Help us plan a grand Northeast camping road trip.
February 16, 2017 3:31 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are thinking of doing a grand Northeast road trip starting in western PA this summer in mid-July. We are car campers and are looking for suggestions! We love to day hike, so suggestions around great places for that are much appreciated. On the list so far (we may decide not to make our way all the way east, depends on how much we want to do in each location) includes: Adirondacks, White Mountains , Green Mountains, Acadia NP, New Brunswick/Nova Scotia.

We are looking for drive in tent sites and strenuous day hikes are a-OK! We are also open to staying in cottages, etc. to break up the trip (for a night or two here and there).
posted by plo_veggie to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For the White Mountains, Franconia Ridge is the classic and amazing day hike. Strenuous but not crazy so and super beautiful. It can be very crowded on peak weekends, though.

We usually stay at Russell pond campground in the whites, but that's partially because it's easy to get to from the south and also has lots of walk in spots. But it's nice and Russell Pond is nice. It's a large campground though, so it's not everyone's cup of tea and isn't super fun on holiday weekends.
posted by geegollygosh at 4:48 PM on February 16, 2017

This summer? I don't want to be a downer but our season is so short, some places it is too late to get primo sites. (For instance the cottages I want I missed out on in Vermont because I had to do it 300 days in advance). However March 1st is coming up and that is another common dead line. So, I don't want to say hurry, but... hurry and plan so you can have a rough map set up so you can call for sites. I would find some places I really, really want to stay and work my route around that.
I will tell you my "source" (Maine campground manager) says end of July is the absolute busiest. I have booked 4 trips around New England this summer and if I didn't have kids I would be doing it the last week of August and the first couple weeks of September. Way more availability and less crowds.
Vermont state parks have great cottages for 50 bucks a night. Starting March 1st, if you can find a cottage avail you can get a 2 night stay (earlier in the year it was a 4 night minimum). I love Button bay state park on Lake Champlain. Nearby is Vergennes with great restaurants and it is just a gorgeous pocket of VT. I've done about 6 other State Parks in VT and this is my fav. Near by is the best place in VT, Shelburne Museum. We also like Hildene, Mt Philo, and going to to find the best nearby swimming hole. (this site works for all states. Important in NH, too).
I've been avoiding NH for the last 10 so can't give too much info but we did do White mountains for a week last year summer. We stayed at the Gilcrest cabins in Thornton and we really liked it. Old school, but really clean and nice management. Most people we met were from out of the country (vacationing Scandinavian families, etc). They have many grills poolside for you to use and kitchens in all the rooms. It's on a river (the Pemi) and the thing to do it go tube it. Up the street is the Little Red School house. Burgers and seafood. I love it there. Middle of nowhere kind of place-real old school house. When you go to the White Mountains the thing to do it drive the Kancamagus. "The Kank".
In Maine if you want to have a beautiful beach day away from the extreme madness of Southern Maine you could do Popham Beach. Near by food North Creek farm.
Also hike Morse mountain (just a 2 mile paved road through the woods) to a beach. The best beach.
Worth it if you enjoy botanical gardens is Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Near there is Red's Lobster rolls. There will be a line. Always. But people think it's worth it and we'll it's famous so if you are into that kind of thing.
(My favorite place in Maine for lobster rolls is in Sullivan-up by Schoodic Peninsula. You can see the husband lobstering in the water behind the restaurant and the wife and daughter's were shelling and making the lobster salad. Nothing fancy - really great). If you are near there and it's a weekend head to Lamoine and get AMAZING pizza in a great spot at Seal Cove goat farm. BYOB and maybe folding chair. Call to check times.
posted by ReluctantViking at 4:58 PM on February 16, 2017

One of my good friends owns/operates Fiddlehead Campground in NH. It sounds very much like the kind of place you're looking for.
posted by concertedchaos at 6:36 PM on February 16, 2017

A few summers back, my friends and I had a beautiful few days in tents near the river in Litchfield, CT. We canoed down the river one day, saw beautiful covered bridges, and enjoyed good-natured people without too many crowds. Of course weekends will always be a little tougher. Maybe on the weekends you can lounge by the pool at a hotel :)

MIght have been this place:
posted by jander03 at 5:00 AM on February 17, 2017

The High Peaks region of the Adirondacks is pretty amazing. It has everything you are looking for. Crazy day hikes that are difficult but accessible, drive-in campsites, neat things nearby like Lake Placid. You can hike along rivers or climb some crazy mountains. Absolutely beautiful area, highly recommend!
posted by Patapsco Mike at 8:44 AM on February 17, 2017

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