When people think Maine, the first thing that comes to mind is Lobster. While New England in general has amazing sea food, there is so much more to the state. Maine is filled with mountains, bodies of water, forests and animals. It is the perfect place to hike, canoe, camp and adventure into the wilderness. If you are looking for a quiet get away or an outdoor adventure, this is the place to be!
There are plenty of places to camp so take your pick. Be sure to do your research on the surrounding environment and prices. Depending if you are going backpacking or base camping you may need to purchase a permit, or just pay for a campsite. If you aren’t from around here, find out everything you can about the different types of plant life in Maine and how to properly store your food.
I’ve been on many different camping trips with varying lengths. It’s hard to beat the feeling of being surrounded by nature, far from the stresses of society. So even if you have never camped before, try it out, it is an experience worth having. You could always tag along with a seasoned camper. (Don’t forget to bring a hammock.)
I recommend learning how to build a fire before you camp. Unless you are bringing propane along, or food that’s don’t need cooking, you are going to need something to cook over. And plus, you need to toast marshmallows for s’mores somehow! You should also probably learn how to set up a tent. I guarantee you it is easier than you think.
Food also taste so much better when it is cooked over a fire. That is, if you know how to do it right. If not, it will be a fun learning experience.
Wherever you camp, be sure to check out your campsite. Besides avoiding poison ivy or rocks under your tent, you can find some pretty cool things other than nature.
Yurts for the non-tent camper
If you are not a fan of camping in tents, but are not a fan of “glamping” (aka: glamorous camping, such as in an RV- which in my opinion does not count as camping) there are other places you can stay. Such as a yurt!
If you have never stayed in a yurt it is worth checking out. Think of it as a giant, super sturdy tent. I’ve stayed in one before while in Maine and they are pretty cool. They come with beds inside and you can rent them out for the night or a few days, depending on how long you are staying.
I’m sure hiking is one of the first things that crosses your mind if you are looking for an adventure in Maine. Here, there is no shortage of mountains.
Don’t miss out on seeing both a sunrise and a sunset hike! A few of us counselors lead a sunrise hiking trip up Pleasant Mountain. It’s sometimes hard to pry yourself out of bed at 5:00am, but trust me it will be worth it. We packed some coffee and tea to make when we reached the top and set off on our adventure.
We parked at the base of the mountain, gathered our gear and hiked the mile and a half up. As long as you bring a flashlight, and know where you are going, hiking in the dark on such a short trail is no problem. It was a very short trip to the top and we had lots of time before the sun came up. When it did it was an absolutely beautiful site. Just be sure to bring a sweater, even if you don’t think that it’s cold at the time. Trust me, I appreciated the hot drinks and the sweater.
If you rather hike during the day there are many different types of mountains to conquer in Maine. From water falls you can jump from, bubbling creeks you need to wade through or rocks you need to climb that you swear are at an 80 degree angle (yes, this is all from experience) there are many different hikes you can do here.
On the water
There are plenty of lakes and rivers spaced all throughout Maine. Besides just swimming you can try your hand at many different water activates. If you didn’t bring your own boards or canoes, just google where you can rent one, it should not be hard to find a rental place.
If you can find a boat, take a spin at water skiing. You can kayak, try some white water rafting or grab a tube and head down the river.
Besides swimming I have a lot of favorite water activities. But nothing beats a good old- fashion canoe.
One of my… let us just say unforgettable… trips was a five day canoe trip. We started out along the Aziscohos river near the boarder of New Hampshire. We paddled five or so miles each day and camped out as we went.
Or, at least the was the original plan. It was so windy during the day that we taken off course and our group got separated on two separate islands. One person in our group ended up walking a few miles to get help while the rest of us hung back with our group gear. Eventually we were able to get a rescue boat to get the others off their island and we were driven the rest of the way to our final camp site.
Now, that was a one in a million happening, so do not let that scare you away! As long as you go at the right time, canoe trips can be a lot of fun. Start in a pond or lake and work your way up to the ocean. Just make sure you pack your belongings in a dry bag because you are most likely going to get wet at one point or another.
If you are not up for taking a trip and just want to canoe, get in a boat and get in the water! It is a ton of fun, and even more so when you learn how to solo.
Where ever you end up, I guarantee you will run into some type of wildlife. This is why I said to do your research. Know what types of animals and bugs you may encounter out in the wild. Not only should you bring lots of bug spray, but do your best not to disturb the animals or their nest/burrows/homes. (Of course, there is always an exception, such as if you have to save a snake from being stuck inside a bucket like I did in the picture below.)
Just know the animals don’t mean you any harm. Snakes are going about their business and may accidentally run into you, deer will try to cross the street just as your car is passing and bears only enter your campsite when you leave food out. They are not purposely out to get you. That’s the message I kept repeating to my friend when she made our group eat in the van when we saw a baby black bear across the road from our campsite.
Keep your eyes open as well! Not just to avoid the creatures in the forest, but to see the beauty they have to show. If you keep your eyes on the ground you may see some tiny frogs worth checking out. However, if you set your eyes to the skies you could spot a bald eagle, or if you look at the trees around you, you may spot a deer or fox.
Laugh it off
No matter if it is your first trip or you 50th, something is bound to go wrong at some point in your travels. My best advice is to laugh it off. You choose your attitude and how you view your situation will make an impact on the time you have and the rest of your adventure. So laugh it off when things go wrong.
I’ve had my tent completely flood, my whole group fall into a river, our food spoil, food forgotten back at home that should’ve been packed, my canoe tip, hiked for hours through the pouring rain, and have fallen down and been bitten by more mosquitoes than I can count. But I wouldn’t trade those trips for anything, because by the end it was all worth it. I learned something along the way and am tougher and smarter for it. Once you reach the summit of a mountain, no matter how big or small, you will get that feeling that nothing else matters but that moment.
Leave No Trace
If you have ever heard someone say to “practice LNT” they are referring to “leave no trace”. Basically it means when you pack up and go, leave everything how it was before you got there. Do a sweep and pick up all your trash, don’t leave anything behind and don’t take anything with you. This is to insure that humans are not making a negative impact on the environment or wildlife that live there. It is to make sure that no matter how many years pass that campsite you stayed at is still there and not destroyed.
So please, leave no trace and help keep Maine, and the rest of the world, as beautiful as it was when you arrived to stay that way after you are gone. It will ensure that adventures like these can continue, and the earth can still thrive.