This small island in Biscayne National Park offers a distant view of the Miami skyline, gorgeous aqua water for swimming, snorkeling, boating and fishing. A small lighthouse stands above the protected harbor. There's a small trail around the wooded end of the island.
You can stay on your boat or pitch a tent on the island. There are spots along the shore and if it's full, you can pitch a tent on the grassy field. The back of the island has a small beach for swimming. It's $25/night to camp for up to 6 people with an additional charge if you have more in your group. Pay the iron ranger.
Between generators and music, it's not a quiet island. Tour boats from the park bring crowds a couple of times a time.
There are flush toilets and the odor is so strong you won't linger! Bring potable water.
There are picnic tables and grills available.
I stayed here as a money saving exercise the night before a morning flight to Dry Tortugas. I didn't bring a tent, but Leo's had a camping kit available for rent that included the tent, sleeping pad and a small lantern/flashlight that I took advantage of; bring your own sleeping bag or sheets.
The sites are level with pea gravel; the ground was so hard that I could not get the stakes into the ground (they didn't provide a hammer and i was in too much of a hurry to ask). I tied off a guy line to the fence in hopes of preventing it from blowing into the water. Someone must have come by and staked it down while I was in town because the 4 stakes were in when I returned. The sites have a picnic table and grill. Some of the sites have electric, making it nice to fully charge camera and phones as needed. There's good cell service, but they do provide wifi if needed.
The campground is visually separated from Rt 1, but it is so close that you will hear the traffic All. Night. Long. I always say I can sleep through anything, but between this and the sleeping pad with a leaky valve, I didn't sleep at all. I wish I'd had earplugs.
There's a mix of seasonal and shorter term campers, everything from large RVs to camper vans and tents. There were a few empty tent sites when I was here in late January. There's a small pond with a shelter. Near the restrooms there is a covered area with picnic tables and a small library, a good place to take refuge from a shower or to hang out with friend or a book. Laundry is available. The bathrooms are clean and small. They definitely need more hooks in the shower stall and could use a small stool or shelf.
If you have a pet, they have a small doggie playground next to the office. For the people, there are large games such as jenga and chess.
It's about 4 miles to the historic district.
Campsites are generally good sized with both paved parking pads and green grass. Unlike the sites at Flamingo, there's more brush and trees providing an element of separation and privacy from other sites. There are flush toilets, showers, water fill, and a dump station, but no hookups. If you want electric, you should make reservations at Flamingo. Many of them have good vie of the sky, nice for solar charging your batteries or enjoying the stars. Insects can be be brutal, but they weren't too bad in January. Campground is open during the winter months/dry season, before the rain, insects, and heat keep most people away.
This is a nice location not too far into the park in case you want to explore another area, but it's remote enough that if you haven't picked up all you need by the time you reach Robert is Here Fruit Stand, you should go back to get it or plan to do without for a while. Speaking of Robert's, stop for a refreshing smoothie or shake and some fruits or vegetables on your way in or out of the park…or maybe each way!
This campground and the one at Flamingo are operated by Flamingo Everglades concessionaire and they seem to be working to upgrade facilities. They're building a new station at the entrance. Reservations are available for RVs to try to ensure that those who need an RV site will be able to get one that fits their rig; tenters are asked to select their site upon arrival.
Phone access spotty with Verizon; It was decent at Anhinga Trail, worse the farther down the road you get to Flamingo.
I didn't happen across any gators in the campground while I was there, but they're definitely in the area. Didn't see a panther, either. Wildlife abounds, particularly the birds. An easy walk with great reward, especially early in the morning or in the evening is the Anhinga boardwalk. Keep your eyes peeled for the colorful purple gallinule darting across the lily pads and the anhinga spreading their wings to dry. I'm not much of a birder, but the challenge of distinguishing the ibis from the snow egret to the great egret is fun (Do you know which one has the golden slippers? The Merlin bird app is also a great tool to help you out.)
