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When it comes to camping, Massachusetts offers dozens of options, with a number of particularly suitable choices in Central Massachusetts.
And while a trip to the western side of the Commonwealth always promises a good time, it sometimes isn’t the most convenient outing for those along the coast and its surrounding areas. Fortunately for those folks, they need not look far for a campground to enjoy.
Here are eight spots that are ideal for some time away from it all this summer, each of which is located within driving distance of Greater Boston. Happy Camping!
Boston Harbor Islands in Boston Harbor
The Boston Harbor Islands were recently named by Smarter Travel as one of the 10 Campgrounds for an Unforgettable Summer Vacation, which will come as no surprise to those who have visited before. The Harbor Islands offer the opportunity to sleep steps from the sand and take in magnificent views of Boston’s iconic skyline, a treat that most other campsites can’t match. Of the four islands that are available for camping, Bumpkin Island, Grape Island and Lovells Island are the most rustic, having no running water or electricity, while Peddocks Island does have both.
Photo: Boston Skyline from Boston Harbor by Tim Grafft
Myles Standish State Forest in South Carver, MA
New visitors to Myles Standish State Forest could be forgiven for thinking they’d been transported to the Berkshires. Lush greenery and quiet scenery make this spot seem much further away than the 50 miles that actually separate it from Boston. Inside Myles Standish, campers can content themselves with 15 miles of bike trails and 35 miles of equestrian trails, as well as ample room for picnicking, swimming, fishing and canoeing. To further explore the forest’s five camping areas, just click here.
Dune’s Edge Campground in Provincetown, MA
Photo: Dune’s Edge Campground in Provincetown, MA
Cape Cod is known better for its beaches than campgrounds, but in Provincetown, you don’t have to choose. Dune’s Edge borders the Cape Cod National Seashore, which encompasses more than 40 miles of pristine landscape, including not just beaches, but also marshes, ponds and great outdoor recreation space. The camping season at Dune’s Edge runs from May through October, and a great way to experience Provincetown during your stay is to take a day with Art’s Dune Tours, which offers a truly unique and up-close tour of the beaches.
Cape Ann Camp Site in Gloucester, MA
The North of Boston seaside towns are always a pleasure during the summer, as even the stickiest of days are cooled by the wind that blows off the water. A stay at Cape Ann Camp Site is one the best ways to enjoy some family time in the area, with more than 200 trailer and tent sites to choose from. When it comes to nearby activities, families can pick from a plethora of options, including whale watching, shopping, museum visits, and much more.
Photo: A scene from 7 Seas Whale Watch in Gloucester, MA
Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, MA
One hour on the road can make a world of difference. A short drive south of Boston, adventurers will encounter 7,000 acres of natural space and 125 miles of trails, a haven for outdoorsy types year-round. Named by European explorers many moons ago for the bluish tint that hills appear to project, the Blue Hills are rich in historical and biological significance, counting a number of flora and fauna that visitors will be hard-pressed to find in the rest of the Commonwealth. For info on booking a camp stay, click here.
Salisbury Beach State Park in Salisbury, MA
Summers at Salisbury Beach State Park are a tradition for a number of families, and for good reason. The North of Boston beach is spans more than three miles along the Atlantic Ocean, while the park covers more than 500 acres, with plenty of space to fish, boat, camp and take a stroll. As a bonus for families, Salisbury Beach also hosts a variety of events throughout the summer, featuring vintage cars, Fourth of July festivities and a whole lot more, all of which you can explore here.
Photo: Salisbury Beach by Gary Miles
Pinewood Lodge Campground in Plymouth, MA
Comfortably nestled within 200 acres of white pine trees, Pinewood Lodge offers a more serene getaway, complete with full facilities. The premises include a 50-acre freshwater lake, which is great for swimming and canoeing. The campground store can provide for those who would rather not fish or forage for their dinner, as it stocks groceries along with wood and ice. For those who have young ones, Plimoth Plantation is also located just a stone’s throw away, no more than a 20-minute drive.
Photo: Kayaks on the lake at Pinewood Lodge Campground via Facebook
Harold Parker State Forest in North Andover, MA
Spread across more than 3,000 acres in four towns, Harold Parker State Forest is a classic camping spot. The grounds are located only 20 minutes north of Boston and provide plenty of space for fishing, picnicking and a slew of more ambitious pursuits, including hiking, mountain biking and hunting. Those seeking solitude inside the forest can retreat to the logging roads and trails, where they’ll find plenty of space to themselves. To inquire about a stay, call 978-475-7972.
For more camping options along the water and in the woods, take a spin through the Camping section of massvacation.com. For a few activity ideas along the way, just click here.
Which area of Massachusetts is your top pick when it comes to camping? Tell us below in the comments!
Photo at the top of College Pond in Myles Standish State Forest courtesy of chipmunk_1 on Flickr