maine camping trip
July 21, 2013 3:00 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are planning a (somewhat) last minute camping trip to Maine. So far these are the details we have finalized. The trip will be from August 3-14, we will be staying in Kennebunk for a night, and we will spend 3 nights in Camden Hill State Park.

Now, we are a bit stuck...We are looking for other suggestions (both areas to visit and campsites) for the remainder of the trip.

Neither of us have been to Maine before so we are open to suggestions. We want to visit Acadia but haven't found a good campsite that still has space available.

We are traveling from Philly so other stops along the way that are a-must would also be greatly appreciated!

We like good food, hiking, biking, and will be traveling by car.
posted by allthingsconsidered to Travel & Transportation around Maine (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Try the bold coast. Less touristy than Acadia and points south.
posted by seemoreglass at 3:10 PM on July 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've never camped in Maine, but I heartily recommend Pie In The Sky Bakery. It's a shop run out of an old house on Rt. 1 in Cape Neddick, just south of Ogunquit. All the pies are made fresh, by hand, every day. The couple that owns it were chefs in New York back in the 80s, then quit the big city life to run their little pie shop in Maine. Charming story, charming location, absolutely fantastic pies and baked goods.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:24 PM on July 21, 2013

Have you checked if spots on Isle au Haut are also booked? That might be a good alternative, it's a beautiful and remote place.

Depending on how far you want to drive, Moosehead Lake / Baxter State Park are the inland yin to Acadia's coastal yang. Should be lots of camping available out there.
posted by one_bean at 3:54 PM on July 21, 2013

We stayed at that campground last August on our move to Maine. It's really lovely and the view from the top is quite charming. Drive into town and walk around - it's tiny but there are things to see (and a bar right on the water if you want to stop for an admittedly over-priced beer). Also drive into Rockland and walk around there. There's a ferry to the islands in the bay there and if you can get a spot, that might make a good day trip out and back (I have heard the wait times are kind of crazy).

Camden is only 2 hours from Acadian NP so you can drive there and back in a day with time to hike. There are a ton of hikes to go on in the park. I've only been on a couple but I haven't heard any are bad (if you like hiking). There are some with ladders over parts of the trail because it's so steep - those are the ones I want to go on next.

Owl Head has a neat transportation museum with old cars, planes and motorcycles if that's your kind of thing.

Belfast has a great brewery, ice cream place and cheese shop (all separate).

Portland apparently has amazing food but I haven't been yet so I'll leave that to someone else.

Bangor/Orono is probably not worth your time visiting but if you think you'd like to come up, I can give you very specific recommendations.
posted by hydrobatidae at 3:59 PM on July 21, 2013

Pie in the Sky is massively overpriced -- it's very good, not fabulous, and especially not at what they're charging you ($35/pie). They used to be rude, but I haven't gone there in ages so perhaps they've mellowed.

But right near Kennebunk there's a fantastic ice cream place that is delicious and reasonable.
posted by jeather at 4:15 PM on July 21, 2013

I agree w/seemoreglass re: the Bold Coast, but it is a bit of a hike. We've camped several times at Cobscook Bay State Park and it's great, especially if you want to kayak.

On MDI, we've liked Quietside Campground and Mount Desert Island Campground, though we always go in late September or early October well after the high season is over.

If you're into food and want to treat yourselves to a nice dinner, check out Primo in Rockland - about 30 minutes south of Camden.
posted by sriracha at 4:45 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In Camden? Make reservations for Long Grain. (Link to NY Times article: You will need reservations, trust me.) It's a delightful little restaurant that makes awesome food, and it will not break the bank. The Camden Deli gets good reviews, too.

If you do end up heading past Acadia, Wiscasset is a great little town for stretching your legs, and enjoying lobster rolls and the tiny gourmet grocery/wine shop.

If you like art at all and you find yourselves in Searsport, there is an unbelievable art book store (with some intelligent fiction and other erudite topics) called Penobscot Books. They recently built an entire special room with Asian art and artifacts, which is unlike anything you'll see in any bookstore on the East Coast.

And what hydrobatidae said about both Camden and Rockport.

posted by metarkest at 4:45 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

On your way up, certainly check out Tandem Coffee Roasters. They're new kids in Portland, ME and their cafe is probably the most beautiful cafe space in New England. Coffees good too, and worth stocking up on for a camping trip.
posted by furnace.heart at 4:54 PM on July 21, 2013

In the Camden area I would recommend hiking Maiden's cliff. It's a pretty short hike but there are other trails which you can take from the top, one of which I think goes to Camden Hills State Park. The trail head is off route 52. After you hike down, take a right out of the trial head parking lot and drive until you see a pull off on the right--probably a quarter mile or so. Stop, cross the road, and climb over the guard rail and down the rocks. This is the best place to swim in lake magunticook.

Also, walk the breakwater in Rockland, it's just past the Samoset Resort.

Check Sheppard's Pie in Rockport for food, and Three Tide's/Marshall Wharf Brewery in Belfast. Primo is a great restaurant in Rockland, but pricey.

Acadia is a great park and a great place to camp. Keep trying and hopefully a camp site will open up. If you make it to Acadia, you can take the great head trail down to sand beach to skip the entrance fee.

I grew up on an Island near Camden, memail me if you have any more area specific questions.
posted by unreasonable at 5:31 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

From Camden, head up route 1 about 15-20 minutes to Lincolnville Beach. On the right side of the road (beach side) you'll see the Lobster Pound Restaurant, and McLaughlin's Lobster Shack on the opposite end of the beach. Both have excellent seafood, but having worked at both long ago, I recommend McLaughlin's picnic area over the sit-down restaurant. You can have lunch while you wait for the ferry to take you to Islesboro. Nice for a day trip, but I don't know if they allow camping or not.

In Camden, you must stop in at Cappy's for a bite. Their slogan is, "eventually, everyone ends up at Cappy's", so if you don't go there it won't be true anymore. Grab some snacks and a drink while you wait to board the Schooner Olad for a trip around the bay.

Peter Ott's is my favorite restaurant in Camden; a little on the pricey side, but great food, and one of the few places that still has a salad bar! A couple good gift shops: The Smiling Cow and Once a Tree.

Have fun! Midcoast Maine is one of the loveliest places on earth :)
posted by Koko at 5:34 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, seconding unreasonable's recommendation of the breakwater in Rockland; take a picnic lunch out to the lighthouse (not if it's too windy out though).
posted by Koko at 5:37 PM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @sriracha we were able to book 2 nights at Quietside Campground!
@metarkest - Long Grain looks exactly like our dream meal. I have their number stored and will surely be making a reservation (maybe several reservations!)

I am really excited for our trip and that is all thanks to these lovely tips!
posted by allthingsconsidered at 7:44 AM on July 22, 2013

If you do stop in Portland, and you make it to Tandem Coffee, check out Bunker Brewing right next door. Cool micro (very micro) brewery. If you're in town for lunch, I really like Artemesia for sandwiches. It's a little hidden, but that's a good thing in this case. If you're around for dinner, there are probably 50 restaurants worth visiting. Fanciest are 555, Fore Street, Emilitsa. Less fancy but still a little upscale: Caiola's, Blue Spoon, Bar Lola, Corner Room, Local 188. Casual: East Ender, Flatbread, any number of pubs in the Old Port.

Have a great time!
posted by that's candlepin at 8:40 AM on July 23, 2013

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