As a state well-known for its outdoor offerings, New Hampshire boasts an assortment of camping options for wilderness enthusiasts of all stripes. Which are the best campgrounds in NH for a woodsy getaway? The choices run the gamut from a remote retreat in the state’s northern reaches to one that lies within easy distance of the small-town charms of the southwest corner.
More than 10,000 acres make up this popular state park, which encompasses 40 miles of hiking trails, 101 tent sites, boat rentals, a campground beach, and two archery ranges. In addition, there are three museums at Bear Brook: the Old Allenstown Meeting House, the Richard Diehl Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, and the New Hampshire Antique Snowmobile Museum.
Among the many advantages of this popular family campground is that guests can get that “remote” experience without having to venture too far from vibrant North Conway. Situated in the heart of the Mount Washington Valley, Glen Ellis makes its home on two rivers: the Ellis and Saco. More than 200 sites are sprinkled across the property, and the lineup of family-fun facilities includes a playground, a pool, and a baseball diamond.
Generations of families have made this state park, located in the southwest corner of New Hampshire, an annual summer getaway. The property includes 252 campsites (several of which feature RV hookups), a family beach, and a large playground area. The campground roads are ideal for all-ages biking.
Take a deep breath, banish thoughts of your 9-to-5 routine, and jump off the map. The wild beauty of Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge is yours for the paddling, with Northern Waters Outfitters offering canoe camping at several wilderness sites, including near its base camp and school. Canoe the refuge by day; sleep under the stars at night. Or sign up for instruction in kayak touring and whitewater rafting, plus pontoon boat wildlife tours. Named a 2016 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Wilderness Camping.”
Visitors to the Notch have come to know and love this popular campground, set in the heart of Franconia Notch State Park. There are 97 wooded tent sites available, along with a bevy of hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming opportunities.
Situated at the western base of Mount Washington, smack-dab on the shores of the pristine Ammonoosuc River, Sugarloaf’s remote location gives campers a full White Mountain National Forest experience. Fish for brook trout, test your mettle against the Northeast’s highest peak, or bird-watch the 200-odd avian species that call this area of New Hampshire home.
Visitors to New Hampshire’s Great North Woods region come for the outdoors, and this state park offers an ideal base. Located on the lake for which it’s named, Lake Francis is a scenic starting point for boaters and hunters as well as ATV enthusiasts, who can access the region’s 1,000 miles of trails right from their campsite.
Camping variations of all kinds exist at this private getaway, from cabin rentals to tent sites to RV hookups. Heck, for those who still need to stay plugged in, there’s even free Wi-Fi. Surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest, Lost River is also within easy distance of popular attractions, including the Lost River Gorge, the Flume, Clark’s Trading Post, and Cannon Mountain.
This longtime family-owned destination is located just minutes from the assortment of historic small towns that defines the Monadnock Region. Hikers will also love its proximity to Mount Monadnock, one of the most climbed mountains in the world. For those who prefer to stick close to the campgrounds, spots for many kinds of campers are available; there’s also two boathouses and a pool.
New Hampshire has plenty of reasons to thank the glaciers, but carving out White Lake ranks high among them: It has some of the best swimming in the White Mountains, a wide and sandy beach, big playgrounds, and a family campground. Yankee’s lake critic says, “I’m a total lake snob. I can’t swim in most lakes. This one I could.” Named a 2015 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Campground Swimming.”
This post was first published in 2018 and has been updated.