Weld, Maine is the one place I’ve visited every summer since moving to the state five years ago. Head north from Portland through Peru, Dixfield, and a series of other small towns and eventually you’ll wind up at Mount Blue State Park.
I can’t say enough about Maine’s state park system as a whole, but this one might be my favorite. Each of the past three summers, we’ve stayed at one of the park’s two group sites – private camping areas that are big enough for you and just about everyone you know. With a covered area to keep food and other supplies dry, the site is big enough that campers can spread out through wooded areas and even set up tents on the beach.
Rent boats, swim at the site’s own private beach, set yourself up with a good old fashioned campfire – the options are endless, but really you don’t want to visit the area without hiking Tumbledown.
It’s a popular mountain, and I’ve seen everyone from hardcore hikers to families with kids in flip flops making their way to the top. I’ve been on both the Loop Trail (not good for dogs or those with lots of equipment, there’s a very narrow pass you’ll have to work your way through) and Brook Trail (the easier of the two, but still be prepared for some steep inclines). Neither is “easy” but with time even inexperienced hikers will make it to the top, where the view is unbeatable and on hot days you can take a dip in the lake at the peak.
If you’re not in a large group, bring your camping gear and camp at the top. The park is also set up like many others in the state – there are a number of camp sites available for small groups. They’re certainly not as private but clean, wooded sites that make the perfect spot for a quick getaway.