Camping in Comfort
Kj and I like to camp. When I say camp, what I actually mean is back our 5th wheel into a spot, set up and THEN explore the area around us. Every year we spend the last week of June in Baxter State Park. Yes, I know they don’t allow 5th wheels in the park, we stay just outside at Wilderness Edge or Abol Bridge. Then, the following week we stay at our favorite resort in southern Maine, Bayley’s Camping Resort.
To call Bayley’s a “Campground” would be a real stretch. Yes, you are technically camping as you will need to, at the very least, pitch a tent. There are also several rental units available within the grounds, but that is kind of where the actual camping ends.
Fun & Entertainment for Everyone
The first thing you notice as you pull into the main entrance of Bayley’s is the Seaside Square Complex with its massive bandshell. This is the central hub of activity pretty much every single day of Bayley’s season. Located in this complex you will find two swimming pools, four hot tubs, three of which are 18 and over only, the bandshell, which features live entertainment almost every night during the summer months, the Seaside Square Café and a game room.
You will pull into one of the three registration lanes, park and head up to the registration office where you will be greeted by some of the friendliest people in the park. Be sure to have a reservation. You can just take a chance and try your luck, but I STRONGLY recommend getting a reservation for the busier times of the season and especially on holidays. We have spent the week of the 4th of July here for several years. I always make my reservations for that week no later than the middle of May because that week is almost always full to capacity. That can be hard to believe when you realize just how massive this resort is.
Bayley’s opened in 1970 and has expanded many times over the years. Today, the resort covers just about 250 acres and has hundreds of campsites. They range from simple no hookup tent sites to the Big Rig sites that have full hook-ups and can accommodate the big diesel pusher motorhomes. All the campsites have a picnic table and fireplace as well as being located near some of the cleanest bathrooms and shower facilities you will ever notice in a campground. The campsites that have hook-ups, from the basic water and electric sites to “Bayley’s Best” sites feature free cable T.V. for those rainy days or just to settle down after a long day of swimming, biking, fishing or kayaking. There really is something for everyone at Bayley’s.
Once you have set up your campsite it is time to explore the grounds. When you checked in the person you spoke with gave you a brochure that contains a map to the entire complex. You came past two of the pools within Bayley’s complex, but there are still two more to explore. The Little River complex is the newest addition to Bayley’s. This is an 18 and over area that has live music on the weekends, a pool, two hot tubs, a snack bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic selections, bathrooms, showers and one of the 24 hr. laundromats. The bathrooms and showers are open to everyone, but the pool area is strictly for the over 18 crowd.
As you wandered down to the Little River Complex you may have passed one of the three fully stocked fishing ponds. The ponds are catch and release, and Bayley’s does host the occasional fishing derby from time to time. Inside of your brochure you will find a sheet of paper telling you all the scheduled upcoming events during your stay.
Camping Supplies & Equipment Rentals
From the Little River Complex, you can trek on over to the Back-Cove store and check out the many camping supplies and assorted items available to purchase. The other store is located directly across from the Seaside Square Complex if you have forgotten anything. In the Back-Cove store, you can pay for a round of mini-golf on Bayley’s very own 18-hole course. This is also where you can rent one of the paddle boats, the pedal-powered bikes and carts as well as kayaks and fishing poles if you forgot yours.
Near the Back-Cove store is the fourth pool complex. This pool is for all ages and similar to the Little River Complex, it closes at 8 pm. Behind the pool and store, you will find a wide-open field where many of the kids planned activities take place. Along with several volleyball courts, basketball courts and baseball/softball fields.
Close to Nearby Attractions
One of the best features of Bayley’s just happens to be its convenience to Maine’s most famous or infamous beach, Old Orchard/Pine Point. Located only ½ a mile away the beach is easily accessible by driving yourself, or simply take one of the two complimentary beach trollies that run on the hour from the resort. They offer stops at both Pine Point and down to Old Orchard’s historic pier. The trollies also make morning and evening stops at both Funtown/Splashtown and Aquaboggan. Discounted tickets to both fun theme parks can be purchased inside of the Main Store across from the Seaside Square Complex. The trolley stop is located in front of the playground across from the security checkpoint.
Travel Trailer Rentals
Now, not everyone has the storage space for a motorhome, 5th wheel, travel trailer, popup, or tent and all of the other gear needed for camping. But after reading all that Bayley’s has to offer how could you not want to stay for a few days? Not to fear, the resort has you covered in this respect as well. Bayley’s offers several travel trailers located on their own sites throughout the park that are available to rent. The demand for the rental trailers is high during the short summer season so reservations are a must!
The trailers are often brand new or a year old and Bayley’s sells them at that end of the season. If you are interested in trying out the camping life in a travel trailer without buying one, here is your chance. They are very nicely laid out units and come with all the basic amenities you would look for in a travel trailer.
Another cool rental option to enjoy the summer fun is to rent one of Bayley’s Maine Made Cabins. These cabins feature all the comforts of home. All you need to bring with you are your clothes, bedding, towels, and other essentials. Like the trailers, these cabins are also extremely popular so call ahead and reserve one in advance.
A Great Atmosphere & Great People
Kj and I could go on and on about all of the fun that you will have within the boundaries of this wonderful resort. The relaxed atmosphere and general good-natured attitude of everyone from the staff to the campers will lead you to make friends with your neighbors, jump into a fun game of cornhole or just kick back and relax. You can have a beer as you soak in a hot tub while the kids swim or watch and laugh as two opponents face off at the Pool Pole Plunge. There truly is something for everyone at southern Maine’s premier camping resort, Bayley’s.
We will be there over the 4th of July week, either soaking our tired legs in the hot tubs, arguing about who cheated on the mini-golf course, down at the beach, hiking out on the Eastern Trail, catching a whale watching tour out of the Old Port or just lounging around our campsite doing a whole lot of nothing. You can usually find us in the “L”, “M” or numbered sections so if you happen to see us feel free to stop and say hello. We always like to meet new people. As always, we hope to see you out there!
Terry, a.k.a. Dad is an OTR chemical driver who enjoys, researching and visiting many of the historical and beautiful places throughout Maine. He has written several articles for Discover Maine magazine and looks forward to the day when he can make a living exploring the state he loves most.
Kendrick, a.k.a. Kj, the youngest of Terry’s 3 sons, shares his Dad’s passion for history and adventure.
They both enjoy camping (in a tent) as well as “glamping” (in their 5th wheel), hiking, climbing, whitewater rafting and any other outdoor adventure that allows them to see the splendor of the state of Maine.