Maine is the most northeastern state in the U.S. and is known for its rocky coastline, heavily forested interior, beautiful waterways, extensive public lands, and lobster and clam cuisine. While in Maine, you can walk on the Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail, see numerous lighthouses, eat your fill of delicious lobster dishes, and visit Acadia National Park, which is the only national park in New England. If you are interested in camping for free in Maine, you will find many opportunities for boondocking, which is free camping that is legally allowable at minimally developed campsites. These free campsites usually do not have potable water or electricity, but some may have vault toilets. Maine has a “leave no trace” policy for waste and trash. A fire permit may be required for primitive campsites.
Boondocking Sites in Maine
Flagstaff Lake and Bigelow Preserve Public Lands
Flagstaff Lake and Bigelow Preserve Public Lands has free primitive campsites in its developed campground. It is located off Carriage Road from Route 27 and is about 10 miles from when you turn onto Carriage Road. There is a parking area, multiple campsites, bathrooms, beaches, and even a small island with sites. The hiking is exceptional.
Moosehead Lake Shoreline Public Lands
There are more than 90 primitive sites inside Moosehead Lake Shoreline Public Lands, which are free for use. These sites have fire rings, picnic tables, and access to a vault toilet. Some are accessible from the road and some only by water. This area offers multiple hiking trails and plenty of water-based recreational activities, and Lily Bay State Park is nearby. Moosehead Lake is New England’s largest freshwater lake and is considered the gateway to the North Maine Woods. Visitors can hike, snowmobile, cross-country ski, hunt, fish, boat, and camp. Mount Kineo is a popular destination.
The Richardson Public Lands is located inside the Rangely Lakes Region and includes Mooselookmeguntic Lake, the fourth-largest lake in Maine. Modern fly-fishing was developed here, as well as many famous trout flies. Today, trout and landlocked salmon continue to be the major draw for fishermen. There are around nine primitive campsites that are accessible on the west side of Mooselookmeguntic Lake, which can be reached from Mud Pond Rd and W Mooselookmeguntic Rd off of Wilsons Mills Rd.
Moxie Pond is near the city of Bingham, where you will take Route 16 and then take Dead Water Rd. Dead Water Rd turns into Troutdale Rd, which is an 18-mile dirt road with potholes and several washouts. However, the drive itself is a great scenic route that ends at Moxie Pond. There are several primitive campsites at Moxie Pond.
Nahmakanta Public Lands
Nahmakanta Public Lands has six water-accessible primitive campsites on Nahmakanta Lake and several hike-in campsites for paddlers and hikers. The 43,000-acre Nahmakanta Public Lands is located in the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area in the North Woods of Maine. Visitors can hike along the extensive network of hiking trails on the lake shores, cliff ledges, and forests, and the Appalachian Trail runs through the public lands.
Cutler Coast Public Lands
There are five designated primitive campsites inside the Cutler Coast Public Lands that are 3 to 5 miles from the parking lot. Each site has its own privy toilet but no fire ring or picnic table. No campfires are allowed, and campers can only camp at these designated campsites and must stay on the trails. Up to six people are allowed at each site. You can check the logbook at the trailhead to see which sites are occupied.
Where to Boondock in Maine
It’s easy to camp for free in the state of Maine. There are multiple public lands that offer primitive camping sites that are either accessed by foot or by boat. Maine has a large number of public lands that total more than a half-million acres, and many of them support primitive and backcountry campsites. Several of these areas have amenities like fire rings, picnic tables, and flush bathrooms whereas others have only vault toilets. There are a few areas that also offer “car camping.” Some of the public lands that offer primitive campsites are Deboullie Public Lands, Nahmakanta Public Lands, Bigelow Preserve, Mahoosuc Public Lands & Grafton Notch State Park, and Cutler Coast Public Lands. The Appalachian Trail also presents many opportunities for dispersed camping.
Free Camping in Maine
On a boondocking trip in Maine, you will usually be in remote locations that are far from public services and communities. Good planning is essential for a safe and fun camping trip, and you will need to consider what items to take, to gather information about the sites you will visit, and to plan for possible problems. Some of the items you will need are potable water, water treatments, food, cooking equipment, camping tools, a first aid kit, suitable clothing, a navigation device, and an electronic method of communication. You should research the area, find out what the cellphone coverage is, and ascertain the weather. You should definitely learn about what activities are available for you in your planned locations. Be sure to check out our blog for all you need to know about boondocking in Maine.
An RV road trip through the state of Maine allows for unparalleled outdoor experiences in a variety of landscapes. Taking your own supplies in a rental RV from RVshare will save you a good bit of time and money. When you add boondocking into the picture, your trip will be both fun and economical.