How to Score a Private Beach in Maine
We are the kind of travelers who prefer taking the back roads.
Adding a few hours onto an already long drive is no problem as long as we get to avoid tolls and see some country-side. By that same token, we typically find ourselves making camp in lesser-populated campsites, often times an hour away from the area’s main attraction.
Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park are other-worldly in their beauty, but that very beauty is no secret. When the season is in, the little island of Bar Harbor is brimming with tourists. Our solution? Post up on an underrated peninsula just across the bay from Bar Harbor, in a little town called Brooklin. Brooklin is only a breathtaking 50-minute drive from Bar Harbor, the scenery rivals anything else in Maine, and the tourist population is vastly lower.
After a few minutes of research...
...I found a little family-owned campsite called Oceanfront Camping at Reach Knolls. When I called to make a reservation, the phone was answered by Lori, the owner, who happened to be the most delightful and helpful person. For $30 a night, Lori booked us an oceanfront tent site that had just been built, told us to take some firewood on our way in and that we would settle up later. We had a great feeling right from the start.
As we drove through the rolling hills of southern central Maine we passed by old wooden houses painted by the colors of yesteryear while an enchanting fog wrapped its fingers around our van. The drive in was truly something we could never forget; the terrain changed constantly from hilly to rocky and back again, the coastline was carved in perfect chaos, and we even had a bumbly little porcupine cross our path.
We pulled into the campsite, grabbed our firewood, and headed to our slip. It turns out Lori really had saved us the best campsite on the property. Two wooden lovebird seats faced west towards the bay, and a clearing in the trees made a canvas for the most beautiful sunset we’d ever seen. Just a short walk down a very necessary ramp and we were on a stony beach. As the sun went down, a family boiled assorted shellfish over a fire on the beach and a harem of seals danced playfully just off shore. This place was a treasure off the beaten path.
The next day, we went to settle up with Lori at the office. She was very welcoming -- it was her goal to make sure everyone who stayed on her property got the true Maine experience. When we told her we wanted to taste some Maine lobster, she said, “well the best way to do that is just to take one of these big pots here and go make a fire on the beach.”
Logan and I exchanged glances, “that sounds perfect...how do we do it?”
Lori told us everything we needed to know. There was a local lobster fisherman just down the street from the campground that had the best prices on fresh lobster daily.
“Take a right out of the campgrounds and you’ll know it when you see it,” she said.
With trust, we took a right out onto the main road and began looking for signs of a lobster fisherman....the ten foot lobster painted on the side of a huge white house was a dead giveaway. In a quaint two-car garage in Brooklin, Maine we purchased lobster from an authentic local fisherman, took it back to our campsite and cooked it. Check out the video below for a view of the beach, which we had completely to ourselves, and to see how we prepared these tasty crustaceans. This was the highlight of our year; a private beach in maine, eating lobster we’d prepared over a fire, as a one-of-a-kind sunset unfolded before our eyes.
Of course we went into Bar Harbor, and you should too if you venture to Maine. The moral of the story is, there’s plenty more to see than just the best-advertised points of interest. And this applies to any and all of your travels. If you can handle taking the backroads, talking to the locals, and letting the journey tell you where to go, you’ll likely find yourself having a much more unique and memorable experience, no matter the destination.