Outdoors

Northeastern Connecticut's Remarkable Camping Spots


If you're looking for somewhere that's green, this is the place to be.

Words By Brian Kevin

Wildsam

Peculiar potholes in the schist are among Chapman Falls' many charms. | ALAMY

Updated

1 Apr 2024

Reading Time

5 Minutes

THE LAST GREEN VALLEY: That’s what the National Park Service calls the National Heritage Corridor that encompasses all of rural Northeastern Connecticut. “Last,” as in the last big swath of forest and farmland between DC and Boston. “Green,” as in how it starts looking in spring, as wildflowers pop and maples and sycamores leaf out along the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers. For campers, the draw is abundant quietude and some surprisingly rugged country, with campgrounds linking paddling routes, sprawling networks of state-forest trails, and some 50 rolling miles of the East Coast Greenway.

Griswold

HOPEVILLE POND STATE PARK

From primitive paddle-ins to sites with hookups to a single cabin—plus some lunker pike in that pond. Follow the Nehantic Trail from camp to connect to a mess of footpaths in the Pachaug State Forest, including to outcrop overlooks on little Mount Misery.

Preston

HIDDEN ACRES FAMILY CAMPGROUND

An institution of a family-friendly campground (est. 1931), with a bunch of its 200ish sites are in stone-skipping distance of the Quinebaug. Bring the kids by the petting zoo, treat them to cones at the snack bar, then obliterate them on the bocce courts. Opening day is May 1, but book early.

EAST HADDAM

DEVIL’S HOPYARD STATE PARK

You’ll not find hops at these 22 boondocking or tenting sites along the designated Wild and Scenic Eightmile River, but you might be within earshot of the epic Chapman Falls. The 60-foot cascade is rowdy with snowmelt in spring; come summer, the plunge pool is a must-dip.

Sterling

BENTO: WINNEBAGO IN THE WOODS

A Gehry-esque glamping rebuild of a 1972 Winnebago Brave, with a rear wall of windows letting light into its minimalist interior. A hike-in, off-grid Airbnb/Hipcamp find, it’s on an old wooded horse farm. Queen bed, camp stove, fire pit and one of New England’s lovelier composting outhouses.

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