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Maine is known for its breathtaking views, lush forests, abundant lakes and coastal beaches, making it one of the most desirable camping destinations in North America. If you’re planning your first RV trip to Maine for any – or all – of these reasons, you should know that the state has specific rules pertaining to campers.
In general, the rules for RV camping in Maine are straightforward.
You are allowed to stay in any camping unit in almost all of Maine’s state parks and public lands. You cannot camp on public lands for more than 14 nights in a 45-day period without written permission from the Bureau of Parks and Lands. Campfires are allowed in specific areas, and activities that may harm the surrounding environment are prohibited.
Occasionally, some areas of public lands will be closed to the public for environmental concerns. Before hitting the road, make sure that your camping destination in Maine is currently open to the public.
Read this guide to help you plan the ultimate Maine camping experience. We will go into detail on what you can expect when you get there as well as additional information about the state that you may find useful.
Rent an RV for Maine Camping Trip
By the way, if you’re looking to rent an RV for your trip, click here for some ultimate guides to renting RVs in the US. Also, here are some additional blogs to help you out:
- How to Rent an RV for an Epic Road Trip: Helpful Beginner’s Guide
- 25 Expert Tips for Renting an RV for the First Time
- Outdoorsy vs RVshare for Renting an RV (Who You Should Rent From)
In order to learn more about the rules and regulations pertaining to camping in Maine, please keep reading through this ultimate guide.
Where Is Camping Allowed in Maine?
Camping is allowed on most public lands, state parks, and private RV campgrounds in Maine. The only state park in Maine that does not allow RV camping is Warren Island.
Maine is home to roughly 600,000 acres of public land which is divided into 3 regions: the western, northern, and eastern regions. Camping is allowed in these areas, but much of the terrain is rugged. Public lands differ from state parks in that they’re not staffed and not set up as campgrounds with accessible sites. Therefore, while you are allowed to take RVs onto the public land is Maine to camp, the chances of finding accessible areas are difficult.
Maine has 12 state park family campgrounds, 6 of which have both water and electric hookups. It costs between $15 – $45/night to camp at these sites, and the fee depends both on your residency status and the site.
If you want to know how much it costs to camp in one of Maine’s state park, click here for the “Camping Fees” page of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry website.
If you’re on a tight budget, there are also many places in Maine where you can camp for free. Keep reading for more information on these spots.
Can You Camp on the Beach in Maine?
Yes, you can camp on the beach in Maine. In fact, there are many breathtaking oceanfront campgrounds. The state parks offer several riverside campgrounds as well.
Most oceanfront campgrounds in Maine allow a variety of RV and tent campsites and have all of the amenities you’d expect from any other campsite, such as electrical and water hookups.
Aside from waking up with a front-row view of the ocean every morning, oceanfront campground guests can enjoy a variety of beach activities that cater to kids and adults alike. Even your pets can get in on the fun!
Do You Need a Permit to Camp in Maine?
If you’re planning to camp in one of Maine’s state park campgrounds, you will need a permit. There are many backcountry campsites available that do not require permits, but these remote sites are typically accessible by foot or boat only.
Camping on public land generally does not require a permit or a fee. Again, most areas are not accessible for RV camping. There are a few areas of public land, such as the North Maine Woods, that do allow RV camping with limits on rig lengths. These do require fees and permits.
In addition, if you plan to camp on public land in Maine for more than 14 days in a 45-day period, you are required to first obtain written permission from the Bureau of Parks and Lands.
Rules for Camping With Pets in Maine
Camping with pets in Maine is generally allowed but with some restrictions. Before making your reservation, make sure that your campground does allow pets and double-check the specific rules that pertain there.
In general, where pets are allowed the pet’s owner is required to always have their pet on a leash and under their control. Pets should not be left unattended in any circumstances.
No matter where you’re staying, you should always be sure to properly clean up after your pet and dispose of all pet waste immediately and accordingly.
Are Dogs Allowed in Maine State Parks?
Dogs are allowed in all of Maine’s state parks, and they are also allowed at all state park campgrounds except Sebago Lake State Park Campground.
