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These Traditional Camping Destinations Have Something For Everyone

  • 3 min to read
These Traditional Camping Destinations Have Something For Everyone

For biking: River Highlands State Park, Cromwell 

This 177-acre state park offers breathtaking waterfront views perfect for hiking, biking and traditional camping. Several trails that range in difficulty guide hikers across bridges and streams, and miles of waterfront bluffs near 130 feet at their highest point. New mountain biking trails have opened in recent years, including in the park’s northern region. Steeped in rich local history, River Highlands also has a unique geological feature called the “blowhole,” a great spot to observe wind patterns and their sounds echoing off the bluff rockface. — NG  203-287-5658, ct.gov/deep/riverhighlands

Rollin’ on the river: Steep Rock Preserve, Washington

This stunning preserve has three campsites on the banks of the Shepaug River. Each is eye catching, but they are a far cry from the amenities of glamping or even some standard campgrounds. Cars can’t access the campsites. There is no potable water, so campers must bring their own. There are two outhouses but toilet paper is not provided. Those who endure this rustic living are rewarded with a stay in a truly beautiful part of the state. — EO  860-868-9131, steeprockassoc.org

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Hidden Acres Family Campground, Preston

It might not be glamping, but eight of Connecticut’s state parks and forests have rustic cabins for rent that will put you right in the middle of some of the state’s most beautiful natural settings. 

Pet friendly: Hidden Acres Family Campground, Preston

Family owned since 1972, Hidden Acres Family Campground is a hidden gem alongside the Quinebaug River with a lot to offer. On-site volleyball, shuffleboard, bingo, badminton and horseshoes are available. There is also an in-ground pool, general store, showers and laundromat. For those traveling with four-legged family members, Hidden Acres allows dogs. They are welcome throughout the grounds on a leash, and the shallow river is a fun play area for both kids and furry friends. — ALB  860-887-9633, hiddenacrescamp.com

For music lovers: Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival, Goshen

If camping is more about the experience than just the accommodations for you, think about VIP packages to summer music events, like the Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival. This fest will be pickin’ out tunes for its 23rd year in Goshen from Aug. 8-11, and offers VIP packages including camping with electricity, hospitality room with lunch and dinner daily, and front-row tickets with souvenir seats which are yours to take home. Add special meet-and-greets with musicians, a complimentary CD, and artists performing on two stages daily, and it just may be the summer experience of your year. — JG  860-506-5747, podunkbluegrass.com

Devils Hopyard State Park, East Haddam - Credit Sivarajakumar Janarthanam_no exp.jpg

Devils Hopyard State Park, East Haddam

To see a waterfall: Devil’s Hopyard State Park, East Haddam

With 21 campsites available, Devil’s Hopyard State Park offers the perfect weekend reprieve from 9-5 life. Birding, hiking, picnicking and biking are just a few of the activities you can participate in here. The focal point of the park is Chapman Falls, which drop more than 60 feet. Water cascades over a series of steps known as a “Scotland Schist Stone Formation.” The clear stream water is also perfect for trout fishing. — NG  860-526-2336, ct.gov/deep/devilshopyard

For the kiddos: Charlie Brown Campground, Eastford

Lucy won’t pull the football away when you run up to this Quiet Corner getaway. Nature is all around you, with nearby Natchaug State Forest, stocked trout streams, and a swimming hole at the head of the Natchaug River. Thirty manicured acres is the setting for 85 oversize campsites and a recreation hall with a stone fireplace and full kitchen available to rent for functions. Activities include barbecues, moon bounces, pony rides and horseshoe tournaments. — MW  860-974-0142, charliebrowncampground.com

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The Riga Lean-to Campsite in Salisbury sits near the Massachusetts line.

Head to the hills: Riga Lean-to Campsite, Salisbury

A short hike from Mt. Washington Road to Riga transports campers to a new world. Get your camera ready for views of expansive vistas of the valley beyond. A sturdy lean-to sleeps six, and there is an outhouse nearby. The campsite is free but doesn’t take reservations, so be ready to pitch a tent if the lean-to is occupied. Mount Riga State Park also offers hunting opportunities and access to the historic Appalachian Trail. — ALB

Lush landscapes: Macedonia Brook State Park, Kent

The 2,300-acre state park is an exquisite traditional camping location. It is known for its unique terrain, consisting of rocky hiking trails that open up to vast, flourishing fields. The Blue Trail crosses Cobble Mountain and several other peaks, offering incredible views of western mountain ranges such as the Taconic and Catskills in New York state. Numerous springs and streams add to the pleasure of hiking, and seasonal tent camping is peaceful and serene. — NG  860-927-3238, ct.gov/deep/macedoniabrook

This article appeared in the May 2019 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale here. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.