Some of the best adventures are the product of a spur-of-the-moment whim. But sometimes, a few minutes of preparation can spell the difference between an average day afield and a truly memorable vacation event.

Focusing on activities that might call for a bit of advance research or at least a phone call or two, the BDN compiled a short list that could spice up your summer. Jump in a raft! Camp out in Baxter State Park! Stay in a traditional sporting camp!

Here’s the problem: The weather we’ve been experiencing lately doesn’t really lend itself to thoughts of late spring and summer activities. And by the time we all thaw out, it might be too late to reserve your spot during the primetime weeks for the activities we’ve listed below.

So surf the Web, or make a call. Whatever you do, plan ahead. After all, it would be a shame if you wound up on a Maine river without a paddle … or deep in the woods without a place to stay for the night.

Then get ready to enjoy a Maine experience you’ll always remember.

Stay in a traditional Maine sporting camp

Tucked away in some of the state’s most pristine areas are some true gems that many folks don’t consider when they’re thinking about going on vacation. They’re traditional Maine sporting camps, and many are worth the trip. Think rough-hewn timbers, home-cooked meals, and a world of adventure waiting right outside your door. That’s what you’ll find at these camps, some of which have been in operation for more than a century. One to consider: Libby Camps, an Orvis-endorsed lodge that sits in the North Maine Woods west of Ashland. If you’re a fly fisher, this is the place for you: Float plane service is available to whisk you away to virtually private fishing experiences. Or if you’re just looking for a place to step away from the rat race for a few days, you’ll certainly find that here. Of course, there are dozens of other traditional sporting camps to choose from, each offering a truly unique experience. Check out the Maine Sporting Camp Association for more options.

Jump in a raft and get wild

Over the past few decades, a wet-and-wild industry has emerged in the Maine wilderness, and each year, thousands of people — young and old — have tried their hand at whitewater rafting. There are trips for those seeking a thrill, and options for those who would rather have a more moderate trip down one of the state’s great rivers. Rafting companies take advantage of predictable water flows on rivers that are controlled by dams, and those companies can often tell clients exactly what to expect. Industry insiders make it easy to compare and book a trip, as Raft Maine serves seven major outfitters and offers information and resources on its website. Make that site your first stop, and before long you’ll be bobbing down a Maine river, enjoying some respite from the summer heat … if, that is, summer ever arrives.

Fish with a registered Maine guide

Many of us head out for a day of fishing alone, figuring that the knowledge we’ve accumulated over the years will be enough to ensure success. And some of those solitary days are wonderful. But hiring a true professional to lead you on your trip can be a special treat, and one we highly recommend. There are hundreds of registered Maine guides who’d be happy to take you out for a day, and many of those men and women spend more time on the water in a year than you will in a decade as an avid angler. You can find a list of potential guides at the Maine Professional Guides Association website, or you may decide to target a particular part of Maine — say, Grand Lake Stream or the Rangeley Lakes — to begin your adventure. Or, John Holyoke of the BDN has a couple of suggestions — guides that he has had great luck with. First is Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville. Dan books a number of fly fishing guides out of his shop, and all are accomplished pros. If you’re looking for more of a family outing, you can’t beat a day on the saltwater with Capt. Pete Douvarjo of Eggemoggin Guide Service in Sedgwick. Captain Pete offers family fun outings that target pollack and mackerel, but also takes more adventurous anglers far offshore to target sharks, in season.

Experience backcountry luxury

Spend a day kayaking across a crystal clear lake or mountain biking in the mountains, then relax that evening in a rustic backcountry lodge, where you’ll find a hot shower, comfortable bed and delicious homemade meal. Sound too good to be true? This adventure is available through Maine Huts & Trails, a network of trails and eco-friendly lodges in western Maine. You can plan your own adventure, staying at the lodges each night, or you can opt for one of the many MH&T guided trips and workshops. Make your reservations at or call 265-2400.

Catch a wave

So, you’ve always wanted to learn how to surf? Not too many years ago, you might have been out of luck here in Maine. Nowadays, there are plenty of options, and a burgeoning surf community is hitting the waves throughout the year. If you’re looking to get into the sport, you might want to check out Aquaholics in Kennebunk, where they offer lessons for young and old, and have catered to groups as large as 84 prospective surfers.

Stay at a state park

Get to know one of Maine’s state parks in a new light, quite literally, by pitching a tent and staying the night. Campsites are available at Aroostook State Park, Bradbury Mountain State Park, Camden Hills State Park, Cobscook Bay State Park, Lamoine State Park, Lily Bay State Park, Mount Blue State Park, Rangeley Lake State Park, Sebago Lake State Park and Warren Island State Park. Some of these parks have only a few tent sites, so make your reservations early at

Grab a spot in Baxter

If you want to hike or camp in Maine’s famous Baxter State Park this summer, it’s crucial that you plan ahead. Camping in the park requires reservations. Baxter’s rolling reservation system, which works four months in advance, started Jan. 15. But even if you aren’t camping, if you aim to hike Katahdin, it’s wise to reserve a spot in the day use parking area at Roaring Brook Campground or Katahdin Stream Campground for the day. The two parking areas fill up quickly, especially on the weekends. Maine residents can make day use parking reservations for any time in the summer season as of April 1; and non-residents can make day use parking reservations two weeks or less prior to the date of their intended hike. Also before your trip, be sure to review the park’s regulations at

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...