Are Dogs Allowed on the Beaches?
Dogs are allowed on the beaches of Maine from October 1st to March 31st and must be leashed. Dogs are not allowed on coastal beaches from April 1 to September 30.
Can I Ride My Horse on the Beach in Maine?
Horses are allowed on Maine’s coastal beaches from October 31 – March 1, and are not allowed on beaches from April 1 – September 31. You must obtain a permit to ride your horse on Popham beach, but all other coastal beaches do not require permits for horseback riding.
For other pet-friendly campgrounds in New England, check out “11 Best Pet-Friendly Campgrounds in Connecticut“
General Rules for RV Camping in Maine
In addition to the rules for Maine camping that we detailed above, there are other rules that pertain specifically to public land and state parks that you will be required to follow. These are summarized in two tables below, but more information and specific detail can be found here.
Maine Public Land Camping Rules
|Length of Stay
|No one is allowed to camp in any public lands for more than 14 days in a 45-day period without prior written permission from the Bureau of Parks and Lands
|Fires must be in designated areas. Building and maintaining an open fire is not allowed unless the ground is snow-covered. Open fires must be attended at all times.
|Untreated firewood from outside of Maine is not allowed. Firewood can not be brought in from more than 50 miles away or outside the state of Maine.
|Any litter which cannot be burned must be carried out and disposed of accordingly.
|Firearms are not permitted in campsites unless holding a valid Maine concealed weapons
|Campers should conduct themselves in a manner that will not impair the other campers’ privacy. Pets are allowed but must be leashed and kept under control.
|Allowed within the campsite.
|Vehicles are allowed only to use the designated public roads. Don’t block roads.
Maine State Park Camping Rules
|Not permitted in historic sites, public use or day use areas in the campground; only permitted within the campsite. Any disorderly conduct is not allowed.
|Open fires are allowed in designated fireplaces and grills. Any fire shall not be left unattended.
|All camping parties must have at least one adult (18 years old).
|Open carry is not allowed. Any discharged weapon is not allowed within 300 feet of the picnic area or other common areas.
|Not permitted between June 1 and Labor Day for some campgrounds.
Additional details and rules for camping on Maine state parks can be found on the website for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
Things to Know When Planning to RV Camp in Maine
How Much Does It Cost to Camp in Maine?
The cost of camping permits in Maine state parks depends on both the campground as well as your residency status – whether you’re a local or a tourist. Residents of Maine have a lower camping fee, which averages between $15 to $25 per night. Non-resident camping fees range from $25 to $45 per night.
|Average Cost of $15 – $25
|Average Cost of $25 – $45
How Much Is a Seasonal Campsite in Maine?
Many campgrounds in Maine offer seasonal campsites, allowing you to remain on your site from May through mid-October.
The rates for seasonal campsites in Maine vary, but generally cost between $3,000 to $7,000. Additionally, seasonal campsites will incur a 9% lodging tax that will be added to your fee.
On top of that, you’ll need to consider any associated fees that your campsite cost does not include, such as electricity or trash fees. Fortunately, many of these campsites offer free dumping stations and showers.
Can I Live in an RV in Maine?
In general, living in an RV in Maine is allowed but there are some caveats.
First, you will still be required to register your recreational vehicle every year.
Also, you must pay specific taxes that are determined by how you choose to live in your RV:
- If you plan to live in your RV in a permanent, fixed location, you will be required to pay a real estate property tax. Once this tax is paid, the state of Maine will credit the owner the excise tax they initially paid upon purchase of their RV.
- On the other hand, if you plan to move your RV to different sites throughout the year, you will be required to pay the excise tax of the RV annually.
Do You Need a Special License to Drive an RV in Maine?
In order to drive an RV in Maine, you only need to hold a traditional Class C driver’s license. Unless, however, your rig will exceed the weight limit of 26,000 pounds for a driven RV or 10,000 pounds for a towed vehicle (which is unlikely).
