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No-Fuss, All-Inclusive Camping

(June 2001)

In this day and age of all-inclusive resorts, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with the concept of all-inclusive camping. Imagine going to a campsite that is completely set up with tent, sleeping bags, food, firewood, and more—all you do is show up! Now, thanks to two savvy Maine entrepreneurs, sleeping in the woods has never been easier.

Creating A Niche

"We are catering to urban and suburban families along with individuals who want to camp but only have limited time, or don't have the equipment or know how," says Kristen Dremann of Krismark Outfitters, a Falmouth, Maine, based company that sets up campsites and excursions on the out fringes of Acadia National Park.

Kristen and her husband Mark grew up in Michigan and always had travel wanderlust—but not a lot of money. "Camping was always a cheap way to explore," Kristen says. Now with two small boys, they continue to camp, but realize the hectic pace family life demands.

"Camping may not be an option for many families because of the planning involved," Kristen notes. She adds, "Friends always wanted to go camping with us, but they didn't have any equipment." By combining these two ideas (difficult planning and lack of equipment) Kristen and Mark realized they were on to something.

So far, there appears to be a lot of interest. "We've booked people from New York and Maine, and have had inquiries as far away as Israel," she says.

While primitive "Survivor style" camping is all the rage, this experience is a traditional camping one that's geared toward the soft adventure traveler. In fact, when you arrive at your campsite, it might look like a cover of an L.L. Bean catalog—and all Krismark's equipment is top-of-the-line L.L. Bean gear too.

How It Works

Before the campers arrive, the Dremanns (or their on-site manager) will set up a six-person tent with sleeping bags and pads. They will string a tarp, arrange camp chairs, and organize a kitchen complete with a Coleman stove, lanterns, eating and cooking utensils, and a cooler filled with food. "We'll even provide marshmallows, roasting forks, and the firewood to roast them," says Kristen. "We've made sure the food has a regional flare," she adds. And she's not kidding; meals include lobster stew, Jordan's hot dogs, blueberry muffins, yogurt, fresh-baked bread, and whoopie pies for dessert. You'll also start each day with the explorer's breakfast, delivered fresh to your campsite with steaming hot coffee.

The Dremanns have taken great pains to ensure all the details are taken care of. For example, upon arrival, campers will be greeted by a Krismark representative and will receive a welcome basket containing area maps and guides. They'll also get instructions on how to light the stove and lantern. If problems arise, campers can call Krismark 24 hours a day. "Someone is always on call at the company's Bass Harbor summer office to handle a late-night emergency," says Kristen.

Acadia National Park

The Dremann's chose Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park because of the beautiful scenery and wide range of activities nearby. Campsites are reserved at the White Birches Campground in Southwest Harbor. "The main reason we picked White Birches is because it's a very wooded, private campground that backs up next to Acadia National Park," says Kristen. "It's also away from the high traffic areas of the island," she adds. Furthermore, the campground has the added comforts of a general store, hot showers, and a heated pool.

How Much Does It Cost?

Krismark is offering three different "Adventure Packs" that begin May 25 and run throughout the summer.

  • Adventure Pack 1 - Kayak & Camp: A great way to explore the dramatic coastline of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island.
  • Adventure Pack 2 - Bike & Camp: Acadia's interior is best experienced by bike. The parks numerous trails offer a lot of site seeing variety.
  • Adventure Pack 3 - Relax & Camp: Do absolutely nothing…or take in absolutely everything, including shopping, hiking, swimming, and more.
Prices range from $345 per person for the kayak adventure to $295 for the do-nothing trip. Children go for less than half the adult charges, and children under three are free. All the guides are Maine registered.

Is It Really Camping?

Some may argue that all-inclusive camping isn't an authentic camping experience. That's debatable. No matter what, it sure looks like a lot of fun. Over fifty years ago, people said the same thing about Club Med's all-inclusive resorts not being a real vacation. Today, we know that's not true.

For More Information:

Acadia National Park Official Website

Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce

The Maine Attraction: Maine Department of Tourism

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