New England is known for small, quaint towns tucked into lush foliage and rolling hills of small, quaint states. There are large and energetic cities that defy this image, but for those of us that live to explore the rugged, rural beauty, camping in Massachusetts has long been a hotspot for adventure seekers and laid-back vacationers alike.
For beach lovers, pitching a tent amongst the white sand dunes of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod is truly an experience of a lifetime. The shrubby black oak, stunted pitch pine, and delicate dune rose of this region offer the perfect backdrop to the roughly 400 miles of pristine shoreline. Bike along the Cape Cod Rail Trail for 22 miles of easy riding, as it weaves in and out of six Cape Cod towns along the Atlantic.
A few hours north, Boston awaits with its iconic history and big city vibes. For a fresh way to see Boston, head downtown and kayak along the Charles River, an 80 mile waterway that meanders in and out of Boston’s neighborhoods and riverside parks. After exploring Boston and the Charles River, hop on a shuttle ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands, where you can set up your tent and watch as the city skyline lights up the night sky above your campsite.
Craving a woodland camping adventure? Head inland to Western Massachusetts, where the Berkshires welcome you with rich, dense forests, exhilarating waterfalls, and a number of fantastic hikes along the Appalachian Trail. For this area, camping in Massachusetts’ State Parks is your best bet. Hike to the highest point in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock, where you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views of four other New England states. There is a campground on the mountain, but you’ll have to carry in your gear.
For further inspiration on camping in Massachusetts, as well as campground ratings and more, The Dyrt has all the information you’ll need to start planning your next adventure.
This was a very nice campground. Our particular site was a little on the small side, without much greenery to separate from the other sites but the weather was horrible so we spent most of our time inside playing games anyway. The restrooms and showers were very clean! The people who run this spot are nothing but friendly and helpful. There was a short but very nice nature trail within the grounds. There are also full hookups for those with RVs. The tent sites looked very nice and more private, but not sure about hookups in those spots.
There are many things to do close by- a lot of bay side beaches, coffee shops and a wonderful bike trail. Nickerson is right down the street as well which opens up a lot of recreation options.
Would totally recommend and would stay here again.
Although the tent sites are a distance from anything, the main areas of the campground are fantastic. With a full calendar of events (some free, some cost $) you will never be bored. Quiet time is quiet time which is great for families.
It doesn’t get much better than camping away from others!!!! Pretty basic shelter.
Unfortunately, I was not a big fan of this small campground. Right from the start, upon checkin, I bought two $5 ea. bundles of wood after being assured they were "kiln dried". The wood wouldn't catch no matter what I tried -- not even with the help of some fire starter. The tent site itself was very small and barely fit my truck and tent. It was made smaller still because of the mud and holes on the perimeter of the site. At night, there was a lot of traffic noise nearby and despite a posted quiet time, other campers were slamming car doors over and over and talking at the top of their lungs, making it difficult to sleep. The surrounding state forest was pretty and the trails were in decent shape.
Once again, we arrived after dark (the days are way too short in the fall)! and although Google Maps guided us correctly to this campground, we also appreciated the very good signage directing us! This campground is set way back in the woods and except for the hooting owl and an occasional barking dog from other campers, it was VERY quiet. No road noise at this campground!
The campsites are spread out over a big area. Sites 1-9 are located near Berry Pond and are serviced by a pit toilet. The rest are about 1.5 miles south on the loop road. We were originally in site 29 but we would have had to walk through a path in the woods to get to the bathroom; since it was dark when we arrived, we were happy to switch to Site 32, much closer. Our site was level but not all of them appeared to be so. Many trees provide privacy. It looked like the restroom/shower building was fairly new and it was very clean. There is also a group campground and day-use areas.
The next morning, I set off to walk the loop road, thinking it would be a couple of miles at most. Surprise– it was over four miles and HILLY! I got a good workout, but it was a beautiful walk. The reward was seeing Berry Pond and the view when I finally reached the top of the hill. Wish we had more time to take a hike or explore the area more.
