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The Absolute Best Camping in New England

Looking for a way to unwind while exploring the best of New England?

Relaxation, outdoor recreation, and natural beauty are just a few of the reasons that camping is a beloved pastime in New England.

The best camping in New England. Pictured: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire.
The best camping in New England. Pictured: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire

Summers are short here, and when the days are long, and the sun is bright, it’s time to plan a few laid-back camping trips.

Whether you want to tuck yourself away in a quiet forest, pitch your tent on the shores of a lake, or feel the sea breeze in your hair as you grill up your camp vittles, there’s a New England campground with your name on it.

Don’t wait to reserve a spot at one of these lovely New England campgrounds for your next outdoor getaway.

These are our favorite spots for the best camping in New England – Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

The Best Camping in Maine

Whether you want to hike a rugged mountain peak, relax on a coastal beach, or find solitude on a remote lake, you can choose your own adventure with a camping trip in Maine.

Not only is Maine the largest of the New England states, but it’s also 90% forested, with more than 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, 14 mountains over 4,000 feet, and 3,478 miles of tidal shoreline.

Maine is an outdoor lover’s paradise, and camping is one of the best ways to explore this beautiful wilderness.

Here are some of our favorite spots for camping in Maine.

Cobscook Bay State Park in Dennysville, Maine

Sunset at Cobscook Bay State Park in Maine.
Cobscook Bay by Rich Bard via CC BY-ND 2.0

Located on the northern coast of Maine, not far from the Canadian border, Cobscook Bay State Park encompasses 888 acres on the shore of Cobscook Bay. Cobscook is the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy tribal word for “boiling tides.”

The tides of Cobscook Bay average 24 feet and can reach 28 feet in some situations. By contrast, the tides in the southern part of Maine’s coast average about 9 feet. 

This is a fabulous park for tide-pooling, paddling, clamming, and wildlife watching. The campground at Cobscook Bay State Park contains a mix of 106 reservable and non-reservable campsites that are nicely spread out and very private.

There are several waterfront sites and others that are perched on a cliff overlooking the water with no water access. Amenities include hot showers, a boat launch, a playground, and covered picnic pavilions. 

Campsites do not have hookups, but there are potable water faucets throughout the campground.

Hiking trails wind through the park and also connect to Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. Cobscook Bay State Park is considered a birding hot spot, with more than 200 bird species identified in the area. 

Plan Your Trip to Cobscook Bay State Park

Location: 40 South Edmunds Road, Dennysville, ME 04628
Cost: $20 tent/RV sites without hookups for Maine residents, $30 for non-residents
Open Season: May to October
Dogs: Dogs must be kept on a four-foot leash and not left unattended.
View a campground map

Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia National Park in Winter Harbor, Maine

acadia sunrise dp
Sunrise in Acadia National Park in Maine

Explore Acadia National Park without the throngs of people who flock to Mount Desert Island every summer. Schoodic Woods Campground is located on the Schoodic Peninsula near the town of Winter Harbor, about an hour’s drive (depending on traffic) from Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island.

With more than eight miles of hiking trails, another eight miles of bike paths, and gorgeous scenery in every direction, Schoodic Woods Campground makes a fantastic home base for exploring the less-visited parts of Acadia National Park.

Schoodic Woods Campground features 89 sites, including hike-in primitive sites, tent-only, and RV-only sites. Each campsite includes a fire ring and a picnic table. There are bathhouses with running water but no showers.

There is a six-mile one-way road that loops around the peninsula providing lots of places to stop and take in the coastal scenery. For those that don’t want to drive a shuttle bus provides free transportation around the peninsula.

Plan Your Visit to Schoodic Woods Campground

Location: 54 Farview Drive, Winter Harbor, ME 04693
Cost: $22-$40, some with electric and water hookups
Open Season: May to October
Dogs: Dogs must be kept on a six-foot leash and not left unattended.
Make a reservation at Schoodic Woods Campground

Wolfe’s Neck Oceanfront Campground in Freeport, Maine

Wolfes Neck Oceanfront Camping Maine
Wolfe’s Neck, Maine by Gwyn Fisher via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you’re looking for unique oceanfront camping in Maine, check out Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment, which maintains a gorgeous waterfront campground on their working dairy farm in Freeport, Maine.

