The Top 100 Family Campgrounds in the Northeast region were selected based on criteria requested by family campers, including park amenities, beautiful outdoor scenery and educational facilities. The criteria included parks that offer hot showers, laundry facilities, hiking trails, family beaches, radio-free zones, visitor centers, educational programs, children's events and locations within 100 miles of a major metropolitan area. These are the top family campgrounds and RV parks in the Northeast Region.
American Legion State Forest, Austin Hawes Campground, Pleasant Valley
The American Legion and People's State Forests total 3,900 acres and are located in Barkhamsted. The West Branch of the Farmington River, designated as a Wild and Scenic River by the National Park Service, divides the two forests and is the center point of river-based recreational activities including trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking and tubing. Rugged terrain with steep, rocky hillsides typifies the remainder of the forest. Other attractions include the 200 year old white pine picnic groves in the Matthies Grove and Whittemore Recreation Areas, over 11 miles of hiking trails, the Barkhamsted Lighthouse and other cultural and historic sites.
Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison
"Hammonasset" means "where we dig holes in the ground" and refers to the place where a settlement of eastern woodland Indians farmed along the Hammonasset River. They subsisted on corn, beans, and squash, and by fishing and hunting. The first colonists arrived in 1639. Property changed hands frequently between Native Americans and the first colonists. In 1898, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company bought Hammonasset and used it as a testing site for their new rifle. Their Lee Straight Pull rifle was mounted on a horse drawn stone boat, from which it was fired into targets on the beach. Hammonasset Beach State Park, with over 2 miles of sandy beach, has much to offer.
Housatonic Meadows State Park, Sharon
Located in the rock-strewn valley of the Housatonic River, amid the rugged hills of the northwestern uplands, Housatonic Meadows is an ideal setting for a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Camping under the tall pines on the riverbank gives the overnight visitor a genuine back-to-nature feeling. The clear, cold river water also provides a fine opportunity for fly fishermen to test their skills on trout and bass. A two-mile stretch of river, including the park shore, is limited to fly fishing.
Rocky Neck State Park, Niantic
700-acre Rocky Neck State Park features 1/2 mile of crescent-shaped sandy beach. Rocky Neck's varied terrain offers something for everyone. Clear waters and the stone-free beach with expanses of white sand make it ideal for swimming. Diverse trails within the park provide easy and interesting walks to the scenic salt marsh and to such points of interest as Baker's Cave, Tony's Nose and Shipyard. Picnickers enjoy the large stone pavilion. Bounded on the west by a tidal river and to the east by a broad salt marsh, Rocky Neck was known to both Indians and colonists as a place of abundant fish and wildlife, and today the large marine estuary that bisects the park provides saltwater fishing opportunities, and high spring tides allow schools of alewives (herring) to swim into Bride Brook, toward inland spawning grounds. Osprey, cranes, and herons wade among cattails and rose mallow, and fishermen may catch mackerel, striped bass, blackfish, or flounder.
Boston Harbor Island National Park Area, Hingham
Situated within scenic Boston Harbor, three islands offer a limited-service (campers must bring their own fresh water; no pets allowed) camping experience: Bumpkin, Grape, and Lovell's. A wonderful natural resource, the islands are also only 45 minutes by ferry from downtown Boston. Visitors enjoy shell and slate beaches, easy hiking paths and old roadways to historic foundations and forts. Resident Park Managers and Interpreters live on-island during the visiting season and provide island supervision and tours and offer ongoing educational programs and special events. Camping is accessible only by private boat or ferry and does not offer fresh water, flush toilets, or showers. To plan your trip, visit bostonislands.org.
D.A.R. State Forest, Goshen
Located in the foot hills of the Berkshire Mountains, the original 1,020 acres were donated by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1929 as a memorial. Today the forest includes 1,700 acres and has become a lively spot for families in all seasons. Trails are used for hiking and mountain biking. The two man-made lakes offer swimming, fishing, canoeing and non-motorized boating. There are interpretive programs and a pavilion area. There is a group campsite and all individual sites are wooded.
Pearl Hill State Park, West Townsend
The park offers some of the largest and most private campsites in the state, all underneath a canopy of stately pines. It is breathtaking in June when the mountain laurel is in bloom, and once the weather warms up there is swimming in a 5-acre man-made pond created each year by damming the Pearl Hill Brook. The park offers a ball field, interpretive programs, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking. Visitors can bike the nearby 10-mile Nashua River Rail Trail and visit Mt. Watatic for great family hiking.