Generally speaking, Class B vehicles (like campervans), travel trailers, and smaller Class C vehicles (motorhomes) typically will not exceed your driver’s license weight restrictions.
Where Can You Park an RV in Maine?
You can park your RV in Maine’s public lands and even within cities, if you can find a place. It’s not prohibited as long as you’re not blocking the road. You can park overnight in Maine’s rest areas. Also, many larger stores such as Wal-Mart as well as some truck stops and gas stations will allow RV parking.
Can You Leave Your RV Parked in the Public Lands of Maine?
Since you’re able to camp in your RV on public land in Maine, you can leave your rig parked on a site for up to 14 days. However, an important distinction to note is that your RV cannot be left parked and unattended for more than 2 days – unless you have written prior authorization from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. If left for more than 2 days unattended and unauthorized, it will be considered “abandoned property” by the Bureau. They then have the authority to take custody and dispose of your RV.
Hopefully, by now we have answered most, if not all, of your questions related to what you can and cannot do when RV camping in Maine. Now, continue reading to learn more about some of the best family-friendly places to RV camp in Maine.
5 Best Family-Friendly RV Campgrounds in Maine
Timberland Acres RV Park
Established in 1985, Timberland Acres RV Park is a short 14-mile trip from the popular destinations of Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.
- Amenities: Wi-Fi Connection, Laundry, RV Supplies, Metered LP Gas, Playground, Pool, Game Room, Very Kid- and Family-friendly
- Hookups: 30-50 Amp
- Activities: Snowsports, Lawn Games, Swimming Pool, Kid Activities, Game Nights, Group Meals, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Fishing, Marina, Canoeing, and Kayaking
- Location: 57 Bar Harbor Road, Trenton, ME 04605, United States
- Timberland Acres Website
Red Apple Campground
Red Apple Campground is one of the nicest and cleanest RV parks that you can visit in Maine. Aside from the accommodating and friendly staff, RVers are coming back here because of the enjoyable and fun experience they had the first time they visited here.
- Amenities: Wi-Fi Connection, Public Bathroom with Free Showers, Heated/AC Recreation Hall, Cable, Laundry, RV Supplies, Heated Pool, Kid and Family-friendly, and Pet-friendly
- Hookups: 20-50 Amp + electric, most have sewer and cable
- Activities: Marina, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Biking, Fishing, and Watersports, Campsite Fresh Lobster Delivery
- Location: 111 Sinnott Road, Arundel (Kennebunkport), ME 04046, United States
- Red Apple Campground Website
Old Orchard Beach Campground
Only one mile from its namesake (Old Orchard Beach), this Campground is large and spacious with paved roads to over 300 campsites. That’s why it’s top-rated and hosts tons of repear visitors every year. If you’re traveling with your kids, look no further as Old Orchard has a ton of family-friendly activities to offer.
- Amenities: Family-friendly, Pet-friendly, Swimming Pools, Sports Areas, Game Room, Playground, Laundry, RV Supplies, Pet Supplies, and Wi-Fi Connection
- Hookups: 30-50 Amp
- Activities: Kayaking, Canoeing, Archery, Hiking, Watersports, Boating, Biking, Trolley to Old Orchard Beach
- Location: 27 Ocean Park Road, Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064, United States
- Old Orchard Beach Campground Website
Sun Outdoors Wells Beach
Right at the heart of Wells, Sun Outdoors Wells Beach (formally known as Wells Beach Resort) is another well-maintained RV Park in Maine. It spans a broad, flat area (a bonus for those larger RVs) and is just a mile from the beach and many popular tourist destinations and activities downtown.
- Amenities: Wi-Fi Connection, Laundry, RV Supplies, Cable, Pets Allowed, Heated Pool, Fitness Center, Dog Park, 18-Hole Mini Golf, and Game Room
- Hookups: 30-50 Amp
- Activities: Archery, Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Biking, and Watersports
- Location: 1000 Post Road (US Route 1), Wells, ME 04090, United States
- Sun Outdoors Wells Beach Website
Sandy Pines Campground
Offering a unique spin on camping with a more outdoorsy vibe, Sandy Pines Campground is another great destination for family camping in Maine. They also offer fun “glamping” opportunities if you’re looking to try something new.
