Are you excited about the prospect of fall camping in New England? The weather may be chilly, but if you plan ahead, you can pitch your tent among the colorful fall foliage without pesky mosquitoes and crowded campsites. Mother Nature is throwing a pre-winter party and we’re all invited.
Now is the perfect time to book your fall camping trip in New England, before frigid, damp nights send you running for the nearest woodstove. Even if you live for warm, starry nights, fireflies, and smoky campfires, you can revel in this short, sweet season. There’s no better place to go camping in the fall than in New England.
The following campgrounds provide some of the best camping in New England. They are so special that they attract throngs of people all summer long. Come August or September, when the kids go back to school, you’ll find blissfully quiet campsites, cool nights that just beg for a campfire, and autumn leaves that crunch underfoot as you hike miles of secluded trails.
Don’t wait to reserve a spot at one of these lovely New England Campgrounds. A late-season stay will help fuel your outdoor dreams until the last vestiges of snow have melted into another spring. These are our favorite spots for fall camping in New England – Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
Camp in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom at Brighton State Park
Brighton State Park is one of Vermont’s most secluded and remote state parks and a fabulous fall camping destination. Located near Island Pond in the spectacular Northeast Kingdom, it’s a magical escape from the stresses of the modern world. Fall camping is special at Brighton State Park. Not only are the colors beyond gorgeous, but you can rent a cabin, move in for the weekend, and disappear from reality.
Hike the trails that hug the shores of Spectacle Pond before delving deep into the dark and mysterious Boreal Forest. Rent a kayak and tool around the silent glacial pond before heading back to camp for an autumn fire. Brighton State Park is open for fall camping until Indigenous People’s Day.
Our favorite thing about Brighton State Park: It’s really quiet, especially during Vermont’s fall foliage season when many other areas are packed with tourists. This is one of our favorite spots to see fall color in late September.
Something to consider: Fall camping is cold up here in the Northeast Kingdom. Consider renting a cabin and packing your warm winter layers.
Plan Your Visit to Brighton State Park
Location: 102 State Park Rd, Island Pond, VT 05846
Cost: $19 tents, $28 lean-tos, add $2 per night for non-residents
Best time to see fall colors: Last week of September to the first week of October.
Pitching your tent in the cold not your thing? Check out our post on the best cabin camping in New England.
Vermont’s Highest Campground: Woodford State Park
Another special park with incredible scenery and very few people, Woodford State Park is also one of the most dog-friendly parks in Vermont. Treat your canine companion to a hike around the lake, or rent a canoe and explore the quiet coves and wetlands. If the fickle fall weather won’t cooperate, you can rent one of four cozy cabins, or you can brave the elements at one of the sweet waterfront campsites.
Woodford State Park is quiet during the week and crowded on the weekends, even in October. The park is just 20 minutes from downtown Bennington, which is a lovely historic town with lots to see and do.
Woodford State Park is open for camping until Indigenous People’s Day.
Our favorite thing about Woodford State Park: We saw a moose!!!
Something to consider: The trails can be muddy. Be sure to bring sturdy footwear.
Plan Your Visit to Woodford State Park
Location: 142 State Park Road, Bennington, VT 05201
Cost: $19 for tent sites, $28 for lean-tos, add $2 per night for non-residents
Best time to see fall colors: First two weeks of October
Waterfront Camping in Rhode Island: Burlingame State Park
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 Sanctuary, a 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.
Burlingame State Park is open until the middle of October.
What we love about Burlingame State Park: There’s an arcade and a playground, and the camp store is open late if you run out of marshmallows.
Something to consider: We love Burlingame for fall camping in New England, but if you go in the summer, it’s really busy and can also be quite loud. This is a rustic campground with no RV hook-ups.
Plan Your Trip to Burlingame State Park
Location: Route 1, Charlestown, Rhode Island 02813
Cost: $18 tent/RV sites without hookups, $36 for non-residents
Dogs: Dogs are allowed in the campground and on the trails, but not in day-use areas
Best time to see fall colors: Mid to late October
Fall Camping in the White Mountains: Franconia Notch State Park
Mountain vistas. Crystal lakes, thundering waterfalls. Franconia Notch State Park is one of the most thrilling places to experience fall foliage in the White Mountains. It’s also one of the most crowded, 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 hiker and 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.
What we love about Franconia Notch State Park: Photographing the reflections on Echo Lake.
Something to consider: In 2021, New Hampshire State Parks has implemented a reservation system, not just for campgrounds, but for other popular tourist attractions like Flume Gorge. This means you will have to plan carefully to make the most of your visit.
Plan Your Fall Trip to 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
Best time to see fall colors: Early to mid-October
Best Fall Camping in the Merrimack Valley: Pawtuckaway State Park
Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham, New Hampshire encompasses a beautiful lake surrounded by colorful hardwoods and serious hiking trails through woods, up mountains, and across meadows. There are 192 campsites, and better yet, cabins with electricity. Pawtuckaway State Park is open through early November and is less than an hour from the coast.
While most people visit during the summer for fun on the beach and in the water, you will love hiking and camping here in the fall. The mosquitoes have disappeared, and all you can hear are the leaves crunching dramatically under your boots.
What we love about Pawtuckaway State Park: The view from the fire tower is pretty amazing.
Something to consider: Quiet hours are strictly enforced, so if you’re looking for a party, you might want to look somewhere else.
