RV Road Trip: The Best Stops in New England
When it comes to RV camping culture, it can feel like the western half of the U.S. gets way more attention than the east. And we get it, that part of the country is gorgeous. Who doesn’t love the lush, green forests of the Pacific Northwest, the beautiful desert colors of the Southwest, the warm, sandy beaches of California and Texas, and the incredible mountain views of the Rockies? Out west, there’s just more room to spread out. National and state parks are huge and everywhere. The landscape is vast and varied, and there are just about a million campgrounds where you can park your RV and relax.
But today, we’re going to talk about taking an RV road trip: the best stops in New England. It tends to conjure up images of historic inns or bed and breakfasts, bucolic farms, and wealthy neighborhoods – but it’s much more than that. So to give you an idea of what you’ve been missing, let’s take a look at some of the best campgrounds, parks, attractions and landmarks that New England has to offer.
Offering up 47,000 acres of pristine nature, Acadia National Park is home to an array of flora and fauna. Only one other national park has moose, bears, and whales in one place, and you’d have to go to Alaska to experience it. Keep an eye out for seals, dolphins, and other marine mammals here, as well as peregrine falcons, herons, loons, sandpipers, foxes, otters, and many more wild creatures.
Acadia straddles the boundary between two types of forests. Eastern deciduous forests, with trees like oaks, maples, and beeches, have leaves that change color in the fall. Northern boreal forests are filled with evergreen trees like spruce, cedar, and fir. That makes Acadia beautiful to visit year-round, although parts of the park close down in the harsher winter months. Go in the summer to experience the park in full bloom, or visit in the fall when the trees explode in a riot of color – you won’t regret either.
Even though Maine is a little harder to get to than other states, it’s well worth the trek. And with 158 miles of hiking trails and postcard-perfect views, it’s no wonder Acadia National Park is rated among the best in the nation.
Sitting on the shore of Flagstaff Lake, Cathedral Pines Campground is surrounded by old-growth red pine forest on all sides. Maine is known as the Pine Tree State, with more than 80% of its land still forested or unclaimed, but Eustis is the only place where you can view the famous “Cathedral Pines” – trees that are so tall and awe-inspiring, it can feel almost spiritual to be among them.
This family-friendly RV park is a gated, 300-acre plot of land that offers a private beach and spacious, secluded campsites. They have 115 tent and trailer sites, 98 of which include electric and water hookups. Flagstaff Lake is ideal for kayaking and canoeing (you can rent both from the campground), because there are few motorized boats on the water. Cathedral Pines Campground is open from mid-May through September.
Although Reach Knolls only has 40 rustic campsites (electric hookups, fresh water, and dump sites available), it makes up for it with a prime location on Eggemoggin Reach. Take a walk on the beach and watch the water for harbor seals and porpoises, or enjoy the cool ocean waves lapping at the shore. This is the kind of campground you visit to get away from it all. Don’t: expect WiFi or a strong cell signal. Do: explore the surrounding nature, tell tales around the campfire, and catch up on all those books you’ve been meaning to read. We recommend Stephen King for a classic Maine experience.
Other Main Attractions
Whale watching in Bar Harbor
Annual blueberry festivals across the state
Rooted in New Hampshire but spilling into Maine, White Mountain National Forest is the easternmost national forest in the U.S. It comprises more than 750,000 acres and offers opportunities for hiking, camping, skiing, and more. More than 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail passes through White Mountain, and there are 1,200 miles of hiking trails inside the forest itself.
Since it’s close to several prominent big cities and more than a few ski resorts, White Mountain National Forest is one of the most visited outdoor recreation areas on the eastern seaboard. That means there are dozens of nearby campgrounds to give nature lovers a place to rest at night. If you want to experience a New England autumn, hit the slopes in winter, or tackle challenging mountain summits with what the US Forest Service calls “the worst weather in America,” add White Mountain National Forest to your list of places to visit.
As the largest campground within the White Mountain National Forest, Dolly Copp is also conveniently located and great for kids. They have campsites with 30/50-amp hookups, water hookups, and enough space for even larger coaches to fit comfortably. They also offer coin-operated showers, clean bathrooms, and a dump station to empty your tanks.
As for location, they’re ideally situated to provide access to some of White Mountain National Forest’s most popular hiking trails. You’ll wake up to mountain views, fall asleep to the sound of the wind through the trees, and spend the rest of your days exploring all the best New Hampshire has to offer. Camping runs from mid-May to mid-October, but be sure to make a reservation in advance, as Dolly Copp caters to all kinds of campers looking to access the forest.
