On our round trip through New England from mid to end of October, we did something we hadn’t done in years: we rented a RV to get from one place to another. We did several trips with an RV in the US and Canada when we were kids, so this was an awesome revival.
I was super excited and a little scared (just a tiny little bit), since I was the one driving. Our RV from Cruise America was 30 feet long, which is a little more than 9 meters. The best part about the camper is, that you only have to unpack once but are still able to spend every night in a different city or area – similar to a cruise. You are also able to cook meals, which we did most of the time (only went out for dinner twice), as well as store cold drinks and snacks in the fridge. At first it takes a little time getting used to the limited space, but after a few hours or days, it seems like you’ve never done anything else. The best part about camping is getting to interact with fellow campers, which you usually can’t do during a hotel stay.
We didn’t pre-book any campgrounds before our trip. We wanted to be able flexible and decide where to stay from day to day. Most of the days we would sit down for breakfast and discuss the route of the day and choose a campground nearby (either in the KOA book we got at the rental office or via internet) and call to reserve the stay for the night. Most of the time, it wasn’t a problem to find a campground for the night. The only time we had to take a detour was in Salem, where the only campground was already fully-booked and we had to stay in New Boston for one night. Good to know: if you rented through Cruise America, you will get 10 % off every night at all KOAs.
I decided to not rank the following campgrounds, but feature them in the order we stayed there, since they were all good, with two of them being nearly perfect. Very important: since it gets cold during the winter month, most of the campgrounds close after Columbus Day or end of October. This was also the reason, we did the tour the way you can see in the picture, since most of the campgrounds we stayed at in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, closed right after we left. This following map will show you the overall route we took, I will be uploading a full itinerary post next week, so stay tuned:
Sturbridge RV Resort
On our first night in the camper we stayed at Sturbridge RV Resort, which is only an hour and a half away from the rental station. We picked up our RV at around 11 am. and our first stop was a grocery store. On our way to Sturbridge we stopped at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough and the outlet in Wrentham. Since we didn’t want to take the Interstate it took us some time to get to the RV Resort. Our spot for the night was nice, even though there was not much space between us and the other RVs, which wasn’t bad, since we left early the next day. The Campground offers all the amenities you can ask for: laundry, bathrooms with showers, a hot tub and a heated indoor pool as well as a Club House, a store and a lake, where you can swim during the summer. There was a playground for kids and lots of things to do. Since we were there right before Halloween, they had put up a Haunted House inside the Club House and also decorated the whole campground Halloween style. All in all, I would recommend this campground, even though you might want to do a reservation to get one of the good spots around the lake. If you are in the area, make sure to check out Old Sturbridge Village, an outdoor museum.
Address: 19 Mashapaug Rd, Sturbridge, MA 01566, USA
Our next campground was a KOA in the Springfield area. We stayed in a couple of KOAs during our trip and I have to admit, that this one wasn’t bad, but couldn’t keep up with the ones in Quechee, Naples and Boston/Cape Cod. Our spot was super nice, and we had a lot of space. They offer Full-Hook-Up and you have your own picknick table as well as a fire ring. They also offer free super-fast Wi-Fi for their campers. The only downside were the bathrooms in the lower area: the bathhouse itself was super small and only had two restrooms for women and one shower and they were not very clean. During the summer they also offer an outdoor pool and a playground for kids. Very important: don’t be fooled by the name, the campground is neither in Northampton nor in Springfield but in Westhampton. Remember: if you rented an RV with Cruise America, you will get 10 % off your stays at any KOA campground, make sure to tell them when you arrive and check in.
Address: 139 S Rd, Westhampton, MA 01027, USA
KOA Quechee/Pine Valley
I said I was not going to rank them but if I would, this one would be number 1. It was the best campground we stayed at during our vacation. We originally only pre-booked one night, but when we saw, what they had planned for their Halloween weekend, we changed our minds and booked an additional night. We started our day with pumpkin carving (and yes, I’m 28 years old but I love Halloween, so don’t judge) before heading out and exploring the neighborhood. They also offered a scavenger hunt, a costume contest and a free BBQ for all guests. The best part about the Halloween weekend was, that almost everyone decorated their sites with Halloween decoration. Walking around and seeing the great effort everyone put into decorating their sites and doing some trick or treating (again, I know it’s for kids, don’t judge) was simply amazing. One site had a Pirates of the Caribbean theme: they had a huge wooden ship next to their trailer, screened Pirates of the Caribbean 1, were dressed as pirates as well as serving rum cider to adults. Right after sunset it was time for the Haunted Hayride: the staff was dressed up and had arranged multiple horror scenes across a field right next to the campground. Seeing them putting so much effort into their costumes and the storyline really warmed our hearts.
The campground is great in general: the sites are big, most of them are full-hook-up including a fire ring and a picknick-table. There is a heated pool and a pool house with games for kids. The bathrooms are clean and heated, which was great, since it was cold when we were there. I would totally recommend staying there if you are in the area.
Address: 3700 Woodstock Rd, White River Junction, VT 05001, USA
KOA Naples, ME
This KOA is among the best as well, the area is great, since it is located right between several lakes and ponds (Sebago Lake, Long Lake, Pleasant Lake, etc.). During the summer there are a lot of outdoor activities right around the corner. The campground itself is super nice and the owners are great. Since we arrived on the last day before they closed, we got a $15 reduction, even though we were able to use everything. The bathrooms are great, clean and heated as well. They recently added a whole new area with huge pull-through sites, new bathrooms and a playground. We only stayed one night, but I would love to come back during the summer and spent more time exploring the area.
