I am one of those many Mainers that grew up “camping”. No, we didn’t use tents, and as my family got more into it, our campers became bigger, with more amenities. I won’t claim we “roughed it” by any stretch (although, two of our campers were a lot scarier to be inside than any tent!). At first, we would stay at Sebago Lake State Park because it was cheap and close to home. Slowly we migrated north, and found campgrounds that offered a bit more (swimming pools and arcades). Soon, my dad bought a bigger boat, and he wanted a campground that would give him a good spot to tie off and also have access to a good fishing spot. This is how we really found the state parks.
Most Maine State Parks do not offer electric hook-ups, so if you don’t have a working generator, even in a camper you are getting closer to “roughing it”. At first, when we would be in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, no cell phone reception meant a weeklong prison sentence. No friends, nothing but the outdoors and books—really? More than a decade since my first Rangeley Lake State Park Experience (the photo for this blog is one I took of the lake while on a camping trip), I have gone back annually. It’s not a good summer vacation without a visit, even if it’s just for a night. Also, just to clarify, cell phone service is spotty, but it’s there, just not so much on the 4g internet speeds.
Why should you think about visiting or camping out at a state park? It’s CHEAP! I bet by now you are sensing a common theme here, huh? You can enjoy water access, hiking trails, and peace and quiet for an average of $14 a night for a Maine Resident (not including electrical hook-ups). Not to mention a single day pass ranges from $2.00-$4.50 for an Adult Maine Resident.
In my humble opinion, it’s a great way to save money and spend time outdoors in a safe and clean environment. Pack that cooler with drinks and sandwiches, and you have a day-trip for at least two that is do-able for less than $20 (not including gas). Go with a group and split gas cost for an even cheaper trip!
As if the cheap cost to visit isn’t incentive enough, free parking is also pretty fantastic. While Old Orchard Beach is definitely fun to visit, parking costs can get out of control on a hot summer day. With ocean-side state parks, you can enjoy the benefits of a sandy beach without the high cost to park.
With a beautiful weekend coming up (capping off an absolutely spectacular week), I hope you find a state park near you to enjoy! You can find a state park near you, or search for a specific park to visit here. Happy travels!
Maine Credit Union League
Marketing & Communications Assistant