If you’re not a hiker and you’re looking for a more laid-back camping experience, check out Spacious Skies Campgrounds in Hancock, NH. They offer full hookup RV sites, group sites, shady sites, and open sites, plus seasonal and extended-stay rates for anyone looking to stay put for a while. There’s an onsite swimming complex with a heated pool and kids’ water slide, a fully-stocked trout fishing pond, playgrounds, boat rentals and kayaking, and tons of other family-friendly activities. It’s also an ADA-accessible campground, great for anyone with mobility limitations, and the number of onsite amenities means you can enjoy the outdoors without hitting the trails.
They also offer cabin rentals, so Spacious Skies would be a wonderful place to have a family gathering with RV owners and non-RV owners alike. Kids, parents, grandparents, and even young, single aunts and uncles will all find something to do here. There’s golf, shopping, and a speedway nearby, as well as tons of educational attractions like an observatory, historical society, artist’s colony, farms, and more. If you like your RVing less on the rustic side and more on the fun side, this one’s for you.
Other New Hampshire Attractions
Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park
Forty miles of white, sandy beaches beckon from Cape Cod National Seashore, which is also home to protected lands that include marshes, ponds, historic lighthouses, wild cranberry bogs, and more. There are eleven walking trails to explore, providing an up-close view of Cape Cod’s native wildlife and plants, as well as scenic overlooks. They cater to a broad range of hiking experiences and abilities, including Buttonbush Trail, a sensory experience for people with low or no vision.
You can also bike along the seashore, rent kayaks, take surfing lessons, take a trolley sightseeing tour, and bring your dogs to explore the beach (just be sure to check the regulations). While the national seashore itself doesn’t offer camping, there are RV-friendly campgrounds nearby on the same peninsula.
Not far from Cape Cod National Seashore, you’ll find Coastal Acres Campground, located just a half-mile walk from downtown Provincetown. They offer tent and RV camping, full hookups, and free WiFi, and they’re big-rig and pet friendly. Their prime location at the very tip of the Cape Cod peninsula means you’re surrounded on three sides by beaches, lighthouses, and restaurants specializing in seafood. And if you’re a cyclist, you can hop on a bike trail from your campsite and ride it all the way down the national seashore for a day of fresh air and sightseeing. The rates here are a little higher than some other campgrounds, but with such an exclusive location, it’s worth the money.
Even if you’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard, you’ve heard about it. Presidents, Jaws, and too many celebrities to name have made Martha’s Vineyard famous as an exclusive East Coast getaway. And this 98 sq. mi. island seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod can only be reached by ferry or by air – which means RVing here will give you a story to brag about for a lifetime.
Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground is the only campground on the island, family owned and operated since the 1970s. They have 100 sites and can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet long. All the sites are wooded and shaded, and all RV sites have water, sewer, and 50/30 amp electric hookups. You will need a ferry reservation to transport your RV to the island, so the earlier you can book your trip, the better. But if you’re the kind of person who loves keeping your eyes peeled for famous personalities and politicians – or if you just want to see the place you’ve heard about in movies – you can’t beat this location.
Other Massachusetts Attractions
If your RV is equipped for winter weather, Vermont may already be on your radar. It’s home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding resorts on the East Coast, including Stowe, Sugarbush, and Killington. But this mountain range is just as gorgeous during the rest of the year, too. Green Mountain National Forest encompasses more than 400,000 acres of federally protected land, where you can do everything from biking to horseback riding to hunting to snowshoeing – and that’s just scratching the surface. With more than 900 miles of trails managed for year-round use, you could explore the Green Mountain National Forest every day for a year and never see the same thing twice.
There are two RV-friendly campgrounds within the national forest itself and tons of options for dry camping. So if you’re looking for somewhere you can enjoy all four seasons while spending time being active outdoors, this national forest is a great place to park and stay awhile.
It’s one of the biggest ice cream brands in the world, carries some of the most iconic flavors ever made, and has a name everyone knows – not bad for a company founded by two childhood buddies less than 50 years ago. Ben & Jerry’s is one of Vermont’s most famous exports for a good reason. If you’re an ice cream fan, you’ve probably tried Cherry Garcia, Half Baked, Chubby Hubby, or Chunky Monkey at some point in your life. It might not be the least expensive ice cream around, but as far as indulgences go, you could do much worse.
And Ben & Jerry’s makes it easy for campers to visit. There’s designated RV parking onsite, and they offer tours every day of the week. Buy a ticket and see where the magic happens, taste samples, and walk through the flavor graveyard. Then visit the Scoop Shop for a cone of your favorite flavor, and take home a couple of pints for good measure. We can’t imagine a sweeter adventure for the whole family.