Tolland State Forest, East Otis
The most notable feature at Tolland is the 1,200 acre reservoir, the largest recreational lake in western Massachusetts. The campground resides on a lovely peninsula that extends into the reservoir. Visitors can swim, motor boat, water ski, canoe, fish, hike, mountain bike and participate in interpretive programs.
Wells State Park, Sturbridge
Wells is a quiet campground nestled on a hillside adjacent to Walker Pond. The park offers mountain biking, boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and interpretive programs. The park is convenient to the very popular Old Sturbridge Village. Wells has a laid-back, peaceful feeling and with a location near the Massachusetts Turnpike offers many opportunities for sightseeing, exploring and relaxing.
Bear Brook State Park, Allenstown
Bear Brook State Park, with over 10,000 acres, is located in the southeast region of the state. Hiking, biking, swimming and fishing are a few of the favorites. Forty miles of trails through the heavily forested park, leading to seldom-visited marshes, bogs, summits and ponds, offer a variety of options for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. Canoe rentals are available at both Beaver and Catamount Ponds. Fly-fishing enthusiasts will be pleased to know Archery Pond welcomes their specialty and is universally accessible. Across the road from Archery Pond is a special little pond just for children under twelve to fish. If archery is your sport you might already know that Bear Brook boasts two archery ranges. One 15-target range is maintained by the N.H. Fish and Game Department, plus an additional 4-target practice range that is universally accessible. (Bring your own archery equipment.) You can stay in shape by using the park's 1-1/4 mile, 20-station fitness course that is fun for the whole family. In addition, Bear Hill 4-H camp is located within the park. The 95-site campground is remotely located in the park on the shore of Beaver Pond, five miles from the day-use area. Canoe and rowboat rentals, as well as showers and laundry facilities, are available. A camp store offers a selection of camping supplies, ice, wood, and snacks. Located adjacent to the campground is a small beach and swimming area reserved for campers only.
Crawford Notch State Park, Crawford Notch
This 5,775-acre park provides access to numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, fishing, wildlife viewing, and spectacular mountain views. Crawford Notch State Park is rich in history with the famous Willey House. There are picnicking areas, parking for hiking, and scenic pull-offs. This park, located in the White Mountains, offers popular family hikes to unique cliffs and brisk waterfalls including the highest in the state, Arethusa Falls. Dry River Campground offers 36 wooded sites, with flush toilets and showers. Dry River Campground offers a woodland setting, located in the heart of Crawford Notch State Park. Pets are welcomed in the camping area, but must be leashed and attended at all times. Most of the land in Crawford Notch was acquired by the state of New Hampshire in 1913. It was the result of a bill passed by the legislature in 1912, aimed at rescuing the northern region of Hart's Location from excessive timber harvesting. The bill failed to include the northern, most scenic part of the notch, which the state purchased in 1912 for $62,000. Almost 6,000 acres are included in the state park. The land extends on both sides of the highway to the summits of the mountains that border the Saco River Valley. In 1922, the Willey House clearing was leased to Donahue and Hamlin of Bartlett, who built a cabin colony of peeled spruce logs for vacationers. More log buildings were added including restrooms, a restaurant, and gift shop, but eventually the state took back the clearing for its own operations.
Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia
Located in the heart of the popular White Mountain National Forest. Franconia Notch is a spectacular mountain pass traversed by a unique parkway which extends from the Flume Gorge at the south to Echo Lake at the north. For eight miles, I-93 winds between the high peaks of the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges. Franconia Notch was the home of the famous Old Man of the Mountain, the same "Great Stone Face" immortalized by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Daniel Webster. While you are here, stop at the Flume Gorge Visitor Center and walk through the renowned Flume Gorge, ride the exciting aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain, and visit the New England Ski Museum. Take your time, stop for a swim at Echo Lake, net a trout while fly fishing at Profile Lake, ride your bike on the Recreational Trail, watch for rock climbers, hawks, and falcons on Cannon Cliffs, or hike on the Appalachian Trail. Bring the family, stay awhile, and enjoy Franconia Notch State Park.
Lake Francis State Park, Pittsburgh
Lake Francis is a 2,000-acre lake near the Connecticut Lakes of the Great North Woods region. Hunters and anglers enjoy this park as a base for their respective activities. A boat launch is located in the park. Canoeists enjoy exploring the upper part of the Connecticut River. Each campsite at Lake Francis State Park Campground has a fireplace, picnic table, flat area for a tent, and a parking space. The walk-in sites are situated near the river, have tent platforms and are about a two-minute walk from the parking area. Running water, flush toilets, coin-operated showers, and a dump station are centrally located in the campground. Lake Francis campground provides 42 sites. All sites are by reservation; however, first-come/first-served camping may be available if all sites have not been reserved.
