THE HEART OF VACATIONLAND: SUMMER IN MID-COAST MAINE
The license plates in Maine proudly declare that their state is Vacationland. After one RV trip along Maine’s rugged and beautiful coast, you might just fall in love and call it your Vacationland, too. Coastal Maine is one of those places that gets under your skin and then moves deeper into your soul. It’s a place to return to again and again, the perfect place to dream about on cold winter nights when your RV is covered with snow.
Maine has 250 miles of coastline as the crow flies, but over 3,400 miles when you account for all the rocky twists and turns. The geographic diversity allows RV travelers to choose their own adventure. Do you want to hike, fish, kayak, or swim? Maybe just sit on a beach and gaze at the sparkling blue Atlantic? Are you looking for craft beers, artisanal coffee roasters, and farm-to-table cuisine? Or just a hot lobster roll bathed in butter from a roadside shack? No matter what you want, coastal Maine’s combination of relaxed urban culture and outdoor adventure is hard to beat.
Some love to visit Portland, in southern coastal Maine, for its boutique shopping, ultra hip food scene, and easy access to lighthouses and sandy beaches. Other travelers head farther north to Acadia National Park to enjoy epic ocean views and world-class hiking.
But we know that nothing beats a summer road trip along Mid-Coast Maine. Why? Because of towns like Boothbay Harbor, Camden, Lincolnville, and Belfast. These unique, charming, and beautiful towns form the heart and soul of Vacationland.
Start your tour of Mid-Coast Maine by taking a long and relaxing stroll (or trolley ride!) through the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens 250-acre facility. Be sure to visit the whimsical and enchanting children’s garden. The mazes, outdoor reading rooms, and water features might just be the highlight of your entire trip to Maine, even if you’re not a kid.
You could spend the entire day at these gardens, but we recommend that you save a few hours to take a relaxing train ride at the Boothbay Railway Village, just seven miles away. Don’t miss their classic car collection that includes Fords, Chevrolets, Jeeps, and Rolls-Royces from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
Just an hour to the North, in the center of the Mid-Coast region, you will find Camden, the self-proclaimed “Jewel of the Coast.” Camden sits on the edge of a sheltered harbor dotted with sailboats, and is framed by gently rolling mountains to the west. This location is classic calendar-worthy Mid-Coast Maine at its best. Bring your camera, your watercolors, and your journals filled with poetry because this cozy town will inspire your inner artist. Or just bring your kayaks, a sense of adventure, and a hearty appetite for seafood. Either way, you’ll leave wanting more.
Downtown Camden is truly a Jewel, but we adore nearby Camden Hills State Park even more. It is one of the best state campgrounds in all of New England. You can choose from deeply wooded sites nestled along the bottom of Mount Battie, or you can choose a site along a gigantic grassy field. We camp on the sites along the field because we can see our boys run wild and free while we relax and enjoy the view. Hiking or driving to the top of Mount Battie is also a must. The iconic view of downtown Camden and the harbor is one that will stay with you for years after your visit.
Just minutes up the road from Camden Hills State Park is the sleepy little village of Lincolnville. If you blink you’ll miss it. But we always make sure to stop here for three very important reasons: swimming, lobster, and coffee. Lincolnville has one of the area’s few sandy beaches, perfect for sunning and swimming. This little beach is right next door to McLaughlin’s, a classic roadside lobster shack. The food is good and reasonably priced, but the outdoor picnic area is the star of the show giving the kids room to run and play while we enjoy our lobster rolls and bowls of clam chowder.
We don’t leave Lincolnville without grabbing a hot cup of coffee and a bag of gourmet beans from Green Tree Coffee & Tea. There is nothing like the smell of good coffee when it fills your RV in the morning and Green Tree won’t disappoint. We recommend the full-bodied Sumatra based “Snow Dog” blend.
Every visitor has a favorite Mid-Coast Maine town, and for us Belfast wins the award. We love its pubs, bookstores, quirky and creative public playgrounds, and half-mile waterfront harbor walk.
But most of all, we love a little gem of a campground called Moorings Oceanfront RV Resort, nestled snug as a bug on a hill that slopes down gently towards the warm and swimmable water of Penobscot Bay. A legendary restaurant resides right on the grounds of the campground and most travelers agree that Papa J’s and the Lobster Bar is offbeat and phenomenal. Enjoy an extra glass of wine with your meal since you can walk right back to your RV. This campground has limited amenities, but the beauty of the bay made us want to book an extra week.
On cold winter nights we dream of taking a road trip up along the winding waterways and coastal enclaves of Mid-Coast Maine. If we close our eyes we can almost taste the lobster, smell the salty sea, and feel the sun on our wet skin. Almost.