Kayak and bike rentals are available, and you can also explore the demonstration gardens, barnyards, and hiking trails. 

Wolfe’s Neck features more than 600 campsites on the shores of Casco Bay in southern Maine. The camping areas are divided into three sections — the East Bay is best for RVs and campers who want amenities and conveniences close by.

Many of the sites have 30 amp electric and water hookups, plus the farm cafe, camp store, and shower building are nearby.

Middle Bay is exclusively for tent campers, with sweeping ocean views, a wooded setting, and a kayak launch nearby. There are no hookups, but you will have easy access to potable water and privies. 

West Bay is perfect for kids, with open campsites near a recreation field and playground, and with great views of the ocean and the farm fields.

Plan Your Trip to Wolfe’s Neck Oceanfront Campground

Location: 134 Burnett Road, Freeport, Maine 04032
Cost: $36 – $95 tent/RV sites, some with electric and water hookups
Open Season: May 1 to October 31
Dogs: Dogs must be leashed and not left unattended.
View a campground map

Sebago Lake State Park in Casco, Maine

A private beach and a woodland trail in Sebago Lake State Park in Maine
A private beach and a woodland trail in Sebago Lake State Park in Maine

Covering 45 square miles, Sebago Lake is the second-largest lake in Maine. This massive glacial lake serves as a summer playground for those living in urban areas around Maine and beyond. Sebago Lake State Park is located at the northeast corner of the lake and includes gorgeous beaches, waterfront camping, and boat launches.

The 1,400 acres of public land in Sebago Lake State Park include not just the lakeshore, but miles of forested trails and numerous ponds, bogs, and rivers.

Pitch your tent or park your RV at one of 250 private campsites, and if you have the option, try for one of the coveted waterfront sites for the most privacy. This is one of the best camping in New England for families with kids!

Plan Your Trip to Sebago Lake State Park

Location: Naples, Maine
Cost: $25-$35 for Maine state residents, $35-$45 for non-residents.
Open Season: May to September
Dogs: Pets are not allowed at the campground or beach at Sebago Lake State Park.
View a campground map

The Best Camping in New Hampshire

With more than 1300 lakes and ponds, vast tracts of forest, and 48 peaks over 4,000 feet, New Hampshire is the perfect outdoor playground for active adventurers.

It’s true that there are lots of fantastic spots to go camping in New Hampshire, but we’re highlighting two of our favorites in the White Mountains — Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch. Both parks are popular with hikers, who come from all over to climb peaks in the White Mountain National Forest.

Franconia Notch State Park in Franconia, New Hampshire

A waterfall in Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire.
A waterfall in Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire.

Cascading waterfalls. incredible hiking trails. Mind-blowing fall foliage.

The White Mountains of New Hampshire are an outdoor lover’s playground in the summer and fall, and the best place to find all of this is in Franconia Notch State Park in Franconia and Lincoln, New Hampshire.

It’s also one of the most crowded parks in the state, so be sure to plan your trip far in advance. Highlights of Franconia Notch include the aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain, the famous Flume Gorge with its multitudes of waterfalls, and hiking trails for every type of outdoor enthusiast.

Franconia Notch State Park is located in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest and is very close to the 34.5-mile Kancamagus Highway. Be sure to drive this route! Start your drive early in the morning to miss most of the tourist traffic.

There are two campgrounds in Franconia Notch State Park – Lafayette Place has 97 wooded campsites with no hook-ups (available from May to mid-October) and Cannon Mountain RV Park has 7 year-round sites with hook-ups, with no water or sewer available after mid-October.

Plan Your Stay at Franconia Notch State Park

Location: 260 Tramway Drive, Franconia/Lincoln, NH 03580
Cost: $25 for tent/RV sites at Lafayette Place, $40 for RV sites at Cannon Mountain
Camping season: May to October
Dogs: No
Lafayette Place Campground Map

Dry River Campground in Crawford Notch State Park in Hart’s Location, New Hampshire

A steam train heading into Crawford Notch and an aerial view of the notch in the fall.
A steam train heading into Crawford Notch and an aerial view of the notch in the fall.

Explore 5,775 acres of wilderness from your primitive campsite at Dry River Campground in Crawford Notch State Park. This is a hiker’s paradise, but even if you don’t enjoy scaling mountains, you can enjoy several short hikes to many of the park’s gorgeous waterfalls.