Pawtuckaway State Park, Nottingham
Pawtuckaway State Park offers a variety of landscapes, with something to do and see for everyone. There are many opportunities for hiking, with trails leading to many special points of interest, including a mountaintop fire tower; an extensive marsh where beavers, deer, and great blue herons may be seen, and a geologically unique field where large boulders called glacial erratics were deposited when glacial ice melted near the end of the Ice Age. The campground sites line the shore of beautiful Pawtuckaway Lake. The park includes a large family beach on the lake with a bathhouse, a group picnic area, a playground, park store, and a group shelter with a ball field. Other activities in the park include biking, fishing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. Less than 40 minutes to the coastal beaches to the east, Pawtuckaway State Park Campground is well located for easy access to a variety of attractions and activities. Except for the RV Park located at Hampton Beach, Pawtuckaway provides the closest state park camping area to the seacoast. Hiking, mountain biking, boating, swimming, and fishing are popular pastimes of campers. All the 195 sites are wooded and many provide views of the lake. Each of the campsites has an open fireplace, picnic table, flat area for a tent, and a parking space. Although there are no hook-ups, recreational vehicles are welcome in sites where they fit. Running water, flush toilet facilities, coin operated showers, a camp store, boat launch, and canoe and paddle boat rentals are available.
Umbagog Lake State Park, Errol
Umbagog Lake State Park includes a base park campground with 35 sites with electrical and water hook-ups available, three cabins, and 34 remote campsites in isolated locations around Umbagog Lake accessible only by boat. The park offers a beach area for swimming, excellent fishing, wildlife viewing, and boating. Canoe, kayak, rowboat, and motor boat rentals are offered as well as transportation for remote site campers. A boat launch ramp and fuel services are available, as well as a park store. Wildlife viewing includes a variety of birds, deer, and moose.
Umbagog Lake State Park offers visitors a unique camping opportunity. Campers enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, and wildlife viewing. The campground has a camp store, flush and pit toilets, and coin-operated showers. Canoe, kayak, and rowboat rentals are also available.
The park has a total of 69 campsites: The lakeside base area of the campground has 35 sites, 2 of which are for first-come/first-served campers. There are hook-ups for water and electricity for RVs, as well as a dump station. Three cabins are also available in the base area for weekly and nightly rentals. There are 34 remote sites generally isolated in wooded areas and accessed by boat only. Each remote site has a fireplace, picnic table, and a primitive pit toilet. These campsites are a carry in and out - there are no trash cans or trash pick-up. The park offers transportation to the remote sites for a fee.
White Lake State Park, Tamworth
Some of the best swimming in the White Mountain region can be found in 140-acre White Lake State Park in Tamworth. White Lake State Park lies along the shore of White Lake, which is an example of a typical glacial lake. During the Ice Age, glacial ice was buried beneath glacial till or debris. When the ice melted, a depression was created which gradually filled with water. Guests enjoy a leisurely walk around the lake on a well-maintained foot path while looking for loons or signs of beaver activity, or try their hand at the good trout fishing the lake provides. White Lake State Park Campground is well located to serve as a base from which to enjoy many activities and attractions in the area. White Lake is only 20 miles south of North Conway, which is famed for its tax-free outlet shopping opportunities. The east end of the Kancamagus Highway, a National Scenic Byway that extends 32 miles through the heart of the White Mountain National Forest, is located in nearby Conway.
Many hiking trails in the White Mountain National Forest provide hiking options for both beginner hikers and those with extensive experience. Within the park, trout fishing, swimming, hiking, and canoeing are favorite activities of campers. A camp store, showers, canoe rentals, ice, and firewood are available. The 200-site campground includes 174 sites available by reservation only, with one site for youth group reservations; and 25 sites for first-come/first-served campers.
Brown Tract Campground, Raquette Lake
Tucked away in seclusion a short way off the main tourist route, this jewel of a campground remains one of the best kept secrets in the Adirondacks. The remote Adirondack setting of this facility offers a relaxing, quiet beauty all its own. The campsites offer privacy; they are large and well-forested.
