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“Top-quality, beautiful campground”

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Mount Desert Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Westford, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Top-quality, beautiful campground”
Reviewed July 7, 2012

I am a little sorry to enter the fray on this as I don't want to ignite a battle that will invite more negative reviews, but please take them with a grain of salt. We have been camping there for two weeks at a time over twenty years and also have the context of being experienced campers at many other campgrounds. This campground has hands-down the cleanest, best-designed and well-maintained bathrooms that we have ever encountered in a campground. You can hear a pin drop after 10:00. Perhaps the best data on this is that people come for the first time, and then return year after year. A very clean-cut, family atmosphere - most sightings of any teenagers are likely to be some polite boys tossing a frisbee back and forth in front of the bathroom or cute fourteen year-olds clustered around the mirror in the bathroom! (sorry about the stereotypes)

Natural setting is just beautiful, location is great, office could not be more responsive. This is an extremely high quality place with a long tradition of attentive support for all of us campers, careful stewardship of the beautiful setting, and attentive enforcement of modest, reasonable campground rules. My advice to the Craigheads is to skip right by some of these puzzling entries as you have created a large community who values what you do.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
7 Thank Janet Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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163 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
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English first
Katonah, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 2012

We have been going to MDI Campground for about 20 years now, and each time we are impressed with everything about this place. In fact, every year, we meet other families who have camped here for 10, 20, even 30+ years with kids now grown and empty nesters returning. The Craigheads have always been ingratiating and cordial, helpful in the planning of the trip and wonderful upon arrival. I am stunned to read anything but compliments for how they manage their campground and how they meet and greet guests. The sites have always been perfectly clean, the bathrooms are immaculate...every time for 20 years. Some sites are close together, but their map on the website is accurate, and other sites, are, quite frankly, some of the most stunning and beautiful and scenic in all of New England (check out some of those in A loop!). Just ask when you set up a reservation, explain your interests and desires, and the Craigheads will help. Traffic noise? Yes, in a few areas, but again, just ask, mention the concern from the start, and you will be directed to ones far from the noise of the road. Noise in the campground...not in our experience. During the day, it is really quiet (and kids LOVE crabbing (catch and release) at the docks...worry not about the crabs, they are probably the best fed animals in all of Maine), and yes, in the early evening families and friends are enjoying campfires, as expected, but it's a family place and everything shuts down at an appropriate hour. From the campground (in fact, from many campsites) you can go kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and more, and it is just 5-10 minutes from the Eagle Lake Carriage road parking area and from the Cadillac Mountain Acadia Park entrance. 12 minutes brings you to downtown Bar Harbor, and 7 minutes the other way takes you to quieter Northeast Harbor. Perfectly located, wonderfully managed, and beautifully maintained, our family considers MDI Campground one of the ongoing highlights of our many travels, and we will continue to return and hoe, in the near future, to introduce grandchildren to this delightful place.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at Mount Desert Campground, responded to this review, July 12, 2012
Thank you for your kind review! Please see our response to "Jerry B" on 6/26/12 in reference to the (now deleted) negative comments.

Owen Craighead
Co-owner, Mount Desert Campground
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2012

For 22 of the last 25 years, including every year since 1991, Mount Desert Campground has been the place I go to re-imprint the smile on my face and recharge for another year. I have also enjoyed stays at Seawall, Blackwoods and White Birch within Acadia, but it is no insult to say that they just don't stand up to the beauty of a waterfront MDC site. If you're looking for the most beautiful and well-maintained campground on the island, this is it.

The review by Jerry B does a good job of outlining the positives of the campground, so I'd like to second his description while emphasizing some points in relation to the complaints I'm shocked to read in other reviews. The bathrooms are immaculate... better maintained than in any other campground I've ever stayed in (and there have been many). In 20+ years of camping at MDC, I don't recall ever encountering a lack of bathroom supplies, nor having a single unpleasant interaction with the staff. Quite the contrary, they've clued me into some great around-town events as well as some of my now-favorite kayaking routes (kayaks are available, by the way). As for noise issues, I see that all but one complaint was registered within a four-day period, so perhaps they were victims of one rare and raucous grouping? Apart from the occasional small child crying at night, I hardly ever recall being bothered by noise past the official campground-set quiet time of 10:00 pm. Staff live in every section throughout the summer. Lastly, as for cell phone coverage... no, it's not ideal, but (a) we are camping; (b) coverage is spotty across the island; and (c) I'm hesitant to blame the campground for spotty cell reception in or around a national park. MDC does provide free wireless internet for all guests at the Gathering Place, along with daily breakfast specials and some pretty fantastic ice cream flavors at night (try the moose tracks!). If it's raining particularly hard, they'll sometimes even open it up for use as a favor to guests outside of the typical posted hours.

It's the rare vacation spot that can attract the same customers back for years, let alone decades. Yet as I was proudly hitting my 20th year at MDC, it came to my attention that some of my neighbors had been returning for as many as 25, 35 and (in one instance) 48 years! Families don't make this kind of trek over and over by accident. Mount Desert Campground is a truly special place, and my only concern is that it still be here for the next generation.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Mike Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florence, Massachusetts, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2012

My wife and our two kids just returned from our 9th annual stay at Mt. Desert Campground (my children are ages 8 and 11). As has always been the case, we were very happy with the campground and the facilities. I have always found the bathrooms to be clean and well stocked, and the staff have always been very helpful and responsive. While I have never stayed at other campgrounds on MDI, Mt. Desert excels in these areas compared to other campgrounds I have stayed at. We always camp in the more wooded and private "E" sites, where things are less crowded than at the waterfront sites, and have never experienced loud parties or unreasonable noise (and no, I don't consider the wood thrushes that start chirping at sunrise as being unreasonable!). Honestly, I can't imagine the negativity of some of the other reviews. I do see how it might be louder and the facilities more crowded over by the water (with more car traffic particularly at the sites near the beginning of the one-way camp loop road) but that's the price you pay for those views. If you are bothered by the sounds of gulls, loons, osprey, red squirrels, etc., camping might not be the best choice for you. If you're really bothered by the lack of cell service, ask yourself how people vacationed 10-15 years ago.

