The Absolute Best Camping Near Boston

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: October 5, 2022
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If you live in Boston, MA, and you’re looking for some amazing campgrounds nearby there are plenty to choose from less than an hour away. Maybe you are visiting the Boston area and want to stay in your camper or set up camp with your tent, there are beautiful campsites in a few of the state parks and private campgrounds. You can even stay in a yurt out on one of the Boston Harbor Islands! Here is the absolute best camping near Boston.

1) Boston Harbor Islands: Peddocks Island Camping

For a unique camping experience, take the Ferry out to Peddocks Island, one of the 34 islands that makes up the Boston Harbor Islands State and National Park. Here you can rent one of the Yurts to camp on the island in a “glamping” fashion. The yurts are furnished with bunk beds, table and chairs and have electricity but no water. There are composting toilets nearby and running water/flush toilets at the visitor center. If you want to bring your camping gear you can camp at one of the tent sites on the island which has individual sites as well as a group campsite that can accommodate 30 people.

Peddocks Island is where Fort Andrews is, the defunct fort that was used from 1904 to the end of World War II. You can walk the grounds and imagine life for the soldiers defending the shores more than hundred years ago. There are also hiking trails that take you along the coastal forest and marshes. Watch the shoreline for some of the birds that make the island their home like gulls, herons, sandpipers and plovers. Off the coast you might see some of the whales that migrate through these waters like humpback, minke, North Atlantic right and fin whales. Can you picture yourself climbing out of your tent, brewing a cup of coffee and sitting on the sandy shore watching whales breach just off shore? Sounds like one of the absolute best places to camp near Boston!

LocationIn the Boston Harbor
Distance from downtown BostonAbout an hour +Ferry ride (25 miles)
Tent campsitesYes, primitive
Group campsitesYes, can accommodate 30 people
YurtsYes, 6 yurts, sleeps 6, Furnished and electricity
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Grills at each siteNot at each site but nearby
AmenitiesComposting toilets, picnic tables (flush toilets and running water available at the Visitor Center)
Pet FriendlyNo, pets are not allowed
ReservationsYes, required, reserve your Ferry ticket as well
What makes it one of the bestIsland yurt camping!
North Atlantic Right Whale Swimming in Ocean.
North Atlantic right whales are just one of the whale species you may spot in the waters off Peddocks Island.

©iStock.com/6381380

2) Winter Island/Waikiki Beach

The closest campground to downtown Boston on the North Shore is on the peninsula of Winter Island Park. Here you can choose a waterfront RV site or one of the wooded tent sites all within walking distance of Waikki Beach. Spend the day at the beach swimming, sunbathing, paddle boarding or explore the tide pools for starfish, sea anemone, and sea cucumbers. Walk down by the lighthouse for some scenic pictures or launch your boat from the boat launch for some fishing. Fish in the canals, bays for flounder or striped bass or out a little further for sea bass.

The campground itself can accommodate RV’s so a great option for your camper, RV or motor home. There are 28 sites with electric and water hookups. The tent camping area is nicely shaded and each site has a pedestal grill and picnic table (maybe for grilling some of the sea bass caught earlier in the day!). There is a bathhouse with restrooms and hot showers as well as a small camp store with snacks and cool drinks. Everything you need in one location for a nice relaxing camping trip.

LocationNorth of downtown right on the shore, in Salem, MA
Distance from downtown50 min (24 miles)
RV sitesYes, 28 sites, (18 50-amps sites, 10 30-amp sites) all with water hookups and picnic table
Tent sitesYes, 22 sites with charcoal pedestal grill and picnic table
CabinsNo
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteNo, ground fires not allowed but you can bring your own raised fire pit
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, playground, camp store
Pet FriendlyYes, not at the beach
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestBeachside camping for RV’s and tents!
seagull-eating-starfish
You’re likely to find starfish, ea anemone, and sea cucumbers while combing Waikki Beach.

©iStock.com/jokuephotography

3) Boston/Cape Cod KOA

If you want to explore the historic sites of Boston and stay close to the downtown area the Boston/Cape Cod KOA is only 40 miles south of the city and just 15 miles west of Plymouth. Visit Plymouth Rock where the Mayflower first landed, the Plymouth Plantation with a replica of the early settlement with costumed characters reenacting daily life and see a replica of the Mayflower. Take time to visit the Freedom Trail where Paul Revere saw the lantern warning that the “British are coming!”.  Plan several days to explore all of the historic sites.

