The Best Places to Go Camping in Massachusetts

Camping in Massachusetts allows for total immersion in the states diverse nature
Camping in Massachusetts allows for total immersion in the state's diverse nature | © Della Huff / Alamy Stock Photo
Doug ONeill

Considering it’s one of the smallest states in the country, Massachusetts has some serious diversity in its landscapes. Outdoor enthusiasts encounter mostly flat land with smallish lakes and modest hills in the east, but head west, and the landscape dramatically rears up to showcase the Berkshire Hills and Taconic Mountains. Bonus for water lovers: there are approximately 1,500mi (2,414km) of shoreline to explore in the Bay State – stretching all the way to the sandy beaches of Cape Cod and vine-trailed Martha’s Vineyard. With all that in mind, here are the best places to go camping in Massachusetts.

1. Cape Cod Bay

Natural Feature

The water washing up on the small beach at Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, New England, USA
© wendy connett / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the country’s most upscale summer vacation spots (the Kennedy-clan compound is located here), Cape Cod is a standout with its beautiful beaches and relaxed vibe. There’s an impressive array of small islands off Cape Cod too, including the sandspit of Monomoy Island, home to a wildlife refuge.

2. Spring Hill on Cape Cod Cranberry Farm

Camping

You can walk (or bike) from this comfortable campground to a number of Cape Cod Bay beaches, but you’ll likely get sidetracked by the sight of the actively farmed cranberry bogs on the property. Get your daily workout in via the hiking trails on the neighboring conservation lands, then fall asleep in your cozy tent to the sounds of the waves rolling in off the bay.

3. Martha's Vineyard

Natural Feature

Historic Gay Head Lighthouse and the cliffs of Marthas Vineyard, Massachusetts
© Cindy Goff / Alamy Stock Photo

Past denizens of this time-honored New England summer colony have included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and 60 Minutes anchor Mike Wallace. Oprah Winfrey has also been spotted by locals, no doubt smitten by the cute harbor enclaves, lighthouses, and sandy beaches. Accessible only by boat or air, this privileged patch retains an away-from-it-all feel.

4. Campy McCampface

Camping

Despite the happy-go-lucky name, this is one seriously stocked campsite. Amenities include everything from hammocks, lanterns, and coolers to Adirondack chairs, cookware, and soap. Biking and hiking the nearby conservation lands are popular, as is heading to a local eatery (on foot or on bike) for brunch. No fewer than three trails will take you to town. If you don’t have your own bike, you can always rent one from a shop near the ferry terminal on arrival.

5. Clarksburg State Park

Park

Consisting mostly of unspoiled northern hardwood forest, Clarksburg State Park is home to the Hoosac Range, Mount Greylock, and the Green Mountains. Hiking, skiing, fishing, and boating top the local activity list.

6. Hidden Hoosic Riverside Camp

Camping

Beaux-arts meets Berkshire views at this idyllic spot. On the one hand, you’re just a short jaunt to the MASS MoCa (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. But you’ve also got the Berkshire Mountains around, Mount Greylock on the horizon, and Clarksburg State Forest a mile (1.6km) away, plus plenty of meadows and small ponds, too – all of it enjoyed from your secluded campsite in the woods by the Hoosic River.

7. Pittsfield State Forest

Natural Feature

You could easily lose yourself in the 11,000-acre (4,451ha) Pittsfield State Forest but luckily the 30mi (48km) trail network is well marked. There’s plenty of outdoor adventure here: hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or swimming in Berry Pond, the highest natural water body in the state.

8. Birch Berry Pines

Camping

Luxury glamping in the Berkshires means your campsite includes everything you’ll need – lanterns, firewood, and fire starters at no extra charge. Choose an arty day at nearby galleries and museums, or go active with ziplining at the aerial adventure park and mountain biking at Jiminy Peak, or hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail that cuts through the park. For kayaking and swimming, Pontoosuc and Onota lakes do the job.

9. Tolland State Forest

Natural Feature

Camping at Tolland State Forest in the southern Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts means you’re close to any number of quaint New England towns, plus you have access to the Otis Reservoir, the largest recreational-use body of water in western Massachusetts.

10. Maple Corner Farm's Berry Patch Site

Camping

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to 12mi (20km) of hiking trails – plus a berry patch – right outside your tent? Time your visit right and you could, after a day of hiking, try your nimble hands at blueberry picking. The town of Springfield is only 20 minutes away and offers restaurants, cafes, museums, and parks – as well as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

11. Sandisfield State Forest

Natural Feature

The unsung gem at Sandisfield State Forest is York Lake which, thanks to a program during the Great Depression, was transformed from swampy ground into a shallow 30-acre (12ha) man-made lake that’s popular with canoeists, kayakers, sailing enthusiasts, and anglers to this day.

12. Camping in the woods of the Berkshires

Camping

Bed down outdoors in the woods of the Berkshires with its marked hiking trails, public lands, streams, and mountain slopes to roam freely around. The area is known for deer, turkeys, coyotes, and occasionally bobcats – despite the fact that you’re only 2.5 hours from New York and Boston. An ideal campsite for both hikers and wildlife enthusiasts.

13. Richmond

Architectural Landmark

The Berkshire town of Richmond has a quaintly rural, small-town feel. Tree-lined roads and pastoral scenery of the Berkshire Hills, including farms and orchards, fill the tableaux. Boutique wineries, such as Balderdash Cellars, are well worth a visit.

14. Berkshire Mountain Hideaway

Camping

This quiet, somewhat secluded campsite is within an easy drive of some of the Berkshires’ best cultural spots including wineries, art galleries, and Japanese restaurants. Several hiking trails can be easily accessed from the campsite, such as Perry’s Peak trail and Taconic Ridge Trail.

15. Tyringham

Architectural Landmark

The village of Tyringham is situated in Hop Brook Valley in the Berkshire Hills. Just northeast is Baldy Mountain. To the southwest are two mountain peaks, Mount Wilcot and Hunger Mountain, whilst the Appalachian Trail passes through town. Yes, it’s that remote.

16. Running Spring Farm

Camping

Apart from the resident horses, cows, and alpacas, there’s little chance of running into other guests at this secluded campsite. Situated on Running Spring Farm, the campsite offers plenty of nature-based activities (hiking, fishing, swimming) and some cultural options, such as the iconic Tanglewood music venue for classical concerts and Jacob’s Pillow dance center, which hosts an annual summer festival from June to August.

17. Chester

Architectural Landmark

The town of Chester is located in the western part of Massachusetts and is a good place to stock up on camping supplies. The Chester Factory Village Historic District is worth the drive into town, but perhaps more visually stunning (depending on the season) are the nearby Glendale and Umpachene waterfalls.

18. Glamping in Hephzibah

Glamping

Glamping in Hephzibah combines the creature comforts and conveniences of home with an immersive nature getaway. Not only will you have a kitchen equipped with cast-iron pans, metal roasting sticks, and a charcoal grill, but you’re also surrounded by fruit trees and berry patches. Depending on the season, try your hand at picking apples, plums, cherries, Arctic kiwis, pawpaws, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries.

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