Address: 295 Sebago Rd, Naples, ME 04055, USA
Bass Harbor Campground
During our two nights stay at Acadia Nationalpark, we booked the Bass Harbor Campground. The campground is nice, even though most of the sites are for smaller RV’s or tents. It is super close to the Bass Harbor Head Light (lighthouse) as well as two trails (Ship Harbor Trail and Wonderland Trail). If you want to know more about Acadia please take a look at the blog post 😊
During the summer month, the busses of the Nationalpark Service stop right in front of the campground, so you can just leave your RV there and explore the park with public transport. Since we were there after Columbus Day, we had to drive ourselves. The bathrooms are clean but not heated, which was a minor problem for us, since it was cold when we stayed there. The amenities (bathrooms, pool, etc.) seem a little out of date in general, but everything looked neat and clean.
Address: 342 Harbor Dr, Bass Harbor, ME 04653, USA
KOA Freeport Durham
This KOA was the least favorite campground on our trip, which doesn’t mean it was bad, but if you compare it to the others, it wasn’t in the same league. The campground is huge, but most sites are on and around an “open” field – no trees or bushes. Maybe this doesn’t bother others, but we prefer campgrounds either in the woods or at least close to one. Another downside for us: our water hose was not compatible to the water outlet on our site, so we couldn’t use the full-hook-up we payed for. The Wi-Fi is free, but you will need codes for every devise which they give you during check-in.
Address: 82 Big Skye Ln, Durham, ME 04222, USA
This campground was not on our list, but due to the one in Salem being fully booked, we decided to take a detour back to New Hampshire before heading down to Salem and Boston. Like mentioned above: a lot of campgrounds in New England will close mid-October, but Friendly Beaver is open all year round (they cut of the water during the fall and winter due to freezing). The campground is huge with lots of activities for kids and adults, including several pools and playgrounds. The bathrooms were clean and heated but the water pressure in the showers are low, so it takes a while to get the shampoo out of your hair. The sites are big but only a few of them are pull-through. It was rather expensive for only offering electricity due to the water being cut off (they had a dumping station right at the exit) but since it was the only one still open in the area, we basically had no choice. I’m not sure if it was because it was off-season, but a lot of the seasonal campsites looked a bit run down, which didn’t bother us much, since we only stayed one night. Downside: even though the prices were high, Wi-Fi is not included and is $5 extra, since we didn’t buy it, I can’t tell you anything about whether the connection is good or bad. I think it is ok for one or maybe two nights, but I wouldn’t want to stay longer.
Address: 88 Cochran Hill Rd, New Boston, NH 03070, USA
KOA Boston/Cape Cod
Yes, another KOA – we just loved the layout of most of them and they have several in New England. We got a campground book when we rented our RV, which showed us all KOA’s in the US and Canada – and remember, you get 10 % off every night you stay when rented from Cruise America. Another plus: the campground was just around the corner from the drop off of Cruise America. We stayed two nights while doing daytrips to Salem and Boston, went to Cape Cod for one night and then returned to the campground for our last night. The campground is huge, with lots of stuff to do for kids and adults (pool, basketball court, playgrounds, etc.). We were in the main area for the first night, which we didn’t like as much, since the sites are super close to each other and our neighbors were listening to loud music well past midnight. We were able to switch sites for the remaining two nights and booked in the upper area (H1 to H54), which was much better (more space and quieter). The only downside: there is only one bathhouse (except for the one at the pool) with only three showers for women. Since we were there during the off-season, it wasn’t very crowded, but might not be enough for the summer. The staff was super friendly. The campground is perfect, if you want to visit Boston, since the train station is only a few minutes away.
Address: 438 Plymouth St, Middleborough, MA 02346, USA
Atlantic Oaks RV Resort
The last campground on the list in the Atlantic Oaks RV Resort on Cape Cod. The campground is located within the Cape Cod Nationalpark and is close to the beach. The sites are all pull-through and full-hook-up with fire rings and picknick tables. The staff was very friendly, and you could watch Football in the “living room” of the office. The bathrooms and laundry rooms were clean and looked rather new or updated. If you are staying here, make sure to watch the sunset at Cooks Brook Beach (only 2 miles from the campground): it was one of the best or maybe even the best sunset I’ve ever seen in my life. I would totally recommend the campground, we will definitely come back if we are going to Cape Cod again.
Address: State, 3700 U.S. 6, Eastham, MA 02642, USA
All in all, we were super happy with the campgrounds we choose. Most of the campgrounds allow online pre-booking or you can call and reserve your site. Most of them also offer late-check-in, so if you have already booked your spot, they will deposit your map and info at the club house and you can check-in in the morning. Some of them also show free sites at the club house if you are coming past closing time but haven’t pre-booked – you will have to check-in in the morning as well. We really enjoyed out time in New England and having the freedom to stay at various places without having to pack and unpack every day. Especially with kids, an RV is an amazing way to explore the nature – sitting around the campfire at night, roasting cheese-hot-dogs and Marshmallows, it ain’t getting better than that! Because of the size, I wouldn’t recommend using it for visiting big cities.
If you have any questions or feedback please comment down below or contact me, I’m always looking forward to hearing other people’s experiences or answer questions.