Explore New Hampshire’s finest – go camping

  • A young camper pops out of a tent at Crawford Notch State Park. Courtesy of N.H. Division of Parks and Recreation

  • A mother and daughter roast marshmallows at Milan Hill State Park. Courtesy of N.H. Division of Parks and Recreation

  • A family enjoys biking during their stay at one of New Hampshire’s state parks. Courtesy of N.H. Division of Parks and Recreation

  • Courtesy of N.H. Division of Parks and Recreation

  • Kids roast hot dogs on a campfire while camping with their family in one of New Hampshire’s state parks. Courtesy of N.H. Division of Parks and Recreation

Monitor staff
Sunday, July 16, 2017

When summer rolls around, New Hampshire is one of the absolute best places to be. It’s not too hot, everywhere you look is green and flourishing, and there’s plenty to do. However, summer always seems to end too quickly and once winter sets in, it can be hard to spend much time outside.

So what better way to take advantage of the season and the great weather than by going camping?

Spending the day on one of many beautiful lakes or rivers, or deep in the woods and ending the night around a campfire under a clear and starry New Hampshire sky is just one way to go about camping in the Granite State.

Camping is a pastime that is flourishing here, which is unsurprising given everything that our state has to offer. Last summer, about 116,000 people camped in state parks alone, according to the N.H. Division Parks and Recreation.

“We’re on an increase from year to year,” said Amy Bassett, public information director for Parks and Recreation. “We can tell because pricing stayed steady and revenue increased.”

And it’s not just the state parks that are seeing an uptick in business, as private campgrounds around the state are also getting in on the increased action.

“That I’ve noticed, it’s a good time to be a campground owner,” said Jeremy Sprince, executive director of the New Hampshire Campground Owners Association, “Reservations are up.”

Although campgrounds are seeing more people than ever, don’t let crowding be a concern. With more than a 100 private campgrounds and 20 state parks with campsites, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a quiet spot.

If peace and quiet is a non-negotiable factor, camping during the middle of the week is a good option, as weekends typically are a bit busier. Availability is better during the week, as well.

One reason why camping here in New Hampshire is such a great option is that our state has so much to offer.

“New Hampshire has just a bit of everything,” Sprince said. “You have the hiking, the mountains, the lakes.”

Whatever aspect of nature you’re into, there’s a good chance it can be found without ever having to leave the state. Wherever you head, there’s also a pretty good chance of finding a campground nearby.

Although neighboring Vermont can offer many of the same features, New Hampshire does have a neat aspect that the Green Mountain State can’t touch: ocean access.

One factor to consider is what type of camping you’d like to do. While some camping purists might argue pitching a tent and having limited facilities and resources is the only way to camp, camping can really be whatever you want it to be.

There are tons of other options available for those looking to get out into nature. For the less adventurous, camping might mean spending a night in a fully furnished cabin at a campsite. Hard-core campers might think that spending a week in the wilderness backcountry camping is the only way to go.

Luckily, with so many campsites around the state there is sure to be one to suit your style. If you’re planning to camp with a tent, a state park campground might be the best option.

“The majority of campers we see use tents,” said Bassett, “Most of our campsites don’t have hookups.”

Hookups are places where RVs can be connected to resources like water, sewer, electricity and even cable television. While the state parks aren’t quite as RV-oriented, recreational vehicle camping is becoming increasingly popular and is accommodated at many private campsites in New Hampshire.

RV camping is a relaxing and easy way to camp, particularly if you have kids who might not take to more primitive forms of camping. In the same vein, cabin and yurt camping offer similar amenities and are great for first time campers.

“There are plenty of options if you’re just trying the experience of being outdoors, but might not be sure if you’ll like it,” Bassett said.

Glamping (glamorous camping), which is a more luxurious style of camping with full amenities and facilities, is also an option.

Wherever and whatever form of camping you select, it’s important to be prepared and informed. Making sure you bring necessities, like water, food, extra clothing, sunscreen and bugspray may seem obvious, but forgetting these items can really hinder the camping experience.

There are tons of websites that can help you figure out what to bring and what to leave behind, so be sure to do your homework beforehand.

Always check the weather before going camping and prepare accordingly. It doesn’t hurt to have some gear for bad weather even if the forecast projects bright and sunny skies.

Making sure you’re informed about wildlife in the area, or what Bassett calls “the critter issue,” can also come in handy.

Regardless of budget or experience, camping in New Hampshire is more accessible than ever and is a fun experience worth giving a shot this summer.

For more information on the N.H. State Park campgrounds and their amenities, check out nhstateparks.org.

Visit ucampnh.com for more info on private campgrounds and guides that break down what every campsite has to offer.