Also nearby is the Nike MIssile Site, open for tours most days during the winter, but check at the visitors' center for details because the info on the website doesn't correspond with real life. Continue on down the road to Flamingo to catch a boat tour or rent a boat on your own; explore some hiking trails along the way. Bikes are a nice way to explore the campground or longer rides through the park. Stop at the visitor's center and pick up some guides or a Jr Ranger book for the kids.
If you can beat the bugs, stargaze and enjoy the sunrise. But take the bug seriously. Even in late January the mosquitoes or vicious. You'll want insect repellent long sleeve long pants and maybe even a mosquito net when you are out and about.
Flamingo Everglades is the concessionaire that operates this campground and the nearby marina. The campground is arranged into 2 loops (one for trailers; about half of them with electric) plus a bayside field area that also includes a group tent site. For these, you park and walk to your site, but you get a great view of the bay and sunrises. In addition, there are several new eco-tents (platform tents) with beds two chairs and lamps. I stayed in one of these.
The Flamingo area still shows the effects of Hurricane Irma a couple of years ago and some neglect. The B & C loops are not open, though NPS is working to clean them up. An employee I spoke with indicated that they hoped to have those open next year. I was there midweek and only the trailer loop was full. On the weekends they do fill up.
The campsites in the loops have picnic tables and fire rings. The bayside field sites have scattered picnic tables and fire rings in various states of rusty disrepair. The eco-tents some picnic tables closer to the bathrooms for the field sites are not occupied, you can use one of those. You can't use a stove in your tent or on your deck, so you do need to cook elsewhere.
Bathrooms include flush toilets and free showers, although the water never got very warm. They are solar heated.
Remember everything you need because it's a long trip back to Florida city or Homestead the nearest places for picking up supplies. Stop at "Robert is Here" on your way in or out for a smoothie or milkshake. The shop at the marina has some basic snacks and drinks. Tuesday to Saturday afternoons there is a food truck available. For activities, campers get a discount on bike rentals. They also rent kayaks & canoes and offer boat trips, though I wouldn't do the boat trip again.
If you choose to stay in an eco-tent, there is a cart with bicycle tires to quietly take your gear to your tent. The boardwalk lights up at night so you can safely find your way to the bathroom. You'll be conscious of the sound the zipper makes when you leave and return to your tent. These are tents and not cabins, so you may hear some neighbors talking or snoring. Even so, it was a welcome change from a sleepless, noisy night at a campground in the Keys.
If you're looking for birds, nearby Eco pond or the waterfront near the bayside campsites offer a nice variety for minimal effort.
No Verizon coverage, but I've been told there is AT&T. Wifi is available at the visitors center.
The only indication that you have reached the turn off for Pinecrest group campground is the brown tent sign. The sign for the campground itself is parallel to the road, so you won't see it until you are upon it. You'll need to reserve a campsite online in advance. Otherwise the gate to the campground is locked. Each of the 4 sites can accommodate 15 campers/8 tents as they are paired in such a way that sites 1&2 are together and 3&4 occupy a separate corner, perfect if you're group requires two sites.. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and half of a bear box; extra tables were gathered in the center. There are vault toilets, but no running water. Plenty to do in the area…fishing, birding, boating, hinting. Explore the preserve or neighboring Everglades. It's off the gravel loop road south of Tamiami Trail Rd.
Our newest National Park offers inexpensive primitive camping along a backcountry loop trail. You'll need to carry your gear ~1 mile each way, so pack and plan accordingly. the hike isn't tough, but it will take you 20-30 minutes to get to your site and you want to be settled in time to enjoy the golden hour before sunset! There's no hiking after dark because it can be easy to get disoriented without too many landmarks in the area.
You can't make advance reservations because they can't predict when there will be missile tests that require closing the park for a bit, but they do generally know about a week in advance. Check out the website for updated information. Entry to the park was delayed until 9am two days during the week of my visit, so no camping on those nights. Be prepared to switch nights if necessary!
