What is a sporting camp?

The Maine sporting camp tradition started over a century ago, long before L.L. Bean pulled on his first pair of boots. In fact, some camps have remained in the same family for generations and have guests who return year after year, even generation after generation. While these guests' grandparents may have traveled by railroad, steamboat, horse-drawn wagon or canoe, this generation has access by float planes, snowmobiles, and gravel logging roads.

What has not changed is the hospitality and variety of experiences offered to the outdoor enthusiast. Camps in Maine vary from those in very remote areas to just outside of town; from rustic log cabins without electricity to modern lodges with all the amenities. In addition to the relaxation in Maine, traditional American Plan lodges provides three hearty, homecooked meals served in an attractive main lodge. Many camps offer Housekeeping Plans for guests who want to do their own cooking. Nearly all camps provide canoe and motor boat rentals and many will offer the services of knowledgeable Maine Guides.

The Maine Sporting Camp Association (MSCA) was founded in 1987 by a group of camp owners to preserve the sporting camp's uniqueness in the State of Maine. By working closely with other groups and exchanging ideas and information, the members of MSCA continue the tradition of providing high quality recreational experiences to individuals and their families, a quality experience that visitors will remember long after they return home.

The Maine sporting camp tradition started well over a century ago; some camps opened their doors in the mid-1800s and are still in operation today. A sporting camp is a unique Maine tradition offering a true outdoors experience. Sporting camps are typically destinations for "primitive" and other outdoor recreation, including:

Fishing
Bird hunting
Bear hunting
Moose hunting
Deer hunting
Ice fishing

Hiking
Paddling
Boating
Biking
Cross-country skiing
Snowmobiling

Bird watching
Wildlife watching
Swimming
Boating
Biking
Photography


The hospitality and the variety of outdoor experiences offered to sporting camp guests (or sports, as they're often called) is unparalleled. From the North Maine Woods to the western mountains to the Down East coast, sporting camps are as unique as the regions they serve. Most camps consist of a main lodge (which may or may not have guest rooms) and cabins. Some also offer primitive outpost cabins. Some camps offer running water and electricity while others offer a true camping experience with a bathhouse and gas lanterns.

Most camps offer a variety of meal plans to suit the needs of their guests, including:

Housekeeping: guests cook their own meals in a kitchen provided by the sporting camp;
American Plan: guests are treated to a full-service meal plan, usually in a main lodge;
Bed and breakfast: guests enjoy breakfast in the lodge but are on their own for lunch and dinner; or some other combination of meals and boarding.

Although the American Plan is typically the most expensive, sports are rewarded with amazing home cooking, generous portions of hearty fare, fresh ingredients, and recipes that have been passed down through generations. Best of all, they can relax and enjoy their vacation without worrying about cooking their next meal.