Maine Coast Primitive Campsites
Sea spray crashes against rocky cliffs lined with towering pines along much of the Maine Coast, providing an ideal getaway for those torn between vacationing at the ocean or in the forest. Hiking trails and water trails wind along the shoreline and its coastal islands, beckoning the outdoors enthusiast to explore for days.
For those wishing to get back to nature, primitive campsites in many of these wild regions provide basic conveniences — such as a privy and a fire pit — with a minimum of modern encroachment.
Boat the Trail
The Maine Island Trail stretches 375 miles along Maine’s coastal waterways. Travel the trail by motorboat or sea kayak to reach more than 200 campsites where you can snuggle away on a remote shoreline for a private, primitive experience.
As access to private islands changes from year to year, the Maine Island Trail Association publishes an annual guidebook detailing campsites. One of the outermost islands on the trail is Jewell Island, a 221-acre former military installment. The island provides outhouses, hiking trails and campsites along the island’s perimeter.
Hike the Wild Coast
The Cutler Coast Public Reserve lies along the easternmost part of the state, about 110 miles from Bangor. The public reserve provides three primitive campsites on bluffs overlooking the sea. Arrive early in the day and check the register at the trail head to determine how many hikers plan to overnight at the first-come, first-served campsites.
The sites lie at the outer edge of a 10-mile loop with a composting toilet. There is no water available at the campsites, so bring plenty of your own.
In the National Park
Acadia National Park provides visitors opportunities to enjoy both developed and undeveloped sites. Those desiring a primitive site can ride a ferryboat to Isle au Haut. The remote island has five primitive campsites situated at Duck Harbor that are open between mid-May and mid-October.
Each site has a three-sided shelter with a roof and floor, picnic table and fire ring. A composting toilet and hand-operated water pump lie nearby. You may use a tent inside the 8-foot-by-12.5-foot shelter, but may not pitch it outside. You must make reservations to camp on the island.
With Amenities Nearby
If you like the thought of getting back to nature, but still like a hot shower from time to time, reserve a site at one of Maine’s coastal state parks. The campgrounds have primitive, no-frills sites with picnic tables and fire rings. Bring your own boat and pack your tent to stay at Warren Island State Park where a dozen primitive sites scatter along the island’s shore.
The island’s pier and courtesy moorings lie a half-mile from the public boat launch on Islesboro Island. Showers, laundry, ice, snacks and gas are available at the boatyard. Cobscook Bay State Park has walk-in tent sites overlooking Whiting Bay, Broad Cove and Burnt Cove with parking less than 100 feet from your site.
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