It’s wonderful to unplug from this technology age and reconnect with nature, and in Vermont we have many places where we can do just that. Spend your days on the water or hiking through the woods, and wind down while cooking over a campfire with friends and family. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly camping spots, places perfect for groups, great views, epic hikes or boating spots, there is always a place in Vermont that will be perfect for you. Here are 17 of our favorite camping spots in the state.
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1. Waterbury Center State Park, Waterbury Center
You’ll love to be surrounded by mountains at the Waterbury Center State Park, located on the Waterbury Reservoir. This is more commonly a day park, but there are a few primitive campsites accessible only by boat. The sand beach and grassy picnic areas are scenic and fun, and it’s a blast to rent a paddle board right at the beach. An added bonus to this location is that it’s located just down the road from the Ben & Jerry’s Factory.
2. Mt. Philo State Park, Charlotte
If it’s views you want, look no further than Vermont’s very first state park, Mt. Philo. Overlooking the Lake Champlain Valley and the Adirondack Mountains, you’ll love the vistas from the top via a steep auto toll road or hiking up the mountain trail. The top of the mountain has an open grassy area for picnics as well as an enclosed log shelter. The Mt. Philo State Park has only ten campsites so call ahead for some peaceful mountaintop camping.
3. Elmore State Park, Elmore
Just check out the views from the fire tower facing north on one of the many trails in this awesome state park! Families will love the easy hikes, along with a large beach, grassy area for picnics and volleyball, boat rentals and a snack bar.
4. Osmore Pond, Groton
For peace and quiet, head to Osmore Pond, accessible through the New Discovery State Park. Located in a quiet corner, the secluded picnic areas all have their own stone fireplaces built around the 1930s. No motors are allowed here and you can rent a boat or canoe by the hour or as part of a “boat to remote” package. While this is a remote camping experience, the whole family will love the excellent hiking trails.
5. Smugglers' Notch State Park, Stowe
Smugglers Notch is a narrow pass through Mount Mansfield with 1,000 foot cliffs on either side. Here you’ll find some of the best hikes in Vermont, the most popular being the Long Trail, which can be accessed from the Notch. Smuggler’s Notch State Park has tent, RV and lean-to camping with showers, perfect for a day hike or a camping trip just minutes from the charming village of Stowe.
6. Green River Reservoir State Park, Hyde Park
Looking to get away from it all? Check out the Green River Reservoir State Park, Vermont’s most secluded park. The 653-acre reservoir has 19 miles of shoreline, one of the longest stretches of undeveloped shorelines in the state. There are 28 campsites throughout the banks which are remote and primitive, and can only be reached by paddling. All campsites have a fire ring and cooking grate and a nearby outhouse. Be sure to carry-in/carry out here – it’s a rule that everyone follows.
7. Kill Kare State Park, St. Albans
Kill Kare State Park in St. Albans is surrounded by sparkling water with views of the islands, hills and Adirondack Mountains. This former summer camp has a ferry that goes to another picturesque state park, Burton Island. Kill Kare has a large picnic shelter with grills and is a great launch site for paddlers. You’ll love strolling through the park's many flower gardens!
8. New Discovery State Park, Groton
Set up camp here and then enjoy some of the best views in Vermont in the Groton State Forest area, which includes New Discovery State Park, Stillwater, Big Deer, Ricker Pond, Kettle Pond and Boulder Beach. Whether you drive or hike, be sure to check out Owl’s Head while you’re there as it’s easily accessible with stellar views at the top. This is one place you won’t want to forget your camera when camping in a tent, RV or a remote lean-to. There is even a horse camping area!
9. Lake Carmi State Park, Enosburg Falls
Lake Carmi is the fourth largest natural lake entirely within Vermont. Much of the lakeshore is privately owned, but this is a place you’ll want to experience if you plan to spend the days on the water. If you’re lucky, you may spot a bald eagle or osprey. The Lake Carmi State Park has over two miles of lake frontage, along with 140 tent/trailer sites, 35 lean-to's and 2 cabins, making it the largest campground in Vermont. Rental boats are available along with a beach complete with restrooms and a nature center.
