Camping in Maine offers the best of the Northeast in one place. You’ll get to explore rugged wildlands one day and coastal fishing towns the next. While much of camping in Maine is no-frills frontcountry camping, the Pine Tree State still offers plenty to see and enjoy for all!
What’s the Best Time of Year to Go Camping in Maine?
There are two specific times when most visitors hit the road with their sights set on Maine: summer and fall. From roughly June to August, you’ll get good summer weather for the most part. While you get some warm days and humidity, the state is comfortable overall in the summer.
The first few weeks of September won’t be as crowded, but from the last week of September into October, fall tourism picks up. Fall is undoubtedly the most beautiful time of year to go camping in Maine, so fighting crowds may be worth it. If you want to skip the crowds, visit Maine in the off-season or hop in during the middle of September between the two big tourist rushes.
What Are the Top Outdoor Activities in Maine?
Hiking and camping in Maine are the most popular outdoor activities in the state. However, with so much coastline to enjoy, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing also make for great pastimes.
What Are the National Parks in Maine?
Routinely one of the most visited national parks in the U.S., Acadia National Park is easily the biggest draw for hiking and camping in Maine. The waterfront is comfortable in the summer, while hiking and photography opportunities are always best during the fall. Hikers will want to see Cadillac Mountain, and Park Loop Road is one of the best scenic drives in the state.
This national monument centers around Mount Katahdin, which would be an attraction in its own right if it wasn’t already the end of the Appalachian Trail. Most thru-hikers hit Mount Katahdin starting in September, so expect crowds throughout the summer but especially in the earliest parts of fall.
While Katahdin Woods is most recognized for hiking routes and the mountain itself, it also offers one of the better small spots for camping in Maine. Though there are just 18 campsites, most visitors will just be there for the day, so you might be able to snag a spot.
While much of the state is protected wilderness and public lands, White Mountain National Forest is the only national forest in Maine. The forest stretches across state lines into New Hampshire, but the section in the Pine Tree State offers one of the best opportunities for free camping in Maine.
Visitors traveling through the Bold Coast should make a stop in the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land. This wilderness area offers rugged hiking and camping in Maine’s central-eastern portion, near New Brunswick. This section of the Pine Tree State tends to be a bit harsher than most, so you’ll see fewer trees here, but it does offer a unique look into the ecology of Maine.
What Are Some of the Most Popular State Parks in Maine?
This waterfront park is one of the more popular state parks in Maine’s system. Though the park is named for a pair of Cape Elizabeth Lighthouses, there aren’t actually any lighthouses in the park itself. There are a pair of early 19th-century lighthouses down the street which gave the park its name, with one still being active.
Camden Hills is another popular Maine state park with the majority of traffic heading towards Mount Battle. With hiking and driving options to get to the mountain, you can take as much or little time as you like to enjoy Mount Battle and Camden Hills State Park as a whole. With 107 campsites to choose from, this is one of the broader options for camping in Maine’s state parks.
Reid State Park draws visitors looking for beachfront hiking. As the first state-owned saltwater beach in Maine, Reid State Park has been attracting tourists and travelers since the mid-1940s. The best spot here is Griffith Head, where you’ll get panoramic views of the park and water.
Located in Owls Head, Maine, this state park juts out into the water and offers a popular accessible lighthouse. Owls Head State Park is perfect for visitors who want to add an extra stop but have only a few hours to spare. For those looking for camping in Maine, Owls Head only offers day-use accommodations.
What Are the Top Attractions in Maine?
There’s nothing more associated with a good New England adventure than L.L. Bean. The flagship store is located in Freeport, but beware—if you’re prone to buying outdoor gear you don’t need, you may want to steer clear. It isn’t the only thing to do in the area, though! You’ll be situated near local shops and restaurants, and it’s easy to make a day of it when visiting the flagship store.
This isn’t strictly a beach, but rather a whole town that includes a beach. Old Orchard Beach, Maine, is a resort town with plenty to offer travelers on their way to and from Portland. You’ve got seven miles of beautiful Maine beach to enjoy, but one of the biggest draws is the family-friendly Palace Playland amusement park.
The works of some of the greatest American artists are on display in this museum in Rockland, Maine. While you can stroll through the museum independently, Farnsworth offers enriching docent-led tours of all the major pieces in the collection.
Also referred to simply as the PMA, this is the state’s largest (and oldest) public art institution. It’s been in downtown Portland since 1882! While there are exhibits that are foundational and don’t rotate, expect a new set of experiences every time you visit.
Where’s Some of the Best Food in Maine?
Palace Diner sounds like an oxymoron, but there’s a method to the madness. This welcoming diner is more of a boutique experience than anything else. This modest operation is actually a converted railcar with 15 seats for breakfast and lunch. While small, this establishment is an experience (and the oldest diner in Maine).
Portland, Maine, is a collection of unique, eclectic experiences, and UNION is no different. This New American-style spot offers a full menu of craft cocktails that pair perfectly with the upscale feel. Located in the Press Hotel, it’s a perfect pairing for those spending a luxurious weekend in the hotel itself.
You’ll have a hard time finding a restaurant in Maine with a better view. This long-standing spot offers some of the best seafood in Maine while simultaneously serving panoramic bayfront views. While you can get great lobster anywhere in the state, Dolphin should be on every seafood lover's list.
If you’re looking for breakfast or lunch while visiting Acadia National Park, Side Street is the spot to visit in nearby Bar Harbor. This welcoming, upscale diner-style eatery is a favorite among both travelers and locals, specializing in comfort foods and high-quality seafood.
Maine is one of the more wild and rugged states in the Lower 48, and every adventurer should visit at least once. Camping in Maine offers one of the best nature experiences in the Northeast, igniting the wild side in all who experience it.