Camden, Maine – A Coastal Treasure

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Oh, Mother Nature… How sweet she can be sometimes and how cruel she can be other times. 

Over the past seven years that Grant and I have been traveling together, we have had VERY good luck with the weather. I really can’t complain too much about anything that we’ve encountered. And that really hasn’t changed. Our stop in Camden, however, Mother Nature did throw us a hiccup. In true Sinclair fashion, though, we improvised, adapted and overcame.

Check out our full New England National Parks itinerary here.

The Megunticook River flowing through downtown Camden.
The Megunticook River flowing through downtown Camden.

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Updated May 2019

Cozy Camden

Camden, ME is one of the quintessential New England towns. While large enough to have a full-size grocery store and several good restaurants and hotels, it is small enough we were able to walk the majority of the downtown/harbor area within a couple of hours.

Schooner Olad in Camden Harbor
Schooner Olad in Camden Harbor

There is a small park right in the hub of downtown honoring all those who gave their lives in service, going back to World War I. There is another park just on the north side of the harbor with a memorial to those who fought in the “Great Rebellion,” lots of benches and a grassy hillside overlooking the water and all the maritime action.

The streets are lined with cozy restaurants and shops. There is just enough here to satisfy the small cruise ship passengers that anchor in the harbor but not enough to feel “touristy.”

Downtown Camden
Downtown Camden

There is a small sandy beach (a rarity) just about a 10-minute walk from the main part of town.

Where to Eat In Camden

Our top “finds” were River Ducks Ice Cream and the Camden Deli. For ice cream, we, of course, had to go with the “Maine-inspired” flavors of Blueberry (Bonnie) and Sea Salt Caramel Truffle (Grant). Both were very tasty and delicious. 

Camden Harbor from the Camden Deli
Camden Harbor from the Camden Deli

The Deli had large variety of sandwiches, subs, paninis and a couple of daily soups and salads. And they served beer and wine… Always a plus!

The view of Camden Harbor from the deck of the deli could not be beaten!

Where to Stay – Camden Hills State Park

Our “home” for the two nights we were here was the Camden Hills State Park. The park has several hiking trails around and up to a couple of peaks (most are around 1,000 feet, so not really mountains) and a large campground. 

Camden From Mount Battie
Camden From Mount Battie

The campground has more than 100 sites, many with water and electric hookups – something you don’t always find in a state park. Most sites are well-secluded by trees, so you don’t have your neighbors right on top of you.

The state park also has some of the best views of Camden from the top of Mount Battie. It is an easy drive to the top for a fantastic view of the town and harbor.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

For a couple of days, we knew there was going to be a chance of rain. We lucked out when we arrived in Camden and didn’t get any. 

When we woke up this morning, The Weather Channel app had a forecast of only about 15-20 percent throughout most of the day. By the time we finished showering, we were in the midst of a heavy downpour.

Our plan for the day had been to drive along the coast and find more cute, charming New England coastal towns. About an hour south, in Boothbay Harbor, they are celebrating Windjammer Days. We thought we might make it down there to check out the festivities and see some cool boats. 

A small cascade along the trail
A small cascade along the trail

Alas, we didn’t really want to do much of anything outside with it raining.

This is when we REALLY began to appreciate our camper. Even though it was raining, we were dry and we had food, a heater, and a bathroom right here. 

We did make a quick trip to the grocery store, hoping that maybe the worst of the rain would be passed by the time we were done. No such luck. So, lunch was in the camper and we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon reading.

Staying Active

One of our biggest accomplishments on this trip has been that we have managed to hit our goal of 10,000 steps every day. Suddenly, on day 25, that was threatened. There are no malls to walk around. While we have rain jackets and waterproof shoes, hiking in the rain, especially cold, heavy rain, really isn’t that enjoyable. So, we waited.

Alas, just when we were about to give up hope, the rain stopped. We decided to drive south a bit along the coast, but there was so much fog we could barely see the water. 

A misty afternoon hike along the trail in Camden Hills State Park.
A misty afternoon hike along the trail in Camden Hills State Park.

So, we headed back to the campground/state park and decided that it was finally dry enough to get in some exercise. We found a relatively easy hike along a multi-use path. This was perfect as the trail/road was wide enough that we weren’t bumping up against trees and getting soaked by the water on the leaves.

While we were enjoying the time to relax (something we haven’t had enough time to do), we were very thankful that the weather cooperated and we were able to keep up our streak of staying active. Days that we are in a park with hiking trails, that is easy to do. But we have made a point to find a way to keep it up and we are both feeling good these days!

Final Thoughts on Camden

We really enjoyed our brief stop in Camden. I really wish we had gotten to see more of the towns further south along the coast but the weather just did not cooperate. 

Still, we would return here to spend more time relaxing and enjoying this truly quaint Maine coast town.

Check out our full New England National Parks itinerary here.

Travel Resources
What do you use to find a flight?

We use Skyscanner to find deals on flights. Skyscanner has a great interface and compares tons of airlines for the best pricing and routing. That said, it does not always have every airline and some airlines will have better deals on their website. Still, Skyscanner is a great place to start.
Click here to search for a flight.

What do you use to find a hotel?

We typically stay at Hilton properties, so we use the Hilton website. We can find good Hilton Honors discounts or AAA discounts for a hotel there. We make great use of our free night certificates from our Hilton Honors American Express.
Click here to book a Hilton property.

If there are no Hilton properties available, we use TripAdvisor to read reviews and book the hotel. We find we can get the best price that way.
Click here to search for a hotel.

What if I need more space than I can get at a hotel?

We use Vrbo for the times when we have rented a cabin for a weekend getaway, like this cabin in Townsend, TN, or needed to rent a house for a large family vacation. We had a great experience with them in terms of refunding deposits when COVID hit and will continue to use them.
Click here to search for a vacation rental.

Who do you use for rental cars?

As a general rule, we book with Hertz for rental cars. We have had nothing but good experiences with them. Plus, we really like unlimited mileage and not worrying about crossing state lines. We have even rented from Hertz overseas in both Slovenia and Croatia.
Click here to book a rental car.

How about booking a cruise?

We have found some amazing prices booking a cruise through Cruise Direct. We have saved a lot of money on our cruises compared to what we found elsewhere, making a last-minute Bahamas cruise even cheaper.
Click here to book a cruise.

What if I want to rent an RV?

We highly recommend Outdoorsy for RV rentals. We rented a camper van for a week to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut and Custer State Park for the Buffalo Round-Up and had a blast. The program was easy to use and we really enjoyed the freedom of having a camper van for that trip.
Click here to rent an RV.

What do you use for booking tours?

We don’t often book tours. Typically, we like to do stuff on our own. That said, there are some experiences you just can’t have any other way. So, when we do want to book a tour, we always check Viatour first.
Click here to book a tour.

Do you use anything to get discounts on the road?

We make extensive use of both Good Sam and AAA on the road. Good Sam is normally regarded as a discount card for RVers at campgrounds and Camping World but anyone can use the 5 cents off a gallon at the pump at both Pilot and Flying J.
Click here to get a Good Sam membership.

We have had AAA as long as we have been married and it has more than paid for itself in discounts at hotels, aside from the peace of mind of having roadside assistance. Add in paper maps and the ability to get an international driver’s license and it is more than worth it for any traveler out there.

Despite being rained upon for most of our time in Camden, we loved our visit here. It is the perfect coastal New England town with charm to spare.
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