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Searching for the best Acadia campgrounds is easy. Experiencing a camping vacation that combines physical, mental, and emotional healing is possible. If you are planning a camping trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, here is a simple guide for you to get started. It will show you how to use camping to heal and invite you to embrace nature in Acadia.

I spent a week exploring all of Acadia National Park, and a definite highlight was camping in two of their incredible campgrounds.

Whether you’re new to camping or new to self healing or even new to Acadia, there’s something for you. When you mindfully connect to nature as part of your experience, you embark on self-healing.

So what does using nature to heal look like? Read the hows and whys to begin your healing journey and don’t forget to pack your travel journal.

Nature and Trauma Healing

Camping can provide a therapeutic escape for trauma survivors. The simplicity of outdoor living fosters a connection to the present moment, promoting mindfulness and helping survivors break free from the weight of past traumas.

Engaging with nature through sensory experiences can be a profound and transformative journey toward healing from trauma, offering solace, renewal, and a deeper connection with oneself and the world.

However, if you’re new to solo camping, it can be really scary at first. Safety is top priority for a trauma survivor. Building trust with others begins by building trust with yourself. Therefore, never cut corners when it comes to your well-being, safety, and peace of mind. To practice extreme self-care and self-protection, follow these steps to get started.

  1. Choose Well-Traveled Sites:
    • Opt for established and well-traveled campgrounds with good reviews to enhance safety.
  2. Inform Someone of Your Plans:
    • Share your camping itinerary, including your expected arrival and departure times, with a friend or family member.
  3. Pack Light and Strategically:
    • Pack efficiently and avoid overloading yourself. Opt for essentials and lightweight gear for easier mobility.
  4. Set Up During Daylight:
    • Arrive at your campsite with enough daylight to set up your tent and become familiar with your surroundings.
  5. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings:
    • Stay aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Choose a campsite that provides good visibility and is away from secluded areas.
  6. Learn Basic Self-Defense:
    • Familiarize yourself with basic self-defense techniques and carry personal safety items like a whistle or personal alarm.
  7. Keep Emergency Contacts Accessible:
    • Keep emergency contacts, including local authorities, readily accessible in case of any unforeseen situations.
  8. Have a Reliable Communication Device:
    • Carry a fully charged phone or other communication device with emergency contacts programmed.
  9. Practice Fire Safety:
    • Follow proper fire safety guidelines, and keep a basic fire extinguisher at your campsite.
  10. Trust Your Intuition:
    • If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and be prepared to relocate if necessary.
  11. Secure Valuables:
    • Keep valuables secure and out of sight to minimize the risk of theft.
  12. Connect with Fellow Campers:
    • Establish a friendly connection with nearby campers. Having neighbors aware of your presence can contribute to a safer camping experience.

Remember, each camping location may have unique safety considerations, so it’s essential to research and prepare accordingly for the specific environment you’ll be in. Once you’ve done your due diligence and are ready to take yourself on an adventure of a lifetime, pack your gear and hit the Maine road!

The National Park System remains the top choice for booking lodging and maximizing time in the park and saving money. As a highly sought-after option, reservations open from 11 months to 2 weeks in advance. Some sites have electricity, many do not. Still interested after reading the stipulations? Good! Welcome to the best kept secret in the National Park experience! Read on to hone skills and strategies for campsite hacks, and then book early to kick off your Maine camping adventure!

Located along the majestic Atlantic Coastline in the state of Maine, Acadia is situated across Mount Desert Island, Schoodic Peninsula, Isle au Haut, and other outer islands.

To get there:

Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (BHB). This small airport is just about 10 miles from the park, offering seasonal flights primarily from Boston, which makes it a convenient option during the tourist season, typically from late spring through early fall.

Bangor International Airport (BGR), which is located approximately 50 miles from Acadia National Park. It’s a larger airport with more year-round flight options, including services from major cities across the United States. The drive from Bangor to Acadia National Park takes about an hour.

Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine, is about 160 miles away, with a driving time of approximately 3 hours to Acadia National Park. This airport offers a broader range of flights and might be more accessible from various locations.

The campgrounds there have a unique booking system, and using their app is likely your best bet, since desktop reservations can be confusing. Otherwise, you’ll need to book from Recreation.gov with an account. Note, you need to be signed in to actually reserve, and you may not realize that until you’ve already invested in choosing a site and ready for checkout before discovering this.

In addition, Acadia holds site reservations up to two months in advance, rather than eleven months like some parks. That helps campers who may be somewhat spontaneous with their plans. There are four campgrounds inside the park for your Maine camping adventure. Read below for detailed description of two. And while you’re there, don’t forget to swim!

Schoodic Woods Campground

camping tent
Schoodic Woods Campground: Campsite A28

Quiet, blue skies, clean bathrooms, paved bike loops.
Schoodic is not as wooded as other campgrounds in the area, so if you need shade, bring a tarp or canopy. Another recommendation is to be prepared to arrange your tarp for privacy, (mine was partial) because some sites are not totally private, which is the norm for National Park campgrounds. The unfiltered sun is strong and situated so close to the Atlantic Ocean, it draws even more sunlight.

All the descriptions and reviews make it clear there are no showers, so make sure you pack body wipes and don’t let this detail deter you. It is worth the inconvenience. The modern and unique setting will make this campground one to remember. Also, as always when visiting National Parks, I highly recommend you bring your bikes. The ride through Schoodic Point is spectacular! You will pass bridges and lighthouses. You’ll hear the horn from the post and see lobster buoys dotting the waterways. Watch the ocean crashing upon rocks recognizable in any Hollywood iconic seafaring scene. Don’t forget your journal to capture the sights and sounds.

Blackwoods Campground

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Blackwoods Campground: Campsite B67

When I arrived at my second Maine camping site, I had a great surprise. The Ranger gave me my map at check in and said, “Site B67, that’s a nice one.” I knew I was going to love it.

Recreation.gov describes it as a ‘short walk’ in, but I say it’s more of a long driveway. Blackwoods has no electricity, not wifi, and no facility showers (hot showers are a half mile outside the park .25 cents = 15 seconds). Therefore, the campground is just one step above back country camping in terms of amenities. However, it offers the stars and the sea. There is an ocean path trail you can walk or bike to located in A-Loop. But since that loop is known to be noisy and you can’t hear the roar of the ocean anyway, I recommend B-loop. On bikes, it took about 10 minutes to get there.

As for stargazing, if you’re accustomed to East coast camping, chances are you rarely see black skies and probably never the Milky Way Galaxy. This is your opportunity to see both. I suggest setting an alarm for middle of the night, because before 10pm or so, it’s really not at its darkest. If you’ve already done your research on Blackwoods, then you already know most people love it.

Individual tent sites at Acadia National Park range from $22 and $30 a nite, and there are many options for changing or cancelling reservations. Check your calendar for the next two months, log on and pick a prime site for your Maine camping trip.

Campers, and especially trauma survivors, have so much to gain from Acadia National Park. Through this experience, you can establish a renewed sense of control as you navigate the challenges of outdoor living, rebuilding confidence and self-esteem. Additionally, the sensory experiences of nature, from the soothing sounds of rustling leaves to the therapeutic warmth of sunlight, contribute to a holistic healing process.

Finally, camping provides the transformative space where survivors can reconnect with themselves, others, and the natural world, promoting healing on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. If you go, I hope you love it as much as I did.