Guides

Long Weekend Travel Itinerary for Camping in Maine

by Kendra Clapp OlguínSep 14, 2021

Where to Stay:

For this itinerary, you’ll have two different scenarios to choose from regarding where to camp.

  • In the first scenario, you can stay in the Bangor area from Thursday to Saturday and then change locations to the Acadia National Park area from Saturday to Monday.
  • If you prefer not to move campgrounds and don’t mind long drives, staying at one campground for the duration of the weekend is the alternative option. In this second scenario, I would encourage staying in the Bangor region or at Forest Ridge Campground in Ellsworth as those locations are more centrally located.

With so many activities and areas to explore, I prefer staying nearby instead of logging long hours in the car. By changing campgrounds, you’re not only giving yourself more time to do sightseeing, but you’re also giving yourself more downtime at the campground. For this reason, I’ll be laying out the first scenario for this itinerary, but, by all means, you do you!

Option #1 Near Bangor:

Pleasant Hill Campground in Hermon, Maine

An aerial view of Pleasant Hill Campground in Hermon, Maine.

Pleasant Hill Campground is a medium-sized campground with cabin, RV, and tent campsites available, just a ten-minute drive away from downtown Bangor. Centrally located and with easy access to I-95, the campground makes for a good basecamp for your Maine adventures.

Ways to stay:

  • Rustic Cabin
  • Full Hookup RV Sites
  • Water/Electric RV Sites
  • Pull-Thru RV Sites
  • Back-In RV Sites
  • Group RV Sites
  • Tent Sites

Option #2 Near Bangor:

Cold River Campground in Eddington, Maine

A grassy, wooded campsite at Cold River Campground in Eddington, Maine.

This small woodland campground offers sites and RV rentals for those looking to experience the RV lifestyle. Cold River Campground’s location to the Northeast of Bangor also puts you a little closer to Baxter State Park.

Ways to Stay:

  • RV rental
  • Lodge Accomodation
  • Double Cabin
  • Single Cabin
  • Pul-Thru Deluxe RV Sites
  • Water/Electric RV Sites
  • Full Hookup RV Sites
  • Tent Sites

Option #1 Near Acadia National Park:

Hadley’s Point Campground in Bar Harbor, Maine

A cabin situated in the woods at Hadley's Point Campground in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Just minutes from Acadia National Park and downtown Bar Harbor, the location of Hadley’s Point Campground is prime. While just minutes from the hustle and bustle of the area’s tourism, the campground maintains a quiet, family-friendly environment.

Ways to Stay:

  • ADA Accessible Cabins
  • Cabins
  • Full Hookup RV Sites
  • Water/Electric RV Sites
  • Tent Sites

Option #2 Near Acadia National Park:

Forest Ridge Campground in Ellsworth, Maine

A fifth-wheel travel trailer parked in an RV campsite at Forest Ridge Campground in Ellsworth, Maine.

A 25-minute drive away from the entrance of Acadia National Park, Forest Ridge Campground is a medium-sized campground with ample space for those with big rigs.

Ways to Stay:

  • Full Hookup RV sites
  • Pull Thru RV sites
  • Back In RV Sites
  • Water/Electric RV Sites

Itinerary

DAY 1: Thursday Afternoon

Check into your campground and get settled in. You know the drill. If you’re an RVer, get those levels squared away. If you’re renting a cabin, get cozy! To the tenters out there, get that baby propped up and staked in. Whatever you need to do to feel comfortable, now’s the time to start your trip right.

Visit Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant, Maine

Once situated, make your way to Treworgy Family Orchards in the nearby town of Levant. There you can choose from a variety of activities to partake in. One of the most popular activities is the award-winning Treworgy corn maze, the longest continually-running corn maize whose design varies yearly.

The entrance to the Treworgy Family Orchard corn maze in Levant, Maine.
Cornstalks from the corn maze at Treworgy Family Orchard in Levant, Maine.
Rows of pumpkins on display at the Treworgy Family Orchard in Levant, Maine.

Other things to do at the Treworgy Orchard include walking through the varieties of apple trees, apple-picking, pumpkin-selecting, and visiting the most adorable goats and other farm animals. Oh, and don’t forget about their delicious donuts and apple cider!

A very adorable goat waiting to be pet and fed at the Treworgy Family Orchard in Levant, Maine.
Apples on the tree at the Treworgy Family Orchard in Levant, Maine.

DAY 1: Thursday Late-Afternoon

Visit Stephen King’s House in Bangor, Maine

After filling yourself with treats at the orchard, make your way toward downtown Bangor and visit the ominous mansion of Stephen King. Purchased in 1980, Stephen and his wife Tabitha split their time between here and their other homes. Yet, in 2018, the home became the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation headquarters, where writers’ retreats and residences will be hosted. Regardless of whether or not the pair are living in it, the home will continue to serve as a destination for fans to experience a part of the author’s world.