This was our third year tenting at this campground, each trip was the same weekend in September to attend the FreshGrass music festival in North Adams, MA. While there are a few designated tent sites, it’s clear this is an RV park. The new-ish owner greeted us enthusiastically, as always, but seemed so distracted by everything else going on that it made it difficult to understand what he’s trying to tell you. We found it a little rude to be treated as though, because we were tenters and weren’t hauling in a camper, we were not as important as the crowd of RVs pulling in.
We booked our site in mid-April for a September stay and requested a specific site as requested on the registration form, but upon arrival the owner moved us to a different site with no explanation.
Overall the campground is clean and family-friendly, with activities for the kiddos. The bathroom/shower is adequate, but far away from tent sites and look unfinished and a bit rundown. I assume this will be the next renovation for the new owners.
We camped in tents and loved this campground. The restrooms were very clean and being cleaned constantly. The beach was beautiful and enjoyed walking on the larger rocks. Also there's a beautiful lighthouse and some history plaques there.
Great campsite. I used to come here all the time when I was a kid and was so excited when it opened back up. We were located in the no electric no water area and even though every site was taken, it was surprisingly more private than you'd expect. The comfort stations (indoor bathroom and shower and outdoor sink area) were clean and well maintained and close to all the sites. The sites had both a firepit with a flip grill as well as an upright grill. Both were clean and ready to use when we arrived. The boys had a blast swimming and kayaking at the pond and there was another comfort station right at the water. Leashed pets are welcome and we brought our pup for his first camping experience and he loved it too.
Campground review: Camping at Boston Harbor Islands requires some planning, but you get the benefit of a remote island with minimal company. Unless you book one of the 12 yurts on Peddocks island, the camping is rustic; you’ll need to bring everything, including water. Reservations open 6 months in advance and sites fill quickly, so plan ahead if you’re counting on a particulate day. I only visited the campsites on Peddocks Island, so I can’t speak to the ones on Lovell, Grape, and Bumpkin.
Getting there: Unless you have your own boat(check regulations on the website; you’ll need to anchor offshore overnight), you’ll want to catch a ride on the ferries to the Boston Harbor Islands. Figuring out the schedule is the trickiest part, not least because they don’t make the inter-island ferry schedule as readily accessible. Here’s the scoop:
- Check the ferry schedule. Figure out which departure makes the most sense for you. You may choose to leave from Long Wharf, near the Aquarium T stop on the Blue line, or from Hingham, with overnight parking available. For Bumpkin and Grape Islands, you’ll want to leave from Hingham; Peddocks and Lovells are available from either departure point
- Buy your ticket online in advance. Some town libraries have passes offering 2-for-1 ferry rides, so if you’re a MA resident in the greater Boston area, it’s worth checking that out first. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at an extra$20 for the ferry, but that fee covers your round trip as well as the use of the interisland ferries so you can explore other islands. If you’re traveling as a family, look at the family pack for another discount. You can show the ticket on your phone when you board.
- Pack as lightly as possible and plan to carry or wheel it to your site. If you have a folding wagon, you may appreciate having it to carry items on and off the ferry and to your site on the island. There may or may not be carts available on the island. Peddocks has running water available, but otherwise you’ll need to bring gallon of water/person. If you want to grill, bring your own charcoal; otherwise bring a stove or bring food that doesn’t need to be cooked. You may scavenge wood to build fires below the high tide line only. No alcohol and no pets.
The yurts on Peddocks are great, providing shelter from the elements, bunks with mattresses, electricity, a ceiling fan, table with benches, and a grill. There are 6 yurts up a small hill, with a composting toilet and water from a tap nearby. The 6 tent sites are also in this area. An additional 6 yurt sites are below the hill and in the woods, so it’s a slightly longer walk to the toilet. at the top of another hill there is an open, grassy area, also with a composting toilet, that provides group campsited.
While you’re out on the islands, take time to explore one of the others…look for sea glass on Spectacle Island and climb the hill for a view of the Boston skyline, explore the old forts and visitors centers, earn a Junior Ranger badge from the National Park Service, fly a kite, or go for a swim or kayak. In mid-August we collected handfuls of blackberries as we explored Peddocks.
