Lively Little Campers: Where to Camp and Eat Near Acadia National Park
Lively Little Campers: Where to Camp and Eat Near Acadia National Park avatar


Image1Where to Camp and Eat Near Acadia (1)

Where to Stay

Acadia National Park, located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, is one of the most visited national parks in the country. A popular RV destination, there are plenty of campgrounds to choose from. We highly recommend the Bar Harbor/Oceanside KOA and the Bar Harbor Campground. Whether you are in a pop up or a motorhome, we think both of these places are great options for parking your Jayco RV.

1. Bar Harbor/Oceanside KOA

Image2Bar Harbor_Oceanside KOA

We have stayed at Bar Harbor/Oceanside KOA twice in the past three years and love its waterfront location, stunning sunset views, and family activities. We particularly enjoyed launching our kayak right from the campground property. During our stay we heard live music, made tie dyes, took train rides, and ate a lobster dinner that we bought right on the campground. The friendly camp workers also made balloon animals for the boys. Book early to get one of the highly coveted waterfront sites.

2. Bar Harbor Campground


Families love the Bar Harbor Campground and return year after year. Many of the sites are large and wooded, and some have terrific water views, though no direct access. There is a large playground and a heated pool. But here’s the tricky part: they don’t take reservations or credit cards. You just show up, drive around, and pick your own site. Although we are not willing to risk it with our three young boys, other campers we talk to insist that you can always get a spot.

What to Eat

This summer Good Morning America named Acadia National Park “America’s Favorite Place” and people from everywhere flocked to see what the fuss was all about. We found the park much more crowded compared to our previous visits, and this led us to explore some of the quieter places on the island. What a wonderful experience! A short drive away from Bar Harbor and the Park Loop, we found bakeries, restaurants, cafes, and lobster shacks that let us taste the best of Maine without the crowds. Here are our favorite food discoveries.

1. The Docksider


The Docksider is a lobster pound in Northeast Harbor with an emphasize on locally sourced, organic food. Yes, the lobster and the chowder are delicious. But this quirky and unique restaurant has more to offer than the standard seafood fare. Max had been craving meatballs and we found them here. The really surprising part? They were downright delicious. If you can’t get a table, order the food to go and take it down to the harbor where you can easily find an empty picnic table with a water view.

2. Little Notch Bakery


Little Notch Bakery in Southwest Harbor, with a second location in Bar Harbor, has delicious pastry, bread, and pizza. We went in for a mid-afternoon snack, but ended up sampling quite a few of the treats. Then we picked out a few loaves of bread for the rest of our trip. The staff was kind and helpful, offering hospitable smiles even after one of the boys spilled an entire smoothie

3. The Common Good Cafe


Our favorite discovery of the whole trip was The Common Good Cafe, which serves up popovers, oatmeal, coffee, and juice 7 days a week at no charge (donations are welcomed). This local non-profit raises money to help feed struggling folks through the hard winters in Maine. Live music by local musicians, such as the 14-piece ukelele band that mesmerized us, and a wonderful space filled with toys for the little guys made this one of the most magical experiences of our trip.

4. Thurston’s


Thurston’s is a famous lobster pound that is off the beaten path in the small town of Bernard. Jeremy voted this the best lobster roll of our trip. The crab cakes were truly perfect…lots of crab, lots of flavor, not a lot of anything else. We have been here in previous years for dinner and it was quite crowded. At lunchtime, however, we had the entire screened-in dock to ourselves.

5. Mother’s Kitchen


We ate lunch at Mother’s Kitchen on our last day in Acadia. If we had discovered it earlier, we probably would have been regulars during our stay. Just down the road from the KOA, Mother’s Kitchen served classic and homey sandwiches with a twist. The Grand Banker, Lightning Strikes, and Grandpa Jack are just a few names of sandwiches made from fresh, delicious ingredients and served on crusty, perfect bread. End your meal with a cup of Crooked Porch Coffee and you should be charged up for the next hike. Hours are 10-2 pm, Monday-Friday… just as quirky as the sandwiches.

6. College of the Atlantic, Blair Dining Hall

Image9CollegeoftheAtlantic, Dining Hall

This may sound like a joke, but the best and most affordable lunch on Mount Desert Island can be found at the College of the Atlantic’s Blair Dining Hall, nicknamed “Take-a-Break” by students. All food is organic, with an emphasis on local and sustainable ingredients. Baked goods are made from scratch daily. The focus on world cuisines mean that the menu is varied and creative. After lunch, visit the admissions office and buy a t-shirt or sweatshirt for the perfect, unique souvenir. On our last trip, we showed up and found out that the cafe was closed for the week. We almost cried. But we still bought shirts.

