Ultimate guide to New Hampshire camping: Mountains, Lakes, Ocean, Glamping, and more

A teenager is cooking hotdogs over a campfire while camping with family in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Rebecca Smith/Getty

By Stacy Milbouer

May 28, 2024

It’s officially tenting season and lucky for us, there are dozens of options for all kinds of camping in New Hampshire. Here are some of the best places to pitch your tent if you prefer camping in the mountains, near a lake, by the ocean, at a family-friendly site, or at a glamp camp. Keep in mind these campsites fill up quickly, so the earlier you can make reservations, the better.

MOUNTAINS

Lafayette Place Campground in the White Mountains, is in the heart of Franconia Notch State Park in the valley between two glacially carved mountain passes. There are 97 large and wooded campsites for tents and RVs all of which have fireplaces. The park is a base for hiking the many trails in and around the eight-mile valley through the notch. Recreational opportunities at the park include the Flume Gorge, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, the New England Ski Museum, swimming at Echo Lake, fly fishing at Profile Lake, a bike trail, several waterfalls, and sites to view hawks and falcons. Information about hiking trails. available at the campground entrance. Each campsite is wooded and has a picnic table, car parking, and an open fireplace. There are coin-operated showers and a camp store. Lafayette Campground provides 97 wooded tent sites—88 of which are by reservation only, one is reserved for youth groups and seven are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Camping rate per night is $35.

Jigger Johnson and Blackberry Crossing in Albany. These two campgrounds are six miles apart along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, in the White Mountain National Forest. The large tent sites are carved from dense second-growth forests along the banks of the Swift River and are close to trails up Mount Chocorua and other peaks. There is also a trail to scenic Sabbaday Falls. The Swift River flows behind the Jigger Johnson camp and has 74 sites for tents and RVs. It’s named for a legendary North Country logger and its central location is ideal for hiking, biking, and other recreational activities in the National Forest. Blackberry Crossing has 26 campsites and was once a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp in the 1930s – a self-guided tour is available. A short walk from the campground is the Albany Covered Bridge, The Nanamocomuck Ski Trail, and the Boulder Loop hiking trail. Campsites at both locations are first-come, first-served. You cannot reserve sites at either campground. The sites are $27 per night.

LAKE CAMPING

Greenfield State Park Gin Greenfield is a 400-acre state park on Otter Lake, with a 900-foot swimming beach reserved for camper use only. Boats, canoes, and kayaks are available for rent in July and August, and the lake is safe for fishing. The park has 252 campsites under tall trees. There are no hookups, although RVs are welcome in the larger sites. About half the sites can be reserved in advance. Along with the campground and lake, the park includes ponds, bogs, and woodland trails. Mt. Monadnock, the most-climbed mountain in the United States, is also nearby. Camping reservations are highly recommended at New Hampshire State Parks. For reservations and fees visit here.

Umbagog State Park and Campground, 235 East Route 26 Cambridge, Errol, is considered one of the top kayak spots in New England. The lake which is situated in both Maine and New Hampshire, is part of the National Wildlife Refuge. There is a beach for swimming and fishing. The park is also known for wildlife viewing, with frequent sightings of moose, deer, small mammals, and a wide variety of birds, including eagles. The lakeside campground includes 27 tent or RV sites with electric and water hookups, three cabins, and 33 remote sites around the lake that can only be reached by boat. Canoe, kayak, and rowboat rentals are available and the park can provide transportation to remote sites. Camping reservations are highly recommended at New Hampshire State Parks. For reservation and fee information, visit here.

OCEAN

Hampton Beach State Park in Hampton is the only ocean-side camping facility in the state. The campground has 28 sites with full hookups and is only designed for RV camping. The campground has 28 sites with full hookups and is open for reservations from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend. It is open for camping without reservation beginning the last weekend in April. Hampton Beach rates five stars for water quality and has a calendar of special events, including nightly concerts, weekly fireworks, and a master sand sculpting contest June 20-24. Hampton has white-sand beaches and rates five stars for water quality. There are regularly scheduled events including a major sand-sculpture contest in late June. For reservation and fee information visit here.

GLAMPING (Glamour camping)

Huttopia White Mountains is perfect for families who don’t have their own tent, RV, or even sleeping bags. Tents are set up for you and furnished, with wooden floors, real beds, bedding, electricity, and refrigerators. Still too rustic? There are also fancy safari-style tents with two curtained bedrooms, indoor bathrooms, and mini kitchens equipped with a sink, pots and pans, and silverware. And there are many other glamping options in between. The site also has a tiled swimming pool and a wide terrace with café tables, where you can partake in French crepes and espresso for breakfast, pizza in the evening, and ice cream throughout the day, served from a smart little Airstream trailer. Check here for prices and reservations.

Alpine Garden in Bartlett, is glamping in the White Mountains in your choice of a custom-made Hobbit home, cabin, or treehouse. Each cabin is a deluxe hotel-style bedroom with a full private bathroom and shower. Cabins are outfitted with heat and air conditioning, linens, a Nespresso maker, a mini fridge, and a wet bar. There’s a heated pool and an onsite winery serving locally-made ciders and natural wines. The property, adjacent to the Kancamagus Highway is near miles of hiking trails, the Saco River, Crawford Notch, and the Conway Scenic Railroad. Go here for prices and reservations.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY

Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham is a family-friendly destination in the southern part of the state. It has 192 campsites, a large family beach, a variety of hiking trails leading to a fire tower, and a large marsh where beavers, deer, and great blue herons may be seen. There’s also a trail leading to a field strewn with huge glacial erratics – giant boulders that were left behind by retreating glacial ice from the end of the Ice Age. Trail and hiking maps and information can be found here. For reservations and fees go to the Pawtuckaway site.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, in Glen, and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Milton. The Glen location overlooks the Ellis and Saco Rivers. The Milton site lies along the Northeast Pond in the Lakes Region. Both are designed for families with children of all ages. The Glen facility offers a water park, two swimming pools, a beach, a swimming hole, jumping pillows, and mini golf. Milton has water slides, swimming pools, lake and river beaches, boating, and fishing. The Glen location is also close to hiking at Mt. Washington and Story Land. Visitors can choose tent or RV sites, rustic or luxury, cabins or yurts. The Milton location offers tent and RV camping and RV rentals. There are daily activities at both parks including photos with Yogi and his friends, parties, relay races live music, dance parties, and talent shows. For rates visit the parks’ websites.

 

Author

  • Stacy Milbouer

    Stacy Milbouer is an award-winning journalist and has covered New Hampshire for many publications including the Boston Globe, New Hampshire Magazine, and the Nashua Telegraph.

CATEGORIES: THINGS TO DO

Politics

Local News

Related Stories
Share This