It’s finally time to head out on a car camping trip. The gear is all packed, the kids are excited, and the weather is looking great. You have a map plugged into your GPS, and you can’t wait to get to your campground.
What if you’re all ready to go car camping, but you have no idea where to camp? Well, if you’re from the Northeast (or you’re traveling here), then don’t fret. Here are the best campgrounds on this side of the country.
1. Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New York
With more than fifty miles of trails, Minnewaska State Park Preserve is a little-known car camping spot in the Empire State, but one that has a lot to offer. The entire park has a lot of activities available from horseback riding and rock climbing to skiing and snowshoeing. It’s no wonder this park is perfect for camping! Check out the Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway campsite, which has easy access to the gorgeous Shawangunk Mountains. Camping here is minimalist, so no RVs. Bringing in your car will cost $38 for non-members at $10 for a car.
2. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
Nothing screams “quintessential Northeast” quite like New Hampshire. White Mountain National Forest provides camping for every kind of car-camper. Whether you’re looking for something catered more towards families, or something more romantic for you and your partner, you’ll be sure to find it here. What campground to choose? That’s up to you. After all, there are literally hundreds to choose from. But, we recommend Covered Bridge Campground, which costs $22 night…a steal! RVs are welcome, too. Enjoy the Boulder Loop Trail and the Swift River while you’re here.
3. Shamwell-Crowell State Forest, Massachusetts
If you’re looking for an authentic car camping experience, then Shamwell-Crowell State Forest in MA is where you want to go. Sure, there are a lot of parks in good ole’ Massachusetts, but the word on the street is that this one is one of the best. Car camping is available all year round, and there are plenty of basic amenities and facilities for those who may need a gradual introduction to the Great Outdoors. For about $20, you get a clean and private area at the campsite, with plenty of access to the beautiful hiking trails in the surrounding wooded areas.
4. Parker Dam State Park, Pennsylvania
While this state’s characteristics might differ a bit from the others on this list, the camping in Pennsylvania is just as beautiful. Parker Dam State Park is located within Moshannon State Forest, which means there’s plenty of forest all around you. The car camping site has paved roads as nice as their other amenities, and you can choose how much backcountry you want to experience. Camping starts at $15 a night and welcomes RVs and basic cars alike. Explore the scenic lake, the Quehanna Wilderness, and try to spot some elk while you’re at it!
5. Acadia National Park, Maine
When it comes to choosing a car camping destination in the northeast, Acadia National Park seems to be a no-brainer. This amazing site in Maine is frequented by many visitors far and wide all year round, loved for its scenery, wildlife, and this time of year, the fall foliage. If you’re overwhelmed by all the car camping options here, look no further than the Blackwoods Campground. Here, you can find a family-friendly campground that has all the basics for a fun weekend car camping. One night here is $30, so keep that in mind.
While these campgrounds are ideal for car camping, it’s important to do some extra research before you make your decision. Most campgrounds require a reservation online in advance, so don’t always count on just showing up, even if the off-season.