Posted by: Jack Spratt | March 3, 2010

My Tent Camping Vacations in New England

After graduation I got bitten by the camping bug and spent a number of New England vacations in a tent. Summer never was so sweet and endless.

For the price of a few bucks I could pitch a tent a few steps away from the ocean or a lake, or even a mountain, and feel at peace with nature.

I even camped out in a baseball stadium with my kids one year. But that’s another story for another day.

Yes, I did get washed out a few times. And there is nothing more miserable than tent camping in the pouring rain and watching the water level rise on the tent exterior. Packing up in the rain is even more depressing.

My favorite spots to camp were on Cape Cod and in Maine.

The Cape I loved because a short walk or bike ride and you were at some of the best white sand beaches in New England. Maine immersed you on glorious scenery and a simpler life.

There are many great tent camping sites on Cape Cod but over the years I kept returning to two and their both still there – Atlantic Oaks Campground in Eastham and North of Highland in Truro. They are both a whisker from Cape Cod National Seashore beaches.

Alas, Atlantic Oaks now caters more for RV’s than tents. North of Highland only allows tent camping and during peak summer months there is a 6-night minimum stay. But it’s a short walk to the Head of Meadow Beach. I remember one summer we went down to the beach at night and away from all the light pollution we gazed up and saw the Milky Way as everybody should experience it. There were so many stars you couldn’t find the usual ones you would see in your backyard because they were overpowered by this dazzling display of stars.

Another popular camping spot on the Cape is Nickerson State Park in Brewster. But I haven’t stayed there myself – just heard good things about it. Being a state park it’s less expensive than the privately-owned sites but also harder to get a site because of its popularity.

The Maine coast and lakes have a plethora of tent campgrounds but you’ll find most accommodate pop-ups and vehicle campers as well – economics factor into the equation. However, we always managed to dig and find some tent campgrounds only and these made for more natural surroundings.

My most memorable trips to Acadia National Park were spent in the campgrounds at Backwoods and Seawall. These are immensely popular camping sites and if you’re thinking of going this year, you’d better be booking them now. Both these sites are within a few minutes walk of the ocean and some of the most beautiful coastline in New England. And if you know Arcadia at all then you’ll know you’re in for a treat.

Bar Harbor – the nearest community – also has private campgrounds if you can’t get into the park sites.

I also stayed on camping sites in the Boothbay Harbor region but I can’t remember the name of the sites. I can only tease you by saying it was right on the ocean and beautiful. But you’re unlikely to go wrong in this area.

The Maine Camping Guide is a great resource for finding a campground to suit your needs.

Another resource to consider if you’re looking for a Large Camping Tent is the Rugged Camping Tents site which you can find at:

Writing this post has me itching to go check out my old camping gear and see if my wife and kids are up to spending some time this summer getting closer to nature with me. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Jack Spratt


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