Summer’s on its way out and fall is slowly, but surely creeping in. We can feel it in the morning and then again when the sun is going down. But, that doesn’t mean our days of being outside are coming to a close. Nope! Fall ushers in an entirely new variety of ways to enjoy Maine. While summer camping is great, this shoulder season is arguably even better. The crowds are thinning out and the leaves are beginning to change. The cooler temps also mean cozy campfires! So, rather than hunkering down inside, head back out for some fall camping. These rustic spots are some good options, but keep exploring and finding your own. Then, once you do, let us know where they are!
1. Duck Harbor Campground, Isle Au Haut
These five primitive camping spots on Isle Au Haut are about as rustic as it gets. Off the beaten path, Isle Au Haut offers calm and beauty with the only accessibility being via the mailboat. You'll need to reserve in advance and these are only available until October 15th. But, we have a feeling even the most rustic among us would prefer not to be backwoods camping after that date anyway.
2. Lobster Buoy Campsites, South Thomaston
About seven miles south of Rockland is one of the oldest and loveliest campsites in the area. While not necessarily rustic, this beachside spots on Waterman Beach feature individual campsites that are no more than 150 yards from the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The 40 sites can accommodate a mix of tents and RVs and every site comes with grassy areas, a picnic table and a fire ring. You'll also find hot showers here, which can be nice for those chilly Maine mornings.
3. Gray's Homestead Oceanfront Campground, Boothbay Harbor
The only oceanfront campground in Boothbay Harbor is also one of the nicest in the state. People rave about the way the spaces are lined up - just as nature allowed, rather than the uniform plots you might find at a typical campground. If you can't get a camping spot on the beach, don't fret! They are all in close proximity to the water - meaning you can wake up in your tent and be kayaking in the water in no more than ten minutes!
4. Hermit Island Campground, Phippsburg
If you're looking for the perfect coastal camping spot, Hermit Island Campground might be it. While not an island exactly (it's actually connected to Phippsburg via a small road), it does feel like you're a bit off the beaten path. During the season, ocean-view spaces cost about $60 for the weekend, but you can grab yourself a "value" space for about $40. The good news is that any space during the off-season is only $37. So, it's perfect for the season we're in now!
5. Backcountry Camping at Baxter State Park, Millinocket
It doesn't get much more rustic than some backcountry camping in Maine. There are a few backcountry camping spots in Baxter. One is Chimney Pond, which requires a 3-mile hike from the Roaring Brook campsite. If you're hiking Katahdin, you'll need to pass Chimney Pond on the way, so we think you might as well give it a go. There are nine lean-tos, as well as a ten-person bunkhouse. The more adventurous can plan a stay at another backcountry site, Russell Pond. This one requires a longer hike of about 7 miles from Roaring Brook. The area includes five lean-tos, three tent sites and an eight-person bunkhouse. Click
for the other backcountry spots in the park.
6. Lake Pemaquid Campground, Damariscotta
This is a wonderful inland lake camping spot. Seven Mile Lake Pemaquid features over 15 miles of water for fishing, swimming and overall exploration. You'll be able to access Biscay Pond, Duck Puddle Pond and Pemaquid River by boat from here as well. Plus, you'll get the added bonus of all those beautiful leaves to peep.
7. Somes Sound View Campground, Hall Quarry
Head to Mount Desert Island for some of the saltiest camping around. Somes will have you feeling like you're in the woods, but with the added benefit of that salty air. A stay means being treated to views of Sargent and Norumbega mountains in Acadia National Park, as well as access to everything the park has to offer - including hiking trails and leisurely strolls on the Carriage Roads. This place is surely one of the best for rustic, fall camp vibes.
8. The Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Allagash
If you want to try your hand at some real camping in Maine head here - to one of the most beautiful wilderness areas you'll find in New England. Forest rangers look after individual campsites located at the shores of each lake and pond that is part of the 92-mile-long Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW). A trip here means the opportunity to see bald eagles, osprey, moose and deer. Some of the campsites have trails leading to places that will show remnants of logging operations from the early to mid-1900s.
9. Cobscook Bay State Park, Dennysville (approximately)
Cobscook Bay State Park is one of the most unique in Maine. We recently mentioned that it has one of the most dramatic tidal ranges in all of the state - averaging about 24 feet. But it's also an incredible place to camp if you love rustic exploring. The narrow opening to the sea, along with its craggy shoreline and few rivers and streams to feed make it unique. The nutrient rich Gulf of Maine water comes in, which stimulates plankton growth. This leads to all sorts of wildlife in the form of land and sea creatures.
There are numerous areas designated for camping, offering over 100 actual spots. Many of these are at the shoreline. The sites can accommodate anything from small pop-up tents to vehicles over 35'. You'll find Adirondack shelters as well
10. Searsport Shores Ocean Campground, Searsport
We're pretty excited to have another opportunity to include these guys in a camping article. Rustic is truly in the eyes of the beholder and to many, this place is as luxurious as it gets. But, for those of you new to camping, this is a great entry point. Not quite rustic, but it's absolutely wonderful! Known to be one of the best campgrounds in Maine, this spot on the Penobscot Bay is located smack between Bar Harbor and Camden village.
With the ability to accommodate RVs along the ocean, as well as tents, you won't be far from any of the water activities that make vacations in Maine great. The oceanfront location means you can kayak right from the beach, hike the nature trails, fish from the beach, and explore tidal pools. There are tons of activities for kids and adults here as well. So plan to stay as long as you can. And, as an added bonus, the Old Time Music Campout is coming up from September 23rd to 25th. Check them out on Facebook for more information.
Now that we’ve got you thinking about fall, this is a good time to cram in some of those last minute things you can truly only do during the summer in Maine. Our first choice? Lobster rolls! Check out
this article on some of the best places to snag a lobster roll in Maine before it’s too late and you have to wait until next year!