- Amenities: Wi-Fi Connection, Laundry, General Store, ATM Machine, RV Supplies, Cables, Heated Pool, New Bath Houses, Playground, Family and Kid-friendly
- Hookups: 30-50 Amp
- Activities: Watersports, Marina, Biking, Hiking, Kayaking, Kid Craft Sessions, SUPing, Canoeing, Boating, and Fishing
- Location: 277 Mill Road, Kennebunkport, ME 04046
- Sandy Pines Campground Website
5 Places You Can Camp for Free in Maine
With roughly 600,000 acres of public reserve land, Maine adventurers are not limited in areas to explore. Public land in Maine is managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands, so when spending time in the wilderness be mindful of the rules they have instated.
While camping in public reserve land is allowed – RVs included – many of the camp-able areas are only accessible by foot or boat. Additionally, access to bathrooms and showers is limited.
For reference, here are some of the most popular places for free camping in Maine:
Richardson Public Reserved Land
Richardson Public Reserved Land is open all year round and offers tons of outdoor activities that you and your family can enjoy.
- Activities: Camping, hiking, picnicking, boating, fishing, swimming, canoeing, snowmobiling, ATVing, hunting, snowshoeing and more
- Location: Rangeley Lakes region, Northern Oxford County
Bigelow Preserve Public Reserved Land
Housing all 7 summits of the Bigelow Range, the 36,000 acre Bigelow Preserve offers spectacular views of the changing foliage in fall. Bigelow Preserve is also home to the breathtaking Flagstaff Lake.
- Activities: Off-road biking, Birdwatching, Camping, Cross-country, skiing, Fishing, Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Snowmobiling
- Location: Western Maine, East of the village of Stratton in Franklin County
If you’re looking for a nice and peaceful place, Moxie Pond is a great destination to camp for you. You can camp there for free while enjoying outdoor adventures. However, you must obtain a free permit for long-term trailer parking.
- Activities to do: Camping, boating, and fishing
- Location: The Forks Plt, Bald Mountain Twp T2 R3, East Moxie, Somerset, Maine
- Moxie Pond Information
Encompassing 20,000 acres, Flagstaff Lake borders the Bigelow Preserve to its south. Flagstaff Lake is also home to a portion of Maine’s Ecological Reserve System, which was created to help protect Maine’s incredible biological diversity of wildlife species.
- Activities: Picnicking, canoeing, and swimming
- Location: Northwest Somerset, Somerset County, and Eustis, Franklin County, Maine, US
- Map of Flagstaff Lake
Moosehead Lake is not only the largest lake in Maine but all of New England. Formed by an enormous receding glacier almost 18,000 years ago, Moosehead has a rich history of Native American culture and a bounty of interesting species of wildlife. It is the most recommended place to visit in the state because of its stunning scenic views of lakes and mountains.
- Activities: Camping, picnicking, boating, cross-country skiing, hiking, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, paddling, and more
- Location: Moosehead Lake, Greenville, ME, United States
Can I Camp in Maine in the Winter?
For those who really want to test their skills, most state park and public land campsites in Maine do allow winter camping. However, considering how treacherous New England winters can be, prospective campers are typically required to make a reservation first.
Important Considerations for Winter Camping in Maine
There may be site-specific rules to camp in Maine in the winter, so be sure to contact the campsite you want beforehand. One important thing to consider when planning a winter camping trip is that it is illegal to bring untreated firewood from outside the state of Maine or from more than 50 miles away from your campsite.
In addition, Maine state parks and public land campsites recommend campers be experienced in winter camping. Normal risks of camping are multiplied during the off-season and winter conditions are often unpredictable.
Other risk factors including camping next to frozen lakes, ponds, and rivers, and camping in the vicinity of dangerous wildlife such as moose.
*If you are planning on doing a backcountry camping trip on Maine’s public lands, we recommend doing extensive research, detailed preparation, and some practice runs before setting out on a remote winter camping trip.