If this trip reinforced anything we have learned from traveling, it was the importance of asking locals and other campers for recommendations. Even though this was not our first visit to Acadia National Park, we felt like we were discovering it all over again. We hope you also wander away from Bar Harbor and the Park Loop to explore the quieter side of Acadia. If you do, please let us know what you find.

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Norco Frame
Norco Frame avatar



We know everything is riding on your frame, which is why we build on the industry’s strongest foundations. Today, we’re going to take a look at the Norco NextGen frame, an ultra lite frame we use on select Jay Feather and White Hawk travel trailers.

Here is what makes the Norco frame one of the strongest in the industry:

  • This frame features the industry’s strongest strength-to-weight ratio thanks to high-strength, low-alloy sheet steel, huck bolts and an interlocking design (n/a Jay Feather SLX).
  • To help better support the walls, the frame’s outriggers are spaced 4-6 feet apart (vs. 8 feet).
  • The A-frame runs through the main frame, preventing the hitch from buckling like competing tack-welded frames.

In addition to this frame, we build on three other impressive foundations. Click here to visit our Strong Foundation landing page to learn more.

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Lively Little Campers: Simple and Delicious Camping Meals for Labor Day Weekend
Lively Little Campers: Simple and Delicious Camping Meals for Labor Day Weekend avatar




We love camping over a three-day weekend. It is amazing how much more fun you have— and how much more relaxed everyone is—when an extra day gets thrown into the mix.

They can also be a bit tricky for planning, though. We always want to pack in as much as possible without returning to work feeling exhausted and spent.

So simple and special is our three-day holiday principle, and we apply it on Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and any other extra-long weekend we are blessed with throughout the year. When it comes to food that means I want my meals to be delicious without requiring that I stand over a camp stove all day and then spend the entire evening cleaning up.

I follow a pretty easy formula when meal planning for a holiday weekend: one make-ahead meal, one slow cooker meal, and one camp stove/grill meal. This means I have a meal ready to go when we arrive late on Friday, a meal that can cook itself in the crock pot while we play all day Saturday, and a special camping meal that we can enjoy on Sunday before returning home the next morning.

Here are some of our family favorites from each category. There are many wonderful recipes for each of these dishes online, and I often change things up to keep them interesting. However, in this post I am linking to versions that I strongly recommend.

Make Ahead!


Chilaquiles: This Mexican casserole is so easy to make, and much simpler to serve than tacos. If I am really pinched for time I use a store bought rotisserie chicken. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and I bring along sour cream and salsa for toppings. Fruit salad is a great side for this dish.

Meatloaf: This did not initially seem like a great ‘camping’ dish to me until a friend suggested leftover meatloaf sandwiches and I was sold. This easy version only takes about 10 minutes to make and freeze. Throw a couple of pounds of baby red potatoes into the pan before cooking and you have a crowd-pleasing dinner.

Pasta Salad: I was never a big fan of the traditional pasta salad, but I LOVE pesto and once I started using that instead of Italian dressing, this became a favorite. I switch it up with whatever pasta and veggies I have on hand, always omitting the lettuce, because my children act like it is poison. This is a great, hearty meal to throw on the picnic table as soon as you arrive at camp.

Slow Cooker!


Pulled Pork Sandwiches: This is Jeremy’s favorite meal in my camping rotation and it doesn’t even require a recipe, though there are a million out there. Just put a pork shoulder (or whatever cut you have) in the crockpot, add a sliced onion and few chopped cloves of garlic, pour over your favorite BBQ sauce, and cook all day. Serve on rolls with coleslaw and watermelon.

Macaroni and Cheese: Yes, there is a delicious slow cooker version of this, and it will make your kids swoon. If you are camping when the weather is cool, this dish will warm everyone right up. I do the requisite chopped ham and peas to make it a complete meal. The last time I served this, our friends said it was BBQ-joint quality mac and cheese. I promise you won’t have leftovers.

Salsa Chicken: You probably won’t believe how good this is. Simply place chicken, salsa, and beans in your slow cooker and I promise you will have a great filler for tacos. My boys will currently eat anything in a tortilla, so this is a go-to recipe for me. Add your family’s favorite toppings and you are D.O.N.E.

Camp Stove Cooking!


This is when the burgers, hotdogs, steaks, and wings shine in all their glory. If you are looking to take it up a notch, check out Campfire Cuisine, my favorite camping cookbook. I make the spice rubs ahead of time in small ziplock bags, and then it only takes me a few minutes to get everything on the grill.

Thinking outside of the box? If you are celebrating the beginning or the end of summer (or any weekend in between) there is no better way to do it than with a Shrimp Boil. Easy, delicious, and perfect for a crowd, this is hands down my favorite summer campground dinner. All you need is a big pot and a burner. Try it once and I think you will be hooked.

We love bringing new meals to our camping table. Please share any camping favorites in the comments below!

Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi blog about camping and traveling with their three young children at

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