Keenes Lake Campground Offers Classic Experiences

Christmas in July was the theme of a recent event at Keenes Lake Family Campground. An appropriately-dressed Santa was on hand to meet with children that had the double pleasure of spending time at the lake on a warm and inviting day. (Photo by John Jackson)

By Lura Jackson


What says ‘summer in Maine’ more than being at a lake? With literally thousands of lakes in the state – including hundreds in Washington County alone – you don’t have to look very hard to find a place to cool off, take a swim and enjoy a lakeside fire. Of course, not all lakes are created equal, and your experience will vary depending on the conditions of the lake and the amenities available. If you live near Calais, Keenes Lake is a remarkably clear, comfortable swimming area with a sandy beach and campground features that make it an easy choice for summer relaxation.

Visitors to Keenes Lake come for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s simply to swim – for a small flat fee, swimmers can come and spend the day dipping in and out of the lake at their leisure. The swimming area is roped off for less experienced swimmers, and there are floating rafts for those looking for a place on the water to sun themselves. Others come to boat, with the campground offering paddle boats, paddle boards, canoes and kayaks for hourly rentals. Whichever your choice, the boats are ideal for exploring the coves and banks of the small islands dotting the lake.

Keenes Lake is a thriving ecosystem, and swimmers will be able to clearly see fish swimming around them. Licensed fishermen are invited to take the boats into the deeper waters to see if they can land a prize.

Some visitors come for the camping opportunities. Keenes Lake is a fully-featured campground with power going to all of its campsites, while cabins are available for those looking for a sheltered but rustic experience. Those wishing to take to the trails once they have their lodging secured will find use in the hiking  and ATV-access trails offered in the area.

Throughout the year, Keenes Lake Family Campground hosts a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Most recently, on Saturday, July 21st, the campground celebrated Christmas in July, complete with a visit from Santa Claus – much to the delight of the children that were present.

If you’d like to spend a day out at the lake, the campground has a selection of hot snacks and foods it can prepare for lunch or dinner. Basic groceries can be found in the campground’s store, located not far from the lake itself. Debit and credit cards are accepted for all purchases.


Keenes Lake Family Campgrounds is located about 10 miles outside of Calais at 70 Keenes Lake Road. They open each morning by 9 a.m. and will continue doing so until the season ends on October 30th. To contact the campground, call 454-2022.