The first thing you spot is an old-school red station wagon and vintage trailer along Maine’s State Route 9. As you approach, you’ll see the Sandy Pines Campground sign on a white post welcoming visitors. It’s my second time at this campground, and my expectations are high from my prior visit a few years ago.
Memories of falling asleep in a cottage to the pitter-patter of rain and boiling lobster over a campfire come rushing back. Once I’ve pulled into the check-in area, I’m instantly relaxed. A general store, lodge, and heated pool greet travelers. The general store has everything you could possibly need for a camping and glamping trip, and on weekends, it also serves my favorite breakfast sandwich in the area. Check out the staff-curated s’more menu for creative ideas to up your campfire dessert game. Board and lawn game rentals are also available if you forgot to pack yours.
With more than 70 RV sites (full and partial hookups are available) and expansive glamping accommodations—I’m staying in a Conestoga wagon rental for the first time—Sandy Pines caters to both full-time RVers and beginner campers. If you’re traveling with a big rig, call to ask for a site recommendation or search by your RV’s width on the online booking platform. Clean and modern single-room bathhouses make showering comfortable, with lit pathways and regular cleaning.
The campground’s location on the marsh does bring some bugs but allows for incredible dusk views and kayak and paddling opportunities. There’s an on-site rental company for those looking to get out on the water. Sandy Pines is open from mid-May to mid-October and offers themed weekends for kid-friendly fun.
I had the pleasure of talking to Debbie Lennon, COO at Atlantic Hospitality, the management company of Sandy Pines, about glamping rentals, the Kennebunkport area, and her favorite part of the campground.
I first visited Sandy Pines in 2018 and noticed that there are a lot more glamping options now. What trends led to increasing the number of glamping sites?
At Sandy Pines, we’re continually looking at ways to enhance the glamping experience that we offer. When we opened in 2017, we offered Glamp Tents, safari-style tents for families and couples. Today, our glamping accommodations have grown to include Camp Cottages, stylish cottages on wheels; Unique Retreats, singular glamping retreats along the water; and Hideaway Huts, cozy A-frames. The demand and interest in glamping continues to grow, so we keep creating and evolving for our guests—and we love doing so.
What plans are there for expanding the Sandy Pines brand or opening another campground under Atlantic Hospitality?
This season marks our fifth year and to celebrate this milestone, we’re introducing new Family Unique Retreats, uniquely shaped and creatively designed tents for families of four. Previously, our Unique Retreats have been enjoyed by parties of two, and we are now excited to offer these singular retreats to families of four.
What drew the company to open a campground in the Kennebunkport area?
Our company, Atlantic Hospitality, is based in Kennebunk and many of us are lifelong Mainers, so we know the market well. When we discovered that there was an opportunity to reimagine this former campground, we jumped at the chance.
What was it like being involved in building Sandy Pines?
It was both incredible and challenging. Creating a campground was a totally new venture for us so we had a lot to dig into. We learned a tremendous amount during the process and were overjoyed when we opened that first season to such positive feedback.
Can you tell us some specifics about Sandy Pines?
At Sandy Pines, we offer something for every level and style of glamper and camper—from traditional tent camping and RVing to professionally-decorated Glamp Tents, Unique Retreats, Camp Cottages, and Hideaway Huts. Whatever style of camping or glamping you’re looking for —we’ve got you covered.
We also host specific weekends with creative programming so if you love s’mores, join us for National S’mores Weekend in August. If you’re looking for an off-season family getaway, check out our signature event, the Great Maine Camp Out in mid-September.
What are your favorite things about Sandy Pines?
I love that we offer guests an opportunity to be in nature, sleep under the stars, and create lifelong memories with their family and friends.
There’s a lot of attention to detail that goes into the interiors of the glamping accommodations. What was the thought process behind that?
We wanted Sandy Pines to be consistent with our other design-forward, detail-driven properties, so we engaged the services of local Maine designers to help us create custom interiors for our glamping offerings. The final product is uniquely designed and professionally decorated accommodations with no two glamping experiences the same.
What was the process for selecting the amenities that are offered at Sandy Pines?
Amenities are very important to us. We aim to deliver a resort-level experience for our guests so we spend countless hours discussing and selecting amenities that will deliver on that objective. Our amenities range from a heated saltwater swimming pool to a kayak and paddleboard launch, lawn games, and a general store and snack bar offering epic s’mores ingredients, local Maine provisions, and some of the best breakfast sandwiches in Kennebunkport.