Buck Pond Campground, Onchiota
Buck Pond compares to a mountain retreat; it offers secluded sites, numerous water accesses, a guarded bathing beach, and a walking path that stretches for miles along an abandoned railroad bed. The campground offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including canoeing and boating, fishing, hiking, and bicycling.
Cedar Island State Park, Clayton
Cedar Island State Park is one of the 3 island parks located in the Thousand Islands Region. The park takes up only half the island and is favored by people who appreciate quiet boating, fishing and beautiful scenery. The park's 18 campsites are lightly-wooded, with a day-use area and picnic pavilion. The pavilion can be rented and offers excellent views of Singer Castle and Dark Island.
Coles Creek State Park, Waddington
Coles Creek State Park offers relaxation and solitude from the busy hustle of suburban and city life. The park has over 200 campsites, both wooded and open. There is a swimming beach located on a small protected bay near the campsites. The river is ideal for boating and fishing as well. A marina on the mouth of Coles Creek lies just north of the park entrance. The park also has a playground, playing fields and a large pavilion.
Delta Lake State Park, Rome
Delta Lake State Park is located on a peninsula extending into Delta Reservoir. An ancient glacial lake once filled the area where the Village of Delta was located, now the site of Delta Lake. In 1966 the park development was begun, and by 1968 day visitors were enjoying the lake and picnic areas. Now year-round visitors can enjoy the day in one of many picnic areas, or on one of the many hiking and nature trails where the terrain is wooded and generally flat. There is also a boat launch and shoreline fishing for trout, pike, bass, bullhead and perch. Campers can enjoy 101 tent, trailer or RV camping sites and there is a sandy beach with swimming in the summer. For winter visitors there are cross-country ski trails.
DeWolf Point State Park, Fineview
DeWolf Point State Park is located on the Lake of the Isles in the St. Lawrence River. This small park is a fisherman's paradise, with pike, bass and perch. The park has a turn-of-the-century gazebo located in the picnic area. Swimming, recreational programs, nature center, marina services and a camp store are located a few miles away at Wellesley Island State Park.
Hearthstone Point, Lake George
Hearthstone Point Campground is located on both sides of New York State Route 9N, 2 miles north of Lake George Village, Town of Lake George. It is on the western shoreline at the southern end of Lake George. The pristine water of Lake George covers 28,200 acres and is 32 miles long. The original purchase was in 1925 with an additional purchase in 1929.
The campground was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and New York State in May of 1927. Hearthstone offers recreational opportunities for day users as well as tent and RV campers. The camping season runs from mid May to mid September each year. It blends in with the seasonal tourism industry for the surrounding area.
Keewaydin State Park, Alexandria Bay
Keewaydin State Park is on the St. Lawrence River, offering excellent boating, fishing and, during the winter, ice fishing. The sheltered marina provides dock space for seasonal and transient visitors. Overlooking the river are 48 campsites. The park's terrain includes steep, rocky outcroppings between the campsites and the shoreline, providing vantage points for watching the ocean-going vessels traversing the river. The park also has a swimming pool and picnic areas.
Keuka Lake State Park, Bluff Point
Keuka Lake State Park is one of the cleanest of the Finger Lakes and supports a fine sport fishery. The lake also moderates the winter weather, making the surrounding hills ideal for growing grapes. The park is located in the heart of wine country and has a gentle charm, offering views of vineyard-covered slopes, glimmering water and clear blue sky. The park's camping areas have 150 tent and trailer sites. A swimming beach, picnic shelter, boat launch ramp, docking space and hiking trails open several recreational avenues to visitors.
Mongaup Pond, Livingston Manor
Mongaup Pond Campground offers a 120-acre lake, the largest body of water in Catskills Park outside of the New York City reservoirs. Surrounded by Forest Preserve land, the park offers hiking, snowmobiling and horse trails. Large, wooded campsites, some on the lake, appeal to campers who enjoy a dense forest environment and seclusion. Swimming in the lake, relaxing in the picnic area, and renting boats are popular pastimes here.
Seven Points Campground, Raystown Lake, Hesston
"Seven Points Campground is awesome!" according to numerous visitor surveys in 2007. Raystown Lake, an 8,300-surface-acre lake, is nestled in the mountains of southern Pennsylvania. Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Seven Points Campground is surrounded by forested hillsides abutting the bases of mountain ridges, cliffs, caves, and spectacular lakeshore. Campers appreciate the "natural" setting, as private development does not exist within view of any of the 270 campsites. Campsites offer access to a full-service marina, visitor's center, hiking trails, a swimming beach, record setting fishing opportunities, hunting opportunities, water trampolines, a public boat ramp, and scenic views. There is also an amphitheater that hosts educational and entertaining programs throughout the summer camping season, including children's games and safety education. All of the campsites are situated within six loops and have electricity, access to restrooms, hot showers, and playground equipment. Sixty percent of the campsites are available for reservation through Recreation.gov, with the remaining available for the first come, first served customer. Seven Points is the # 1 revenue-generating campground in the Corps of Engineers.