Plan Your Visit to Pawtuckaway State Park
Location: 7 Pawtuckaway Road, Nottingham, NH 03290
Cost: $30 per site
Dogs: Dogs are allowed in the campground after September 30
Best time to see fall colors: Mid October
Awesome Camping in the Berkshires of Massachusetts: Savoy Mountain State Forest
Hiking is the big draw at Savoy Mountain State Forest in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. There are trails everywhere – to waterfalls, up mountains, and around bogs, ponds, and lakes. You can hike 50 miles of trails from the campground, which is in the center of the expansive forest. There are several ponds and lakes for kayak or canoe exploring, but you’ll have to bring your own boat. Rentals are not available.
The campsites are sunny and secluded, thanks to well-maintained, but wild hedges that circle around the sites. Cabins in Savoy Mountain State Forest are open year-round, but the rest of the campground closes on Columbus Day.
What we love about Savoy Mountain State Forest: The hike to Tannery Brook Falls is beautiful in the fall, especially if there’s been lots of rain.
Something to consider: If you’re not a resident of Massachusetts, you will have a hefty fee to camp in any Massachusetts State Park. Also, alcohol is not permitted in Massachusetts State Parks.
Plan Your Trip to Savoy Mountain State Forest
Location: 260 Central Shaft Road, Florida, MA 01247
Cost: $17 for residents, $54 for non-residents
Best time to see fall colors: Second week of October
Fabulous Fall Camping on the Coast of Maine: Camden Hills State Park
For the best of the mountains and the coast, you can’t beat Camden Hills State Park. The highlight of the park is the spectacular Mount Battie. An easy climb will take you to the top in no time, and you’ll be lavishly rewarded with views of Camden Village and the expansive harbor beyond. And speaking of Camden Village, it’s just about the most charming fishing village you’ll ever lay eyes on. You can explore boutique shopping, visit a working harbor, and eat some pretty amazing seafood – all on the same block. The village is just a few miles from the park, so you can have the best of both worlds — total seclusion or seaside tourism.
Maine State Parks recently teamed up with Tentrr to provide canvas tents on wooden platforms with all the amenities you need for a night in the woods. It’s a great way to go camping in the fall and stay a little warmer at night. Book your glamping tent in Camden Hills State Park on Tentrr.
Something to Consider: Camden Hills State Park is open year-round!
What we love about Camden Hills State Park: The hiking is seriously awesome, and the campground has free Wi-Fi if you need it.
Plan Your Visit to Camden Hills State Park
Location: 280 Belfast Road, Camden, ME 04843
Cost: $15 tent sites w/o hookups, $25 with hookups, extra $10 for non-residents
Best time to see fall colors: Mid-October
Mountain Camping at Daicey Pond Campground, Baxter State Park, Maine
A year-round campground in one of Maine’s most iconic, but secluded parks, Daicey Pond Campground is open year-round for an incomparable wilderness experience. Hike to incredible vistas, fish in mountains streams and boggy ponds, and catch your Zzz’s in a cozy cabin, complete with a wood stove for heat, and propane lights. The Appalachian Trail runs through the campground on its way to the northern terminus on Mount Katahdin, and there are 200 miles of wilderness trails throughout the park. This is true wilderness, so don’t be surprised to come upon deer, moose, bear, and lots of smaller critters. There are 10 cabins available at Dicey Pond.
What we love about Daicey Pond Campground: Cabin #9!!
Something to consider: There is no potable water, so be sure to bring a filter so you can drink from the pond.
Plan Your Visit to Baxter State Park
Location: Millinocket, Maine 04462
Cost: $15 entrance fee, cabins are $57 – $135 a night, depending on the size
Best time to see fall colors: Early October
Fall is the most underrated, yet beautiful time for a camping vacation. There are no crowds to mar your quest for Thoreau-inspired adventures, and the spectacular, New England fall foliage will tide you over until wildflower season at least.
A Few Fall Camping Tips for a Comfy Night
Camping in the fall isn’t for everyone, but it may just be for you. Here are a few tips to make your New England camping trip extra special.
Pack lots of layers – Fall is a fickle season in New England, and you will likely experience crisp, sunny days and cold nights. Frosts or very common starting in September. Be sure to pack lots of layers to keep yourself warm and cozy, and stay away from cotton, which is a terrible insulator. Instead opt for wool or Capilene, which both dry quickly and will keep you warm. Our favorite brand for ultra-soft wool layers is Woolly Clothing Co., which makes 100% merino clothing for both men and women.
Book a cabin – Many of the New England campgrounds mentioned above have options for cabin camping. If sleeping in a tent on the cold ground isn’t your thing, consider cabin camping in New England. Many of the New England cabins mentioned the above article are available year-round, which means the fun doesn’t have to end in the fall.
Make sure you have cold-weather gear – You will need a sleeping bag rated at 5-30 degrees for fall camping in New England, and a three-season tent. A sleeping pad is a must in the fall, and you should ideally bring one with an R-value of at least a 4.
Keep yourself busy – While summer camping trips are meant for leisurely mornings, afternoon swims, and evening board games, camping in the fall calls for more physical activity to keep you warm. Brisk hikes and paddles are great ways to spend the day, and don’t forget your camera – the New England fall foliage is pretty spectacular.
Can’t get enough of Autumn in New England? Check out these posts:
Our Favorite Guide Books for Exploring Autumn in New England
Do you have a favorite spot for fall camping in New England? Please share it with our readers in the comments!
Did you enjoy this post about fall camping in New England? Pin it for later!