In 2015 I saw a post that a friend had shared about a challenge to spend 31 nights outside between Memorial Day and Labor Day (without quitting your job). I love a good challenge and we already had a handful of trips planned already so I figured why not?! The summer turned into a constant effort of packing, unpacking and packing again and I loved every minute of it. Camping in Maine (and NH) is like nothing else. I documented our effort on Instagram using the hashtag #31NightsOut.
Nights 1-3– Stony Brook Campground, Hanover, Maine
This campground is near Grafton Notch State Park and near a decent section of the Androscoggin Canoe Trail. We had great weather for this trip and did some kayaking, hiked Old Speck, and explored Grafton Notch State Park with the kids.
Night 4- Dolly Copp Campground, Gorham, New Hampshire
This campground is located in the White Mountain National Forest and sits in the eastern shadow of the Northern Presidentials. This was my first ever solo camping excursion. I left for New Hampshire after work and arrived just before dark and set up my backpacking tent, had a small fire and some wine. The next day I hiked the Wildcats.
Night 5– Bailey’s Campground, Scarborough, Maine
Dresden and I camped the night before a beach day in Scarborough. It was the second weekend of June so we took advantage of the off season rates. We picked a site in the grassy section, set up camp, took a walk around the campground, had dinner at Ken’s, and then had a fire before turning in.
Night 6– Dolly Copp Campground, Gorham, New Hampshire
My friends Jess, Jon and I camped here on the eve of our Washington ascent. After setting up camp we went out to dinner at SAalt Pub, our favorite Gorham restaurant. The next day we were treated to excellent weather as we ascended and took advantage of the great conditions to go across the Alpine Garden Trail and take in the spring flora.
Nights 7-8- Friend’s Porch, Vinalhaven, Maine
My friends Saskia and Ian rented a house on Vinalhaven for a few years and Dresden and I loved to visit them. What’s not to love about a ferry ride to a beautiful Maine island. Space was tight so we pitched our tent on the porch and had expansive views of North Haven and Penobscot Bay. Vinalhaven is a great place to visit, especially if you can take advantage of local knowledge of the great places to check out and hunt for seaglass.
Nights 9-11– Lily Bay State Park, Beaver Cove, Maine
This was our annual 4th of July weekend trip. While the weather was bright, it was a bit cool and breezy that year. We had a great time exploring the park by bike and playing by the water. You can read more about Lily Bay State park here.
Nights 12-13– Back porch, Winterport, Maine
Dresden and I had a nice few nights on the screened in back porch overlooking the backyard. We were treated to owls hooting both nights which was magical.
Night 14– Moose Brook State Park, Gorham, New Hampshire
My friend Jon and I camped out the night before we bagged Madison and Adams. Our hike was magnificent and challenging. And of course, what trip to Gorham is complete without dinner at SAalt Pub?
Nights 15- 16– Back porch, Winterport, Maine
We were treated to nice breezes and colorful sunsets.
Nights 17-18- Roaring Brook Campground, T3 R9, Maine
This was our annual trip to Baxter State Park. Roaring Brook is a gorgeous campground that provides access to the majority of trails to Baxter Peak on Katahdin. We didn’t score our normal lean-tos so had a few of the walk-in lean-tos. We hiked South Turner on Saturday and then Katahdin on Sunday by way of Hamlin Ridge, Knife Edge and Dudley Trail for the descent. More on that story to come. Baxter State Park is one of my favorite places for camping in Maine.
Nights 19-20– Seawall Campground, Southwest Harbor, Maine
You can read all about our trip to Seawall Campground here. This was my first real camping trip with my son without another adult to help out and it was a huge success! Exploring the island like tourists is always fun.
Nights 21-23– Reach Knolls Campground, Brooklyn, Maine
We spent Labor Day weekend camping in Maine at this oceanfront spot with a great views of the Deer Isle Bridge and excellent paddling in Eggemoggin Reach. We watched porpoises and seals from the beach, hiked Blue Hill and my dad and I went to see James McMurtry at the Blue Hill Fair.
Nights 24-26- Mud Brook, Beaver Cove, Maine
We had a crisp, but sunny Columbus Day weekend on Moosehead Lake – the perfect weather for camping in Maine. This trip featured a hike up Little Spencer, paddling with excellent foliage and was capped off with a trip to Baxter State Park on Columbus Day. You can read more about Mud Brook here.
This challenge was the perfect way to maximize time outside during the warmer months. While we didn’t make it to 31 nights and we extended our deadline out to Columbus Day, we were only a few nights shy of our goal and we got to check out some new campgrounds and perfect our camping skills in process. Any day you are camping in Maine is a good day.
Are you up for this challenge in 2017? How many nights do you think you could fit in?