Campsites accommodate tent camping and RV use, with many located immediately on the shoreline for easy access to boat mooring. The campground is open from April through October, with helpful attendants and rangers available for assistance.
George Washington Memorial Camping Area, Glocester
Located within the state's 4,000-acre George Washington management area and on the shores of Bowdish Reservoir, the 100-acre primitive camping facility offers a multitude of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors such as fishing, swimming, hiking, and boating in the peaceful, heavily forested northwestern corner of the state. Yet the campsite is close to the historic villages of Chepachet and North Scituate, Rhode Island, well known for its three-day Columbus Day weekend arts festival; as well as to Putnam, the antique center of northeastern Connecticut. It is also less than an hour from the metropolitan Providence, Rhode Island, area, known for its historic neighborhoods, cultural attractions, and popular water fire events.
Burlingame State Park and Campground, Charlestown
Burlingame State Park and Campground, 3,100 acres of rocky, forested, hilly terrain, borders a 1,000-acre pristine freshwater pond, ideal for canoeing and kayaking as well fishing and swimming. Other recreational opportunities for families include picnicking, boating, biking and hiking. Canoe rentals are available. A multi-use trail extending the length of Rhode Island runs through Burlingame State Park and an eight-mile hiking trail winds around the pond. Observing wildlife is a treat, for Burlingame is home to white tail deer, eastern cottontail, gray and red squirrel, eastern chipmunk, muskrat, mink, raccoon, and river otter, among other woodland creatures. As many as 80 species of birds nest in Burlingame, and many more species can be seen during migration periods. There is a naturalist program, both at the campground and at the adjacent non-profit wildlife sanctuary, within walking distance. The campground boasts a crystal clear freshwater swimming beach with a sandy bottom, a playground, and a recreation room with video games and pool tables to entertain both younger and older children. The campground, with 755 sites, also offers 11 cabins and one yurt. Campground facilities include hot showers but no electric hookups. Pets (dogs and cats) are allowed with some restrictions. There is an excellent camp store with everything needed for camping along with a large selection of souvenirs. Laundry facilities are nearby. While open from April 15 through October 31, peak season is from mid-May through Labor Day
Fishermen's Memorial State Park and Campground, Narragansett
Rhode Island's extremely popular 91-acre Fishermen's Memorial State Park and Campground, to which campers return year after year, offers a "seaside village atmosphere" with neatly trimmed grass and hedges and landscaped walkways. Campers can bicycle down to the sparkling seacoast and renowned beaches of South County, toast marshmallows over a campfire, or take a quick ride for clam cakes and chowder in a quaint fishing village. The campground is just a mile from the picturesque fishing village of Galilee, and a short drive across Narragansett Bay's strikingly engineered bridges to Colonial Newport with its historic mansions and eclectic shopping and dining. The campground offers activities for the whole family, including tennis, basketball, horseshoe courts, a playground, and an on-site weekly farmers' market. It is close to several popular state saltwater beaches, including Roger Wheeler Memorial State Beach, a safe and protected cove where generations of children have learned to swim and have discovered the treasures of the ocean through an educational naturalist program. Although the campground itself is primarily manicured seaside lawn, there are many opportunities nearby for hiking and biking.
The campground offers 182 campsites, 147 with electricity and sewer hookups. Facilities also include three restrooms and hot showers. Laundry facilities are nearby. Pets (dogs and cats) are allowed with some restrictions. Although the campground is open from April 15 through October 31, peak season is from mid-May through Labor Day.
The criteria included parks that offer hot showers, laundry facilities, hiking trails, family beaches, radio-free zones, visitor centers, educational programs, children's events and locations within 100 miles of a major metropolitan area. These are the top family campgrounds and RV Parks in the southeast region.
The Top 100 Family Campgrounds and RV park listings were selected based on criteria requested by family campers, including park amenities, beautiful outdoor scenery and educational facilities. The criteria included parks that offer hot showers, laundry facilities, hiking trails, family beaches, radio-free zones, visitor centers, educational programs, children's events and locations within 100 miles of a major metropolitan area.