Camping under New England's Stars
Boston Minuteman Campground, Littleton, Massachusetts
Even attention-span-challenged teenagers admit to having a good time camping close by the historic sites of Lexington and Concord — plus, the campground is big enough that they can avoid the embarrassment of being seen with their folks. Route 2A is a busy road, but the campsites are wooded and spacious, the grounds are clean, and the services excellent. On weekends, especially, the schedule is packed with organized sports and games for all ages. Campers can plug in and tune out with video games, the free video library, and Internet access, or test their aim at a nearby mini-golf emporium. Did I mention the heated swimming pool?
264 Ayer Rd. (Rte. 2A). 978-772-0042.
Lake St. Catherine State Park, Poultney, Vermont
The perfect recipe for a family vacation includes a few simple ingredients: a clean lake, sunny weather, and all-day access to ice cream. Three-mile-long Lake St. Catherine, with just 50 sites set near the water, a sandy swim beach, a snack bar, rental rowboats, and a launch for your own vessel, fills the bill. It’s a popular spot, so reserve early. Kids like fishing for bass and running wild on the campground’s Big Trees Nature Trail, while grown-ups may prefer to steal away to nearby Manchester for an afternoon of outlet shopping or touring Hildene, Robert Todd Lincoln’s summer home. The whole crew should pile into the car for the climb up Equinox Mountain Drive for expansive views of southern Vermont.
3034 Rte. 30S. 802-287-9158.
Lake Waramaug State Park, New Preston, Connecticut
These inexpensive campsites have views as pretty as those from the shoreline hotels (The Birches Inn and The Boulders) across the way. Launch your own or rent a canoe or kayak to explore the lake. Bring bikes and walking shoes, too, for the eight-mile loop around Waramaug’s perimeter. Treat the clan to a gourmet dinner at either inn or at Doc’s Trattoria & Pizzeria, an Italian eatery overlooking the lake (off Route 45, New Preston; 860-868-9415). Or grill your dinner over coals. Rainy days are an excuse to check out New Preston’s cool stores offering books, imported goods, and classy gifts.
30 Lake Waramaug Rd. 860-868-0220.
Lost River Valley Campground, North Woodstock, New Hampshire
Sleep here and you’re a stone’s throw from all the attractions of the White Mountains: swimming, hiking, biking, the Flume, the Cog Railway, theaters, golf. But with two rivers (Lost River and Walker Brook; be sure to bring every family member his or her own inner tube) and thousands of acres of national forest just outside your tent flap, plan a few days to stay put. Whether you pitch a tent or park an RV here, you’ll be happy campers, but call early and reserve a brook-front site for the best views.
951 Lost River Rd. 603-745-8321.
Macedonia Brook State Park, Kent, Connecticut
If your brood wants its MTV, this spot is not for you. But if The Swiss Family Robinson graces your bedside table, look no further. What Macedonia Brook lacks in amenities, it makes up for with the wonders of nature: the Appalachian Trail passes right by the campground as it cuts across the northwestern corner of Connecticut. Some campsites are set along the campground’s brook. Views of the Catskill and Taconic Mountains are a vigorous hike away; the Blue Trail summits Cobble Mountain and other nearby peaks. Bring binoculars, a bird identification guide, plenty of bug repellent, and extra moleskin. Best leave the 35-foot-long land yacht at home and opt for a pop-up trailer or tent.
Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.