We watched in quiet amazement as a bull moose emerged from the woods, cocked his antlered head in our direction, and bent down to nibble some greenery. It was enchanting, magical . . . and just another day at Moosehead Lake. This screen-saver-worthy locale is one of Maine’s finest, featuring 40 miles of silver-blue water, pine-shrouded islets, and a mountain that seems to spring from the lake itself. This is some of New England’s most spectacular real estate, but you don’t need a platinum credit card to enjoy it. Camp at a lakefront site at Lily Bay State Park and you will wake up to dazzling views for less than $25 a night.
That’s the secret kick of camping in New England: You get access to some of the region’s prime beauty spots for next to nothing. A bonus: Camping tunes you into the slow pleasures of life, and aspects of nature that no city can deliver. David Babik of Natick, who has been camping with his family for more than 10 years, says, “Sharing a bright fire under a starry sky is a unique pleasure. It’s amazing how much more interesting the nighttime sky becomes when you are away from the lights and pollution of the city.”