Photo by Trent Bell

The Perfect Maine Summer | Camp Under the Stars

Camping is a Maine summer staple. From island camping to family-friendly lakeside sites, these campgrounds are some of the most enjoyable across the state.

Hermit Island

Hermit Island Campground, located in Phippsburg, made me want to move to Maine. My family started going every summer when I was eight or nine, but our connection to the place started with my paternal grandmother, who would camp there in the off-season before I was born. Nestled between the trees and the ocean, Hermit Island was my escape from reality as a child. My home in New Hampshire felt like a world away. As our schedules grew busier and I went to college, my family stopped visiting Hermit Island. I missed it deeply, and in part because of the love for Maine I developed at Hermit Island, I moved here. Last summer, for the first time in six years, I returned to the campground. I went in the off-season, like my grandmother would have, and found a beautiful site overlooking Casco Bay and the same crashing waves that drew her decades ago. —Kate Gardner

Rangeley Lake State Park

A popular western Maine campground, Rangeley Lake State Park has 50 spacious campsites, including many next to the lake, and views of Saddleback Mountain. Several hiking trails are accessible within its 869 acres, and four-wheeling outside of the park is a popular activity for locals and visitors. Rangeley Lake is also a destination for avid anglers, with large populations of wild brook trout and landlocked salmon. —Emma Simard

Lily Bay State Park

We decided on a whim last summer to spend a long weekend camping at Lily Bay State Park. After booking the last available site, my boyfriend and I arrived at dusk and hauled our gear down a wooded path to our campsite. The expansive peninsula sheltered by trees stretched out to a sloped edge leading to the water. Moosehead Lake loomed before us. That night we sat by the fire, drinking beer and listening to the call of a single loon. The weekend was spent in quiet solitude, disconnected from the world. The lake is central to the place, but the overcast sky kept me on land. On our final day, while my boyfriend was at the showers, I entered Moosehead Lake alone. The cool water was shocking, especially with no sun to warm me, but I swam until the lake floor disappeared. Sinking my face into the water until my eyes were level with the surface, I looked across the expanse and let myself feel small. —Kate Gardner

Lake Pemaquid Campground

With cabins, cottages, and more than 200 campsites available, Lake Pemaquid Campground is perfect for families in search of a few amenities while camping. Campers can spend their time swimming, boating, or fishing in Lake Pemaquid. There’s also an onsite hot tub, sauna, and pool for those seeking a safer swimming environment. A snack bar with an extensive menu and a large camp store will keep even the hungriest of guests satisfied. Regularly scheduled events and entertainment ensure that there is never a dull moment while camping here. —Kate Gardner

Mount Blue State Park

Resting on the shores of Webb Lake, Mount Blue State Park Campground is filled with opportunities for exploring the area. Sweeping views of Mount Blue and the surrounding state park can be seen from Webb Lake. There are plenty of hiking trails available, and Tumbledown Mountain is only a 15-minute drive away. The campground itself is surrounded by 10,000 acres of state-owned public lands, and visitors are welcome to rent boats, fish, and go swimming. Horseback riding, mountain biking, and four-wheeling are also popular activities on the Center Hill trail, which offers 25 miles of multi-use paths. —Emma Simard

Blackwoods Campground

On the outskirts of Acadia National Park sits Blackwoods Campground. This is the ideal campground for travelers looking to get the most out of a trip to Acadia. The majority of Blackwoods’s sites are for tents, but some sites are available to accommodate RVs. A local shuttle bus provides free service from the campground, and a trailhead for Cadillac Mountain is short walk away. A 27-mile loop through the park offers views of the ocean shoreline, surrounding forests, and mountains. —Emma Simard

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