The best camping in
New Hampshire

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Camping New Hampshire

When you’re camping in New Hampshire you don’t have to choose between going on a hardcore hike or relaxing in your hammock on a quiet lakeshore. With hundreds of campsites across the state—and with mountains and lakes close to so many of them—you can easily access the best of both worlds. Lake Winnipesaukee is by far the largest and best-known body of freshwater in the Granite State, but New Hampshire is dotted with bodies of water of all sizes, from the swimming holes and rushing rivers of the mountains, to the ponds and lakes lined with classic cottages in the aptly named Lakes Region.

Fortunately for all of us, mountains are just as plentiful. While Mount Washington, in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest, has the most name recognition in the state (and claims to have the worst weather in the world), it’s not even the only notable peak to bag in the Presidential Range. Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Madison, Pierce, Eisenhower, and Jackson mountains can all be ticked off your list of New Hampshire’s 48 4,000-footers. And the White Mountains aren’t the only game in town either. Go camping at Monadnock State Park and do any number of hikes in the area, including the ever-popular Mount Monadnock, of course. Mount Monadnock’s isolated peak provides fantastic views and is one of the most frequently hiked mountains in the world.

Spend a quiet backcountry camping in New Hampshire night under a tarp, or bring beers and s’mores around the campfire at a popular state park campground like Pawtuckaway, Bear Brook, or White Lake. Consider a weekend hut trip when camping in New Hampshire, with stays at one or more of the eight huts maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club or parking your RV and basecamping at Lafayette Campground while you tackle some of New England’s best dayhikes, like the Tuckerman-Lion Head loop on Mount Washington or the Lincoln-Lafayette loop in Franconia Notch.

The biggest challenge to camping in New Hampshire? Not having enough time to enjoy everything the Granite State has to offer.

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Recent Reviews in New Hampshire
Rebooked for round three next year

My young family have camped here twice. Both times were very different experiences, but overall very positive. Just because there are a few, I will mention the cons first. -Noise level isn’t monitored by staff, so don’t expect it quiet at quiet time. -Very expensive -The hilly terrain is insaneeee! If you have never been before, book a sight as close as possible to the pool and office, because the further you get, the higher the altitude. We chose bottom of the hill sites so we lucked out but it could’ve been very difficult to navigate with two/three very young kids. -The ‘bistro’ is a waste of money. They didn’t butter my toast.

Pros: -It is absolutely GORGEOUS up here. Stunning. The sites are private and wooded, the grounds are beautiful, the natural pond is a great morning excursion. It’s one of the prettiest campgrounds I’ve ever seen. -I’ll mention the privacy of sites again because it truly is worth mentioning. Avoid 37 and 40 though- expert opinion. -The pool really is as awesome as it looks. -The playground is amazing.

Overall we love it here. We now take it for what it is and we plan our sites accordingly for sure. We’ve brought another family into our circle here and would love to expand even more! It’s a beautiful place and I highly recommend.

Designated Camping in the Wilderness

The Wild River Wilderness is a relatively newly designated tract of land. The established campsites within the wilderness area were once shelters, all of which were dismantled and removed after the Wilderness designation. So the site is impacted but still quite pristine. There is a fair amount of Forest Service signage as you enter the campsite area and we were even visited by a backcountry ranger.

There are several tent sites with cribbing, most of which appear to potentially flood in heavy rains so be thoughtful when selecting your site. We had the place to ourselves so the options were plentiful. Just watch your step and where you set your things down, as there are a number of beautiful Lady Slipper plants in the area. Bears are an issue so be sure to hang your food and toiletries. There is a perfect bear hang tree near the fire pit so as long as no one is camped right in that area, it's an easy toss with some para-chord. 

There is a cool slab waterfall a short down hill walk from the campsite. There are a few social trails leading down to it. We enjoyed hanging out and cooling off in the cold water. There is a large established fire ring with some log benches that creates a nice little spot to hang out and eat. We decided to do a little day hike up to a view point once we got ourselves set up for the evening. It's about a half mile or so toward Rim Junction and the trail pops out on a little rocky ledge that looks down toward the Basin Campground and the Caribou Speckled Wilderness area. It was a great (and bug free, thanks to the breeze) spot to hang out for a little bit. 

There are several campsites available here and it's rather spread out. Be sure to have the appropriate gear to dispose of human waste properly. It can get a little gross around the campsite in the heart of the busy summer season, just FYI. We were here in June of 2020 and due to COVID-19 and the timing, it was evident that this site hadn't seen much use this season as of yet. By the fall, this site can be full of mice so just be aware that timing can make all the difference.

Very nice

My two teenagers and I stayed for four nights in site #17. The site is large enough for us to spread out our two tents, changing/shower tent and two hammocks. The pine needle floor was soft and clean. A path leads straight down to the river, which we can hear running from the tents at night. The caretaker is one of the friendliest I’ve met, and he keeps the sites and bathrooms very clean. There are some cool looking dispersed campsites around the corner off Tripoli Road, which could make for a fun diversion one night if staying a while. It’s early July and there’s been hardly anyone staying here! Only downsides are it’s a bit off the beaten path (over an hour to Conway); there is some road noise; and the water is very brown / rusty. We didn’t feel comfortable drinking it.

Friendly, with a great location

I came here last year with my dog.  We only stayed two nights.  It was his first time camping, so I made a note in my reservation request that I'd like a fairly remote site - just in case he got loud.  They put me in the perfect site, near the dog park (they have a dog park!).  When the forecast changed to thunderstorms, they let me switch my dates without any hassle.  The location is convenient for Newburyport, Portsmouth, and the Seacoast.   We ended up having a lovely stay.

