Camden. Nice campground, and the state park system could really use the few dollars it would cost you for a campsite. I recommend renting a sleeping bag and tent, but I'm a tall man and hate sleeping in cars.
posted by billtron at 6:12 AM on August 12, 2010

If you're looking to sleep on the streets of Portland there are plenty of quiet side streets where you are unlikely to be bothered sleeping in your car, as long as you're discreet about it. However there are, of course, no guarantees.

I'd look for a small street on Munjoy Hill.

You're trying to save-- can you afford a spot in a KOA? There's one in Freeport.
posted by miss tea at 7:37 AM on August 12, 2010

There's a Walmart on Rt 1 in Falmouth (about 6 minutes from Portland) and one in Rockland (right next to Camden). You can generally sleep in Walmart parking lots unhassled. Camden Hills State Park is really nice if you're up for that as well.

It's a little under 2 hours from Portland to Camden, but I suppose traffic could slow you down, so factor that into your time-in-Portland plans. If you have most of the day Friday, you could easily explore downtown/Old Port Portland and hit the Eastern Prom for a nice view of Casco Bay and the islands. If you're into libraries, they just renovated the downtown branch and it's super nice. There's no shortage of restaurants and coffee shops, and it's tourist season so shopping options abound as well.

Your basic plan sounds reasonable as long as you time for the drive to Camden and back. Have fun!
posted by that's candlepin at 7:58 AM on August 12, 2010

I've done all the suggestions above (as a young female traveling alone) and I have also slept in hospital parking lots.
posted by hannahelastic at 11:26 AM on August 13, 2010

Hey parmanparman-- how'd it work out? Did you enjoy Portland?
posted by miss tea at 7:52 AM on August 16, 2010

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