Pros: Beautiful scenery, so many things to do, camping at it's best!
Cons: Absolutely nothing, unless you don't like camping!
Being an original Maine-iac myself, I may be biased when it comes to any attraction in the state. However, this place has a special place in my heart. Since I was three years old my parents had been taking our family on week long trips to Hermit Island Campground and now I take mine. The campground is literally an island connected to the main land only by a strip of land that gives just enough room for a beach and parking. The campground holds 275 campsites each with their own camp fireplace, picnic table and parking spot. There are several beaches on the island including one that you have to hike to get there. Tents and small pop-ups are welcomed!
When driving into Hermit Island you will first hit the Kelp Shed, the campground headquarters. The Kelp Shed provides your check in/reservation desk along with a game room and snack bar. During the summer months the snack bar is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The reservation desk also provides a variety of board games to play on those rainy days when you want to keep inside. You can also check out the activities list and find a variety a things to do such as join a sunset cruise or rent canoes or kayaks. If your up for adventure, grab and map with trails and take a hike through the woods, who knows you may cross paths with a deer and her fawn.
After you've checked in you'll pass the General Store and Gift Shop. The General Store provides campers with fire wood, groceries, shellfish, lobster, beer and wine as well as camping necessities. This comes in handy since the closets grocery store is about a 25 minute drive back into Bath, Maine. Behind the General Store is a laundry room, I don't about know you but laundry is not something I don't want to do while vacationing, but none the less it is provided. The Gift Shop is small and quaint, but has wonderful little gifts for all ages including postcards of the island and pictures of the campground many years ago.
Okay, let's get on this island and past the enormous anchor that rests on a hill to your right as you drive in. Depending on your preference when camping, Hermit Island Campground offers campsites of all kinds. There are wooded, open, beach, and ocean view sites. They are broken down into Prime, Choice and Value sites. Joe's Head road consists of 12 sites on raised land that is very open with little trees and overlooks the Casco Bay. I personally am afraid of my tent blowing away at these sites, but to each his own. Western Reach is my favorite and most commonly reserved site area. You have the choice of Prime and Choice sites. The Prime sites are breath taking and overlook the Casco Bay as well. During 4th of July you can see the fireworks from across the bay into what I believe is Freeport/Brunswick area. Another breath taking area is Cross Island, at least 1, 2 and 3, but good luck getting one of these sites, I have only been fortunate enough to book them on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend when the water is cold and and the weather is very unpredictable. If you travel with several other families and a pop-up and don't mind not having any privacy I would suggest Iris Downs. The majority of the sites are excellent and you really can't go wrong. Of course if you've never been there before, just tell them your preferences and they will always do their best to accommodate you.
The restrooms on the island are generally clean and outhouses and flush are both offered. Showers are located in several different areas of the island and do have hot water, just avoid going during the rush which usually takes place right before dinner. Mirrors and outlets are located in the bathroom for your convenience.
During the day you can swim at one of the many beaches, plan a day trip to Sand Dollar Beach where if you're into snorkeling you can go out to find 100's of live sand dollars on the ocean floor. Sand Dollar beach requires getting into your vehicle to get to or you may attempt to hike or bike the hilled road to the beach. You may also hike the four different marked trails on the island. And one of my favorites is to purchase a shellfishing license and during low tide go out and dig clams. The license is available at the Kelp Shed or if the season is busy you may need to go into town if they run out. At the end of the day you can have yourself a good old fashioned New England Clam Dinner at your campfire.
At night you can smell the fires burning and the laughter of fellow campers around you. You can take a walk through the campground or venture on to the beach where you most likely will find someone doing night fishing. Time has no meaning when you're camping and what may seem like midnight may only be nine o'clock. However the campground does have round the clock security that drives around their golf cart throughout the night and makes sure that all minors obey curfew which is 10:00 pm last I checked.
Reservations for this magnificent campground, are taken by mail only starting Jan. 2nd and must be for week long reservations. Beginning Feb. they will take by mail and phone for week long bookings and then come March they will take reservations for less than a week. Payment is always due 30 days after booking. Rates may change but vary between $30 - $50 a night. Please check their website for more details at http://www.hermitisland.com