Bear brook state park is a great place in central NH for camping and day trips alike. Though you definitely want to watch for black fly season and ticks (as with anywhere else around), there is something to do year round! The mountain bike trails are some of the best in NH with a little something for every skill level. There’s fishing, swimming and even archery if you’re into that. I certainly recommend, especially for the mountain biking!
I hadn’t camped here in the past 8 years, so decided it was time to revisit; it helped that it was one of the campgrounds still open after Columbus Day weekend. Although reservations are available online, I didn’t need them for closing weekend; 3 sites were occupied when I arrived, about 15 by the end of the weekend. During the peak season, I’m sure it’s a different story given it’s proximity to Concord and Manchester and the variety of activities available.
Mostly level sites sit under towering pines and vary greatly in size. Many of the sites are separated from their neighbors by large, downed pine trees. I was in site 38 and found that the little loop to my campsite was tight to exit(I was towing a 14’ teardrop, not a big trailer) and I had to be careful to swing wide at the corner. This site backed onto an open field with a backstop for baseball/softball. It meant that I could enjoy the the sunny warmth on an otherwise cool morning. Last time I was here I stayed in site 45, a small tent/pop-up site along that same loop, but in the shade. If you are tenting and don’t mind a short walk, reserve site R1 for a raised site overlooking the pond. Sites 13-25 back up against a hill. Site 91 is near the entrance, but large and set back from the camp road, so it offers some extra seclusion. It’s across the street from the playground. I’d avoid site 93 because it is so close to the playground and the fire ring placement makes it seem like families enjoying the playground will be tempted to walk through your site. If you want to be close to the play area, site 90 or the ones on the loop behind it are better options.
There are no hookups, but there is running water and a dump station is available. Bathhouses offer coin-operated showers; I noticed a price difference between the two of them, so went with the less expensive option! It was the final weekend of the season, so that may explain the lack of attention to cleaning and upkeep of the restrooms. Several of the stalls were lacking toilet paper and, although it was nearly empty when I arrived, the bathrooms had little bits of debris scattered on floors and around sinks. The bottom of one of the dishwashing sinks was coated with something that resembled dried coffee grounds.
I was here with a 5-year-old the last time and she enjoyed the playgrounds both at the campground and at the Catamount Pond beach. There’s another beach in the campground itself. Numerous trails call out of exploration, around ponds and up and down hills, with geocaches to be found (if you can, download the info and maps before you get to the park to be sure you have the necessary info). The mountain biking trails are busy even on late October afternoons; some trails allow horses. Canoes and kayaks let you explore and fish. There are two archery ranges and wheelchair accessible docks for fishing. For history, check out the antique snowmobile museum and the Civilian Conservation Corp(CCC) museum. The CCC built much of the infrastructure here and elsewhere in the country.
The camp store offer a few basics and a selection of Bear Brook attire. Cell phone coverage varies from 1-2 bars, not always 4G, on Verizon.
Some of the sites are a bit too close to each other but there are some that are nice and private. Mountain biking is awesome here, can ride right off the campground and onto the trails! Will def be coming back
Family oriented can ground, has a nice playground. There's a beautiful waterfront with a swimming area and boat rentals. One of our favorite things was an archery walk through the woods and a little pond for fishing! Definitely worth the stay
We were lucky to select a very private site. Several more private sites seemed available. Pleasant swimming area, hiking trails, playground. Tiny store. Bathrooms were not super clean, but this seemed expected. No electricity at sites.
Camped here two nights in 2015 en route to Maine. Located in a 10000 acre forest preserve, the campground is heavily forested and very secluded from civilization. We stayed on site 22, which was spacious and private from the other sites on either side.
We were there in the fall but the swimming area at the pond looked very inviting for summer time campers. I also liked the sites across from ours near the ball field and thought they would make a nice place for a large group of friends to pitch their tents (Sites 31, 32, 33, 34)
The bath and shower house was well maintained and a short walk from 22.
The camp store carried some great souvenirs, snacks, ice cream and even had a coffee machine for those traveling light and in need of a hot cup of coffee.
Some sites are right on top of each other, but if you can get a site in a more secluded spot it's very nice. I recommend a hike around the lake on the trails. Maybe an hour hike.
I have loved this campground for a long time. There is so much to do and it is close to everything. They have just remodeled so I haven't seen the new cabins but I am sure they are great. This is my hometown and I have always loved going there. It is great for group events, hiking, or swimming for the day.Too much to do!
I was so impressed by how well the grounds were kept and how clean the bathrooms were. The tent sites were large which was great as we had two tents at ours. The park is very dog friendly for camping as well as hiking. The trails were very well marked and really conveniently close by to the campsites.
Will definitely be returning!
I've used it twice just as a stopover between the coast and a vacation in VT, both times coming in dusk and leaving after dawn, using a tent site to van camp. Chosen because I travel with dogs. Didn't check out facilities other than bathrooms (clean and convenient). LIke it very much for the kind of use I need.