Ranger Product Review: Banner& Oak Traveler Shirt
As a Ranger with the Dyrt, I sometimes get to test items; in this case I ordered the Banner& Oak Traveler long-sleeve t-shirt in indigo. It’s long sleeved and super soft, but the first time I went to put it on, I realized the Banner& Oak tag along the hemline was sewn through both the front and back, so I couldn’t put t on until I removed the tag. I didn’t have scissors with me, so it was tough to get it off and ultimately I ended up with a hole in both the front and back. I’ve worn this on strolls through the woods when the weather was nice, but cool and on the foggy morning ferry ride to the island. The sleeves are not constricting and when I pushed them up to my elbows, they stayed in place while I hiked. I will say that it is a unisex t-shirt and the sleeves and body of the shirt tend to run long. I like that, but if you're petite, it may be annoying.
Keep in mind that this review is written after camping sept 8th (the week that school started for many) so it might not be relevant to peak camping season. We were pleasantly surprised with our weekend getaway to Clarksburg State Park. Nestled in the Berkshires and basically walking distance to Vermont, Clarksburg State Park provides a comfortable and semi-private tent site. Several spots (including ours 6) were very close to the rather large pond. While the trees obstruct the views, the site was waterfront and we were able to walk a few yards downhill to the waters edge where we launched our kayaks (there is a designated launching spot elsewhere). No electric and water hookups are provided but we were totally okay with that. Bear boxes were provided on each site so that you don’t have to keep stinky food or garbage in your car! Each site also had a fire pit with a grate so that you can cook right there on the fire. The bathrooms were some of the cleanest campground bathrooms and showers i’ve experienced (no bugs or webs also) and there was a dishwashing station on the side. The sites were large and well spaced but they had trees in between so that you felt privacy. The campground itself had plenty of sites, firewood for sale in the front and a pavilion and beach area on the day use side. There are plenty of trails you can hop on right outside your tent site and very little light pollution for optimal star gazing. We really enjoyed our time here and will definitely be back!
This is one of the few places where you can sleep on the beach! It's a great place. The water is on the cold side but it's worth it. Beach camping is a very special thing
I fully recommend this camp ground. It can be pricy but it's worth the price
This is glamping campground. It has a pool, game rooms, and everyone is packed in pretty close.
I personally like state parks, lots of room and trees. I didn't feel that at Normandy farms but you might love it
Stayed in Section 2 on M Rd which has the the electrical hook ups. M road is nice because you're backed up to the woods on the odd numbered side. These sites are also spaced fairly well far apart and private, some more than others - on M13 which stayed, it was at least 50ft on either side. There are no water hook ups but plenty of water spigots every several sites so easy enough to fill up water jugs.
Drawbacks of M13 in particular is that it was probably the most slopped on the rd but still pretty minimal. We also found a lot of trash on the site - we poked around other sites on the rd as people came/went and they didn't seem to have this problem. Seems like we may have just caught M13 at an unlucky time ( we did pick up a lot of the trash around the site that others left behind to help clean it up and makes us not feel we were sitting among trash)
Firewood was $5/bundle so pretty reasonable. I didn't personally use the bathrooms but other said they seemed new.
Because of the trash issue I would have given 4.5 but so we value private, spaced out sites I leaned on the 5 star side.
We were lucky to find a spot open in Nickerson State Park in mid August. We were pleasantly surprised with the privacy of our camp spot and how easy it was to get everywhere. There is plenty of great biking in the park and all around the Cape Cod area (rail trail!). The camp store was great for some last minute things we forgot, and there are easily accessible showers and restrooms with hot water (and very clean!). All in all, we had a fun time and it didn't seem super crowded even though the park was booked solid.
We spent one night here in our RV and rode bikes into Provincetown. This campground is pretty tight if you have a big rig, but our 24ft was just fine. It’s a big hill with a tight squeeze to enter the campground, but overall our stay was enjoyable. If you’re looking to camp at the end of the cape, this is your spot. Make reservations well in advance!