Just a note, I took my dog for a walk around the campground and noticed that many of the other sites were rather close together - including the cabins.  Some people don't mind, and even enjoy, close neighbors.  If you're like me, however, you'll want to ask for a more remote site.

One more thing to note; I booked through Rover Pass and ended up paying them a fee.  Next time I'll contact the park directly.

I'm looking forward to another trip soon!

Similar to Bear Brook

Some campsites are spread out and secluded. Swimming is good until later in the summer when the water gets a little high with algae.

Been going since the sixties!

Family camping is great here. Traditional camping in deep pines with a quiet lake to swim and places to play for the kids. Nice trail system for weekend hikers.

A little something for everyone

This Camping Park has something for just about everyone. Whether you have an RV (small, medium or large), tent, are looking for a cabin or want a little more of a wilderness feel, this place has something to offer. 

While the campground looks to be primarily RV camping from the road, there are many tent sites tucked away in the trees and even two sites that are walk-in only and are situated right on the Androscoggin River. Additionally, the campground has several nice cabins available as well.

Let's start with the RV sites: there are a bunch! This campground also hosts many seasonal campers who have sites situated around the perimeter of both sides of the campground (split by Route 2). Seasonal campers have some pretty sweet set-ups for sure. The only downside to some of the RV spots is that they can be in the sun almost all day which can be a bit much in the heart of the summer. Otherwise, sites are well maintained and have all the normal hookups for RVs.

Tent sites are well spaced and almost all of them are in the shade which is a huge bonus! Each site has a picnic table, fire ring and nice level spot to pitch your tent. Bath houses are conveniently located throughout the campground and are well maintained. 

The two walk-in tent sites are very secluded and offer fire rings, picnic tables, a bear box and one of the two sites has a wooden tent platform. The second site's tent platform is currently being built (July 2020) and should be at the site and ready for use soon. These sites sit right on the beautiful Androscoggin River, offering a serene backdrop for your camping adventure.

The campground is situated in-between two large tracts of the White Mountain National Forest. Great hiking is available at the campground as well as a short drive away. If hiking is a hobby of yours, look no further! This is a great location to base yourself out of to get some solid miles under your belt. There is a campground office that has a small store as well as laundry facilities. They also offer an AT Hiker Hostel. They also have a nice heated swimming pool, playground and many other amenities. When there isn't a global health pandemic, they have a bouncy house for the kids. They often show movies on the lawn when the weather cooperates. They also rent kayaks and you can launch from the campground or they will shuttle you some place near by.

It really is a campground with a little bit of everything! Owned by locals of the community who have run the place for over 25 years.

Great Area, terrible service

My suggestion would be to put reserved signs well in advance. Example, a reserved spot is set until the next day but the campers left early. Without a second reserved sign to state the spot is taken the day after, campers looking for a spot get screwed the next day on their plans when they find out the spot they scored late night is actually taken for after. Great grounds and we have been coming here for a while but sadly will not be returning after this last incident. Also, the Male host behaved as though we knew the spot was taken and when I asked to see if they had resources for our flat tire[because it doesn't hurt to ask] he acted as though I were trying to make an excuse to stay in the spot. While they do not have the resources and he told me that, the fact that he rudely assumed I was looking to stay[while we were beginning to pack up] is definitely not a good look.

Like it used to be, but not quite

This is as far North in NH as you can get for state park camping. No hookups. Usually not very busy. Large, well separated sites with room to maneuver. Close to the lake, with some sites on the water. Great pond for fly fishing, eagle watching, etc. ATV traffic can be a little annoying, but otherwise quiet. Not close to shopping.

Update/continuation to previous review

In an effort to help continue providing accurate and up to date information, I wanted to take a moment and write a second review for this campground (my last one was roughly 2 years ago). There is currently conflicting information regarding the operation status of this campground on the US Forest Service's website. As of 6/21/20 this campground IS open despite being listed as closed on the USFS website as of today, 6/26/20. So fret not, the road and the campground are open and operational for the summer season.

The campground is first come-first serve and is off the beaten path at the end of an approximately 7.5 mile gravel road, crossing from Maine into New Hampshire. There is a host present for the summer season in site 1. There is a parking area available for day users for a fee and the Access Pass or similar annual agency passes are honored here.

Sites are $20/night and there are two lean-to shelters available. A few of the sites are drive in/up to while others are a short walk from various parking areas so plan accordingly, as you may need to carry your gear in a short distance. You may want to pack in a consolidated manner.

We stayed here the night before we headed into the Wild River Wilderness for a few nights of backcountry travel. It was a great starting point. Sites were incredibly well maintained (raked and free of any debris) and the campground is quiet, sites are well spaced out. The septic pump truck was pumping and cleaning the pit toilets when we arrived back at the campground at the end of our backcountry travel. 

There is a self service pay station and map of the campground as you arrive, making it easy to find sites and get a lay of the land before settling in for your stay. The Wild River is in the campground and depending on the water levels, can be a wonderful place to sit and cool off or ford and access trails across the river. Be advised, there is only one bridge constructed across the Wild River and it is just off Route 113 BEFORE you turn onto the gravel forest service road that leads to the campground (so 7.5 miles from the campground). So if you are looking at old maps, any "footbridge" or "suspension bridge" listed no longer exists. The river does flood, especially in the spring and fall so be sure to have backup plans should you not be able to cross on a planned hike. 

This is a hidden gem and a great place to spend a long weekend. There is great hiking and swimming holes are plentiful. Pit toilets are clean as are site, spacious too! Check it out.