CAMDEN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- This Columbus Day weekend will mark the unofficial windup of what business owners say was a successful tourist season.
Despite a washout in June and early July, tourist business say the prime weeks in July and August were busy, and that September and October have continued that trend. The so-called "shoulder season" months just after Labor Day have become as important as July and August for many tourist businesses, especially in the Midcoast area.
Retirees and tourists with no school-age children take over from vacationing families during those two months, and several hotel and inn owners tell NEWS CENTER their rooms have been booked.
The federal shutdown appears to have had no negative impact in the midcoast -- and possibly a positive effect. One hotel owner in Camden says he has had several visitors who were planning to visit Acadia stay in Camden instead, then turn around and head south.
The federal shutdown may also be giving a boost to Camden Hills State Park. Park Manager Bill Elliot tells NEWS CENTER they have welcomed a number of campers who were planning to visit Acadia, only to find it closed. Elliot says Camden Hills has had 1,050 campers so far this month - more than it had the entire month of October last year.
The state is reminding Mainers that nearly all the state parks are open through October, and are not affected by the federal shutdown.