RV camping has countless benefits. For starters, there’s the ability to pick up and go whenever and (almost) wherever you want, as well as the modern conveniences an RV offers. However, you don’t necessarily have to take advantage of all those conveniences to thoroughly enjoy yourself in an RV.
, also called dry camping, is camping in an RV without using electricity, water or sewer hookups. If you’re wondering where the part about thoroughly enjoying yourself comes into play, hold that thought.
A large part of the appeal of road trips and RVing is the freedom. But stressing over available campsites and paying ever-increasing daily campground rates aren’t exactly synonymous with freedom. That’s where boondocking comes in. Since you don’t use all your RV’s amenities, you aren’t dependent on a campground’s hookups or other services. And if you’re not dependent on a campground, guess what? You can camp almost anywhere you want.
Once you realize you can camp anywhere, why not consider somewhere off the beaten path? That’s what boondocking is all about
, after all. Maine, the easternmost state in the US, is one such place. The state boasts thousands of lakes and rivers, 17 million acres of forestland
, world-class fishing, pristine beaches, an abundance of wildlife, including moose and bears, and much more. Yet, it’s often overlooked by visitors, meaning trails, lakes and other public lands are rarely crowded—in other words, conditions are perfect for boondocking in Maine.
Can I Go Boondocking in Maine?
Generally, boondocking isn’t permitted in urban areas. Fortunately, finding a place for boondocking in Maine is simple because the state has an abundance of public lands and looks favorably upon backcountry and dry camping
Boondocking on Maine's Parks and Public Lands is generally permitted, and there are tons of remote, rustic campsites. It’s important to note, however, that they are almost exclusively first-come, first-serve
. Reservations are possible at some but on an extremely limited basis. The best way to find boondocking in Maine (and free campsites anywhere
, for that matter) is by checking with individual campgrounds
, including state and national parks.
Top Locations for Boondocking in Maine
Big Eddy Campground in Dead River
To experience authentic boondocking in Maine, head to Big Eddy Campground on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. The campground serves as an excellent basecamp for hiking, fishing, kayaking, whitewater rafting and wildlife viewing. In fact, moose and deer frequently come right into camp!
Big Eddy is four hours north of Portland, two hours from Bangor and 30 minutes away from Baxter State Park
15 RV-only sites with a 30-foot maximum length and another 12 that accommodate smaller trailers. Note that these are dry sites.
More information: Big Eddy Campground
Richardson Public Land
Situated in western Maine’s Rangeley Lakes Region between Mooselookmeguntic and Upper Richardson Lakes, Richardson Public Land comprises 22,000 acres. That includes mountains, forested ridges, and over 21 miles of shoreline. Both lakes sit along the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail
, with endless paddling opportunities.
If you seek peace and quiet, consider boondocking in Maine here, as you’ll find countless miles of hiking and biking trails, pristine fishing waters and plenty of areas to explore by boat or ATV.
There are hundreds of undeveloped campsites across Richardson Public Land, many of them lakefront.
More information: Richardson Public Reserved Land
Allagash Gateway Campground
Allagash Gateway Campground is tucked into north-central Maine, minutes from Chesuncook Lake, one of the largest in the state. It sits on the smaller—but still beautiful—Ripogenus Lake and has a protected marina with a boat launch and several docks.
The campground offers four-season recreation, giving guests a taste of boondocking in Maine all year. Fish the lake for salmon and trout, hike or snowshoe the nearby trails, see how many moose you can spot or rent kayaks or canoes.
There are about 40 sites, a mix of primitive and premium with electricity and water hookups.
More information: Allagash Gateway Campground
Machias River Corridor
Located in the southeast corner of the state, the Machias River Corridor is true, untamed wilderness. The river has hundreds of miles of continuous shoreline, and it’s the largest wild Atlantic salmon run in the country. Tremendous conservation efforts keep this land and river protected, allowing visitors to enjoy year-round recreation.
Take full advantage of boondocking in Maine at one of the numerous rustic campsites along the Machias River. Fish, canoe or kayak, swim, hunt, hike and watch for wildlife, all from your campsite.
There are several campgrounds in the Machias River Corridor, but RV-accessible sites
are extremely limited. Some campgrounds have just one or two RV sites.
More information: Machias River Corridor
Bigelow Preserve Public Land
No matter what season it is, Bigelow Preserve Public Land offers excellent opportunities for boondocking in Maine. While seasonal accessibility varies from site to site, several campgrounds are scattered throughout the preserve, many on Flagstaff Lake and several nestled into the Bigelow Mountains.
The entire Bigelow mountain range sits within the preserve, which includes seven summits. A section of the Appalachian Trail is here, so hiking is wildly popular, as are fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hunting, and in the winter, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Like other land preserves, the availability of RV sites at individual campgrounds varies.
More information: Bigelow Preserve Public Land
Moosehead Lake Public Land
Moosehead Lake is not just Maine’s largest lake; it’s also the largest freshwater body in all of New England. The iconic Mt. Kineo, with its sheer, steep cliffs, juts out of it like a mythical island. As you may imagine, the boondocking and outdoor recreation opportunities here are endless!
Fish, birdwatch and enjoy the area’s trails year-round. In warmer weather, paddle, hunt, swim, hike, and of course, camp.
There are many individual campgrounds with RV sites
, particularly concentrated on the lake’s east and west shores. You’ll find both primitive and developed sites with full hookups, as well as several that offer a hybrid model, providing services during specified generator hours.
More information: Moosehead Lake Public Land
St. Croix International Waterway
The St. Croix River creates a natural border between Maine and Canada. It’s also home to some of the most spectacular natural scenery and abundant wildlife found anywhere. If you want to experience picture-perfect boondocking in Maine, you’re in luck — there are campsites all along the river.
There are three distinct regions
for camping, each with a unique feel. Some are prized for their paddling, while others are legendary for their fishing.
Each of the three small parks has a handful of RV sites
, and reservations are required.
More information: St. Croix International Waterway
Experience Maine’s Beauty in a Cruise America RV Rental
With all the natural beauty and outdoor recreation in the “Pine Tree State,” the best way to experience it all is boondocking in Maine. That doesn’t have to mean sacrificing modern conveniences
and little luxuries, though!
On the contrary, a Cruise America RV rental
allows you to unplug, enjoy peace and quiet, and connect with your loved ones and Mother Nature. All this, while also providing beds and a real kitchen! Contact Cruise America today to learn more about which RV models are perfect for boondocking in Maine. And when you’re ready, there are several convenient east coast pickup
locations. Happy (and safe!) boondocking!