With over 50 state park campsites in Vermont, and more than 60 private camping facilities (according to the Vermont Campground Association), naming the 10 best camping spots is no easy task. Nevertheless, we have got to start somewhere, so let’s get back to nature with the often rustic, out-of-the-way and very best camping spots Vermont has to offer.
Intimate in scale, the park surrounds tranquil and petite Half Moon Pond. Boat rentals, swimming, and fishing—largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and yellow perch are plentiful here—make this a great family spot. Tent, lean-to, and cabin camping options mean you can sleep out under the stars or take in an early morning sunrise from your front porch. Or you can spend your days hiking or sunbathing on one of two small beaches in this quaint little spot that lies in the shadow of its big brother, Bomoseen State Park.
Another family-friendly park, Lake Elmore feature another small lake with a large, sandy beach. Canoeing or kayaking are also available for exploration, and a volleyball net, hiking trails (including scenic views atop a mountainside fire tower), and a picnic shelter means there is plenty to do.
With several beaches, the Groton Nature Center nearby, and a vast array of hiking trails, Stillwater offers respite for the entire family. This park is quiet, out-of-the-way, and known for its wildlife population, so you may hear a loon before breakfast or see a moose or two at dusk.
When the last glaciers melted around 12,000 years ago, they formed this deep, cold lake, which is home to trout, salmon, and a nesting loon population, still a “species of concern” in the Green Mountain State. Maidstone was established in 1938 when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed 34 campsites with fire pits and 37 lean-to sites, the lodge, and a picnic shelter.
Jamaica State Park is made up of almost 800 acres and is located along the West River, which runs serpentine off Ball Mountain and culminates in the awe-inspiring Hamilton Falls, one of the most breathtaking sites in all of Vermont. What more, every spring and fall, the U.S. Army Corps Ball Mountain Dam releases water from the Ball Mountain Lake. The 1,500 CFS rush of water creates class 2-4 whitewater rapids with two-foot drops in an eight-mile run into Townshend Lake.
Sandwiched by the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east, the lake views and flat expanse of the Champlain Valley makes for smooth travelling—cycling, walking, or paddling. This campsite is a haven for the on-the-go camper, and special activities like nightly dances mean you don’t have to retire when the sun does. Enjoy tent, lean-to, and cabins camping, while other amenities include boat rentals, beaches, volleyball, horseshoes, and hiking.
Knight Island is one of three islands—Burton and Woods are the others—in an archipelago in Lake Champlain. It is the largest, at a mile long, and contains 185 acres in total. The island was once farmed and once a commercial campground, but now it all open to the public, save the southern tip. Leave no trace principals on the seven campsites dotting the island are observed and appreciated in this unique, unspoiled ecosystem.
If mountains covered in thick, mixed-wood wilderness, fast running streams, and crystal clear lakes are your thing, then Brighton is your park. Located In the remote most northeast section of the Northeast Kingdom, the angler, the hunter, and the outdoorsman will be happy here. Quiet solitude surrounded by nature is what you will find here. In town, you can find historic information about the railroad and the once thriving area.
Abenaki tribes regularly used the greater Chimney Point area as many as 7,000 years ago. A French and British battle also once took place here, and the existing settlement was burned down to nothing but the chimneys. According to the Vermont State Parks Department, the Daughters of the American Revolution purchased much of the area in 1934 and constructed a museum depicting early colonial life. In 1955, they donated 95 acres toward the creation of D.A.R. State Park, which quietly and stoically overlooks the shores of Lake Champlain.
Located in the vast 21,500-acre Calvin Coolidge State Forest (established in 1925), the park features hillside campsites, dramatic mountain vistas, views of the meandering Black River, and rugged hiking trails. Campsites, lean-tos, restrooms, and showers accentuate a park that, even as the Vermont parks department puts it, has “remained essentially the way it was when it was first created in the 1930s.”