Arrive in time to check in with a ranger to get oriented and assigned a site. They'll provide you with a map. I arrived mid-day in early December and had a choice of several sites; there were only two other sites occupied. The trail to the site was fairly well marked, although a couple of them were lacking numbers. Your site will be in the low spots between the dunes and you'll be restricted to an area near the numbered pole. You'll be able to see others watching sunsets and sunrises from the tops of the dunes, but once at your site, you're in a private world.
Winter nights are cold and dark…I think I would have enjoyed it more in the autumn or spring with longer and somewhat warmer days, but I loved watching the full moon rise as the sun set. My tent was coated in frost by morning. Camping in the park is the only way to enjoy the sunrises, though my December morning was quite foggy. The last water is available at the visitor's center; bring plenty, esp. in the summer months. You may use a small camp stove for cooking, but it has to be off the ground. There are composting toilets at the parking area, but you'll need to dig a cathole or carry out your waste from the campsite.
To be honest, this isn't my style of camping, but if you're in an RV and looking for a base from which to explore the greater Albuquerque and Santa Fe area, you could do worse. Just off I-25 and located on a corner of the San Felipe Pueblo, there's not much here but the casino, gas station, restaurant, and travel shop! For $20 you get 20, 30 or 50A electric hookups with water and a dump station available. Clean bathroom facilities, including spacious showers, are available in the travel shop/gas station. Check in at the casino and they'll send someone out to meet you and get you set up.
There are great places to explore in the vicinity, including Kasha Katuwe, Bandelier, and Pecos National Monuments to name just a few.
This is a state park campground that offers everything from basic tent sites to full hookups near a small pond for fishing (no swimming or boating). There's a picnic table (numbered with the site so there's no question which one is which) and fire ring. Bathrooms offer flush toilets, no showers and it is not heated. Numerous portable toilets also got the park around the pond and play area. In early December only 4 of the sites are occupied and one person was fishing. It's handicapped accessible with a paved path to a small dock.
Head north out of Greenville on the east side of Moosehead lake and shortly before you reach Kokadjo, turn right and follow the road along the edge of First Roach Pond. Near the far end of the lake you’ll come upon a small campground with a number of named waterfront sites on the left and a grassy hillside area with additional spots. I drove past this place several times en route to ponds where I could kayak and look for moose before I finally decided to stop in. I couldn’t find much of anything online and that’s because they are old school, taking reservations by phone and tracking them on wirebound notepads. These are no frills sites; most of the outhouses are on the other side of the road from the waterfront sites and not necessarily nearby. Some of the sites occupy rises above the lake while others are right down on the water. There is a gravelly beach area. If you like to fish or boat or look for wildlife, you've come to the right area. Grab your Maine atlas and explore the back road and ponds. Book a moose tour out of Greenville if you want some help finding the moose. There are some small peaks in the area (Greenville promotes a Peak Pursuit). Kokadjo has a small trading post and restaurant, but you'll want to pick up most of your supplies in Greenville. Remember to bring water.
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.
This small, private campground just outside Grafton Notch State Park offers clean, level, quiet sites with hot showers. If you don’t need wi-fi and hook-ups, this is the place for you! Seasonal decorations and solar lights decorate and brighten the paths. A small field near the bath house offers benches and horsehoes. A river runs behind the first several sites on the right side of the loop road. There’s a dump station available. It’s a great spot to stay if you are looking to hit the trail and want an early start.
I stayed here in site 4 a few years ago during my quest for the New England 4000-footers and stopped by recently to check it out again.
Hiking opportunities abound in the area, including the notorious Mahoosuc Notch stretch of the Appalachian Trail or family friendlier Table Rock as well as Crocker, Baldpate, and the Grafton Loop. At the right time of year, you may have a chance to chat with through hikers. Splash in the pools at Screw Auger Falls or Step Preserve falls on a hot summer day. Look for moose and other wildlife at dusk or dawn. This is a true retreat.
I stayed here for the first time in August last year, but returned in October this year to enjoy the autumn colors. This is a lovely state park on a large lake, offering drive-in sites with and without water/electric hookups plus a number of primitive boat-in sites around the lake. In 2019 the bathhouse was renovated, delaying the season opening, but it was worth the weight. Bathrooms are clean and bright, offering hot showers ($) and laundry.