The tallest waterfall in New Hampshire, Arethusa Falls, requires just a 1.4-mile, moderately steep hike, and Ripley Falls can be reached after just a half-mile of easy walking.

For a beautifully unique excursion into the mountains, hop aboard the Mountaineer with Conway Scenic Railroad. This five-hour trip travels through Crawford Notch and the Mount Washington Valley in 1950s-era passenger cars.

Dry River Campground has 36 wooded campsites including several walk-in sites with elevated tent platforms. You will also find hot showers, flush toilets, and laundry facilities, plus fantastic views of Frankenstein Cliff and Trestle.

Plan Your Stay at Crawford Notch State Park

Location: 1464 US-302, Hart’s Location, NH 03812
Cost: $35 for tent/RV sites
Camping Season: May to October
Dogs: Yes, on-leash
Dry River Campground Map

The Best Camping in Vermont

My home state provides many amazing spots for camping in New England, but my favorite spots all have one thing in common — they provide easy access to beautiful ponds, lakes, and rivers for swimming, fishing, and paddling!

Here’s the best camping in Vermont for your next Green Mountain adventure!

Grout Pond in the Green Mountain National Forest in Stratton, Vermont

Grout Pond in the fall.
Grout Pond during the fall foliage season

Grout Pond is nestled in the mountains of the Green Mountain National Forest and surrounded by beautiful hardwood trees that provide ample shade in the summer and put on a show each fall with their foliage display.

The Green Mountain National Forest is one of Vermont’s greatest treasures. It encompasses nearly 400,000 acres of rugged mountains, wild woodlands, and secret valleys in southwestern and central Vermont.

This magical place is within a day’s drive of 70 million people, and I count myself lucky to be a close neighbor to these vast lands.

Located in Stratton, Vermont, Grout Pond is a popular summer destination. Grout Pond Campground and day-use parking lot fill up on most days, and while it’s worth the trip for a swim in those clear waters, a fall trip is all about the colors and the solitude.

Of the 18 campsites available at Grout Pond, seven are near the road for car camping or RVs. Five more sites can only be reached by foot, and six sites can be hiked or paddled to.

We love site #2 for the awesome views and proximity to the water and toilet, but all the waterfront sites are pretty amazing. Site #11 is the last one on the trail, and is very private. The hike to the #11 is about a mile, and paddling your gear out makes things much easier.

The Grout Pond Campground is open year-round. Sites can be booked on and are $16 per site. You can reserve a site up until October 31st. After that, it’s first-come-first-served.

Grout Pond is one of our favorite spots for fall camping in New England!

Plan your camping trip to Grout Pond

Location: 207 Grout Pond Rd, Stratton, VT 05360
Cost: $16 for tent/RV sites
Camping Season: May to October
Dogs: Yes
Grout Pond Campground and Trail Map

Burton Island State Park in St. Albans, Vermont

A scene of two stand-up paddleboarders on Lake Champlain in Burton Island State Park
Burton Island State Park in Vermont

Burton Island is a 253-acre park just off the shores of St. Albans, Vermont on the northern shores of Lake Champlain. It’s one of the most beautiful state parks in Vermont, especially in the summer when you spend all your time on the water!

You can only get to Burton Island by boat, and there are no cars on the island. The Island Runner, a Vermont State Park ferry, runs campers and day-trippers out to Burton Island several times a day through the summer.

If you have your own boat, Burton Island provides slips for overnight use, complete with hook-ups and your own fire pit.

Burton Island State Park has a variety of camping opportunities — from secluded, primitive sites and waterfront lean-tos, to brand-new cabins with beds and electricity. 

The small marina is the hub of the island, with free Wi-Fi and a lovely cafe and store called the Burton Island Bistro. The bistro provides campers with breakfast, lunch, and snacks, plus a nice selection of beer and wine.

Life is a bit slower on Burton Island. It’s the perfect place to hang the hammock, catch fireflies, and tell stories ‘round the campfire.

