Springtime, when a woman's fancy turns to camping
April 14, 2006 8:10 AM   Subscribe

It's just getting warm here in Massachusetts and I have camping on my mind. Can you think of any memorable places you have camped in New England?

I will be camping (tenting) a couple/few times this year-- once with a less outdoorsy gal-- she will want a bathroom (flush toilet not needed )and shower, but doesn't need to be anything more than very basic. Other times wont need bathroom (other than what nature provides).

One time will be with dog and one time with out....

Stream, river or pond always a big plus.

Anyone have a place in New England (preferably not more than a few hours into Maine) that they love?? Can be because of view, the wildlife, that there is a great waterfall nearby... whatever!

Car camping ok or short hike in... I love feeling remote-- I don't want to be on top of someone else's site if it a campground.

If anyone has a place they love and are willing to share I'd love to hear....

posted by beccaj to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Barton's Cove, Gill, MA.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2006

If you haven't done any mountain hiking, the Presidential Range in New Hampshire offers some gorgeous day hikes, and the possibility for various overnights in mountain huts and trailside campsites.
posted by paulsc at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2006

Willard Brook SF, Ashby, MA
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:47 AM on April 14, 2006

I loved Arcadia National Park in Maine. It's right on the ocean. The hiking is excellent.
posted by Aghast. at 8:51 AM on April 14, 2006

Sorry, it's actually Acadia, not Arcadia.
posted by Aghast. at 8:53 AM on April 14, 2006

Indian Lake in the Adirondacks - it's a long, skinny lake that's studded with small islands, each of which has a campsite on it. If you don't own some sort of canoe or kayak, you can rent kayaks at a nearby outiftter, or rent canoes from the park service right at the lake.
posted by skwm at 9:11 AM on April 14, 2006

Just wanted to put in a good word for Devil's Hopyard in East Haddam, CT.
posted by runtina at 9:20 AM on April 14, 2006

You marked the most obvious answer as the best? It's a good answer, sure, but you must have been aware of it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:49 AM on April 14, 2006

I'm going to second Acadia National Park. I'm from Ontario (Canada) and my family spent a few weeks in that park every summer for years without running out of fun things to do. Might be more touristy now, but back in the day it wasn't that busy or crowded. It's not for tripping per se, but the hiking and beaches are great!
posted by tiamat at 9:56 AM on April 14, 2006

Remote in New England is really hard to find and you won't find it a short hike in or near your car.

Keep in mind that the Presidentials are just entering black fly season and they're still in mud season. Streams are high due to melting snow up high.

In peak season, legal tent sites sites fill up fast. In the rare places where fires are allowed wood is non existent. The huts are overpriced hotels in the sky where 50 people all sleep in the same room.

There are plenty of car camp sites, both private ones and those run by the WMNF. Most of them need to be reserved well in advance. Pick up a free copy of "New Hampshire Loves Campers" at any of the NH turnpike rest stops.

If you can manage to find a site at Baxter State Park up in Maine, and you don't mind a seven hour drive, it's probably the closest thing in New England that can be described as "magical." Moose are everywhere. They enforce a very strict quote system so it's never too crowded. It's tough to get a reservation though.

If you're into backpacking the AMC and WMNF run some remote tent sites in the White Mountains. If you're up for a long but flat hike, the 13 Falls site in Pemigewasset Wilderness is one of the more remote and beautiful sites. It sits by a series of really neat waterfalls and it's far enough in that the Case -o- Bud and Boombox crowds avoid it.

The Pemi wilderness is also home of a really neat (and ruggedly handsome) mountain named Bondcliff.

Nickerson State Park in Brewster, on the Cape, is one of the nicer tent and RV sites. It's right on the Cape Cod Rail Trail so you can take a short ride to the National Seashore.

As Aghast said, Acadia NP is really nice. It's a bit overcrowded during peak season but so is just about everyplace else. The hiking there is rugged but since it's right on the coast treeline is almost right away so any elevation will get you some nice views.

Check out some of the private car camp sites up around Gorham, NH. It's up in the Presidential range and far enough from Boston that there aren't too many of us Massholes crowding the place.

The Zealand area of Twin Mountain, NH is a bit less crowded than other areas. I believe there are both private and WMNF campgrounds there. There are some wonderful hikes at the end of Zealand Road that even non-outdoorsy people would be able to manage.

One of the Boston Harbor islands has tent sites on it. I've never been, but I've heard it's a pretty neat experience camping within view of the skyline.

Avoid North Conway at all costs.

The Boston Chapter AMC introductory hiking and backpacking program begins in a couple of weeks. It's a great way to learn about the ins and outs of hiking and camping in New England, meet people who are into it, and talk to people who are experienced in it. They run several trips as part of the program as well.

Have fun. Feel free to email me if you want any more info. I haven't hiked or camped much in about four years (coincidentally, four years is also the age of my son...) but in my previous life I did it all the time.
posted by bondcliff at 10:09 AM on April 14, 2006

Response by poster: Mayor Curley,

Funny. You nabbed me. I actually marked it by accident. I dont ususally want to mark a "best" answer because I really do appreciate everyone taking time to help. Then I kinda felt bad and didnt want "unmark" it.
posted by beccaj at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2006

Best answer: One of my favorite camping experiences in the New England was on the Boston Harbor Islands, which are part of the National Park system. It's the only camping I've ever done that I took public transportation the whole way to get there.

Plus, having a campfire on a beach with the Boston skyline in the background is spectacular. More info on the Harbor Islands here.
posted by Staggering Jack at 10:34 AM on April 14, 2006

becca, I see that you did un-mark it, which will probably help you get more suggestions. A lot of us tend to slide right past questions with checkmarks on them.

There's a 10-mile improved dirt road that goes to Somerset Reservoir off Rte 9 in VT. The reservoir itself is a neat enough place; there's a big earth dam that's covered with wildflowers in the early summer. Halfway to the reservoir, just after a bridge over a smallish stream, there's a road off to the left. The first couple hundred yards on both sides are open camping, then the brush closes in and the road turns into a jeep trail. If you camp there, your neighbors may be the 6-pack-and-boombox crowd, or not, but there's no management to complain to (or listen to).
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:25 AM on April 14, 2006

For those times when you want access to a bathroom:
Lake Sebago, Maine
Bear Lake, New Hampshire
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:53 PM on April 14, 2006

We went to Savoy Mountain near North Adams every year when I was growing up. It's car camping but many of the sites are secluded. There's a lake and a couple of trails. Restrooms and showers are on site. It's not going to compare to Acadia (which is at the outside of your desire not to drive more than a couple of hours into Maine, by the way), or the White Mountains in terms of awe-inspiring vistas, but it's a nice car camping spot. The website says there's a waterfall nearby, but I can't vouch for that personally.

Plus, it's near North Adams, so if it rains, you can go to the museum or do something inside.
posted by MarkAnd at 1:10 PM on April 14, 2006

It's not quite New England but I had a lovely time camping on the islands of Lake George last summer and am going back this summer.

becca, I see that you did un-mark it, which will probably help you get more suggestions. A lot of us tend to slide right past questions with checkmarks on them.

I'm attracted to checkmarked questions (not that you should recheck the mistakenly checked one).
posted by Aghast. at 3:32 PM on April 14, 2006

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