With a little over half a million people, Vermont is one of the least populated states in the U.S. This is a major appeal for those that call the Green Mountain State home, as less people means more wilderness. With immense forests and a network of trails, Vermont is home to top-notch outdoor recreation. With a solid four seasons and state parks that stay open regardless of weather, Vermont state parks camping is always a fantastic camping trip.
Your Guide to Vermont State Parks Camping
Home to the nation’s first and oldest long-distance hiking trail, The Long Trail, Vermont is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. With nearly 60 state parks and camping options available at most of them, we’ve created a list of six of the best, spread across the state of Vermont.
Explore Vermont’s Three Regions: North, South and Central
Featuring the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, southern Vermont is home to a number of ponds, rivers, and lakes that offer clear water swimming, boating, and fishing. Similarly to the rest of the state, the local food movement is taken seriously here. Roadside farm stands, farmer’s markets, and local food cafes and restaurants are a delicious, and healthy, bonus to camping trips in this region.
Central Vermont is the home of our nation’s smallest state capital—both in size and population—Montpelier. But there’s more to this section of Vermont than a small major city. Home to Ben & Jerry’s, a number of breweries, and some excellent farmer’s markets, central Vermont is a food region with a huge backyard. Featuring small lakes, excellent swimming holes, and a number of easy day hikes, this region of Vermont is a paradise for those that want to dabble in it all.
The northern third of Vermont is home to popular outdoor destinations including Burlington, The Islands, Lake Memphramagog, and the virtually untouched Northeast Kingdom. Vermont state parks camping in this area can range from more populated areas in the northwestern section, to vast and dense forests in the northeast. This being the more mountainous section of Vermont, northern Vermont state parks camping is most often frequented by avid hikers and backcountry campers looking for a serious outdoors experience
Grout Pond Recreation Area in southern Vermont
While not technically a state park, Grout Pond Recreation Area is nestled in southern Vermont’s most popular area for a number of outdoor activities, and is a part of the National Forest service. Grout Pond is situated in the middle of the Green Mountain National Forest, a 1,600-acre forest in southern Vermont that boasts numerous lakes, rivers, and hikes towering above the backwoods below.
Grout Pond Recreation Area is a first come, first serve campground. And while it is a popular spot in the summer, each site is fairly private due to the campground’s small size. It’s a quiet, peaceful place that buries you in a dense northeastern forest and allows you to feel like you’re truly in the wilderness. The best time to visit this park is in the fall, when campers are few and far between. Strap on your boots for a hike, or bring your kayaks or canoes and float out on Grout Pond, as either way will show you Grout Pond is a lovely place to take in Vermont’s striking fall foliage.
“We have camped at Grout Pond a few times in the summer, and while it’s always beautiful, it’s just too busy in July and August. Early October is just about perfect – no bugs, no people, and fantastic views all around.” —The Dyrt camper Tara S.Camp Here
Woodford State Park in southern Vermont
Bordering the George Aiken Wilderness Area in the Green Mountain National Forest, Woodford State Park is the highest-altitude state park in Vermont, situated on a mountain plateau reaching 2,400 feet. Surrounding the Adams Reservoir, this densely-forested campground is ideal for those wishing to immerse themselves in nature. There are several ponds in the area for fishing, swimming, kayaking or canoeing, as well as hiking trails that can take you around within or outside of the park.
There are 103 sites within Woodford State Park, as well as four cabins and 20 lean-tos. Additionally, there are boat rentals at the small beach area of the reservoir. For an intimate view of the campground and its lake, take a hike around the 2.7 reservoir loop trail.
“The views on some of the sites to the lake are beautiful. the grounds and facilities are well kept. and you are close to both Bennington and Wilmington. a great spot to camp at in Southern Vermont!” —The Dyrt camper Sandy M.Camp Here
New Discovery State Park in central Vermont
With 39 tent and RV sites, 15 lean-to, and seven horse camping sites, Vermont state parks camping is at its best at New Discovery State Park. For those looking to rough it a bit harder, there are seven remote wilderness campsites. Situated in the popular Groton State Forest, New Discovery State Park is a favorite with both campers looking for a scenic overnight stay, and day-use adventurers who come for the hiking, biking and horse riding trails around the state park.
As a bonus, campers within the Groton State Forest campground system have access to the other area state parks as well. If you’re wanting to experience central Vermont’s best hiking, swimming, and camping, the Groton area is a beloved local favorite, and New Discovery State Park acts as a great basecamp for your Vermont state parks camping adventures.
“We had the most perfect spot in a private site on Osmore Pond that was accessible only by canoe! Quiet, serene, & beautiful! Can’t wait to go back!” —The Dyrt camper Sambath T.Camp Here
Bomoseen State Park in central Vermont
When one thinks of lakes and Vermont, Lake Champlain is often first to come to mind. While that lake deserves its own write-up, Lake Bomoseen is certainly a special place in its own right. The largest lake entirely within Vermont’s borders, this lake campground offers water sports, hiking, and swimming. With 55 tent sites and 10 lean-tos, this campground is private and well-spaced. Lake Bomoseen State Park is close to Rutland, Vermont, offering a chance to enjoy local, in-town activities along with your time spent in nature.
“We wanted an escape from the crazy crowds on Memorial Day and this was the perfect spot. More local based and on a gorgeous lake in VT.” —The Dyrt camper Jessica H.Camp Here
Grand Isle State Park, in northern Vermont
Grand Isle State Park is the most-visited park in the state park system, and for good reason. With 115 tent and RV sites, 36 lean-tos and four rentable cabins nestled among woods, fields, and along the lake, this state park remains a popular destination for Vermont state parks camping. With access to Burlington via the Rail Trail, as well as lake access for kayaking, canoeing, SUP or swimming, Grand Isle State Park offers visitors a chance to experience the joys of all that Lake Champlain offers. And for some unexpected fun: during the summer, folks gather at the common area for picnic dinners overlooking the lake, for live, local music and camaraderie amongst fellow campers. No wonder Grand Isle State Park remains so popular.
“Right on Lake Champlain with clean, beautiful sites. Lots of awesome lake activities.” —The Dyrt camper Emma B.Camp Here
Brighton State Park in northern Vermont
Perhaps the best part about Brighton State Park is just how remote you’ll find yourself when you visit. Located in the heart of the “Northeast Kingdom” (named by the governor in 1949 for its expanse of untouched nature and low population), there is no noise or light pollution. There are so few people that it could feels as if you’re the first to discover this region of Vermont’s lush wilderness. The rolling, tree-covered hills of this area act as a haven for wildlife. It’s not uncommon to happen upon a bear or moose, or to hear the haunting call of the loon from your tent at night. There are 54 tent and RV sites, 23 lean-tos, and five cabins available for rent. Brighton State Park is remote, well-kept, and so beautiful you’ll likely make this a Vermont state parks camping tradition.
“Peaceful. Great place to relax, good for kids, hiking, biking, kayaking, and canoeing.” —The Dyrt camper Katy S.Camp Here