Put a coastal Maine camping trip on your calendar to cool off from the summer heat.
With high temperatures in the upper 70s, coastal Maine is a terrific place to escape the summer heat. All along the coastline of this picturesque state are small fishing villages, charming towns and lighthouses to explore. So pack up the RV and embark on a summer road trip to remember with these recommendations.
Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach and Portland
Your first stop on a coastal Maine tour should be in Kennebunkport. Best known as the summer home of President George H.W. Bush, there is something for everyone in this town. Start your day in Dock Square at the center of town where you’ll find a host of boutiques and local craft shops. After lunch head over to Goose Rocks Beach and don’t let its name fool you. The beach is actually set on a sweeping cove with a sandy shoreline.
If you’re looking for a traditional beach town complete with a pier and old-fashioned amusement park, pay a visit to Old Orchard Beach. Palace Playland is a 5-acre family amusement park featuring 28 rides and Maine’s largest arcade. With water slides, kiddie rides and roller coasters, there is something for everyone. The nearby Old Orchard Beach Pier is home to restaurants and fun stores.
Another great stop in southern coastal Maine is Portland. Don’t miss the oldest lighthouse in the state, Portland Head Light. The light station sits on a head of land at the entrance of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor. The museum, located within the former Keepers’ Quarters, has several lighthouse lenses and interpretative displays explaining its history. The 90-acre Fort Williams Park is adjacent to the lighthouse and offers hiking trails and historic structures.
Wild Acres RV Resort & Campground is the perfect base for your southern Maine adventures. Set on over 90 acres, Wild Acres has nature trails, heated pools, playgrounds, miniature golf and their very own Aerial Adventure Park featuring seven ziplines. There is so much to do, you’ll have a hard time moving up the coast to our next stop.
Boothbay Harbor, Monhegan Island and Camden
Don’t miss Boothbay Harbor on your midcoast Maine stop. A highlight is the quintessential Maine coastline fringed with evergreen forests and rocky outcroppings. Be sure to take a sightseeing cruise for a chance to enjoy views of puffins, seals, lobster boats and lighthouses. In addition to the natural beauty, Boothbay has some top-notch attractions like the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and the Maine State Aquarium. You can also check out the Boothbay Railway Village, an interactive history museum that depicts life in a rural Maine village from 1850 to 1950.
You absolutely cannot miss a daytrip to Monhegan Island. Just 10 miles offshore, this mountainous island has about 70 residents who live within a square mile of spectacularly scenic terrain with no cars! Monhegan has been a summer haven for artists who enjoy its slow pace and unspoiled beauty for over a hundred years. The highlight of any visit is the 17 miles of paths that wander through cathedral pines and along rocky cliffs, the highest of which is Black Head towering 160 feet above the sea. One of the easiest trails from the small village heads to the 1824 Monhegan Island Lighthouse.
Less than an hour north of Boothbay Harbor is Camden. Before heading into the town, stop and view it from afar at Camden Hills State Park. You can hike or drive to the 800-foot summit of Mount Battie to experience the sweeping views of Penobscot Bay and Camden Harbor.
After seeing Camden from above, drive down to the city for lunch and a walk around the harbor. Downtown Camden is a colorful mix of upscale shops, general stores, antique shops, seafood eateries and cafes. If you’re old enough you’ll recognize it as the setting for the 1957 film “Peyton Place.” Camden truly reflects what everyone thinks of when they picture a small New England seaside village. The harbor features an outstanding mix of small sailboats, majestic windjammers and fishing boats.
Stay at Shore Hills Campground & RV Park in Boothbay while exploring midcoast Maine. Choose from waterfront or wooded sites in this peaceful campground far enough away from the tourist attractions to enjoy a bit of solitude. Be sure to take advantage of their shuttle to Boothbay Harbor to avoid the crowded parking lots.
Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor
No visit to coastal Maine would be complete without a visit to Acadia National Park. In fact, you could spend an entire vacation at the park and the town of Bar Harbor. Leave your car at the campground and take one of the seven Island Explorer bus routes connecting hotels and campgrounds to the national park. Hop on and off to enjoy your pick of more than 120 miles of hiking trails it has to offer. One highlight is the flat 2-mile Ocean Path from Sand Beach to Otter Cliff. Along the way you’ll experience a sandy beach, tide pools and Thunder Hole. If you time it right, you’ll understand where the name comes from as you hear the ocean’s loud boom as the waves crash into this small cavern. The trail ends at the 110-foot-high Otter Cliff, a popular rock climbing spot.
Don’t leave the park without a visit to Cadillac Mountain. At 1,530 feet, it the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to view sunrise in the United States from October 7 through March 6. It is one of over 20 mountains on Mount Desert Island and offers fantastic views any time of the day.
You might be tempted to spend all your time in the national park, but I recommend you take the time to explore the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. You’ll gain an understanding of the history and culture of Maine’s Native people, the Wabanaki. This first-class museum, the only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state, brings together oral traditions and historical accounts with objects, photographs and multimedia.
Timberland Acres RV Park is a perfect choice to camp near Bar Harbor, especially if you want to take advantage of the free local transportation. It is situated in an ideal location between the town of Ellsworth where you can stock up at the grocery stores, and a mere 14 miles to the park entrance in Bar Harbor. This wooded retreat is an ideal location to call home as you experience the local area.