Last week, my son Henry and I took a spontaneous camping trip to the Wolfe's Neck Campground in Freeport. I had a few days off, he was free (he's 12, always free) and we both love camping. It was the perfect escape. We'd already decided to explore all of the local destinations this summer, so it made perfect sense to also try camping close by. Lucky for us, they had a few open sites to choose from and we were even allowed to bring our dog.
We've been taking the boys camping since they were toddlers, but have never camped closer than two hours from where we live in Portland. Our favorite campground is over 3 hours away...worth the drive, but it's a haul. So the 30 minute drive to Wolfe's Neck was a real bonus. Packing food and supplies for one night, was also comparatively easy. Setup was a breeze, since were able to park at our site. So far, this was the easiest camping trip yet.
Located at 134 Burnett Road in Freeport, this 626-acre campground offers 150 pet-friendly campsites along the shoreline and through fields and forests. Options include a tents-only area, electric/water sites, and three oceanfront cabins if you're looking for something with walls and a bed. There is a camp store, a farm cafe called Maggie Mae's Outpost, kayak/bicycle rentals, nature trails, demonstrations barnyards, gardens and four miles of oceanfront to explore here.
Because this campground is part of the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment, a leading organic demonstration farm and educational resource center, you may be watching the cows out on pasture or the lamb's fed their nightly bottle. We were lucky enough to see both during our time here.
We took full advantage of swimming here at high tide and there was a staircase leading down to a sweet beach close to our campsite. The water was shockingly warm for the Maine ocean, so it didn't take the wind out of us, or numb our feet like we're used to. The sand was a bit rocky, so I'd suggest bringing water shoes if you plan to swim. We are a family living in Maine, so of course we all own a pair of crocs. These work well as water shoes too. If you've been holding off on buying crocks because you don't love the look of them, it's time to get over yourself. Once you start wearing them, you won't stop. And there are always great online deals on crocs.
There are several different camping areas at Wolfe's Neck. We stayed at West Bay, which was great, but a bit less private. We did scope out the other areas and when we return, we will look for a site at Middle Bay, which is more forested with the same close access to the water. Here is a breakdown of the four camping areas. Find more details and maps here.
East Bay (Sites 100-200s, 400-500s): This area includes some of the more private tent sites, 3 oceanfront cabins, comfort camping sites (a tent with a queen bed, private outhouse, and special dining tent.) and 30amp Electric and Water RV sites.
Middle Bay (Sites 300s): This area is for tents only. Tall trees provide well-spaced and shaded sites and there is also shore access via stairs here.
West Bay (Sites 700s-900s): Perfect for families with young children, this area features a recreation field, playground, and shower building with flushing toilets. Most of these sites are open and grassy, with views of the bay and vegetable fields (and cows!).
Quiet Cove (Sites 600s): Set along the edge of a tidal estuary, these walk-in tent only sites are perfect for quiet camping experiences. This area is for adults only.
The atmosphere here was family-friendly and welcoming. Since we happened to visit during the first two sunny days in weeks, everyone seemed to be in high spirits. Hard not to be, in such a gorgeous setting with nothing to do but hang out and enjoy the sunsets and sunrises.
And so, I don't have anything but good news about camping at Wolfe's Neck Oceanfront Campground. Ok, one minor complaint, I did go home with a brown tail moth rash. But in Wolfe's Neck's defense, there were signs warning about this everywhere. I'm pretty sure I got it from my dog, who was roaming through all of the trees and bushes...and I am constantly full body hugging her, because I just can't help myself. Henry was not hugging Romy and did not get a rash, so that proves my theory. Just keep your eyes out for those little brown tail caterpillars, and avoid them if you can. If you do get the rash, here is a recipe for DIY brown tail moth rash spray, which my sister-in-law swears by.
After a sweet 24 hours of fresh air adventure, Henry and I decided that we will do more of these local, one night camping trips and will most definitely return to Wolfe's Neck Campground.
Back at home, I spent several hours emptying the car, hosing down the mud on the bottom of our tent, cleaning out the cooler and wet clothes, and hauling the gear back up to the attic. My husband, who supports my love of camping but doesn't really understand it, shook his head, grinning, "Was it really worth all of this?"
My answer to this question is always the same, "Yes. Totally worth it. Every single time."
The packing is complicated, but nothing can compare to the simplicity of sleeping with the stars overhead, listening to the owls, seeing fireflies (YES, we saw them at Wolfe's Neck!), talking over a crackling fire and having undistracted time with my family. There is no question - it's worth it.