Rhode Island might be the smallest of the 50 states, but that just makes it easier to travel between its extensive number of adventure hotspots and through a whopping 400 miles of sandy coastline. Camping in Rhode Island is more than worth it for the diversity of outdoor recreation opportunities alone. Within the 1,212 square miles they call home, Rhode Islanders can enjoy hiking the green, lake-speckled hillsides of the New England Uplands, explore the dozens of rivers in the north that feed into Narragansett Bay, venture south toward the Seaboard Lowlands to breathe in salty sea air, and head offshore to navigate 38 islands by boat, kayak, and more.
The Ocean State earned its nickname for a reason, and any fan of marine fun will especially love camping in Rhode Island. Make your way to historic Newport for a quintessential New England experience. Also known as the City by the Sea, the nine-village coastal community’s manicured mansions, cobbled streets, and pristine beaches make it the picture of Gilded Age resort life.
Visitors flock to Newport beaches like Easton’s for family picnics, kite flying, and boogie boarding. Head to Gooseberry for a calm and luxurious day of sunbathing. Visit the dog-friendly Fogland to enjoy a day of stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and windsurfing. Don’t forget to stop by Sachuest (also called Second Beach) to find the longest beach in Rhode Island, surfable waves, and a shoreline RV campground with hot showers. Retreat to one of two state parks for quiet camping, or find community at nearby Melville Ponds Campground.
The belle of Newport’s ball sits at the north end of town on Narragansett Bay. Fort Adams State Park not only draws music-festival-lovers for the annual summer Jazz Fest and Folk Festival, but also attracts people year-round for swimming, kayaking, boating, and more.
The Department of Parks & Recreation runs five campgrounds throughout the state that make it easy to find camping in Rhode Island. Pitch your tent at Burlingame State Park, the state’s first official campground, which offers space for 700 rustic campsites and access to freshwater swimming, fishing, canoeing, and hiking trails beneath towering trees—as well as a camp store in case you left anything at home.
No matter how you want to go camping in Rhode Island, The Dyrt can help you find the best place for it.
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Bowdish Lake Camping Area is the worst campground we have ever been to and we travel fulltime! Their website states: $1,800-$3,600 per season (look for yourself on their website if you don’t believe me). We get there after reserving site Blue 65. They then charged us $3,900. Why? We have no idea! Then they charged us an additional $75.00 for our truck. Why I don’t know? Then they charged us an additional $50.00 for having our own kayak. Then they charged us an additional $50.00 for a small dog, $100.00 for large dogs (by the way they have no dog park). Then they charged us an additional $100.00 for cable. Then they charged us an additional .50 cents per kWh ( which cost us an average of$250.00 extra per month). The public facilities are filthy. They do not supply any toilet paper, hand soaps, hot water, etc. They charge you an additional charge by coin operated showers (cold water only) that are crawling with spiders, bugs and cobwebs.
This campground is quaint and is nestled in RI state forests. The sites do not have hook ups, but water faucets can be found throughout the camp, and there is is dump station. There are pit toilets around the camp, and there is a central modern bathroom. The beach is beautiful and would be busy on a hot summer day. We stayed in early October, so it was not crowded. The camp did fill up, even for October, however many sites were closed due to Covid. Tents, small and large RV’s occupied the many sites. Some sites are more level than others, bring some leveling blocks if your are towing a camper. We walked the 2 mile trail, there is a 6 mile and an 8 mile hike too. Dino’s supermarket is about 10 minutes away by car and has a traditional supermarket style, a welcome change from big box. I will come back here, it was peaceful, I need that.
We are first-year seasonal at Bowdish and have loved it. Even with Covid-related restrictions we have had a great year. Our site Blue 111 is spacious with lots of privacy. With very few exceptions the staff and other seasonal campers are all very nice and friendly. We are sad the season is coming to an end but look forward to making many more memories at Bowdish. I
Very well maintained, clean and picturesque. Go in late September when the kids are back to school and there are very few campers. Holiday weekends are crowded but the sites are large and spread apart. No hookups but that's ok if you are self contained. Plenty of bath/toilet facilities and close to kayaking on the Wood river if you dont prefer the very large pond that you can access in the campground. Great place to bike and hike.