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Where to go camping near Boston

Commune with nature at these beautiful camping spots in Massachusetts and New England.

Cheryl Fenton
Written by
Eric Grossman
&
Cheryl Fenton
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Urban living has its perks, but when it comes to experiencing the great outdoors, sometimes you have to go beyond your own backyard. If you’re looking for an overnight adventure filled with day hikes, nighttime fires and stargazing, there are many great camping spots near Boston. From forested parks not far from the city to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the Green Mountains of Vermont and even further afield to Maine, New England has plenty of natural beauty to explore. 

To stay closer to home while still absorbing all that beautiful outdoor sights and sounds, check out best hiking spots around Boston, the best parks and the best beaches. If you’ve had your fill of roughing it, reconnect with the city by checking out rooftop bars with gorgeous views.

Best places for camping near Boston

Nights under the stars and unbelievable sunrises over the harbor are just a ferry ride away. Of the 34 islands and peninsulas that make up the Boston Harbor Islands, one allows camping: Peddocks Island. As Boston’s second-largest island, it offers wooded campsites, miles of trails and scenic beaches. There are also yurts for rent, accommodating up to six people and featuring bunk beds and electricity.

Just a few minutes outside of the city proper in Milton and Canton is Blue Hills Reservation, with 7,000 acres and 125 miles of resplendent hiking trails. Climb to the top of Great Blue Hill and enjoy an unmatched view of the city skyline. Camping is available at Ponkapoag Pond; campsites and cabins run by the Appalachian Mountain Club are available.

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Located in Andover less than an hour from the city, this vast expanse includes 35 miles of trails and 11 quaint and quiet ponds—some even available for canoeing. With more than 3,000 acres of hardwood, hemlock and white pine forest, the 91-site campground has some sites on the shore of a body of small water. Spend an overnight and hit the Yellow Diamond Trail, which takes you to and around Salem Pond.

Just 90 minutes from Boston in Central Mass., 200-acre Tully Lake Campground features tent-only campsites and plenty of water activities to enjoy. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent. A 7.5-mile loop at Long Pond is perfect for cyclists, while hikers can keep busy on the trails.

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Looking for a weekend on the Cape without breaking the bank? Nickerson State Park is the ticket. Located on the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Brewster and boasting 400 campsites across 1,900 acres, you can easily get around by bike during your stay. Enjoy swimming and fishing at nearby ponds or make your way to the beautiful beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

With more than 100 miles of shoreline and a 1,400-acre campground, Maine’s Sebago Lake has been a destination for families for decades. Hiking trails meander through the woods, but the deep lake is the big draw for swimming, fishing and relaxing on the sandy beaches before retiring to a wooded campsite under the pines. To view the campsites you will need to install Google Earth on your computer or phone.

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The largest campground in the White Mountain National Forest with 177 sites, the Dolly Copp Campground is located near the Presidential and Carter-Moriah ranges just three hours from Boston. It’s a perfect spot for those looking to explore the 6,288-foot Mount Washington, the highest peak north of the Smoky Mountains and east of the Mississippi River.

Head less than three hours from Boston to Townshend State Park in Vermont, established by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. The history is still clear, as not much has changed since the ’30s. Thirty tent camping sites and four lean-tos are available, as well as restrooms and showers. The campground offers direct access to Bald Mountain, with trails winding past waterfalls and pools up to a beautiful view from the top.

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