Fitness

Book a Camping Trip at One of These Fitness-Forward New England Campsites

Grab your tent and your sleeping bag, but don’t leave your exercise routine at home: These New England sites offer ways to get your workout in as you camp out.


tully lake

Tully Lake Campsite / Photo credit R. Smith

Amidst all of the BBQs and beach days, your fitness habits can sometimes be forgotten between that second hot dog and additional visit to the beer cooler. Think of channeling your inner kid this summer and book a couple of days at any one of these New England campgrounds. In addition to offering stunning vistas, each one promises opportunities to get your heart rate up, whether it’s hiking, swimming, biking, or even yoga classes and bouldering. Spend your afternoons working up a sweat and nights with campfire s’mores will be that much sweeter.

For the Athlete

Pinewood Lodge

Turn your relatives and friends into fierce competitors at Pinewood Lodge, which has been operated by the same family for over two hundred years. Aim for nothing-but-net on the basketball court or impossible-to-return spikes over the volleyball net. Don’t worry about bringing equipment–everything is available for rent at the lodge. Cool off in between games in the adjoining lake and celebrate your victory at the park’s on-site bar. Too exhausted to set up a tent after all that competition? Rent one of the facility’s three rustic cottages. Cabins begin at $126 per night or pay $39 a night for a campsite with no hookups.

190 Pinewood Rd., Plymouth, pinewoodlodge.com.

Tully Lake

Tully Lake / Photo Credit J. Monkman

For the Hiker

Tully Lake Campground

Make sure your hiking boots fit in your backpack when planning for your weekend getaway to Tully Lake, because what’s on your back is all you’ve got for your weekend getaway at this tent-only site. Advanced hikers will want to plan a two-day trip to conquer the entire 22 mile Tully Trail loop, which begins at the campground and passes by scenic waterfalls and breathtaking views of the North Quabbin region from the Tully Mountain. Less adventurous hikers can stick to the 7.5 mile route around nearby Long Pond. You’ll make it back in time to set up camp for the night on the shores of the lake. Camp sites start at $24 per night.

25 Doane Hill Rd., Royalston, thetrustees.org.

For the Biker

Nickerson State Park

It is possible to bike the entire 22-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail and back in one day. But if you camp at Nickerson State Park, located about eleven miles from the South Dennis trailhead, you have the option to bike for however long you like. Take your time and enjoy the ride through six different Cape towns which, in addition to boasting scenic views of sand dunes, cranberry bogs and salt marshes, provides ample opportunities for lobster rolls, Atlantic Ocean dips, and strolls through charming downtowns. No matter how long you spend on the trail, you can look forward to unwinding back at your campsite with a refreshing swim in one of the eight nearby fresh water ponds, and then enjoying a sunset from your perch in one of the campground’s yurts, or from your own tent, at one of the 400 campsites available on the 1,900-acre property. Starting at $22 per night.

3488 Main St., Brewster, reserveamaerica.com.

For the Mountain Climber

Gilson Pond

History buffs and hikers alike will enjoy a weekend camping at Gilson Pond and climbing Mount Monadnock, revered by canonical transcendentalists Emerson, Thoreau and Fuller and said to be one of the most climbed mountains in the world (second to Japan’s Mount Fuji). Select one of the 35 campsites at the campground, which features new bathhouses and a playground for the kiddos. Experienced climbers can walk the two miles and connect to the White Dot trail, the most direct and also steepest route to the summit at 1.9 miles. There is also a path, albeit longer, directly from Gilson Pond up to the summit. Less skilled hikers can tackle the shorter hikes around Monadnock State Park or walk the Pond Loop Trail that encircles Gilson Pond. Starting at $25 per night.

585 Dublin Rd, Jaffrey, NH, 603-532-2416, nhstateparks.org.

For the Tennis Player

Fisherman’s Memorial State Park

Tennis fans will love that this campground, described as a “quaint seaside village,” with sites nestled among tree-lined paths in Point Judith, is just a short drive from the International Tennis Hall of Fame in nearby Newport. The museum has over 1,900 artifacts of tennis history displayed, including photos, videos, and uniforms on beautiful 7 acre grounds that include outdoor manicured grass courts. After an inspiring self-guided tour, head to Fisherman’s, grab your racket and play a game or two on the site’s tennis courts. The well-kept grounds are also host to a farmer’s market on summer weekends. Tent-only sites starting at $25 per night.

1011 Point Judith Rd, Narragansett, RI, 401-789-8374, riparks.com.

Kripalu Yoga center

Kripalu / Image provided

For the Yogi

October Mountain State Forest

Get some serious tech detox time in the Berkshires with summer days spent at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and balmy nights relaxing under the stars at the October Mountain State Forest. Boasting forty-seven sites, the campground also offers three yurts for rent on their expansive grounds within Massachusetts’ largest state forest. Just a 13-minute drive away is Kripalu, where a $135 day pass will gain you access to all that the center has to offer: three full meals, participation in workshops with topics that cover everything from meditation to coping with loss, amenities including a sauna, lakefront beach and bookshop, and ticketed evening events in addition to a full day of yoga classes at all levels. Tent-only sites starting at $17 per night.

317 Woodland Rd., Lee, 412-243-1778, mass.gov.

Smugglers Notch

Smugglers Notch State Park Campground / Photo Credit Jesse Keck

For the Rock Climber

Smugglers Notch

If you’ve been practicing all winter long at one of the city’s indoor climbing gyms, it’s time to put those new climbing skills to the test on real rocks. Smugglers Notch, in Stowe, Vermont, lined with 1,000-foot cliffs, provides ample opportunity. From the 188 listed climbs in the notch, almost half of them are suitable for bouldering for all ability levels. Be sure to save some energy after tiring your muscles attempting various graded climbs, because the narrow road to the campsite is accessible by foot only. Arriving will be worth the journey–the updated campground features a new restroom facility that uses alternative energy and sites that are further spaced out. If you feel up to it, head to the nearby Bingham Falls. Feeling totally depleted? Maybe opt for one of the fourteen lean-to sites and forgo setting up a tent. Tent-only sites starting at $18 per night.

6443 Mountain Rd., Stowe, VT, vtstateparks.com.