10. Burton Island, St. Albans
Perhaps one of the best places for a paddling adventure in Vermont is Burton Island, located just off St. Alban’s Point. As this state park is only accessible by boat or ferry, it is a boating paradise with open water, quiet bays and stunning views. You’ll find camping options for all types here, from hot showers and nature programs, to hiking trails that have primitive camping sites every 8 to 10 miles. An added lure is some of the best sunsets in Vermont.
11. Half Moon Pond State Park, Hubbardton
This family-friendly campsite surrounds the peaceful Half Moon Pond and is a favorite of many. You can find tent and lean-to camping and even five cabins. Rowboats, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats are available for rent, and there are two small, sandy beaches perfect for swimming on a hot day. Try your hand at fishing and catch a yellow perch, largemouth bass or rainbow trout. If you’re looking for a quiet excursion, check out the nearby and undeveloped Glen Lake, which sits between Half Moon and Bomoseen, for a perfect outing.
12. Jamaica State Park, Jamaica
The Jamaica State Park is located on a bend of the West River, just outside the quaint villiage of Jamaica and nestled in the Green Mountains. The river runs clean and cold in both shallow areas and deep pools, making it a favorite of fishermen and swimmers alike. There is a great trail along the river for family hikes, and don’t miss the hike out to Hamilton Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state. Pet friendly tent sites and lean-to sites are available.
13. Grand Isle State Park, Grand Isle
You’ll find amazing camping on largest island in Lake Champlain, with the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east. That’s right, the Grand Isle State Park has some of the states best and favorite camping. Swim, bike and paddle the day away and take part in some of the special events like concerts and dances. The world’s oldest fossil reef is nearby, along with the nation’s oldest log cabin. This is one camping site that has it all: tent sites, lean-to’s cabins, beaches, biking, boat rentals, volleyball, horseshoes, a nature walk, a play area as well as some very scenic picnic sites.
14. Wilgus State Park, Weathersfield
A maximum of 50 campers are allowed at the gorgeous Wilgus State Park group camping area. It’s right on the Connecticut River and makes a perfect base camp or a stopover while paddling down the river with it’s three lean-to’s, fire pits and grills. Take some great hikes at the nearby Mt. Ascutney State park while you’re there!
15. Stillwater State Park, Groton
The Groton Forest has a wide variety of camping sites available since there are six state parks within the forest. Each park is unique and if you pay to enter one state park, you have access to them all, so taking little excursions is an easy option if you choose. The Stillwater State Park is perfect families with many activities such as a bike parade, pancake breakfast, making fairy houses or checking out a live raptor program. Campers beaches, tent and lean-to locations are available and the area is a dream come true for bike lovers. Be sure to take a trip up Owl’s Head to the stone tower which gives you a great view of the forest.
16. Lake Shaftsbury State Park, Shaftsbury
Located on Lake Shaftsbury, the group camping area has 15 lean-to's in 3 clusters, each with fire rings, water spigot and grills. The group camping area is surrounded by trees and is located on the opposite side of the day use area so there will be privacy for your group. The day use area has a beach, play area, and picnic area with an open picnic shelter which is great for shade or inclement weather. The snack bar also rents out canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and pedal boats. Don’t miss the popular "Healing Springs Nature Trail" hike here!
17. Kettle Pond State Park, Groton State Forest
If you’re looking for the perfect place to camp with a group, look no further than Kettle Pond. It is both underdeveloped and secluded and surrounded by the 26,000 acre Groton State Forest. 26 lean-to’s arranged in five separate groups, two composting toilets and two double pit toilets, and water are available at the nearby New Discovery State Park. Swimming, hiking and fun awaits you!