Where to Camp in the Bay State
Like most of the New England states, Massachusetts is known for its rich history, prestigious universities and as the birthplace of several presidents. Boston in particular is a popular tourist destination for its museums and historical tours.
But Massachusetts also boasts plenty of natural beauty for those who prefer to wander off the beaten path. It's miles of coastline, several lakes, and beautiful fall foliage make it a particularly beautiful state.
Here are our picks for the best places to camp in Massachusetts.
1. Harold Parker State Forest – Andover
Recreational opportunities include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, camping and picnicking. The forest has over 35 miles of logging roads and trails and offers quiet seclusion to off-road hikers and bikers. Non-motorized boating is allowed on any of the 11 ponds. No horse, boat or bike rentals are available at the facility. Learn more.
2. Dune's Edge Campground – Provincetown
Dunes’ Edge is a quiet, family campground with a quaint atmosphere, set amidst the sand dunes and pines. We offer our guests the opportunity to experience the true and lasting beauty of legendary Old Cape Cod. Dunes Edge is bordered by The Cape Cod National Seashore − within a two-mile radius, you can enjoy Cape Cod’s finest beaches for swimming, boating, sailing and fishing. Learn more.
3. Myles Standish State Forest – South Carver
Sprawling across the southern sections of Plymouth and Carver, Myles Standish State Forest is the largest publicly owned recreation area in southeastern Massachusetts. Myles Standish campsites are tucked into the forest or set along the edges of four of the park's 16 ponds. Miles of trails lead visitors into a forest, which includes one of the largest contiguous pitch pine / scrub oak communities north of Long Island. The forest offers 35 miles of equestrian trails and 13 miles of hiking trails. For our bicycle riders there are 15 miles of paved bicycle trails. Learn more.
4. Wompatuck State Park – Hingham
Located just a 35-minute drive from downtown Boston, Wompatuck State Park offers 260 wooded campsites (138 with electricity), 12 miles of paved bicycle trails, and many miles of wooded bridle paths, hiking trails and mountain bike trails. Fishing and canoeing (no motorized boats) are popular activities in the Aaron Reservoir. One of the most notable features of the Park is Mt. Blue Spring which is a popular source of fresh drinking water. Visitors can help themselves for free. Learn more.
5. Cape Ann Camp Site – Gloucester
Cape Ann Camp Site is located 30 miles northeast of Boston in the historic city of Gloucester. Established in 1949, Cape Ann Camp Site is a family owned and operated business built on the knowledge that the vacation is only as good as its destination — and you really can’t get any better than this small fishing village on the coast of Massachusetts. Learn more.
6. Nickerson State Park – Brewster
In the heart of Cape Cod, Nickerson State Park's 1900 acres offer visitors a natural woodland setting and access to the Cape's many recreation attractions. The park's 418 campsites are set in pine and oak forests that slope down to the banks of eight crystal clear fresh water ponds. Paved bicycle trails, freshwater swimming and boating opportunities, and spacious campsites are just some of the reasons that Nickerson State Park is one of the most popular campgrounds in Massachusetts. Learn more.
7. Blue Hills Reservation – Milton
Located only minutes from the bustle of downtown Boston, the DCR Blue Hills Reservation stretches over 7,000 acres from Quincy to Dedham, Milton to Randolph, providing a green oasis in an urban environment. Rising above the horizon, Great Blue Hill reaches a height of 635 feet, the highest of the 22 hills in the Blue Hills chain. From the rocky summit visitors can see over the entire metropolitan area. With its scenic views, varied terrain and 125 miles of trails, the Blue Hills Reservation offers year-round enjoyment for the outdoor enthusiast. Learn more.
8. Otter River State Forest – Baldwinville
Otter River State Forest is a popular camping and day-use facility in a beautiful area of north central Massachusetts. Its developed facilities are centered on Beaman Pond and include 85 campsites, a swimming beach, ball field and picnic areas. Yurt camping is also available. Otter River State Forest was the first area acquired by the State Forest Commission in 1915. Learn more.
9. Salisbury Beach State Park – Salisbury
The campground at Salisbury Beach is large. There are 484 campsites and they are arranged in a layout that resembles a small town – complete with lettered streets! Learn more.
10. Beartown State Forest – Monterey
Beartown State Forest has two distinctly different worlds between the summer and winter. During the warm months the pristine 35-acre Benedict Pond attracts swimmers, boaters and fishermen. An extensive network of trails on over 12,000 acres offers visitors a chance to glimpse deer, bear, bobcat, fisher and other wildlife, including the park's namesake, the Black Bear. Learn more.
Do you have a favorite camping spot in Massachusetts that wasn’t included on this list? Let us know in the comments!
And be sure to check out the rest of our Best Campgrounds in the US series.