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Lily Bay State Park sits near the southeastern corner of Moosehead Lake, smack dab in the middle of Maine. And while Maine is a popular summer vacation destination for New Englanders, few of them ever make it as far north as Moosehead Lake and the Lily Bay Campground. It’s the ideal RV camping destination for anglers, birdwatchers, and anyone that just wants to enjoy the outdoors without crowds and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
There are no hookups for your RV rental at Lily Bay Campground though, so come prepared with water and all of your electronics fully charged. The park does have dump stations and restrooms, so there’s no need to worry about finding a toilet. Don’t let the campground's rustic nature deter you though; Lily Bay is a fantastic RV campground for travelers wanting to get off the beaten path and experience nature at its finest.
Like just about everywhere else in Maine, the Moosehead Lake region is brimming with outdoor adventure opportunities. The most obvious choice is to simply jump in the lake for a swim. Another option is to grab a kayak (there are a few outfitters along the lake’s shore) and start exploring the many islands that dot Moosehead Lake. There are around 80 of them, so you’ll probably run out of strength before you can see them all.
When you’re RV camping at Lily Bay Campground, you’re also not too far from Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak and the terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Hiking to its summit is no picnic, requiring a full day of trekking and 4,000 feet of elevation gain, but the scenery is absolutely spectacular. There’s also Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, which sits just east of its namesake peak. The land was originally purchased by the founder of a natural cosmetics manufacturer and then gifted to the federal government to set aside a protected area for activities like hiking, fishing, and birdwatching. If you’re not up for the climb to the top of Katahdin, the monument has some of the best views of this majestic peak.
The Appalachian Trail runs fairly near to Moosehead Lake, which allows you to hike a section of the famed long-distance trail without setting aside months to do it. In fact, the most difficult section, known as the Hundred Mile Wilderness, is about an hour’s drive from the RV park. From this point on, there are no services or resupply points, requiring thru-hikers to carry everything they need for the next several days. Visit toward the end of summer, and you will probably meet some interesting hikers with big stories to tell.
In between your hiking and kayaking trips, there’s room for a round of golf, and there’s no better course than the one at the base of Mount Kineo, on Moosehead Lake’s eastern shore. It offers some spectacular vistas of the glassy lake ringed with bright green trees (or vibrant reds and oranges, depending on the time of year) on just about every hole.
Greenville is the largest community on Moosehead Lake and the place where you’ll probably go when you need a break from nature. There’s not too much going on in Greenville, but it has several restaurants, most serving down-home classics like pizza, steaks, burgers, and fresh pies (Maine is famous for its berries, so you have to try the pies when they’re in season). Shopping is limited to a few antique shops and a general store that stocks the essentials. For any semblance of urban life, you’ll need to take your rental RV all the way down to Bangor, a 90-minute drive away.
Bangor is a great day trip when you book an RV in Piscataquis County, Maine – full of interesting cultural attractions, a varied dining selection, and one of the few cities in Maine with nightlife to speak of. Start your tour of the city by checking out the enormous statue of Paul Bunyan, the mythical lumberjack of American folklore. His likeness stands in front of the Cross Center, the main concert venue in Bangor; unfortunately, there’s no blue ox to be found anywhere nearby. Also, while you can’t go inside and getting too close is discouraged, Stephen King’s (of literary horror fame) house is in the Whitney Park district west of downtown. There’s even a beautiful wrought iron fence on the perimeter to give an extra eerie touch to the property.
Just north of Bangor is the town of Orono, home to the University of Maine and sizable student population. If you’re looking for great drinks and equally excellent dishes, this is the place to go. On-campus, you’ll find the Hudson Museum, which has a fantastic display of indigenous artwork, the Emera Astronomy Center, and the Page Farm and Home Museum that focuses on pre-industrial life in Maine.