Site fill up on weekends, especially prime lakefront sites. You can choose something more open and grassy or a wooded site. There's a swimming area and boat rentals. The office has limited hours. If you arrive after 5 or 6 (depending on the day/month), you'll need to check in in the morning and won't be able to buy firewood on site.
Off site, it's a short drive to Grafton Notch State Park (ME) for hiking and waterfalls, a little farther to Bethel, ME for canoeing, biking, and other outdoor activities. The Umbabog National Wildlife Refuge also offers hiking and boating opportunities with moose, loons, eagles, and beavers, to name a few.
It was bitterly cold overnight (24-27 degrees), so I was grateful for my trailer, but it made for some beautiful, if foggy, mornings and brilliantly clear skies for stargazing. If a tent or trailer isn't your chohice, there are cabins available, too.
Lonesome Lake hut is one of three AMC huts open year-round. During peak season, your rate includes dinner, breakfast, a bunk with 3 wool blankets. Meals are served family style; if you have food restrictions, let them know when you make your reservation. There's running water in the sinks (peak season) and composting toilets. Bunkrooms are smaller here than at other huts; you'll be sharing a room with 3-6 others and most of the bunks are only two high rather than the triple deckers you'll see elsewhere. During the off-season, a caretaker may start a fire, but you're on your own for meals and bedding. Sit on the deck or down by the lake and enjoy the views, maybe some wildlike. If you're not an AMC member, join and you'll get a discount on the rate while also supporting their work.
It's about 1.6 miles and 1000' elevation gain from Lafayette Place trailhead, making it a family-friendly destination. NOTE: parking at the trailhead is at a premium and you may need to park at the hiker shuttle at Cannon Mountain. If that's the case, drop off the majority of your crew so that only 1 person has to pay the shuttle fee.
In winter the trail is so frequently travelled that you may not need snowshoes, but I would definitely recommend spikes to minimize the risk of sliding on ice. Your reward is a beautiful view (on a clear day) across the notch to Franconia Ridge. The Kinsman Ridge towers over you to the west. If you're bagging 4000-footers, it's great to hike up here in the evening one day and then head up to the ridge for the Kinsmans and Cannon the next, to make it just a little easier.
I discovered this small family-run campground while driving to another one and my curiosity was piqued, so I had to check it out. After a friendly welcome, I was allowed to explore. They offer wooded campsites, some of them along a a brook and others near a pond; There's no boating or swimming in the private pond because of steep sides, but it's stocked and license-free fishing is possible for trout and catfish. The brook runs into the Pemi river. There is also a swimming hole, but I didn't get a chance to explore that.
The 31 sites vary in size, but are reasonably level, no hookups. A clean, bright bathhouse provides toilets and coin-operated showers; a dumpstation is also available for RVs.
The office is also a store with minimal supplies and firewood. Let them know when you plan to arrive and call if you'll be late to hold your site. They're open full-time Memorial Day to Labor Day, and then weekends only through Columbus Day.
I was looking for a campground near the Suncook Valley Rotary ballooon festival in August and the fact that the Lazy River was just a short drive away and offered a river for tubing and swimming, too, made this my choice. I really wanted to love this place (I've been on a quest for a campground with tubing this summer), but the downsides keep me from giving it 4 stars.
Folks will tell you that a bathroom makes or breaks a campground and, here, the bathrooms hurt. One of the 3 bathhouses was out of order with a sign directing you to the one in the playground field. That one was clean, but there were no latches on any of the doors on the women's side. To get a shower, you have to journey over to the seasonal loop, which may be a bit of a walk depending on your campsite location. Once there, there's no guarantee a shower will work. The first day I found a shower that worked (coin operated), but the next day none of the 3 seemed to be working (one with an error on the meter, others wouldn't turn). Another camper was there and she couldn't get anything to work, either. Ventilation isn't great in that bathroom, so the ceiling is a bit mildewy. It does have a nice long counter with sinks.
Camp roads would benefit from grading, but they're navigable.
