Campgrounds With Something to Sing About Around the Campfire
Whether you want to splash away hot summer days or check out Beantown decked in autumn color, camping offers an affordable and adventurous alternative to hotels. Kid-friendly activities like hiking, canoeing or playing a game of horseshoes lie just steps away from your campsite. Camping season in Boston runs from May through October, rolling out delicious days in the 70s and 80s and cool nights in the 50s and 60s. Check into one of Boston's best campgrounds to savor a mix of history, nature and modern amenities.
Explore an Ancient Island
Campsites from $8
Sun, sand, sea breezes and plenty of fodder for childhood imagination make for an ideal island camping getaway at Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Book a tent site for young adventurers at Lovells Island. Besides trails, pines and a sandy swimming beach, the island is home to the remains of an explorable old fort and was once the seasonal home of Native Americans. Kids who love ghost stories will enjoy visiting Lover's Rock where an engaged couple was found dead in each other's arms following a 1786 shipwreck. The National Park Service has campsites on three other islands as well. Access to the islands is easy. Park your car at Hingham Shipyard (18 Shipyard Drive, Hingham, MA) and ferry over.
Make a Freshwater Family Getaway
Campsites from $24
The walk-in tent sites at Tully Lake Campground (2 Athol-Richmond Rd., Royalston, MA) let you feel worlds away from civilization while offering kid-friendly amenities like hot showers, potable water, a dishwashing basin and ice for sale. Wheeled carts make it easy to get gear to your lakeside or forest campsite. Rent a canoe and paddle the lake or take a hike to nearby Doane's Falls. Wile away an afternoon with a horseshoe, volleyball or cornhole competition, or fish from the shores of the campground. The campground also opens for an instructive winter campout in February where you can learn to build a snow shelter.
Feel Like You're Far, Far Away
Campsites from $17
Wompatuck State Park (204 Union St., Hingham, MA) rolls out miles of hiking trails, bike paths and bridle paths just 12 miles south of Boston's city limits. The park is in an area deeded in 1665 by Chief Josiah Wompatuck to the first settlers in the area. Let the kids pretend they're pilgrims by pitching a tent in a non-electric spot, or keep your feet firmly planted in this century with electrical hookups to power your RV. Fill canteens and water bottles at Blue Springs, a potable water source in the park, for a refreshing back-to-nature thirst-quencher. Pick up a Southshore Quest Book when you're at a local library or museum for $5 and help the kids follow the trail to find treasures in the park.
Camp by the Dunes on the Cape
Campsites from $35
Tuck into Dune's Edge Campground (86 Route 6, Provincetown, MA) at the edge of Cape Cod National Seashore. Create a backpacking adventure by taking the Bay State Ferry (200 Seaport Blvd., Suite 50, Boston, MA) from Boston to Provincetown and hiking the last mile to the park. Walk or bike to the town's many attractions. Spend the day whale-watching, visit the oldest artist colony in the country or explore paved trails running through dunes to beautiful beaches. Dune's Edge Campground is also equipped for car or RV camping and has wooded sites, including some with hookups.
Camp on the Edge
Campsites from $48
Boston Minuteman Campground (264 Ayer Road, Littleton, MA) tucks into a woodsy landscape that will make you forget you're just 2 miles from Loop 495 northwest of the city. Campsites and cabins let you choose your camping style—from primitive tent camping to comfy cabin or full RV hookups. Connect easily with public transit to head into the heart of Boston where you can walk the Freedom Trail or visit national and historic parks dedicated to the nation's birth. Back at camp, enjoy a variety of sports courts like bocce ball, basketball and volleyball, or take a swim in the pool.