Plan Your Trip to Burton Island State Park

Location: 2714 Hathaway Point Rd, St. Albans Town, VT 05478
Cost: $20 for tent sites for Vermont residents, $28 for non-residents, and $40 for lean-tos
Camping Season: Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day
Dogs: Yes, on-leash
Burton Island Campground Map
Reserve a campsite

Little River State Park in Waterbury, Vermont

Surnise over the Waterbury Reservoir in Vermont.
Sunrise at Little River State Park in Vermont

Little River State Park is special for a few reasons. You’ve got a big shining lake tucked into the mountains and surrounded by lovely New England villages. You’ve got an area rich in history and natural diversity, and a beautiful park that caters to outdoor-loving families.

It’s the ultimate recipe for success.

The interpretive programs are all family-friendly and incredible. In fact, many of the participants I met during the programs had traveled from other parts of the state just to participate.

The campground at Little River State Park is busy during the summer, but the sites are wooded and secluded, so you’ll still have plenty of privacy if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s a pretty big campground, with 81 tent/RV sites, 20 lean-tos, and five awesome camping cabins.

Campers can enjoy two beaches within the park. The “A” beach is gravelly and open, with spectacular mountain views, and the “B” beach is grassy, leading to a sandy-bottomed swimming area at the mouth of Stevenson Brook.

Location: 3444 Little River Rd., Waterbury, VT
Camping Season: Memorial Day weekend to mid-October
Cost: $20 for tent/RV sites for Vermont residents, $28 for non-residents, and $30 for lean-tos
Dogs: Yes, on leash\, but not on the beach
Campground Map
Park website

The Best Camping in Massachusetts

Camping in Massachusetts provides visitors with access to the state’s most beautiful natural areas.

From the seashores of Cape Cod to the mountains of the Berkshires, and every place in between, camping in Massachusetts is a fabulous way to get outside in all four seasons.

Some of our favorite spots to go camping in Massachusetts are actually on private land. As much as we love supporting state parks and public land, we struggle to afford camping in Massachusetts State Parks, which charges out-of-state residents will set you back between $54 and $93, which is two to three times what residents pay.

I am absolutely not opposed to paying more to camp as a non-resident, but I just can’t justify the state park fees in Massachusetts when there are so many gorgeous spots to camp affordably in the surrounding New England States.

If you are a Massachusetts resident or you are a non-resident and don’t mind the hefty cost, check out Nickerson State Park in Brewster, Mohawk Trail State Forest in Charlemont, or Myles Standish State Forest in Carver.

Otherwise, check out these amazing spots for camping in Massachusetts:

Dune’s Edge Campground in Provincetown, Cape Cod

A path through the sand dunes leading to the Atlantic Ocean.
A path through the sand dunes leading to the Atlantic Ocean on Cape Cod.

Bordered by Cape Cod National Seashore in Provincetown, Dune’s Edge Campground is a wooded, coastal campground with a laid-back vibe, featuring 90 campsites, and five canvas bungalows. Managed by The Trustees, this 17-acre property provides a quiet respite in one of New England’s most popular vacation areas.

Make Dune’s Edge your home base, and explore some of Cape Cod’s finest beaches, freshwater ponds, hiking trails, and the artsy town of Provincetown for exceptional shopping and dining. Provincetown is within biking distance of Dune’s Edge, so we recommend bringing or renting bikes for this vacation!

Plan Your Visit to Dune’s Edge Campground

Location: 1464 US-302, Hart’s Location, NH 03812
Cost: $35 for tent/RV sites
Camping Season: May to October
Dogs: Yes, on-leash
Dry River Campground Map

Prospect Mountain Campground in Granville, Massachusetts

Located at 1,350 feet in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, Prospect Mountain Campground puts you in the center of the rich cultural offerings and outdoor opportunities of the Berkshires.

With spacious, wooded sites, two ponds, and gorgeous mountain scenery, this is the perfect spot for a family camping vacation or a glamping getaway. Those who don’t want to sleep on the ground can reserve a cabin or cottage, and everyone can take advantage of the two private ponds, the inground pool, and the wooded hiking trails.

Plan your trip to Prospect Mountain Campground

Location: 1349 Main Rd, Granville, MA 01034
Cost: $39 to $49 for tent/RV sites
Camping Season: Early May to mid-October
Dogs: Yes, must be vaccinated
Dry River Campground Map

The Best Camping in Connecticut

I found two beautiful coastal campgrounds in Connecticut, but I should warn you that these are not hidden gems.

