Parking Lot Camping In Maine
For those interested in finding a free place to camp but don’t necessarily want to venture down rutted dirt roads and deep into public lands, a handful of businesses across the state offer easy access camping in their parking lots.
Many Walmarts will allow you to park in their lot overnight, though it’s always worth calling ahead to ensure any given establishment is okay with this. Just off of I-295, Freeport Village Station has been friendly to overnight RVers in the past, as has Reversing Falls City Park in Pembroke, Maine.
The Oxford Casino, near Thompson Lake, provides free camping in its parking lot, as does Kittery Trading Post, just off of I-95 as you enter the state from the south. But again, it is always a good idea to check with a local business before choosing to stay the night on their private property, if for no other reason than to avoid a loud knock and lights peering into your rig come nightfall.
Camping On Public Lands
BLM-managed lands offer numerous opportunities for camping under the stars ranging from staying in an RV at a highly developed campground to simply throwing a sleeping bag on the ground in the backcountry. No matter what type of experience you are looking for, you can find it on BLM-managed public lands.
At many locations the BLM provides developed facilities for camping. Campgrounds may include a variety of facilities, such as restrooms, potable water, electrical hookups, picnic areas, garbage cans, tent pads and group shelters. However, many campgrounds do not have all of these amenities and may only have a picnic table and fire ring. Make sure to check the campgrounds website or call the appropriate field office when planning your trip.
Free And Frugal Camping In Maine
Truck Camper Magazine readers share their best recommendations for free and frugal RV camping in Maine. Heres how you explore the Pine Tree State on the cheap.
Above: Free overnight parking is available at L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine
Whenever the Northeast comes up in conversation, money soon follows. Whether were talking about the cost of housing, taxes, fuel or any other standard of living, nobody claims the Northeast is frugal place to live. Well, unless youre a squirrel.
This is why we asked our readers for free and cheap camping opportunities in Maine. We have always wanted to explore Maine, but were concerned about the two C-words cost and crowds. For yours truly, a cramped and expensive campground is the exact opposite of what I enjoy about truck camping. No thanks.
Reading between the lines, it seems that our concerns are legitimate. Unlike the western United States, there are not a lot of free and cheap camping opportunities in Maine . The good news is that there are some in Maine, and they are listed below. Our readers rock.
We will combine these suggested bargains with a smattering of higher-priced campsites and moochdocking with friends. Sprinkle in a few Harvest Hosts locations, and call it an adventure. Look out Pine Tree State. Here we come!
Paul Fraser 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 2017 Northstar Liberty
Editors Note: In a follow-up email we asked Paul what, watching the submarine races meant. Here is his reply:
Above: Camping in the North Maine Woods
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Maine Coast Campgrounds For A Seaside Camping Trip
This article on camping the Maine coast is brought to you by Red Ledge. Red Ledges thunderlight jacket is a top-tier option when it comes to packable, waterproof gear thatll keep you dry throughout your Maine coastal adventure.
The beauty of the Maine coast is defined by rugged cliffs, flourishing wildlife, and the iconic lighthouses that have inspired writers, artists, and outdoor enthusiasts alike for generations. While already well-known for its peaks and inland terrain, Maines coastline is a special place to visit, whether youre a first-time camper or a local looking to get away from the weekend. Between the innumerable coastal towns that offer an eclectic variety of activities to the stunning and nature-rich Acadia National Park, there are thousands of things to do that will keep you and your family or friends occupied for days on end.
For the eager adventurer looking to make a trip of it, weve compiled our top 20 places for camping the Maine coast, ranging from the southern part of the state up into Acadia National Park and beyond.
Pemaquid Point Campgroundnew Harbor Maine
Located in New Harbor, Pemaquid Point is a new campground that offers attractive amenities to families and solo travelers alike. While the campground amenities are as good as it gets, the property also offers access to a premier swimming and kayaking beach, as well as the famous Pemaquid Point lighthouse park. With over 50 RV and tent sites, as well as a dump station, playground, a camp store, and an array of family-friendly games and activities, this campground is a great place to serve as a base camp while you explore the rugged Maine coastline.
The staff is amazing and very hardworking. Family-run campground, we stayed during the 4th of July weekend and they put on a firework display for the campground. It was above and beyond and fun for everybody. It is located close to the coast and Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is right down the road. We rode our bikes to the beach and grocery store everydayIt has everything you need if want to be away from a city. Peace and tranquility, but close enough to attractions and restaurants. The Dyrt camper Kyle S.
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Our Pick: Cathedral Pines Campground Eustis
Cathedral Pines Campground has 115 sites, 98 with electric and water hookups. Campers have access to showers, laundry, a dumping station, WiFi, a 2-mile trail system, and more. $32$40. 207-246-3491. gopinescamping.com. Photographed by Mark Fleming
Until this summer, the only time Id seen Flagstaff Lake was in 2015, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Ill never forget hearing the loons call as the sun set and the stars came out above the long silhouette of Bigelow Mountain. It was surreal to come back to that special place with my wife and our year-old daughter, Rosie, arriving with a trailer in tow for Rosies first-ever camping trip. But as we pulled into Cathedral Pines Campground, I instantly felt the same feeling of awe I had when I first glimpsed Flagstaff Lake.