If you're on the river, you may hear some traffic noise from 28 on the other side of the Suncook River. It didn't bother me, but I can sleep through anything!
Some of the seasonal sites look cluttered.
Would be nice if you could make reservations online, but had no problem getting through on the phone.
All in all, great place to hang out on the water, whether the river or the pool, but would be even better with bathroom improvements.
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:
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.
I was in Presque Isle for the annual Crown of Maine balloon festival and for future reference I wanted to check out area campgrounds. If you’re heading into town from the south, you’ll see the campground before you see the sign which is tucked in among the trees. Check in at the back door of the house.
Sites occupy a large field with woods to the right and farmland to the left. Sites are grassy and open and can accommodate both tents and very large RVs. It is by the main road, so you will hear road traffic. If you are in a tent and dependent upon facilities, there is a small bathroom with toilets and shower. They are cramped and dated; there's a small porch on the front and the paint is peeling.
Westward Shores is an expansive resort located on Ossipee Lake. It caters primarily to seasonal campers and those with RVs, but can accommodate tenters as well. There are a couple of camping cabins starting at $70/night shoulder season and cottages that sleep 8-20 (at significantly higher prices).
The campground is so large that many people get around on golf carts. There are ongoing renovations and new areas, so it still looks a little rough around the edges in places. Lots are large and level with pea gravel and hookups; if you are in a tent, you’ll want to be sure to have adequate padding for sleeping. Additionally, you’ll want one of the more basic campsites located near a bathroom. Some of the loops do not yet have facilities (Aug 2019). The bathrooms are basic and clean.
The primary appeal is the location on beautiful Ossipee Lake with beaches, a marina, and kayak and SUP rentals. There is plenty to entertain the children, with playgrounds, bounce pillows, gaga pit, basketball, and tennis to name just a few. Kids were everywhere on their bicycles.
They didn’t offer up prices when we stopped at the office, so I was dreading the worst, but when I checked online, the RV sites range from $50-56 with hookups, picnic table, and fire ring and there are special rates/deals for extended stays. These rates are a significantly lower than a nearby resort campground that starts at $65/night… but then I discovered this is only true during the shoulder season. My fears have been realized… peak season will set you back $87-95/ night and the camping cabin is $117. These are slightly more expensive than a nearby resort that offers a few more/ different amenities, albeit not on Ossipee Lake.
My ongoing quest for a high quality riverfront campground that offers tubing continues, but I have found a great option here on the Pemi River. To think, I can't believe I waited this long to investigate the campground behind the sign I've passed on the highway for decades! They only had a last minute cancellation for a full service pull through, but it was more than i wanted to spend for the weekend. Even so, I stopped by and decided after looking around that this will be on my future list. I'll know to plan well in advance!
There are a variety of sites available, including tent sites without hookups, water/electric sites, to full hookups and pull-throughs. They even offer cabins if that's your preference. The riverfront water/electric site are beautiful, though those with the lower numbers are closer to I-93, which may be a consideration if road noise bothers you. The opposite end is near the beach. The seasonal sites are neat and clean. Bathrooms are spotless. If you stay for a week, you'll get the 7th night free.
Amenities include a terrific playground in a large, grassy area, plus volleyball and horseshoes. Wi-fi is available. There's a well-equipped store, firewood for sale, and canoe/kayak/tube rentals with a free shuttle included. They'll take you up the river and leave you to float or paddle back to the campground on your own time. If you bring your own boat, there's a reasonable $5 shuttle fee.
This is an 8-site city-owned/operated campground best suited for self-contained RVs because the bathrooms are in a different area of the park. Call the Fire Department to make reservations, though on a summer weekend there were still vacancies. Sites are open and grassy with picnic tables and fire pits. There's an additional small parking lot nearby. There are steps down to a picnic area and boat launch on the St John River.
Riverside Park also serves as the eastern terminus of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, running 740 miles between Fort Kent, ME and Old Forge, NH. On land there are miles of walking and ski trails. Fort Kent is home to an original blockhouse from the 1830s-40s Aroostock war over the border of Maine.