The campground is centrally located to Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and Northeast Harbor. It's an easy, short drive to Eagle Lake for biking on the carriage roads. Free buses regularly stop at the campground, and are easy to use (including bike racks!). Wood and ice are slightly more expensive at the campground than at the convenience store or roadside wood stands, but not outrageously so- if that's a problem, pick some up before you head back to camp. Personally, the convenience of being able to throw a few bundles of wood on the roof of my car and drive slowly back to my site is worth the extra dollar it costs.

Our favorite part of the campground is the fact that you don't have to leave it to do cool things. Our "Camp Days" are filled with crab catching, swimming, and kayaking. They rent kayaks at the office, and there is beautiful, relatively calm salt-water kayaking right off the docks. We had the pleasure this year of being entertained by a pair of harbor seals just a few minutes paddle from the campground docks. In past years, we've had to settle for osprey or bald eagles.

We have found the owners to be very helpful and accommodating, whether it be moving our fire pit because it got swamped after several days of rain or finding a site for us after we arrived one year having mistakenly (and unknowingly) neglected to send in our deposit to confirm our reservation. From Owen, Donna, and the others in the office, to Norma and the folks at the Gathering Place, everyone at the campground has always been pleasant and helpful. I've been home only a few days, and already can't wait for next year's trip.

Room Tip: Sites on "E" road are more private than the waterfront sites (though they lack the view).
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Jeff S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at Mount Desert Campground, responded to this review, July 12, 2012
Thank you for your positive comments! Please see our response to "Jerry B" on 6/26/12 in reference to the negative reviews. We look forward to welcoming you back in the future!

Owen Craighead
Co-owner, Mount Desert Campground
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stow, MA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2012

I have been surprised to read any negative reviews about Mount Desert Campground, and while I don’t normally write reviews, felt compelled to this time. Our family has been going to MDC each summer for the last 11 years, and we think that it’s a great place to camp. In fact, at the campground we constantly run into other campers who have been going there longer, sometimes for three generations.

MDC is a wooded campground on the edge of Sommes Sound, the saltwater fjord that splits the middle of Mount Desert Island. There are many pine trees, giving the campground an open feel. Some of the campsites are directly on the water. And when you walk the camp road in the morning to get coffee and pastries at the “Gathering” you get the treat of the sun rising over the water and shining through the pine trees. In the evening you get the setting sun over the water.

The campsites are good sized and well spaced, separated by trees. Many have tent platforms. The campground is centrally located, convenient to both the east and west sides of the island.

The bathrooms are wood structures, with raised wood slat floors. This makes for more pleasant bathrooms that are not damp (like with cement floors) due to the raised wooden construction. The bathrooms are kept immaculately clean by the staff; these are the cleanest campground bathrooms we’ve found. Each bathroom is unavailable only for about 20 minutes a day while cleaning, because they clean by spraying everything down.

The Craighead family and the campground staff are all warm and friendly. We’ve never seen the unpleasantness that a couple of other posters have complained of.

We have looked at, and camped at many other campgrounds in the Northeast, but always use MDC as the yardstick. So far, we’ve not found another campground that is anywhere’s near as nice.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Jerry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owner at Mount Desert Campground, responded to this review, July 12, 2012
Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! With respect to the negative reviews, they were found to be false and subsequently removed. We deeply appreciate your support and continued patronage.

Owen Craighead
Co-owner, Mount Desert Campground
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed October 11, 2011

We had planned on staying at Blackwoods Campground in Acadia but they were booked so we changed plans. Mt Desert Campground was terrific. We had a lovely site right on Some Sound - with, much to our surprise, an electrical hookup, water and bath facilities near by. Because they do not accept RVs over 20' it is mostly a tenting crowd which suited us perfectly. A terrific place to put in a kayak for a beautiful evening or early morning paddle. The only drawback was the sound of traffic on a nearby road. We only were aware of the noise in the early morning and decided it was not enough to keep us from returning. Not all sites would hear the traffic noise - just those by the water.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Lilybay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed October 2, 2011

We can't say enough good things about this campground. The waterfront sites were exactly what we were looking for. We were at A9 which is exactly as it looks online but does have some highway noise. I would recommend going back further into the b's and c's to get away from that if possible. The bathrooms have hot showers, flush toilets and were so clean! There is not a gated entrance but don't let that unsettle you... It is very safe and full of serious outdoors family and older types. Really a great place - you don't need a hotel or an expensive bed and breakfast.... And only a few minutes from downtown, and the entrance to Acadia by Cadilliac Mtn.

  • Stayed September 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank HikeHistory
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mount Desert Campground

Property: Mount Desert Campground
Address: 516 Sound Dr, Mount Desert, Mount Desert Island, ME 04660-6618
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Maine > DownEast and Acadia Maine > Mount Desert Island > Mount Desert
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Mount Desert
Number of rooms: 163
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Since 1958, Mount Desert Campground has been providing clean and quiet grounds for campers to enjoy! While you won't find frills and gimmicks here, you will find beautiful wooded sites located along the salt water shore of Somes Sound. We take great pride in ensuring our camper's stay is a pleasant one, which is why we also provide the most up-to-date facilities. For more information, please contact us today or visit our website for more details! ... more   less 

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