I took Rosie out of her car seat and pointed at the towering trees around us. The old-growth red pines are found throughout the campground and give the site its name. Rosie looked up and gaped, and I felt lucky to watch my child experience a place of beauty for the first time. We set up our camp chairs and made a fire, and Rosie sat in my lap, entranced by the dancing light.
When we tucked Rosie into bed for the night, I flashed right back to 2015. Back when I was hiker trash, I dozed off to the loons on Flagstaff Lake. Now, my daughter was being soothed to sleep by the same beautiful melody. Nicholas Reichard
Megunticook By The Sea Campgroundrockport Maine
Image from The Dyrt camper Maryanne S.
Megunticook campground is set on Penobscot Bay, a tranquil location well-known for its picturesque views and excellent sailing and windjamming. This popular campground offers 87 campsites and 10 cabins for rent, including a variety of hookups and electricity levels. The Porpoise Point Waterfront area allows campers to view wildlife from the convenience of the campground. The swimming pool and playground are the perfect places for kids to unwind, and nearby Rockland is famous for its Lobster Festival as well as the North Atlantic Blues Festival. Megunticook also offers a weekly lobster bake for lucky guests!
Literally the best campground I have ever been to. Its on the ocean with a beautiful area to hang out by the water. The staff and owners where absolutely delightful and even came to say hello and hang out for a bit. Bathrooms were super clean and the showers are of similar construction to a sauna and it feels like a hot shower outdoors. 11/10 The Dyrt camper Rafi K.
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Schoodic Woods Campgroundwinter Harbor Maine
Image from The Dyrt camper Dan G.
Schoodic Woods is located in Acadia National Park and provides top tier outdoor recreation when it comes to camping the Maine coast. Located on the Schoodic Peninsula, this campground is 1.5 miles southeast of Winter Harbor, just an hours drive from the central portion of the park. For visitors looking to stay a little more local, the Schoodic Peninsula provides a plethora of recreational opportunities, including a six-mile tour loop offering previews of lighthouses and other unique coastal attractions as well as nearly ten miles of trails for hiking and biking around the area. Schoodic Woods campground primarily accommodates tent campers but can receive smaller RVs as well.
We loved this campground! The sites are large and private Schoodic Point and Frazier Point offer breathtaking views and are just a short drive or bike ride away. Our kids loved Frazier Point at low tide and spent hours searching in the tide pools. Sunsets are amazing here as well. The Dyrt camper Shelley B.
This article on camping the Maine coast is brought to you by Red Ledge
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Looking For A Remote Camping Experience With The Convenience Of Easy Access To Your Vehicle
Many public Lands provide car-camping sites in remote settings. These primitive camping sites are reached by traveling over gravel logging roads and generally share the same characteristics of the sites described above. Search for camping in Public Reserved Lands on the Find Parks and Lands feature to explore more.
Remember: Be prepared for changeable weather and variable terrain. Plan outings wisely, don’t exceed your ability or that of anyone in your group, and research where you are going. This link will help you to plan ahead and prepare.
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Four Seasons Camping Area
Address: 927 US-302, Naples, ME 04055Activities:
- Kayak and Canoe on a great and amazing lake
- Use this campground as a base of operations for exploring Maine and the White Mountains
- Stay in a family campground on a great lake with plenty of amenities
Four Seasons Camping Area is a family-focused campground that is located on the shore of Long Lake. The lake is ten miles long of clean, clear water that is midway between the Coast of Maine and New Hampshires White Mountains. So this is a great place to make your base to explore a lot of what Maine has to offer.
Though this is a family campground, it has sites and accommodations that will work for however you want to camp. If you are looking for something more private and secluded they have a site for you that you would enjoy. They have their own marina, with canoes and kayaks to rent. You can even bring your own boat, but they do not tolerate personal watercraft on Long Lake.
Bar Harbor Campgroundbar Harbor Maine
Image from The Dyrt camper Shari G.
Bar Harbor is a family-owned destination that bears the title of being the closest campground to the town of Bar Harbor as well as Acadia National Park, making it a premier destination for visitors hoping to get the full experience when camping the Maine coast. From oceanview sites to pull-thru RV sites to tent sites with basic amenities, Bar Harbor truly has something for everyone on the camping radar.In addition to over 100 campsites, Bar Harbor campground offers a dump station, workout facility, and even a camp store. For families and tour groups looking to get around Mount Desert Island , the Island Explorer shuttle stops at Bar Harbor campground a whopping 24 times a day. Visitors should note that Bar Harbor campground is a no reservation facility, so be sure to arrive early on popular camping weekends!
This is the only campground on Mt. Desert Island near Acadia National Park that is first come, first served. But, come early! Great campsites, lots of options for both tents and RVs, clean bathrooms, 50 cent showers, dishwashing sinks, and a playground for the kiddosit makes for an easy place to retreat to if you are visiting Acadia National Park and/or Bar Harbor. The Dyrt camper Shari G.