The street-view of Stephen King's mansion in downtown Bangor, Maine.
The wrought-iron bats that sit on top of Stephen King's fence that surrounds his house in Bangor, Maine.
The statue carved from a dead ash tree in front of Stephen King's house in Bangor, Maine.

In 2020, Stephen and Tabitha unveiled the sculpture on their front lawn done by artist Josh Landry. The sculptor turned a dead ash tree into a piece featuring different books and animals, including the Kings’ dog Molly.

DAY 1: Thursday Evening

After spending the day getting your autumn on, it’s time to make your way back to the campground for some relaxation and time around the campfire. So get out those hotdogs and ingredients for s’mores and stick to what’s simple. Particularly during these chilly fall nights, a little time around the fire with your comfiest sweats on does the soul some good.

A person roasts their marshmallows on top of a campfire with a lantern glowing in the back.
The nighttime depiction of a campsite lit by string lights and a campfire.

DAY 2: Friday Morning

Visit Baxter State Park

Rise and shine, sweetpea. Wake up early and head north to Baxter State Park. If you need a little more motivation than to get your keister moving, the earlier you leave, the better chance you’ll have to see a moose having its morning breakfast. That’s what got me out the door and on my way, at least.

Mt. Katahdin with colorful trees in front of it during the fall in Baxter State Park in Maine.

Baxter State Park is home to Mount Katahdin, a cluster of mountains and Maine’s highest peak. The park is over 200,000 acres with all sorts of bodies of water, including large lakes, waterfalls, and small ponds. One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new park is keeping an eye out for wildlife, and in this area, there’s no shortage of that. Animals that you might see are moose, black bears, deer, river otters, beavers, bobcats, foxes, and more. Obviously, there’s a lot of exploring in the park, but for this trip, we’ll be heading to the Roaring Brook Campground, where the trailhead is for the Sandy Stream Pond trail.

Hike the Sandy Stream Pond Trail to Russell Pond Trail – 2.5 miles, Moderate Difficulty

A woman hikes the Sandy Stream Pond Trail in Baxter State Park and overlooks the pond in the distance.

Park your car at the Roaring Brook Campground parking lot, where you’ll find bathrooms and maps for the area’s trails. Here’s a map of the parking lot and campground. Register before setting out on the trail, cross the stream and turn right at the trail junction to go on the Sandy Stream Pond Trail. This trail will take you halfway around the Sandy Stream Pond, a popular location for moose to go to in the summer and fall months. Be sure to wander off the path to some of the pullouts that overlook the pond and give you a beautiful view of the mountains.

Roaring Brook in Baxter State Park in the Autumn and Fall.
Moose tracks in the mud on the Sandy Stream Pond trail in Baxter State Park.

Remember to look down as moose tracks are easily recognizable in the mud. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any moose, but we saw several tracks that were still exciting to spot.

The Sandy Stream Pond Trail takes you along the eastern side of the pond and then swings west to run into Russell Pond Trail. Once you reach that junction, go left onto the Russell Pond Trail to get back to the parking lot. The Northwestern side of Sandy Stream Pond is protected wilderness, so returning to the parking lot, you won’t be going along the pond. However, you’ll walk under woodland trees of birch and pine and pass over some beautiful bubbling brooks. Eventually, you’ll find yourself back at the bridge where you began.

Sandy Stream Pond seen through pond grass with colorful fall trees in the back and Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park in Maine.

DAY 2: Friday Afternoon & Evening

Enjoy a Campfire Cookout

After driving back from Baxter State Park to the campground, it’s time to get cooking. After driving and hiking, I find that cheese and beans hit the spot- more specifically, Campfire Nachos, Mexican Streetcorn, and Quick Black Beans.

Campfire nachos with black beans and Mexican street corn.

DAY 3: Saturday

After changing campground locations to one that’s closer to Acadia National Park and setting up your campsite, you’ve probably worked up a bit of an appetite. And when in Rome, you do what the Romans do, right? Well, here comes your Maine moment. Yes, it has something to do with lobster.

Eat an Early Dinner at Beal’s Lobster Pier in Southwest Harbor

Lobster rolls sit on top of red and white checkered baskets. At Beal's Lobster Pier in Southwest Harbor.

