10 Scenic Places to Go Camping in New England

Mooselookmeguntic Lake | © TravelingOtter/Flickr
Mooselookmeguntic Lake | © TravelingOtter/Flickr
Photo of Christopher Crosby
18 September 2017

Channel your inner Thoreau and go off-grid—or at least out of the city—with a New England camping trip. Summer is nice, but fall—when the temperature stays warm during the day but the air clears and the forests become a painter’s palette—is the best time to go. These camping sites will help you forget work and the daily grind for a while.

Stephen Phillips Memorial Preserve

Map View
Mooselookmeguntic Lake
Mooselookmeguntic Lake | © TravelingOtter/Flickr
Wilderness camping at its finest, watch wildlife or wade in the waters at this 6,000-acre preserve on Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Rangeley. Swimming and paddling abound at the wooded campground, which features 67 mainland and island tent-only sites, each with picnic tables, fireplaces, and toilets.

Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land

Solitude. Cutler, the heart of Maine’s Bold Coast, is known for its miles of deserted, pine-carpeted rocky shores. Campers along here can pick between three permitted sites, which are reachable after a four- to five-mile hike. The sites are located near Fairy Head along the Coastal Trail, along a 12,234-acre expanse of blueberry barrens, woodlands, and peatlands, with views of Grand Mahan Island and the Bay of Fundy. Be aware that no campfires are allowed.

Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land, Maine 191, Cutler, ME, USA, + 1 207 941 4412

Smugglers’ Notch State Park

Wedged in a cleft between 1,000-foot cliffs in the Green Mountains, Vermont’s Smugglers’ Notch State Park is one of the state’s most popular campsites. Don’t let the scenic highway and daytrippers strolling to the spectacular Bingham Falls fool you: the campsite offers 20 overnight spots, three-quarters of which are lean-to sites. The Long Trail crosses the road here, and other trails wind to the summit at Sterling Pond, one of the state’s highest.

Smugglers’ Notch State Park, 6443 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT, USA, + 1 802 253 4014

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  • Riga Lean-to Campsite

    Map View
    © George Ostertag / Alamy Stock Photo
    Itching to be alone? This Appalachian Trail lean-to shelter is set in an old growth Hemlock grove along a high plateau overlooking a valley bordering Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. Available by reservation only, the site can hold six people inside the cabin and another four on the platform. In June the mountain laurel bloom is spectacular and the site booked by through hikers. A nearby pump well and stream will provide water.

    Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground

    Map View
    As though quaint charm and miles of secluded, idyllic beaches weren’t enough, this is the only campground on Martha’s Vineyard and caters to tenters and motorhomes alike. The campground has full amenities, and a few one- and two-bedroom cabins are available to rent. Cycle along 75 miles of sun-splashed paths (there are rentals), take the car on a bucolic drive, or island-hop on the ferry.

    Savoy Mountain State Forest Campground

    Map View
    Orchard or woods, tent campers are in paradise at this private spot in the Berkshires. Hikers are spoiled with 50 miles of trails, including a 3.5-mile roundtrip to the top of Tannery Falls. Dogs are allowed, and if you want a solid footing beneath your back at night there are cabins for rent.

    Woods Island State Park

    Stay on your own island. This is where everything disappears and you can really get away (so leave your phone, or at least take a good Instagram shot). One mile long and a quarter-mile wide, the 125-acre Woods Island in Lake Champlain has five private campsites spread out along the shore. There’s no ferry service to the island, so visitors have to make their own arrangements or hire from two local water taxi providers (note, there are no docks either). Facilities are minimal, and bring water. Camping by reservation only.

    Woods Island State Park Swanton, VT, USA, +1 802 524 6353