Woods of New Hampshire

Trip Planning

Big City Escapes: Boston

For Boston locals, there are many amazing destinations to visit within a few hours of the city. Jeff Crider shares these spots along with what to see and where to stay while visiting.

RV enthusiasts who live in the greater Boston area have plenty of interesting educational, cultural and historical attractions in and around town. Founded in 1630, Boston is one of America’s oldest cities and figured prominently in the American Revolution. Boston is also home to many of the nation’s top universities, including Harvard and MIT. The city also has many world class museums and cultural attractions ranging from Fenway Park, America’s oldest baseball stadium, to the many culinary delights in Boston’s Italian quarter, which the locals refer to as “Little Italy.” And when it comes to U.S. history, it’s hard to beat Boston’s Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile walk with 16 historic sites that tell the story of the American Revolution.

Beyond all of these local attractions, however, Boston is a also convenient jumping off place to explore some of the most scenic and historically significant destinations in the New England. Iconic destinations in Cape Cod, southern Maine, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Newport, R.I. are just a few hours away, each offering enticing attractions for a midweek or weekend getaway or vacation. Here’s a sampling of easy trips from the greater Boston area along with campgrounds that can be used as base camps along the way:

Plymouth and Cape Cod

When traffic cooperates, it’s possible to make it from Boston to Cape Cod in just under two hours. History buffs will want to visit Plymouth, whose attractions include Plymouth Rock and the eye-opening Plimoth Plantation, which uses replicas of pilgrim homes, exhibits, native medicinal plants and actors in period attire to provide visitors with uniquely informative perspectives on what life was like for people who lived in Plymouth four centuries ago. Neighboring Cape Cod itself juts out into the Atlantic, offering a mix of quaint towns, beautiful beaches, bike trails and scenic landscapes. Cape Cod National Seashore offers 40 miles of pristine sandy beach, marshes, and ponds. Lighthouses and wild cranberry bogs offer a glimpse of Cape Cod's past and continuing ways of life.

(Photo courtesy of Cape Cod Chamber)

Cape Cod is also the jumping off point for short ferry trips to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Martha’s Vineyard, in fact, has an independently owned campground, Martha's Vineyard Family Campground, which has been owned and operated by the same family since 1972. Other campgrounds that can be used as base camps in the greater Plymouth and Cape Cod areas include:

Atlantic Oaks Campground in Eastham

Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Carver

Shady Knoll Campground in Brewster

Sun Retreats Peters Pond in Sandwich

Southern Maine

Driving northward from Boston through southern Maine is like driving into a national park with dense, green mature trees. The interior of Maine has scores of beautiful lakes for swimming, fishing, kayaking and other recreational activities — far too many to mention here. CampMaine.com, produced by the Maine Campground Owners Association, has some of the most detailed listings of independently owned and operated campgrounds, which complement the directories of government-run campgrounds provided by Maine's Bureau of Parks and Lands and other government websites. Maine’s coastline is also blessed with quaint towns and islands just off the coast, many of which are great destinations for mid-week or weekend escapes. Examples include:

Wells: VisitMaine.com has identified more than 40 attractions in Wells, including Wells Beach, the city’s many antique stores and seafood restaurants as well as the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in the 1960s to preserve migratory bird habitat and waterfowl migration routes associated with southern Maine's coastal estuaries. Nearby campgrounds include:

Ocean View Cottages and Campground

Sea Vu Campground

Thousand Trails Moody Beach

(Photo courtesy of Visit Maine)

Old Orchard Beach: This coastal town is another great place for fishing and lobster tours, great seafood and simply relaxing on the beach. VisitMaine.com highlights things to do, including taking canoeing and kayaking tours on the Saco River. Local area campgrounds include:

Paradise Park Resort Campground in Old Orchard Beach

Sun Outdoors Old Orchard Beach

Portland and Kennebunkport: VisitPortland.com highlights the many beaches, seafood restaurants, and historical attractions that make the greater Portland area a great destination. Attractions include the Portland Headlight. Originally built in 1791, the Portland Headlight is a fully-functioning lighthouse that overlooks the Gulf of Maine. Other Portland area attractions include cruises where you can go fishing for lobster, the historic shipbuilding town of Kennebunkport, where former President George H.W. Bush lived for many years in a seaside home, and the sandy beaches of Kennebunk. Nearby campgrounds include:

Red Apple Campground in Kennebunkport

Sandy Pines Campground in Kennebunkport

Wassamki Springs Campground in Scarborough

Georgetown Island: Just an hour’s drive northeast of Portland is Georgetown Island, another getaway destination that is home to Sagahadoc Bay Campground, which offers a mix of rustic campsites in the forest along with a few waterfront RV sites. Although Eric and Pat Kosalka built this campground in 1997, the forested, waterfront land where they built their park has been in Eric’s family since 1650, making it one of the oldest privately owned campground properties in the United States. The scenic campground, which has the rustic, natural look of a state park campground, offers spacious RV and tent sites as well as park model RV rentals. The waterfront RV sites overlook Sagahadoc Bay, which rises and falls dramatically with the tides. 

Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park

The challenge with exploring the coast of Maine, of course, is knowing when to stop as it will be hard to resist the temptation of venturing further north to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. But for those who do, there are plenty of campgrounds from which to choose, including:

Narrows Too Camping Resort in Trenton

Smuggler's Den Campground in Southwest Harbor

Wild Acadia Camping Resort in Bar Harbor

The coast of Maine is also famous for its historic lighthouses. VisitMaine.com has a locator map that can help you find more than 60 of Maine’s historic lighthouses, many of which are open to the public. 

The White Mountains of New Hampshire

One of New Hampshire’s most popular hiking destinations is Mt. Washington State Park, a 60.3-acre parcel perched on the summit of the Northeast's highest peak, 6,288-foot Mount Washington. On a clear day, views from Mount Washington’s summit extend more than 100 miles into Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Quebec, and even as far away as the Atlantic Ocean. For those looking for an easier way to get to the top, there is the historic Mount Washington Cog Railway, the first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world. With an average grade of 25%, and some sections approaching nearly 38%, it is also the second steepest cog railway. Mt. Washington is surrounded by the extensive 750,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. White Mountain National Forest is filled with hiking, kayaking, fishing, boating and other recreational opportunities. History buffs will also be intrigued with a visit to the historic Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, where officials from United States and 43 other nations gathered in 1944 for meetings in that led to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund, new foreign exchange policies and agreements that set the stage for the reconstruction and new development after World War II. Nearby campgrounds include:

Ammonoosuc Campground in Twin Mountain

Twin Mountain / Mount Washington KOA Holiday in Twin Mountain

(Photo courtesy of New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism)

Newport, Rhode Island

While Boston and Cape Cod offer numerous opportunities to explore some of this country’s earliest history, some of the most famous mansions of the Gilded Age are clustered together in Newport, R.I., roughly two hours directly south of Boston. Newport is home to several of the Vanderbilt family mansions, including

Marble House, built in 1892, and The Breakers, built in 1895, which is considered to be the grandest of Newport’s summer mansions. Tours are available to visit more than 14 mansions in the Newport area, including The Elms, the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York, which was modeled after the mid-18th century French chateau d'Asnieres (c.1750) outside Paris. Other attractions in Newport include the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk, which offers views of the summer mansions of some of America’s wealthiest families on one side, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Nearby campgrounds include:

Newport RV Park in Portsmouth

Paradise Park RV Campground in Middleton

Second Beach Family Campground in Middleton

(Photo courtesy of Cape Cod Chamber)

Jeff Crider


Jeff Crider, President and CEO of Crider Public Relations, has been involved in covering the campground industry for over 25 years. Jeff has worked as a freelance writer for publications such as RV Business, Motor Home Magazine, Trailer Life, Highways and other Affinity Group Inc. publications since 1995. He has also successfully pitched many of the nation's top tier media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Financial Times, Reuters, The Associated Press and National Public Radio. In addition to writing, Jeff is also a talented photographer and humanitarian.