We spent two nights at this campground- the closest camping to Boston. The campground is right on the ocean with incredible harbor views. It was an easy bike ride to the Salem Ferry to get access into Boston for the day. The bathrooms facilities were standard. Book in advance here because it fills up quickly and there are very few RV sites!
We stayed in a lean to for the Cotopaxi Questival In April. It ended up raining and in the mid 60s the entire time so it was great and kept us dry!
Driving around this place is definitely not a typical campground but more of a luxury camp because of all of the amenities.
That being said it was very nice and felt safe. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 star is because you can hear the highway nearby so it didn’t really feel like a campground. That’s a preference though.
Check out some of our videos from the competition! We found a little skeleton in our lean to so we made a short video, haha!
Winters island is a beautiful campground in Salem,ma. We stayed 2times in the month of June and 1 time each in July and august.we invited our friends to camp as well and it turned out wonder ful.the kids had a great time by the sea and the playground.their are wildlife like skunks, racoons do put food in car . Each site has a grill and shade.you can bring your pets and campfires need to be off the ground. There was 2 weddings while we where their. It a great feelings sleeping under the stars and waking up to the crisp air. 1 of my daughters favorite summer activities this year.
Overall had a wonderful experience at zoar campsite in charlemont ma. Staff was awesome, went out of their way to tAke care of our group from camping to rafting. Highly recommend the site.
Amenities are well maintained. Could use a refresh but overall great experience will be back
Great campground, though spaces are small, place is clean, nice pool and staff is very friendly, helpful and responsive! It's only about a mile from the beach. We rode bikes to Salisbury Beach and my young adult son rode his longboard to the beach. We thought the small campsites would bother us, but after one day we got used to it and it was fine. Neighboring campers were all very friendly. We'd definitely go back again!
The staff are very friendly and the campground is clean. The just remodeled one of two playgrounds in the camp. There is a lot to do for kids including a pool, jumping pillow, miniature golf and a train ride. There a lot of popular events such as an ice cream social and tie dying. Most weekends have themes. The only issue I have are some of the campers. They were filthy and rude. After the Friday night movie they left all their trash on the ground. The kids were riding their bikes on the bathroom handicap ramp. The kids were screaming at the pool and all over. One got hurt at the pool and an adult with the group told them no more horsing around even though he was the one who started it. It’s right off a major highway so you have noise including sirens. There are many places to visit around the area if you enjoy “doing the tourist thing”. Some tent sites are on the smaller side but most are good size. I’ll be honest, I only go to KOA for my son but I find this is one of the better ones. We were in T9 and T8 but we have also camped in T17 ( my favorite).
Comments about the campground first… This campground is ok. If you're looking for a long drive into the woods with not a lot around, this is your place. It is admittedly quiet. Keep in mind, there is no place to dispose of garbage. So be prepared to haul it out. And there are no places to buy supplies if you forget anything. You will have to drive at least 15-20 miles. So be sure you are prepared or be willing to drive. Also, I concur that any of the sites along the road are terrible(e.g. sites 3-5). The road is a main road and is very noisy. There are bathrooms and showers(one per bathroom.) They are mostly clean. And there is a place to get water and to wash your dishes. Sites 3& 4 are not even separated by trees. So best not to book them unless you want to get to know your neighbors. I can't speak to the other sites. One word of caution… This campground has a zero-tolerance alcohol policy. As with most campgrounds, the website does say"no alcohol". Unlike most, if you bring beer, you can expect to be kicked out without notice. No warnings. Full disclosure, my family booked several sites here and was asked to leave because we had beer with us. We were not rowdy, disruptive or belligerent. We are not kids. We're 40 something professionals with kids of our own. We have all camped in every New England state for many years and had traveled from several different states to be there. We have never had a problem anywhere else. Did we violate the policy? Yes, we did. But that said, I have never camped anywhere that the policy was enforced. Therefore, if you go to Granville, be sure to take the policy seriously.