If you love beach camping in New England, then these two campgrounds will provide plenty of sea breezes and salty air, but if you despise crowds, these Connecticut camping spots might not be for you.

Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Connecticut

Scenes from Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut.
Scenes from Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut

Located on the Long Island Sound, Hammonasset Beach is two miles of sandy goodness that attracts over a million people every year. In addition to an expansive sandy beach, there is a ¾-mile boardwalk and numerous walking trails through the dunes and coastal forest.

The campground includes more than 550 sites just steps from the beach. Most sites don’t have hookups, but there are about 50 RV sites with electricity. There is a great nature center near the campground and bikes are available to rent.

While this is a busy campground throughout the summer, it’s great if you want to take advantage of oceanfront camping in Connecticut. 

Plan Your Visit to Hammonasset Beach State Park

Location: 288 Boston Post Rd., Madison, CT 06443
Cost: $20 – $35 a night for CT residents. $30 – $45 a night for non-CT residents
Camping Season: Early May to mid-October
Dogs: Not allowed
Hammonasset Beach Campground Map

Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic, Connecticut

While this isn’t a spot where you can camp right on the beach, Rocky Neck State Park is a popular campground that offers an expanse of sandy beach, warm, shallow water for swimming, and a diverse trail system for hiking and looking for wildlife.

The park includes 700 acres of diverse terrain, plus a ½-mile beach on the Long Island Sound.

The campground at Rocky Neck State Park is within walking distance of the beach and includes 160 campsites for tents and RVs.

There are wooded and open sites, none of which have hookups. Dogs are not permitted, but it’s a fabulous spot for camping near the ocean with kids.

Plan Your Visit to Rocky Neck State Park

Location: 228 W Main St, Niantic, CT 06357
Cost: $20 – $35 a night for CT residents. $30 – $45 a night for non-CT residents
Camping Season: Early May to mid-October
Dogs: Not allowed
Rocky Neck State Park Campground Map

The Best Camping in Rhode Island

The rocky coast of Rhode Island at sunrise.
The beautiful Rhode Island coast.

While Rhode Island isn’t known for its camping, there are a couple of gems worth mentioning.

Charlestown Breachway State Park, Rhode Island

The camping area at Charlestown Breachway State Park is basically a parking lot with pit toilets, but you can’t beat the location, with a nice beach with great views of Block Island Sound. The parking area has room for 75 RVs, with about 15 spots right on the ocean.

No amenities to speak of unless we include dumpsters, but the views make it worthwhile, as does the excellent saltwater fishing.

Learn more about Charlestown Breachway

Burlingame State Park in Charlestown, Rhode Island

Burlingame State Park has a huge campground with more than 700 campsites, but in October you’d never know it.

Located in Charlestown, Rhode Island, this sprawling park covers 3,100 acres surrounding Watchaug Pond. Feeling brave? It’s not too late to get in that last swim of the season. You can also rent canoes and kayaks for a small fee.

Right next door to Burlingame State Park, you’ll find the Kimball Wildlife Refugea lovely little preserve with a plethora of songbirds and nice hiking opportunities. The park is just a few miles from the Atlantic Coast, making it a great base camp for exploring the off-season beaches.

Plan Your Trip to Burlingame State Park

Location: Route 1, Charlestown, Rhode Island 02813
Cost: $18 tent/RV sites without hookups for Rhode Island residents, $36 for non-residents
Camping season: April to October
Dogs: Dogs are allowed in the campground and on the trails, but not in day-use areas

The best camping in New England is all about gorgeous scenery, laid-back vibes, and lots of recreation. Make your next trip a camping vacation for a memorable outdoor getaway in New England!

Get outside in New England! Check out these posts next!

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best camping in new england
Tara Schatz sits with her two dogs, Gatsby and Flynn.

Tara is a freelance writer and travel blogger with a passion for outdoor adventures. She is the co-author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in Vermont and currently blogs at Back Road Ramblers and Vermont Explored, where she shares travel tips, adventure destinations, and vacation ideas for the wanderer in everyone.


Wednesday 28th of February 2024

Excited to find you. We just bought a Class B Panoramic and are looking for all the ideas, I am excited to follow along. We are in Manchester, VT :)

Tara Schatz

Sunday 3rd of March 2024

How exciting, and welcome!