RICHMOND — Memorial Day is one of the most popular days for families across the country to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, and this year the Maine Turnpike Authority is expecting more than 890,000 vehicles to hit Maine’s roads.

Some of that traffic will head to campgrounds throughout the state, and campground owners say they are ready for the rush.

The Augusta/Gardiner Kampground of America in Richmond recently became Maine’s first KOA Journey campground, a designation given to places that meet certain criteria, such as being near highways, offering sites that are easy for recreational vehicles to use, and having well-lit, after-hours check-in service, according to a news release from KOA.

“They’re easy to find coming off of the highway,” said Patti Grover, co-owner of the Richmond location. “We’re actually quite centrally located for people to go to the ocean or mountains.”

Two Rivers Campground in Skowhegan is fully booked this weekend. The campground, co-owned by Laura Liberty and husband Dan Carroll, offers visitors full access to the Kennebec River with free rentals of watercraft and a boat landing less than a mile away.

According to a 2012 Maine Office of Tourism report, only 11 percent of overnight leisure visitors to the Kennebec and Moose River Valley region are first-time visitors. Liberty said she has many repeat visitors to her campground from Massachusetts and New York. Of all overnight leisure visitors, 39 percent are from those two states.


The purpose of more than half of all overnight leisure trips is “to get away to relax,” according to the tourism report. Liberty thinks camping is a good way for families to reconnect while being away from regular surroundings.

“It’s a great family adventure,” Liberty said. “Sitting around a fire cooking marshmallows, reconnecting with your teenagers, being able to escape for a weekend.”

The turnpike authority is expecting traffic to be up 5.2 percent compared to Memorial Day weekend last year and is urging drivers to wear seat belts, look out for construction workers and limit use of cellphones. Texting while driving is illegal in Maine, with a fine for a first offense set at $100.

In addition, the turnpike authority says boats and campers are more likely to be on the road, and reminds drivers that if they can’t see a recreational vehicle’s mirrors, the RV’s driver “can’t see you.”

The Richmond KOA park was built in 1972, and Grover and her husband, Henry, are the park’s fourth owners. This year, the couple are renovating existing features, and adding new ones.

“Our biggest project this year is redoing the pool,” Grover said.

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