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Wolfes Neck Oceanfront Camping Freeport
Utilizing the location, where there is a chance to catch a glimpse of the ocean, lush green, forests full of tall trees, the campground has multiple sites that are different from each other. While East Bay is all about camping in a lovely meadow with RVs, farm stores, and cabins for the convenience of the campers, the Middle Bay area is reserved only for tent camps with a proximity to water bodies. The West Bay is located on a vast uninterrupted ground which is ideal for families. There is one unique spot named Quiet Cove where you can spot a lot of birds as the place is just beside an estuary.
Suitable For: RV, tent, and cabins.
Amenities: Bathrooms, showers, electric hookups, and wifi connection, and rental tent and cabins, and operational farm stores.
Pet Friendly: Yes
Additional Activities: Kayaking, canoeing, and cycling the place hosts many educational activity-driven programs, school field trips and summer camping things.
Operational Season: Throughout the season the camping site is open, but June to August is the most popular season.
Hiking/backpacking In The Wilderness:
Deboullie Public Lands Located in north-central Aroostook County, the 21,871-acre Deboullie Public Lands offer secluded campsites on crystal-clear trout ponds surrounded by low craggy mountains in a sea of forestland. There are over 22 miles of hiking paths, as well as various water-accessible campsites, to be explored.
Public Lands of Nahmakanta In this 43,000-acre public park, a vast network of hiking routes leads tourists along lake coastlines, up to open ledges, and through dense forests. Through Nahmakanta, the Appalachian Trail connects to miles of hiking trails maintained by Maine Parks & Public Lands. Paddlers and hikers have access to six pristine water-accessible campsites on Nahmakanta Lake, as well as several hike-to campsites.
The Bigelow Preserve comprises the whole seven-summit Bigelow Range, including 4,150-foot West Peak, one of only ten Maine peaks above 4,000 feet. On this wonderful public land, the Appalachian Trail and accompanying side routes provide various backpacking possibilities.
Mahoosuc Public Lands & Grafton Notch State Park The 38-mile Grafton Loop Trail, as well as some of the most difficult terrain of the Appalachian Trail, providing a magnificent mountain backdrop for trekking in western Maine.
Cutler Coast Public Lands hours of tough hiking through a boreal forest and along an undeveloped coastline lead to basic campsites located above stunning coastal cliffs on an untouched stretch of Atlantic coast.
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Free Maine Boondocking Spots Big Eddy Dead River
Management: Public Forest Service
The road in is Paved. Rangeley, ME area campsite is open all year, when accessible. There are 1-5 Free Maine Camping Spots at this location and the maximum RV length is 15 feet. You may stay 14 days at Rangeley, ME area campsite. They are located just after you cross the bridge over the Dead River on the left side of the road. You only need a permit if you plan to have a fire.
Lobster Buoy Campsitessouth Thomaston Maine
Image from The Dyrt camper Chad G.
This well-established campground is perfect for campers seeking a more remote experience while camping the Maine coast. Lobster Buoy includes 40 RV sites as well as 2 cottages, many of which offer direct ocean views. Campsites include 20 and 30 amp power as well as water service. While not officially marked, the eclectic campground offers a tent camping area where guests are able to stay if not camping in an RV. Founded in 1969, this campground has maintained its reputation as a small, family-friendly camping area without much fanfare or bells and whistles. For visitors hoping to do some exploring along with their peaceful camping experience, downtown Rockland is just minutes away.
One of my favorite places to be. The ocean views are great. Its very laid back. Not a lot of amenities but you dont need anything. Just a tent, kayak and a camp chair. Youre good to go! The Dyrt camper Chad G.
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Free Maine Boondocking Spots
In most metropolitan areas, boondocking is prohibited. Fortunately, free Maine boondocking is simple due to the quantity of public lands and the states favorable attitude toward wilderness and dry camping.
Boondocking is normally permitted in Maines parks and public lands, and there are numerous distant, rustic campgrounds. However, its worth noting that theyre virtually entirely first-come, first-served. Some places accept reservations, although only on a very limited basis. Checking with specific campgrounds, including state and national parks, is the best method to discover free Maine boondocking .
Dixons Campgroundcape Neddick Maine
Image from The Dyrt camper Steve V.
Set in Cape Reddick, Dixons campground is a large and popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts looking to experience the beauty of camping the Maine coast. Its 87 sites are divided between RVs, tents, and yurts, meaning that everyone has a place to stay to fit their needs. Dixons even offers a handful of seasonal sites for longer-term RV camping. Amenities include a pool, shower facilities, a pond and wooded areas for walking and hiking, and a playground for families with younger children. The campground is quite close to Nubble Lighthouse, as well as the infamous Ogunquit Playhouse.
Great, well maintained campground! The sites are close together but most spots are tucked neatly among the trees so it still feels like youre in the woods. Other campers were very friendly and respectful we were there for the Fourth of July. Bathrooms are modern and clean. The Dyrt camper Jenny M.
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