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 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 in a pop-up tent in your backyard, make downtime and evenings for fun with these camping games to play with kids.
Note: Due to COVID-19, many campgrounds are developing different activities and additional restrictions for visitors in 2020. Check with individual campgrounds for the most updated details along with the information below. Per Governor Baker's most recent orders for campgrounds, no non-reserved daytime visitors are allowed to visit campground guests.
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
2020 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 not food for sale at press time. 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. And 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
2020 update: Fitness room and game room will be closed this season.
For families who don’t care to rough it, the Boston KOA offers tents and RV camping with 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
2020 update: Tent and RV reservations are available through Reserve America.
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. Salisbury offers concerts, a playground, a boardwalk, a carousel, and an arcade if the beach itself isn’t enough entertainment. 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
2020 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
2020: To maintain physical distancing, no 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 your own tent or RV, or choose to rent a cabin or RV for your stay. Your family 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
2020 update: Pools are open with reduced capacity levels; daily reservations are required. Playgrounds are also open with capacity restrictions. Sports facilities are open but campers are encouraged to bring their own sports equipment.
Considered a "luxury camping destination", Normandy Farms offers deluxe cabin and yurt rentals while also accommodating your tents and RVs. Perfect for all the sports-fan families out there, this site is a quick eight-minute drive to Patriots Place, home to the New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium. This campsite has four swimming pools, two playgrounds, a bike park, dog park, and tons of fun outdoor games like horseshoe and shuffleboard. Along with their amenities, this campsite has a jam-packed calendar filled with fun family-friendly events.
7. Ipswich River Sanctuary—Topsfield
2020 update: Ipswich River is closed to campers and canoeing this summer. Trails are open via timed entry.
Ipswich River is an absolute gem. The sanctuary's special camping opportunities for Audubon members are covered in our tent camping post, but it's worth another mention here because it's such a great experience for first-timers. Campers will enjoy s'mores and treks into the natural surroundings of the sanctuary, either on the river or into the woods.
2020 update: Peddocks Island is closed to campers this summer.
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? Peddocks offers tent sites complete with picnic tables and grills. And if you reserve early enough, you 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