However, if you are looking for some more favorable winter camping options, here are a few of Maine’s state parks that offer winter camping activities that they offer:
7 Cool Places to Camp in Maine in the Winter
Aroostook State Park
With their well-maintained trails, winter activities such as skiing and snowshoeing are just some of the fun things to do here in Aroostook State Park.
- Winter Activities: Snowshoeing, Sledding, Ice Skating, and Cross-country Skiing.
- Location: 87 State Park Road, Presque Isle, ME 04769, United States
Camden Hills State Park
One of the best places to go in Maine during winter is Camden Hills State Park it has a breathtaking view of Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay. Camden Hills is an amazing place to have fun with your group of friends and family and enjoy many winter activities.
Note: no water is available at this site in the winter
- Winter Activities: Cross-country Skiing, Snowshoeing, and hiking.
- Location: 280 Belfast Road, Camden, ME, 04843, United States
Mt. Blue State Park
If you would like to be in a peaceful and relaxing place, Mt. Blue State Park might be nice for you. This site has an ice skating rink and warming hut available in the winter.
- Winter Activities: Ice Skating, Sledding, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowmobiling, and Snowshoeing
- Location: 299 Center Hill Road, Weld, Maine 04285, United States
Sebago Lake State Park
Sebago Lake State Park offers 5.5 miles of groomed trails for cross country skiers, and 6 miles of ungroomed trails. Enjoy easy-to-moderate trails that will take through the forest and along the Songo River and north shore of Sebago Lake.
- Winter Activities: Ice Fishing, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Hiking
- Location: 11 Park Access Road, Casco, Maine 04015, United States
Lily Bay State Park
Part of Moosehead Lake – New England’s largest lake – Lily Bay is another place to get away from the confines of the modern world and enjoy the winter while hiking, fishing, or skiing.
- Winter Activities: Cross Country Skiing, Fishing, Hiking, and Snowshoeing
- Location: 13 Myrle’s Way, Greenville, ME 04441, United States
Bradbury Mountain State Park
Bradbury Mountain State Park boasts lots of parking and a wide variety of trails for cross-country skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing in the winter.
- Winter Activities: Snowshoeing, Hiking, and Cross-Country Skiing
- Location: 528 Hallowell Road, Pownal, Maine 04069, United States
Cobscook Bay State
Nutrient-rich water of the irregularly shaped estuary of Cobscook Bay results in an abundance of wildlife species throughout the park. A place where you can chill and relax, Cobscook Bay State also offers opportunities to explore throughout the winter.
- Winter Activities: Snowshoeing, Hiking. and Cross-Country Skiing
- Location: 40 South Edmunds Road, Edmunds Township, Maine 04628, United States
Why We Love the Rules for RV Camping in Maine
After reading this, you should now have a better grasp of why Maine is such a popular destination for nature lovers and campers alike. The locals and land management agencies value the diverse ecosystems the state is home to, and are passionate about ensuring that the resources and wildlife are protected. This ensures an abundance of breathtaking views and incredible opportunities for all manner of travelers.
As avid explorers, it’s our responsibility to know and follow the local rules associated with our destinations. Aside from having a smooth and hassle-free trip, we can help local citizens and governments alike in preserving and maintaining these beautiful areas. In return, this helps ensure the best RVing and camping experience for both our generation and the next.
No matter the season, you should always be prepared for the occasional gloomy day spent lounging in your RV. Visit my Etsy Store for fun games to keep you occupied, as well as a variety of planners and journals to help keep you organized in your travels.
If you’re on the hunt for your next camping destination, you can check out my recommendations here. In addition, these blogs might be helpful for your next trip:
- 11 Beautiful RV Destinations in September (Fall Camping for Foliage and Fun)
- 11 Questions You Must Ask to Reserve the Perfect RV Campsite
- Ultimate Guide to Boondocking (Free RV Camping in the US)
- Atlantic vs. Pacific Ocean: Which is Calmer, Which is More Dangerous?
Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever. We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug! I take the kids by myself because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.
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