Just a 40-minute drive from Ben & Jerry’s, you’ll find the Lone Pine Campsites, a 265-site facility that caters to all ages. And there’s truly something for everyone. Horseshoes, mini golf, volleyball, a playground, swimming pools, and a basketball court – Lone Pine is a destination unto itself. For RV amenities, it’s similarly comprehensive, providing premium full hookup sites with 50 amp electric service, sewer and water connections, cable TV, and sites that come with stone patios, furniture, and fire pits. Regular onsite events like exercise classes, holiday craft shows, a Fourth of July parade, and much more make Lone Pine feel like one big, happy summer camp. If you’re traveling with kids, this is one stay they won’t soon forget.
Other Vermont Attractions
Although it’s not a national park, the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor is protected by the National Parks Service as one of the last remaining stretches of green land between Boston and Washington, D.C. Seventy-seven percent of the corridor’s more than 700,000 acres is forest or farmland, which gives this corridor a postcard-perfect landscape. If you’re fit and active, you can traverse the corridor by bike, stopping for idyllic roadside picnics. But it’s just as pretty and accessible by car, which makes it a great way to tour the landscape if you’ve got small children or grandparents along for the ride.
The corridor includes several dozen nature-focused attractions, like state parks and forests, wildlife sanctuaries, lakes, and recreation areas, which means you’re never far from a place to stop and stretch your legs. And because it passes through 35 towns, you can take advantage of farmers’ markets, restaurants, vineyards, campgrounds, museums, and other cultural attractions. Even if you’re just driving through Connecticut, we recommend taking the scenic route through the Last Green Valley, especially if the trees have begun changing color in the fall.
With 105 campsites set across 100 acres of gorgeous, wooded property, Wilderness Lake Campground is a peaceful place to rest at the end of a long drive. RV sites come with electric and water hookups, as well as gray water disposal. There’s a honey wagon on site to empty black water tanks, and a dump site if you prefer to do it yourself. Plus, they’re dog friendly, so go ahead and bring your furry family members with you.
The campground provides access to Wilderness Lake, where you can swim, fish, or go boating in one of the complimentary canoes available to campers. This hidden gem is just off I-84 in the northern part of Connecticut, but the rural surroundings make it feel like you’re a million miles away from civilization – and that’s a good thing.
Connecticut’s Other Attractions
For the smallest state in the country, Rhode Island is home to a surprising number of wildlife refuges. Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is one of five and consists of around 900 acres of upland and wetland habitats encompassing grasslands, shrublands, swamps, and freshwater ponds. It’s also home to Ninigret Pond, the largest coastal salt pond in the state, and birders will love listening for the more than 250 species that pass through the area in warmer months. Along the refuge shoreline, keep your eyes peeled for blue crab and bay scallops, or just watch the waves roll in surrounded by the landscape nature intended.
It may not offer mile-a-minute thrills, but we like to think this is exactly the kind of place where curious kids bond with their adults over learning the small, weird, impressive details about nature. If you’ve ever met a kid obsessed with reptiles or bugs, you’ll know why this quiet destination has its own magic.
This family-owned, RV-only campground has 125 sites that provide water and 30/50-amp hookups from May to mid-October each year. It’s well maintained, and thanks to its spot on Worden Pond, it offers gorgeous views of the 1,043-acre lake. There’s a basketball court, volleyball court, and playground on the grounds, and opportunities for swimming, fishing, and kayaking. But because each campsite is wooded and picturesque, we wouldn’t blame you if you just wanted to sit back and enjoy a tranquil atmosphere.
Although it’s not within walking distance to local businesses, it’s just a short drive to access a variety of local restaurants – and if you like oysters, you’ll be spoiled for choice. In summer, head over to South Kingstown and check out the Kinney Azalea Gardens in full bloom, or grab a pint at Whaler’s Brewing Company. Or swing by Jim’s Dock in Narragansett and eat your fill of lobster rolls from a deck table right on the harbor.
In 1915, a Herschell-Spillman Carousel was installed in Misquamicut Beach, and within a few years, Atlantic Beach Park had become the place to be. The carousel is a showstopper, with its hand-carved menagerie of animals delighting kids and parents alike – and at $2, it’s a deal. (Plus adults can stand on the carousel to accompany kids for free.) There’s also an arcade with classic games, carnival rides for older kids, and a prize counter for picking out souvenirs.
Spend a day in the sun on Atlantic Beach, then throw on some clothes and come to Atlantic Beach Park for dinner, drinks, tons of fun, and soft-serve ice cream. As if all this wasn’t iconic enough, you can even get an old-fashioned banana split, the perfect way to end the day.
Other Rhode Island Attractions
We hope you’re feeling inspired to consider New England for your next RV trip. It’s small, but it holds attractions and natural wonders you can’t find anywhere else. But no matter where you go, we’re honored to help you enjoy your downtime. If you need help finding the ideal Heartland RV for your lifestyle, check out our RV Finder – and start planning your next trip today!