The KOA campground is far from rustic with tent and RV camping as well as basic and deluxe cabins. There is a swimming pool, jumping pillow, playground and outdoor cinema. Gather with friends and family to play in the new activity park with corn hole, ladder ball or bocce ball. There are also hammocks for relaxing and a group fire ring for campfire s’mores. Definitely one of the absolute best places to camp near Boston!

LocationSouth of downtown in Middleborough, MA
Distance from downtown50 min (40 miles)
RV sitesYes, pull-thru or back-in most with full hookups
Tent sitesYes, water/electric or no hookups
CabinsBasic and Deluxe
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes, group fire pit as well
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, swimming pool, jumping pillow, playground,
Pet FriendlyYes, dog park
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestSo many fun amenities all in one campground!
The famous Plymouth Rock, where the Mayflower supposedly landed in the New World.
Boston/Cape Cod KOA is just 40 miles from Plymouth, where you can view Plymouth Rock, the site where the Mayflower reportedly landed.

©Suchan/Shutterstock.com

4) Wampatuck State Park

Not far from the KOA campground is the Wampatuck State Park, with 3,526 acres of forests trails, ponds and streams. The park has amazing hiking trails, single-track mountain bike trails and the paved Whitney Spur Rail Trail great for strollers and rollerblading. You can go canoeing and fishing in the Cohasset Reservoir, where there are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie and bluegills. The reservoir only allows non-motorized boats and there is no swimming in the lake so you can imagine how peaceful it must be. If you do want to go swimming you can head over to Nantasket Beach which is right on the ocean.

The campground is equipped with 260 sites for tents and RVs with 125 of the sites with electricity hookups. There are restrooms and hot showers nearby with a dump station for RV’s. After a day of mountain biking or kayaking relax by the fire and enjoy the peace and quiet. Hike to one of the clearings for some stargazing or take a night walk down to the lake to listen to the bullfrogs and watch the fireflies. A classic camping experience less than an hour from Boston.

LocationSouth of downtown
Distance from downtown40 min (24 miles)
RV/Tent SitesYes, 260 sites (125 of those are electric)
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes and pedestal grill
AmenitiesRestrooms, Showers, dump station
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestClassic wooded camping in a peaceful setting!
White Crappie
Crappie are among the fish that you may be able to catch in the Cohasset Reservoir.

©Jennifer White Maxwell/Shutterstock.com

5) Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Ponkapoag Camp

A small campground on the shores of the Ponkapoag Pond is the perfect place to stay if you want to get away from it all. The campground is run by the Appalachian Mountain Club and maintains 20 private cabins with bunkbeds and a wood stove. They do not have water or electric but make for a nice cozy camping option. There are also two tent sites for tent camping if you prefer.

Ponkapoag Pond is perfect for kayaking or canoeing and exploring the shoreline where you might see wild turkeys, white-tail deer, turkey vultures and maybe a coyote (or hear one at night). The fishing is fair for the size of the pond with bluegills, largemouth bass and chain pickerel the most common catches. Hiking on the trails and boardwalk is another favorite activity with a trail that goes all the way around the pond, a loop that is about 4 miles long. Great for nature photography, birdwatching and wildlife viewing. This really is a peaceful campground where you can experience some of the absolute best camping near Boston.

LocationJust south of downtown past Hwy 93
Distance from downtown30 min (16 miles)
RV sitesNo
Tent sitesYes, 2 sites
CabinsYes, 20 cabins, sleep 2-7 people, bunks with mattresses, wood stove, no water or electric
Picnic Tables at each siteYes at the tent sites
Fire Pit at each siteNo
AmenitiesOuthouse, wood stoves
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestCute pond-side cabins. Basic, simple camping near Boston.
coyote
Coyotes live near Ponkapoag Pond, but you probably won’t spot one since they are very elusive.

©Mircea Costina/Shutterstock.com

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The Featured Image

humpback whale swimming just under surface level
There are more than a dozen species of baleen whales ranging from 20 to 102 feet long.
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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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Sources
  1. Massachusetts , Available here: https://www.mass.gov/location-details/camping-at-boston-harbor-islands
  2. Reserve America, Available here: https://www.reserveamerica.com/explore/winter-island-park/PRCG/1061400/overview
  3. KOA, Available here: https://koa.com/campgrounds/boston/
  4. Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Available here: https://massdcrcamping.reserveamerica.com/camping/wompatuck-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=MA&parkId=32628