From the mountains to the oceans, here is a selection of our favorite spots for the best camping in New England, featuring some “Best of New England” winners.
While backyard camping never goes out of style, sometimes it’s fun to pack up the tent, lawn chairs, and cooler and head for the great outdoors. Or maybe you prefer your campsite with hard-earned mountain views? Family-friendly amenities? Check out some of our picks for best camping in New England. Our list features recent winners from our annual Best of New England Editors’ Choice Awards, but it’s just a fractions of the many wonderful campgrounds, both large and small, throughout New England.
Have a place you think is the best camping in New England? Share it with us in the comments!
BEST CAMPING IN NEW ENGLAND | CONNECTICUT
Best Campground with a Coaster |Bear Creek Campground – Bristol, CT
A day at Lake Compounce, America’s oldest amusement park, is doubly fun when you’re justa short tram ride away from marshmallow toasting and movie nights. An on-site campground is Lake Compounce’s newest thrill. Bring your own tent or RV, or rent a cabin or handcrafted tipi—with electricity.
185 Enterprise Drive. 860-583-3300; campbearcreek.com
Best Family Campground | Charlie Brown Campground – Eastford, CT
On the Natchaug River. 85 tent and RV sites, plus sports fields, playground, and recreation hall.
98 Chaplin Road. 860-974-0142; charliebrowncampground.com
BEST CAMPING IN NEW ENGLAND | MAINE
Best Primitive Camping | Stephen Phillips Memorial Preserve – Oquossoc, ME
When you want to really escape, make a reservation, then grab a tent and canoe and head for this 400-acre preserve, with primitive sites dotting the shoreline and islands of Mooselookmeguntic Lake.
Stephen Phillips Road. 207-864-2003
Best Unheralded State Park | Mount Blue State Park – Weld, ME
A notable bargain, this 8,000-acre expanse has it all. Swimming, camping, picnicking, mountain biking, fishing, boating, hiking, ATV-riding, ranger-led day activities, and evening amphitheater programs are spread over two sections, separated by Webb Lake, in the shadow of 3,187-foot Mount Blue.
299 Center Hill Road. 207-585-2347; parksandlands.com
Best Seaside Campground | Recompense Shore – Freeport, ME
Part of the Wolfe’s Neck Farm foundation, this eco-sensitive, low-key campground with three miles of tidal frontage on Casco Bay caters to tenters, although a few sites have hookups.
134 Burnett Road. 207-865-9307; freeportcamping.com
BEST CAMPING IN NEW ENGLAND | MASSACHUSETTS
Best Island Camping | Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground – Vineyard Haven, MA
The dappled shade of the campsites on the island’s sole campground creates an air of summer idyll for tenters and RV drivers alike. For full immersion in the outdoor experience, bring a bike and pedal everywhere on the island. Also available: a few one- and two-bedroom cabins to rent.
569 Edgartown Road. 508-693-3772; campmv.com
Best Canalside Camping | Bourne Scenic Park – Bourne, MA
Families have been coming to this woodsy enclave for idylls on the Cape Cod Canal in the shadow of the Bourne Bridge for more than 50 years. Two in-ground pools offer freshwater swimming, and saltwater beaches are only a short bike ride away. Catch dinner by fishing off the rocks.
370 Scenic Highway. 508-759-7873; bournescenicpark.com
Best Luxury RV Park | Normandy Farms RV Resort – Foxborough, MA
Even city slickers could become converts to camping at this RV resort with bike park, fitness center, fishing pond, 18-hole disc-golf course, sauna, Jacuzzi, four swimming pools, and wellness center with massage treatments. Bring your own RV (or even a tent). Sites range from most basic (no services) to premium (water, septic, cable, high-amperage electric).
72 West St. 866–673–2767; normandyfarms.com
Best State-Reservation Camping | Salisbury Beach State Reservations – Salisbury, MA
To keep things orderly, the 484 campsites, each with picnic table and barbecue grill, are arranged along lettered streets. The campground doesn’t sit right on the water, but it’s within walking distance of Salisbury Beach, a four-mile strand of dunes and white sand beach, with plenty of room to spread out.
Beach Road (Route 1A). 978-462-4481, reservations 877-422-6762; salisbury-beach.org
Best Urban Camping | Peddocks Island – Boston, MA
Turkic nomads from the Central Asian steppes probably never pitched camp on the Boston Harbor Islands, but their signature structure–the yurt–is available on Peddocks Island, which has potable water (but no showers) and ruins of Fort Andrews.
617-223-8666 (Ranger hotline);bostonharborislands.org/permits-reservations
Best Lake Recreation | Tully Lake Campground – Royalston, MA
Formed by a flood-control dam, 200-acre Tully Lake and the surrounding woodlands have become a recreational gem for the North Quabbin region. Even non-campers can access hiking and mountain-biking trails, rent canoes and kayaks, and join the free ranger programs. If you haven’t tried disc golf, this is a good place to start.
25 Doane Hill Road. 978-249-4957; thetrustees.org
Best Hiker’s Campground | Savoy Mountain State Forest Campground – Florida, MA
Vehicle and tent campers may choose between open orchard locations and private wooded spots at this state forest in the Berkshires. Trails range from an easy hike to Bog Pond, with its abundant wildlife and carnivorous plants, to a 3.5-mile round-trip hike to the 50-foot drop of Tannery Falls.
260 Central Shaft Road. 413-663-8469; mass.gov/dcr/parks/western/svym.htm
BEST CAMPING IN NEW ENGLAND | NEW HAMPSHIRE
Best Campground Swimming | White Lake State Park – Tamworth, NH
New Hampshire has plenty of reasons to thank the glaciers, but White Lake ranks high, with some of the best swimming in the White Mountains, a wide and sandy beach, big playgrounds, and a family campground. Our Yankee lake critic says, “I’m a total lake snob. I can’t swim in most lakes. This one I could.”
94 State Park Road. 603-323-7350; nhstateparks.org
BEST CAMPING IN NEW ENGLAND | RHODE ISLAND
Best Off-the-Grid Escape | George Washington Memorial Camping Area – Glocester, RI
This no-frills, never-crowded campground sprawls over 100 wooded acres (part of the 4,000-acre George Washington Management Area) and features a lake for swimming and kayaking, a walking trail, and plenty of peace and quiet.
2185 Putnam Pike. 401-568-6700; riparks.com
BEST CAMPING IN NEW ENGLAND | VERMONT
Best Refuge by a Refuge | Campbell’s Bay Campground – West Swanton, VT
Canoeing and kayaking are popular pastimes at this Lake Champlain complex bordering a 7,500-acre wildlife refuge, but fishing reigns supreme. The lakefront cottages offer basic but comfortable accommodations; boat rentals are available.
200 Campbell Bay Road. 802-868-7258; campbellsbayvermont.com
Best Urban Camping | North Beach Campground – Burlington, VT
Although sites are small, this campground overlooking Lake Champlain is just a short hop to town via the adjacent bike path.
60 Institute Road. 802-862-0942; enjoyburlington.com
What are your picks for the best camping in New England?