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10 Places to Go Camping on the East Coast
September 25, 2020 | Guest post by: Martin Banks
The United States has no shortage of gorgeous vistas, many untouched and untainted by human presence, making them the perfect place to visit and set up camp. For today, we're going to focus on the East Coast, stretching from the Florida Keys to the northernmost tip of Maine. Where are the best places on the East Coast to go camping? Here are 10 of our favorite campsites for you to choose from.
1. Ocracoke Island, N.C.
If you're a fan of beaches, fresh seafood and gorgeous small towns, look no further than Ocracoke Island. This little spit of land off the coast of North Carolina is part of the Outer Banks, and is only accessible by plane or ferry. Camp right on the beach, rent a bike and spend your day wandering the island or catch the ferry to Kitty Hawk and Cape Hatteras for a lesson on the history of flight.
2. Nickerson State Park, Mass.
You don't have to leave civilization entirely behind if you've got a taste of the wild on your tongue. Nickerson State Park is just outside Boston near the Cape Cod National Seashore, so you can camp in the woods, enjoy the gorgeous vistas and trails, then head into Boston for some of the best seafood in the country.
3. Little River State Park, Vt.
This campsite may not be coastal, but you'll have plenty to do at Little River State Park in Vermont. In addition to gorgeous trails and areas for swimming and mountain biking, you're only a stone's throw from the Mt. Mansfield State Forest, giving you acres and acres of history, abandoned communities and untouched wilderness to explore. Choose between tent campsites, cabins, lean-tos or more remote campsites only accessible by boat.
4. Vero Beach, Fla.
Florida has famous beaches, and if you're planning a camping trip, you can't do better than Vero Beach. In addition to gorgeous pine forests and tourist-centric locales, Vero Beach is home to some of the East Coast's best fishing. If you're not sure where to start, charter a fishing boat and let a local show you the ropes. You may even find a chef willing to cook your catch for you right on the dock!
5. F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Ga.
If you're not quite ready to hike the Appalachian Trail, head to the foothills of that iconic mountain chain and visit F.D. Roosevelt State Park. Reportedly, hiking these trails is how FDR, the park's namesake, found relief from his polio symptoms. Rent a cabin, pitch a tent, swim in the gorgeous mountain-fed rivers and streams or go horseback riding and kayaking, all from the comfort of your campsite.
6. Hampton Beach State Park, N.H.
This gorgeous coastal campsite is perfect for fans of swimming, kayaking, fishing and other watersports. The campsites sit at the mouth of the Hampton River, providing an ideal jumping-off point for all sorts of aquatic adventures. Whale watching is a popular activity for campers, with everything from humpbacks to right whales making their home in the North Atlantic.
7. Glimmerglass State Park, N.Y.
This park gets its name from a popular nickname for Otsego Lake. Writer James Fenimore Cooper dubbed it Glimmerglass in many of his works, and the name stuck. The state park is the perfect place to hike, bike, swim or just get away from the world. It's home to campsites and partial hookup RV sites, so you don't have to worry about pitching a tent if traveling in an RV is more your style.
8. Gillette Castle State Park River Camping, Conn.
Connecticut is probably one of the last places in the world you'd expect to find a 24-room castle. Gillette Castle is the former home of playwright and actor William Hooker Gillette, who commissioned its construction and lived there. It sits on a 184-acre estate, giving you the option to camp right on the banks of the Connecticut River after touring the massive structure.
9. Indian River Marina, Del.
You can't go wrong with a campsite that gives you the perfect place to fish, boat and swim. If primitive camping doesn't appeal to you, the Indian River Marina also has fully equipped cabins that include everything from beds to air conditioning. Walk the beaches, go sailing, or explore the coastline and find out everything Delaware has to offer. You might be surprised at the hidden gems that dot the landscape at a place like the Indian River Marina.
10. Anastasia State Park, Fla.
Situated on the intercoastal waterway just outside of St. Augustine, Anastasia State Park is the perfect place to camp if you want a little bit of Florida wilderness, but want to stay a bit closer to civilization. Anastasia State Park has primitive campsites and RV hookups, and is close enough to St. Augustine that you can still drive into town for a delicious meal when you get tired of cooking over a campfire. Make sure you leave your flashlights at home during turtle nesting season, but you can still walk the beach at night with more than enough light from the full moon overhead.
Where Do You Want to Go First?
This list is only a small sample of the many unique places you'll find along the East Coast. Where do you want to go first? There are dozens, if not hundreds, of state parks and commercial campsite to choose from, depending on what you're looking for. Do you want fishing and watersports, or easy access to restaurants and nightlife? Do you want to be as far from humanity as possible, or are you planning your trip around the desire to go whale watching or deep-sea fishing?
Whatever your goals, you can find something on the East Coast to suit your needs. These are just some of our favorite suggestions for planning an East Coast camping trip.
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