Summer Guide: Camping Out at Twin State Sites

  • Swimmers and kayakers enjoy Silver Lake in Barnard, Vt., on Aug. 17, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Correspondent
Friday, June 29, 2018

Many people who want to spend time camping during the summer have to travel far from their homes, but in the Twin States we’re lucky to have a plethora of camping options right in our backyard. With mountains, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, the region has all the natural wonder that you need to make your camping trip a success.

Here are a few of the favorite state-run camping spots in and around the Twin States.

New Hampshire

Pillsbury State Park

Address: 100 Clemac Trail, Washington, N.H., 03280

Phone: 603-863-2860

Website: www.nhstateparks.org

Season: May-October

Description: 41 campsites accessible by boat, foot or car. No hook-ups. Pets are allowed, but must be leashed.

Attractions: Hiking, mountain bike trails, playground, pond, canoe and kayak rental.

Mount Sunapee State Park

Address: 86 Beach Access Road, Newbury, NH 03255

Phone: 603-763-5561

Website: www.nhstateparks.org

Season: May 18 - Oct. 8

Description: 10 campsites including lean-to sites and a platform site, about one mile from the beach. No hook-ups. Pets allowed in campsite, but never on the beach.

Attractions: Hiking trails, swimming beach and boat rentals.


Camp Plymouth State Park

Address: 2008 Scout Camp Road, Ludlow, Vt., 05149

Phone: 802-228-2025

Website: https://vtstateparks.com/plymouth.html

Season: Memorial Day Weekend - Sept. 15

Description: 6 lean-to sites and 4 cottages. Camping area allows horses, but no animals are allowed elsewhere in the park (riding must take place off-site).

Attractions: Outside the camping area the park has a picnic area, sandy beach, boat rentals, horseshoe pits and concession stand. The park is also popular for recreational gold panning in a stream along the property.

Wilgus State Park

Address: 3985 Route 5, Weathersfield, Vt., 05156

Phone: 802-674-5422

Website: https://vtstateparks.com/wilgus.html

Season: April 29 - Columbus Day Weekend

Description: 15 tent/RV sites; 9 lean-to sites; 4 cabins. Pets are allowed, although only one cabin is pet-friendly.

Attractions: Wilgus State Park is located on the banks of the Connecticut River, making is perfect for those who want to swim, boat, and fish. Kayak and canoe rentals are available. There is a one-mile hiking loop, as well as picnicking facilities, a horseshoe pit and a volleyball net.

Mount Ascutney State Park

Address: 1826 Back Mountain Rd., Windsor, Vt., 05089

Phone: 802-674-2060

Website: https://vtstateparks.com/ascutney.html

Season: May 21 - Oct. 15

Description: 38 tent/RV sites; 10 lean-to sites. Pets allowed throughout the park.

Attractions: Mount Ascutney State Park has 12 miles of hiking trails, with the pinnacle being those that summit the 3,144-foot high mountain. The auto road provides an easier way to the summit. The park is popular with hang gliders.

Coolidge State Park

Address: 855 Coolidge State Park Rd. Plymouth, Vt., 05056

Phone: 802-672-3612

Website: https://vtstateparks.com/coolidge.html

Season: Memorial Day Weekend - Columbus Day Weekend

Description: 26 tent/RV sites; 36 lean-to sites. Pets are permitted throughout the park.

Attractions: Coolidge State Park has hiking and mountain biking trails. Picnicking areas and horseshoe pits are available, and people camping at Coolidge State Park can swim at nearby Plymouth State Park for free.

Gifford Woods State Park

Address: 34 Gifford Woods Road, Killington, Vt., 05751

Phone: 802-775-5354

Website: https://vtstateparks.com/gifford.html

Season: May 18 - Oct. 15

Description: 21 tent/RV sites; 19 lean-to sites and 4 cabins. Pets are allowed, but only one cabin is pet-friendly.

Attractions: There is a 1.1-mile loop trail and easy access to the Appalachian Trail for longer hikes. Fishing, mountain biking, horseshoes, volleyball and picnicking are all available nearby.

Silver Lake State Park

Address: 20 State Park Beach Road, Barnard, Vt., 05031

Phone: 802-234-9451

Website: https://vtstateparks.com/silver.html

Season: Memorial Day Weekend - Labor Day Weekend

Description: 39 tent/RV sites; 7 lean-to sites. Pets are permitted, but not allowed in swimming areas or on the beach.

Attractions: Silver Lake State Park offers swimming on a large, sandy beach that has a nearby playground. Kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, row boats and stand-up paddle boards are available to rent. Volleyball, horseshoes and nature programs are also on site.

Quechee State Park

Address: 5800 Woodstock Road, Hartford, Vt., 05047

Phone: 802-295-2990

Website: https://vtstateparks.com/quechee.html

Season: May 18 - Oct. 15

Description: 45 tent/RV sites; 7 lean-to sites.

Attractions: This campsite is located near the Quechee Gorge. Hiking along the gorge trail and fishing in the Ottauquechee River are popular pastimes. A horseshoe pit and volleyball net are available.

Moving Beyond The Campground

Campgrounds are convenient for people who want a touch of comfort on their wilderness adventure. Almost all campgrounds have bathroom facilities of some sort and many have hot-water showers, shops and other modern amenities.

People who prefer a more wild experience opt for backwoods or primitive camping, selecting their own spot in the woods. Primitive campers must bring everything they need and take it all out with them.

Here’s an overview of the laws about primitive camping in New Hampshire and Vermont:

Vermont: In Vermont, most state forests and wildlife management areas allow primitive camping without a permit in designated areas. Camps must be 100 feet from water, 200 feet from trails and 1,000 feet from roads. Camping for more than three nights in the same area is not allowed and permits are required for groups of 11 or more. For more information call the Vermont State Parks’ central reservations call center at 1-888-409-7579.

New Hampshire: In New Hampshire, camping is generally allowed as long as you’re 200 feet away from roads or trails. In the White Mountain National Forest there are additional regulations, particularly in popular recreational areas. Those regulations can be accessed online via the forest service at www.fs.usda.gov.