EDMUNDS TOWNSHIP — After years of hearing from avid campers about the private, oceanside campsites at Cobscook Bay State Park, I finally visited for myself a few weeks ago when I was in Washington County for work.

And as with Maine’s many remarkable natural areas that I get to discover, all I could think when I saw it was: What took me so long?

If you like a view of Maine’s rocky coast and camping out of sight of people in a part of the state with more green space than development, this park will surpass your expectations. It did mine.

“It’s 888 acres and has four miles of road throughout the park. Everything is spaced out. We can have 300 campers and you can be at your campsite and not hear anybody,” said Cobscook Park Manager Tom Harmon.

Cobscook Bay State Park is a mixture of thick woods and rocky coast. And even at the height of the camping season, there is an abundance of privacy.

Cobscook Bay State Park is a mixture of thick woods and rocky coast. And even at the height of the camping season, there is an abundance of privacy. Photos by Deirdre Fleming

Located more than two hours and 120 miles east of Bangor, past miles of commercial blueberry fields and working forestland, the state park is surrounded by the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. It is as wild as it is welcoming. That’s if you consider your own ocean view unencumbered by the sight of other tents, coolers and picnic tables a nice bit of hospitality.

A campsite, rocky shoreline, saltwater bay and seabirds is what $30 gets you here. And the park boasts a birding list of 200 species, including the state’s highest concentration of bald eagles.

It has 125 campsites, but roughly half are on the water and remarkably private with thick tree cover all around. Unheard of in Maine, let alone the East Coast.

“It was just the way it was set up. When it was part of Moosehorn (National Wildlife Refuge), it was done during the Depression when (Civilian Conservation Corps) workers built it for camping. They wanted to keep neighbors a long way apart,” Harmon said of the workers who built the park in the 1930s.

Moosehorn, one of the nation’s first of the National Wildlife Refuges, was purchased in 1937. The state of Maine took over the campground in 1965, although it remains a part of the 30,000-acre Moosehorn refuge that it abuts.

I wouldn’t normally camp in mid-October. Now I’ll never miss it.

Harmon said you can be at Cobscook during the busy July and August weekends but still feel isolated at your own private oceanfront site.

During my visit, just 10 sites were taken. A woman traveling on a bicycle camped next to me and I could not see her, could not hear her.

A senior couple traveling in a trailer had an entire peninsula to themselves.

A few tents sat empty situated in other deserted parts of the park.

Cobscook Bay State Park – situated two hours east of Bangor – is not an easy drive from southern Maine. It is, however, well worth the effort for serious campers who value solitude and a pristine setting.

Cobscook Bay State Park – situated two hours east of Bangor – is not an easy drive from southern Maine. It is, however, well worth the effort for serious campers who value solitude and a pristine setting.

Of course, you’d expect that in October when temperatures can dip below freezing. But the group of us lucked out. I had a pleasant 50-degree night of camping with my Aussie cattle-mix right by the ocean. I unzipped the rain flap and listened to the ocean through the netting.

Whiting Bay borders much of the park inside larger Cobscook Bay. We had a hard time choosing our camp site and kept upgrading our choice.

If you start down the spit of land that extends into Burnt Cove, there are a few campsites at the end that easily fall into the best-ever category.

But there is little loss of quality at many of the other sites. Indeed, privacy seems to extend everywhere along this finger of land.

It’s the same sort of experience driving down the loop that goes to Broad Cove, and another loop up the coast that goes down into what is called the Cobscook Point Tenting Area.

This is where we finally set up our tent, right next to a rocky coast a good 20 yards down a narrow path away from the dirt road.

When we started exploring by foot, we found more remarkable sites overlooking the ocean beside Whiting Bay and also at the Harbor Point Tent Area.

You get the idea.

At other campgrounds, water views would be a hard-fought gift you struggle to reserve. At Cobscook Bay State Park, these mesmerizing, pristine tenting sites simply await.

The only question left for us after our first trip is which of our new 30 favorite campsites will we choose next year? There’s no question what time of year we’re heading Down East again.