Last Friday afternoon I came home from another very long week at work and told John I was ready for a camping trip. Trying to score a camping site (without a reservation) in a Maine state park on a beautiful weekend in Maine is pretty close to trying to win the lottery. We decided we would get up Saturday morning, pack our camping gear and try to get a “non-reservable” campsite. We called ahead and found out 3 sites might be opening. We were at the gate waiting in line at 10am and were very lucky to score an excellent site for one night.
Camden Hills State Park is about 1-hour west of Bar Harbor and is worth a stop for those traveling to Acadia National Park. This state park is one of only two in Maine that has RV sites with water and electric hook ups. Camden is a quaint New England town with a nice main street full of shops and restaurants. The state park is a great place for hikers. If you are looking for a couple of days just to relax and hike this would be the spot. There are over 9 miles of trails in the park with many leading to great overlooks of camden harbor and beyond. There is even an autoload to the top of Mount Battie for those who prefer to drive to summits rather than hike.
We were in site 21 which is a very large site without hook ups that could accommodate a small RV. The best hook up site we saw for a larger RV was site 58, it even had a water view! Not bad for $35 a night in the peak of summer in coastal Maine.
Our 24-hour getaway felt like a mini vacation. We hiked to the summit of Mt. Megunticook on day 1. This is a 3.8 mile round trip hike from the campground that has about 1000 feet of vertical rise. The true summit is viewless but the ledges just below the summit have excellent views down to Mt. Battie and the harbor. The evening was spent lounging by the campfire. The campground sells wood that is processed by prisoners at the Maine State Prison and all proceeds go to improvements at the Camden Hills State Park! In the morning we hiked up the auto road to the summit of Battie to take in the sunrise. The gate to the auto road does not open until after 0800 so this is the only way to get to the top. We returned to our campsite and enjoyed a morning fire with breakfast before breaking camp. It was still early when we were packed up, so we decided to visit the day use area across the road from the campground. In all of our years of going to Camden Hills state park we had never visited this area. This is a great location! This part of the park goes straight down to the water and the beautiful rocky shoreline. There are picnic tables, charcoal grills and benches scattered along the shore path. This is an area we will visit the next time we are camping here. It would be a great location to watch sunrise. There are even “overflow” bathrooms and showers here for when it gets busy at the main campground.