Where to Go Camping in Connecticut

Connecticut's wild natural beauty makes it an ideal place to take a camping trip
Connecticut's wild natural beauty makes it an ideal place to take a camping trip | © Dennis MacDonald / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Christy Taylor
18 August 2020

While Connecticut is small, it nevertheless has 13 state parks and forests, not to mention several private campgrounds running the gamut from basic to more luxurious. The terrain varies from wild forests and rolling hills to sandy beaches and restful lakes. It’s the perfect spot to camp year-round – whether to experience the spring flowers, hot summer days or multi-colored leaves in the fall.

West Thompson Lake Campground, North Grosvenor Dale

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This family-owned campsite is located in Northeastern Connecticut, near the border of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The campsite is in a perfect spot: a naturally quiet, wooded area along the coastline of the lake with plenty of bird life. The campground has 24 accommodation options: 11 with electric and water hook-ups, 11 basic without hook-ups and 2 lean-to shelters, as well as bathrooms and showers. In addition it has some great recreation facilities with boating, canoeing, kayaking, hiking trails, a playground, basketball court and an 18-hole free disc golf course. Note: there is no swimming allowed at this lake.

Kettletown State Park, Southbury

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Kettletown State Park, Connecticut
© George Ostertag / Alamy Stock Photo
Kettletown State Park, along the Housatonic River, was originally inhabited by Pootatuck Indians. Colonists reportedly traded one brass kettle for use of the land and today visitors to the park can occasionally find arrowheads. The campsite has 61 partly wooded and open sites, along with bathrooms and showers. Kettletown also rents out rustic cabins, and rustic means no bathrooms or kitchens. The campground has a shaded picnic area and beautiful views over Lake Zoar, but swimming is no longer allowed because of blue-green algae. The park has many hiking trails and is also a popular fishing spot. No alcohol is allowed.

Wolf’s Den Campground, East Haddam

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This family-centric campground is so popular that many families return year after year. It has a wealth of amenities such as an Olympic-sized pool, minigolf, basketball, volleyball, bingo, shuffleboard, a recreation hall, blow-up water slides in the summer, weekly activities and themed events. For those that want to camp, but don’t have the necessary equipment, Wolf’s Den offers on-site trailer rentals equipped with full kitchens, air conditioning and room to sleep up to six people. Facilities include toilets, showers, a camp store, picnic tables, a laundromat and pavilion.

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  • Black Rock State Park Campground, Watertown

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    Given to Connecticut in 1926, the 439-acre (178-ha) Black Rock is named after the graphite deposits that were mined in 1657. Black Rock Campground has 75 sites, each with a fire ring and picnic table, conveniently within walking distance to the beach and fishing pond. The campground has two full bathhouses with showers and toilets, however there are no electric or water hook-ups. Along with camping there are four rustic cabins to rent, and the park itself offers some lovely varied hiking through rolling hills and forests. The Mattatuck Trail offers picturesque views of the Naugatuck Valley.

    Water’s Edge Family Campground, Lebanon

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    Water’s Edge is not only family friendly, but dog friendly, with furry pals able to stretch their legs in the Bark Park. The 10-acre(4-ha) campground has both wooded sites and spots with views over the spring-fed lake. It boasts an abundance of facilities including a swimming pool, free wi-fi, a beach, two playgrounds, a camp store, laundry, restrooms, basketball court and recreation hall with video games and billiards. Additionally, there are organized activities such as craft programs, hayrides, ice-cream socials, scavenger hunts, movie nights, karaoke and assorted others that keep families coming back.

    Rocky Neck State Park, Niantic

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    © Marianne A. Campolongo / StockimoNews / Alamy Stock Photo
    This beachy campground, located on Connecticut’s Golden Coast, has a diverse landscape to suit every want. A lovely white-sand beach is perfect for swimming, walking trails wind through the salt marshes, there are ample fishing spots for mackerel and bass and viewing platforms enable keen birders to spot ospreys, cranes, herons and other bird life. The park offers 160 open and wooded sites with fire rings provided at each campsite. Each camping circle has a central toilet building with hot showers, and drinking taps are indicated on the map.
    These recommendations were updated on August 18, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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