Beal’s Lobster Pier has been in operation since 1932, and the restaurant served its first customers during its opening in 1969. So yeah, you could say they know what they’re doing when it comes to selling and serving fresh seafood. So grab a couple of lobster rolls, a cup of clam chowder, a piece of Maine blueberry pie, and hell, why not throw it the blueberry soda too. Finally, make sure to sit outside, along the pier, and keep an eye out for a hungry seal looking for scraps from the harbor’s fishing boats.

A woman sits behind a platter full of lobster rolls, blueberry pie, and clam chowder at Beal's Lobster Dock in Southwest Harbor, Maine.

DAY 3: Saturday Evening

Watch the Sunset at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Not far from Beal’s Lobster Pier is the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, a popular spot for Acadia National Park visitors, so get there early as the parking lot is small and fills up fast. The lighthouse was built in 1858 and gives you all of the New England vibes you’re seeking on your camping trip to coastal Maine.

Sunset watchers climb the rocks at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park, Maine.

After parking, you will see a path to the right side that takes you to the tower and lighthouse viewing area. For those looking to get down to the rocks to watch the sunset, be warned that it gets busy, and it’s not exactly easy to get down there. To the left side of the buildings is a path that goes down into the trees. When you take this path, it bears right and leads you to a stairway that goes down the front face of the cliff and to the rocks where you can better see the lighthouse. It’s a tricky but doable climb, so please be careful and proceed with caution.

The silhouette of sunset watchers at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park, Maine.

DAY 4: Sunday Morning

Watch the Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain

The highest point on the east coast and with panoramic views of the glaciated terrain and surrounding islands, watching the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain is the best way to start your last day of the trip. Better yet, it’s accessible by car.

A woman takes a photo from Cadillac Mountain Summit in Acadia National Park in Maine.

Some notes about Cadillac Mountain:

  • Due to its popularity, vehicles must have a reservation from May 26 to October 19 to drive up to the summit.
  • Reservations are $6 per car and entry windows vary depending on the time of day.
  • 70% of reservation availability is released at 10 AM two days ahead.
  • The remaining 30% of reservations for those booking 90 days ahead of their desired date. You know, for those who really plan ahead.
  • Visitors must have a park entrance pass to enter in addition to purchasing the vehicle reservation.
  • Vehicle reservations are per vehicle, not per person. Motorcycles, motor scooters, and mopeds are considered vehicles, and a vehicle reservation is required for each.
The view of the coast and islands from Cadillac Mountain Summit in Acadia National Park in Maine.
The view of Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain and Summit in Acadia National Park in Maine.

DAY 4: Sunday Morning

Eat Breakfast at Cafe This Way in Bar Harbor, ME

Tucked in on one of the side streets of the downtown, the Bar Harbor staple of Cafe This Way happily welcomes the early birds who watched the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain. Well, at least when they open at 7 AM they do. This quirky little spot is known for Kit’s Burrito, a breakfast burrito jam-packed with eggs and veggies that will fuel you up for your next adventure in Acadia.

The street sign of Cafe This Way in downtown Bar Harbor, Maine.

DAY 4: Sunday Afternoon

Hike the Ocean Path Trail in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park’s Ocean Path is a 2.2-mile-long trail, one way or 4.4 miles round-trip, out and back. The great thing about the trail is that you can turn back whenever you want. The path begins from the parking lot of Sand Beach and takes hikers to Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs and ends with Otter Point.

The rocky coast of Acadia National Park in Maine.
Some baby pine trees grow from the stump of a cut-down tree along the Ocean Path in Acadia National Park in Maine.

Some notes on the Ocean Path Trail:

  • Dogs are allowed on this trail! In fact, Acadia National Park is known for being one of the most dog-friendly National Parks. Dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet.
  • It takes about 2-4 hours to walk the trail, depending on how far you go.
  • Ocean Path is accessible from the upper parking lot of Sand Beach to Thunder Hole. From Thunder Hole to Otter Point the trail becomes uneven and granite staircases help bring the trail past Otter Cliffs.
Ocean Path going along the water in Acadia National Park in Maine.
A hiker walks along the Ocean Path Trail in Acadia National Park in Maine.

DAY 4: Sunday Night

Relax at the Campsite and Stargaze

After walking the Ocean Path Trail, make your way back to the campground for some rest and relaxation, the best way to end your Maine camping trip. Whether you’ve picked up dinner on the way to your campsite or plan to make a meal over the fire, remember to look up at the stars. Maine is known for its dark skies and star-gazing.

Whether it’s the night’s sky or the grandness of the rocky coast, Maine’s rugged nature has a way of humbling those who travel and camp in the area. I hope this itinerary helps makes that grandness a little more attainable for you. Happy camping!

A camper sits and enjoys their campfire in front of their Airstream trailer.
The Milky Way seen from a campground in Maine.