Tent camping in UpStateNH is always an adventure. Some of the campgrounds are situated beside rivers or lakes, others have pools or other man made attractions. All of them have something to offer.
Federal and state parks, while plentiful, tend to offer the fewest services: campsites, bathrooms and water, and often offer hiking trails or water recreation ~ swimming, fishing, and canoeing/kayaking, etc. Electricity and/or coin operated showers are sometimes available. They often don't have canoe or kayak rentals, camp stores, ball fields or playgrounds, etc. Most state parks cost around $22-25/night, no hookups, or as much as $35 with utilities. Federal parks tend to cost $22-24/night with hookups. Some government campgrounds have yurts, cabins or group sites and prices for those vary.
Private campgrounds are significantly more varied in amenities and pricing. Those closest to 'town' or having water slides and/or strong recreation programs, etc., tend to charge more, often in the $40-50 a night range (usually 2 adults & 2 children). More adults or children, visitors, etc., all add to the cost. Campgrounds a few miles from 'town' are often $10-15/night cheaper.
Private campgrounds usually have camp stores, and varying other amenities, sometimes including playgrounds, ball fields, swimming pools, modest recreation centers, snack bars, craft shacks, weekend events (Christmas in July, camper parades, dances, fireworks, organized pickup games like volleyball, etc.) and more.
Campgrounds tend to fill up on summer weekends but many are very quiet midweek and 'shoulder seasons' (i.e. mid-May to mid-June and Labor Day to Columbus Day.) Don't disparage shoulder season camping! Daytime temperatures are warm, water temps are usually fine for swimming throughout September, it's quiet, relatively bug-free, and you can usually reserve those hard-to-book sites right on the water. Several private campground owners offer specials to attract midweek and shoulder season campers. Discounted rates, buy two nights, get the third free, or stay 7 nights and pay for only six nights are fairly common specials.
Once you have sorted out your destination be sure to bring swim suits, towels, sun screen and bug spray. And positively do not bring firewood
. It's unlawful to bring it in from out of state, unlawful to transport it across county lines, and buying locally saves a lot of mess in the car -and- helps slow the advance of the very detrimental Emerald Ash Borers and the Asian Longhorned Beetles. Every four years NH sees enough pests running around the state for the presidential primaries. We don't need anything else bugging us!
RELATED ARTICLE: Camping Preparation Guide
About the Author
George C. Jobel is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast and a web developer & online marketer since 1995. The author of numerous articles and publications, you can reach him at his
web site, or 603.491.4340.