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As Maine's premier campground, Sandy Pines offers plenty that others don't: a general store that offers everything a camper could want (or didn't know they wanted), a heated saltwater pool, quick access to a Kennebunkport beach, and more. When we were offered to spend the night in one of their safari-style Couple's Glamp tents, we knew we couldn't say no - and so we prepared ourselves for an authentic camping experience. The experience we got, however, was one surprisingly less comparable to rough-and-rugged camping, and more comparable to a night in a hotel if that hotel were in the middle of the woods, with a personal fire pit, and a plethora of serene moments.

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Sandy Pines Campground does offer traditional camping as well as RV and camper camping, but it also offers several elevated Maine camping experiences for those who appreciate a little luxury with their nature bonding. Included in our stay was everything needed to make the night perfect, and for couples, it's a romantic night in the woods that still offers the charm and nostalgia of everyone's favorite campground. For families, it's a means of maintaining modern amenities while also embracing the Great Outdoors with kids and adults alike.

Here's an inside look at what it's like to spend the night in a Sandy Pines Campground glamp tent.

Glamping At Sandy Pines: Check-In & The Glamp Tent

Sandy Pines Camping describes the campground as, "tucked into a secluded beach forest, bordered by salt marsh, our setting is enhanced by ocean views and salty breezes." This could not be closer to the truth, and it's a fact we soon realized the second we'd arrived. Upon parking in front of the General Store (more on that later), the sign for the Great Lodge - where reception is located - is easy to find. Campers are greeted with fresh air that combines the woodsy smell of oak trees, and the slightly salty scent of the salt march and beach that are nearby. This is what begins to set the scene for what makes Sandy Pines a camping experience that's so unique to Maine itself.

The Sandy Pines Campground Lodge feels exactly as a lodge should, complete with exposed wooden beams, plenty of areas for communal seating, and a rustic-style chandelier in the center of the room. A large fireplace sits against the furthest wall, and to the right of that is the reception desk. Checking in is quick and easy as guests are given a key card to unlock the front gate, and then are left to their own devices to enjoy their camping vacation.

Reception at Sandy Pines is open until 9 PM for guests who need anything.

From the deck that reception is found on, guests will have views overlooking the pool and surrounding pine trees. Cheerful (live) campground music plays over the speakers as the sounds of kids laughing and having fun can be heard, but none of it carries over to the glamp tents, located at the opposite end of the campground.

A quick scan of the gate key and guests are free to drive to their campsites, each of which has ample room for one large vehicle in the front. The sites go in descending order, starting with campers, RVs, and regular tents, followed by cottages and A-frame-style tents, and, finally, glamp tents and unique experiences.

The Glamp Tent: Blixen's Oasis

We were booked at number 51: Blixen's Oasis.The tent itself was easy to find, and we were able to park right in front of the cute walkway that led to it, providing a nice bit of privacy as opposed to just pulling up right in front or at the side. The gravel pathway led to the opening of the canvas tent - which was constructed with a wood beam in front and metal poles throughout - and it was immediately transportive. Built up on a slight grade, Blixen's Oasis features a fire pit in the front, two sturdy wooden Adirondack chairs, and a matching picnic table. The view was one we were not expecting, and gives way to the salt marsh on which this part of the campground sites, and is appropriately named after. During the fall and winter, it's easy to imagine that the view is even better when the trees are slightly less lush, and the view is a bit less obstructed.

Taking a seat in one of these cozy Adirondack chairs was lovely, but there was more than ample seating - further back, just outside the tent's opening, were two more wicker chairs with pillows, and an exceptionally comfortable lounging rocker.

The scene was set for luxurious, but rustic, comfort, and we were there for it.

Entering the tent was just as unique an experience as seeing it for the first time. As guests sweep that canvas to the side, they're met with the sight of a fully-outfitted bed which would otherwise be unusual if this wasn't a glampsite. Here is where guests will find their towels and toiletries, which include complementary soaps, body wash, and a makeup remover wipe.

Further exploration leads to a mini-fridge which also has an upper compartment that serves as a freezer (useful with ice, but there is also an additional, larger cooler outside), a dresser, a stand-up wardrobe, two fans, and an AC unit. Although it was about 85 degrees when we arrived, the AC was able to bring the tent down to a whopping 67 degrees - an impressive feat for a shelter made purely of canvas and netting! Even without it, the breeze coming through two zipped side panels on either side of the tent was enough to keep things brisk and airy.

On a regular-sized breakfast table, there were two comfortable chairs and a complementary welcome kit. This included a thoughtful, yet classic, Sandy Pines Campground card welcoming us to the site, a fire starter (that smelled like s'mores), two long skewers for roasting marshmallows, and bag of the sugary treats, a pack of graham crackers, matches, and a full-sized Hershey's bar. Since our tent was adults-only, they'd also included two bottles of Wander + Ivy limited edition 2019 Chardonnay.

