8 Special Family Campgrounds near Boston with Extras for Kids
Camping is a wonderful way to explore the outdoors while spending serious quality time with your family—and you can do it all for much less money than you'd spend at a Boston-area hotel or vacation rental home. While Massachusetts is home to many campgrounds and campsites, we have selected eight that go out of their way to create a kid-friendly experience that combines adventure and creature comforts.
Whether you are camping in a fancy lakeside yurt or a pop-up tent in your backyard, make downtime and evenings fun with these camping games to play with kids.
Note: Due to COVID-19, many campgrounds are developing different activities and have some restrictions in place for visitors in 2021. Check with individual campgrounds for the most updated details.
There's a playground, lawn games, and even frisbee golf—along with water fun—at Tully Lake. Photo courtesy of recreation.gov
1. Tully Lake Campground—Royalston
2021 update: Extra sanitizing stations and portable toilets are set up at the campground. Boat rentals are available for campers only. There are camping supplies but no food for sale. Reservations are accepted online.
Tent-only Tully is located on a 200-acre lake that's only 90 minutes from Boston in Royalston, an area known for its waterfalls. Campers can rent canoes and kayaks for the lake and Tully River or try their hand at mountain biking and hiking on the campground’s woodland trails. Tully Lake also offers numerous family activities, including horseshoes, volleyball, cornhole, and even disc (frisbee) golf. If your family includes a furry four-legged friend, you'll be happy to hear that dogs are welcome!
The jumpy pillow is a hit at the Boston Cape Cod KOA. Photo courtesy of the campground
2. Boston/Cape Cod KOA—Middleboro
2021 update: The pool is open but with limited capacity and guests must sign up for a reserved time. Sport and activity fields are also open but families must bring their own equipment. Arts and Crafts, Jumpy Pillow, Outdoor Cinema and Top Your Own Sundae are all closed until further notice.
For families who don’t care to rough it, the Boston KOA offers tents and RV camping, plus new deluxe cabins that include a private queen bedroom, a bunk bed room, refrigerator, microwave, and private bath. Young campers will enjoy the campground’s pool, along with mini golf, a jumping pillow, arts and crafts, an outdoor cinema, and all kinds of seasonal recreational activities. Kids don't complain about the sundae bar, either!
A gorgeous North Shore beach is right outside your tent at Salisbury Beach State Reservation. Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Tourism
3. Salisbury Beach State Reservation—Salisbury
2021 update: Tent and RV reservations are available through Reserve America. The common picnic area and grilling area remain closed.
You want to camp at the beach, you say? This reservation has nearly 500 campsites in more than 500 acres along a 3.8-mile stretch of beach. If the beach itself isn’t enough entertainment, Salisbury offers concerts, a playground, a boardwalk, a carousel, and an arcade. While it’s not shady and secluded like many campgrounds, it is right on the beach. Between April and mid-September, pets are welcome at the campground but not on the beach.
Lakefront fun is on the agenda when camping in Plymouth. Photo courtesy of Pinewood Lodge
4. Pinewood Lodge—Plymouth
2021 update: Capacity restrictions and extra cleaning procedures are in place, and social distancing is encouraged.
Pinewood Lodge is hidden beneath 200 shady acres of pine forest. With a 50-acre freshwater lake, the Lodge’s water activities are endless—swimming, bass fishing, kayaking, and canoeing are all available. And with 300 sites at the campground, visitors have the option to camp in a tent, RV, yurt, cabin, or even a house. Pinewood Lodge also provides a store, on-site laundry, and even—wait for it—a cocktail lounge. Themed weekends include "Christmas in July" and "Luau at Lake Park." For families interested in some history with their camping, Plimoth Plantation is just 20 minutes away, while families with tiny train enthusiasts may find nearby Thomas Land a must-visit!
5. Pine Acres Family Camping Resort—Oakham
2021: To maintain physical distancing, a limited amount of tents or pop-ups are allowed this year. Capacity restrictions and extra cleaning procedures are in place, and social distancing is encouraged. Sports courts and fields are open but campers should bring their own sports equipment.
A little over an hour from the city will bring you to Pine Acres, located on Lake Dean. BYO tent or RV, or choose to rent a cabin or RV for your stay. Families can enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing on the lake, or hit the pool and splash pad to cool off. As if that's not enough to keep your little ones busy, this campsite also offers bike rentals, mini golf, an arcade, a playground, and even an old-fashioned gem mine. For families that include their pup on their travels, Pine Acres has a dog park and pet washing station.
6. Normandy Farms Family Camping Resorts—Foxboro
2021 update: Pools are open with reduced capacity levels; daily reservations are required. Playgrounds are also open with capacity restrictions.
Considered a "luxury camping destination," Normandy Farms offers deluxe cabin and yurt rentals while also accommodating tents and RVs. Perfect for all the sports fan families out there, this site is a quick eight-minute drive to Patriot Place, home to the New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium. This campsite has four swimming pools, two playgrounds, a bike park, a dog park, and tons of outdoor games like horseshoe and shuffleboard. Along with its amenities, this campsite has a jam-packed calendar filled with fun family-friendly events.
7. Ipswich River Sanctuary—Topsfield
2021 update: Ipswich River has suspended camping and canoeing until further notice. Trails are open via timed entry, but restrooms and buildings are closed. Check the website for updates.
Ipswich River is an absolute gem. The sanctuary is a great experience for first-time campers. Families can enjoy s'mores and treks into the natural surroundings of the sanctuary, either on the river or into the woods.
2021 update: As of publishing time, Peddocks Island has not determined camping season dates and reservations are not yet available. Check the website for updates.
For a really adventurous experience, try the Boston Harbor Islands. What's cooler than camping on an island you can get to on public transportation and ferry? (Answer: nothing!) Peddocks offers tent sites complete with picnic tables and grills. Families that reserve early enough might be able to score one of the yurts, which sleep a family in style. Be aware that it's a carry-in, carry-out park.
Originally published in August 2017
Places featured in this article:
Ipswich River Sanctuary
Tully Lake Campground
Salisbury Beach State Reservation
Boston/Cape Cod KOA
Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort
Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort
Pine Acres Family Camping Resort