The little touches in terms of decor elevated the entire experience, with a painting of a ship hanging on one 'wall,' a mirror over the dresser on the other, and vintage books (all green, of course) about forestry sitting underneath an iron Buddha's head. It was the theme of the tent exemplified, and felt almost like the glamp tent had been personalized and made to feel intimate just for our arrival.

The General Store & Supplies

Since we'd been booked in a glamp tent, there was no need to purchase anything extra as our tent was readily supplied with anything we could have needed. However, it's easy to see how this tiny store could magically hold everything a camper might need for traditional camping. Everything from anti-itch cures for bug bites to games, snacks, dry pasta, beverages (alcoholic and non), and even souvenirs were available for purchase. Additionally, guests could find bakery treats at check-out, and the cinnamon buns and muffins alone were enough to entice anyone with hunger pains. The snack bar also houses multiple coffee brews, as well as hot water for tea and an assortment of tea bags. It's easy to stop here in first-thing in the morning before bringing coffee, tea, and a quick breakfast back to one's campsite to enjoy the early morning forest hours.

In terms of entertainment, the General Store offered an assortment of games for rent, including classics such as Sorry!, Twister, Monopoly, and more, all cleverly dressed up as books ready to 'check out.' The sign-up sheet for rentals was easy enough to use and was also conveniently located in the same place as any and all pup pet supplies for those traveling with four-legged friends.

Campers can rest assured that whatever they think they've forgotten can be found there, along with some extra aisles that are worth poking through.

Related: A Night At The Wanderer, Kennebunk's Hottest New Adults-Only Cottages

Activities At Sandy Pines Campground

There are an endless number of things that guests to Sandy Pines can do during their stay. No matter which campsite one is booking, there are also plenty of amenities, all of which include:

  • Heated saltwater pool (opens Memorial Day)
  • Seating & guest services at the Grand Lodge
  • Clean public bathrooms (and plenty of them, with separate stalls that have toilets & showers)
  • Laundry facilities
  • General Store with a snack bar, groceries, games, beer, wine, games, pet supplies, etc.
  • An extensive playground with lawn games
  • Kids' Kraft Sessions & a Game Tent that has classic board games
  • Paddle boards, bike, and kayak rentals through Southern Maine Kayaks (available starting Memorial Day)
  • Within walking or biking distance to Goose Rocks Beach (Note: All Kennebunkport beaches require a $25 parking fee)

The kayak launch was located a (very) short walk from our tent, and everything else was an easy walk to reach. None of this even included what can be done at each camper's campsite, from sitting around the fire to conversing with neighbors, and, of course, melting some marshmallows over an open flame.

Costs & Details For Sandy Pines Camping

Campsites at Sandy Pines range in price, depending on whether guests are booking a solitary camp site and bringing their own RV, camper, or tent, or book a cottage or glamp tent. During the summer, rates are as follows (subject to change, also subject to fees and seasonal increases or decreases in price):

  • Pop-Up Site: $75/night
  • RV Site Back-In: $109/night
  • RV Site Pull-Through: $115/night
  • Hideaway Hut: $109/night
  • Couples Camp Cottage: $179/night
  • Unique Experiences, i.e. the Conestoga Tent: $239/night
  • Retro Airstream: $239/night
  • Couples Safari-Style Glamp Tent: $299/night

Sandy Pines Campground is open from mid-May until mid-October.

The Glamping Experience & What To Expect

As far as the actual glamp experience goes, it's perfect for both newcomers to camping, and the experienced camper. For newcomers, it provides every modern amenity one might want with the exception of a TV (and, really, who needs one with such a beautiful campground to appreciate?). The bathrooms were always clean, and there was always one available as they were cleaned around the clock. For experienced campers, it definitely takes some of the pressure off everyone associated with traditional camping, and affords the luxury of a full-sized king bed, cushy pillows, air conditioning, and 430 square feet of space to lounge, relax, and soak up the nature surrounding.

For such a huge campsite, it was incredibly quiet after 9 PM. Granted, the AC and fans kept a steady level of white noise, but overall there was enough space between campsites that sounds did not carry, or were barely noticeable. At night, the lights adorning the front of the glamp tent provided a natural night light and some spectacular mood lighting for sleeping - theoretically - under the stars. Of course, campers have the option to unplug these before going to sleep.

For those visiting Kennebunkport, camping isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind - but Sandy Pines Campground should be. These campsites go far beyond traditional camping, and allow guests to experience every level of the Great Outdoors, with all the same amenities, features, and perks that have made them part of Maine's premier campground.