Or not... lets get into our Four Wheel Camper and hit the road! Seriously, for all you tent campers... keep it up. I applaud you. I can count the number of times I tent camped...6 times. Yes. SIX. Once involved an air mattress. 2-3 involved a cot tent. I just have no desire to sleep on the cold, hard, rocky, bumpy, lumpy ground while unable to get comfortable, wide awake, all while my husband lays there, out cold, farting the whole night. Not fun.
I was not raised a camper. I grew up on a farm, in central Maryland, and so I felt like my whole life was one big camping trip, with farm animals, vegetables gardens, and a bed at night. I was outside most of my childhood, doing farm work, or playing in the woods (or cornfields...) and so I didn't ever understand camping. Pack up a bunch of stuff and do all this work to go live in the woods (and sleep on the ground) when I could practically live in the woods every day and sleep in my bed? I think not. I used to be a beach bum... vacations down at the ocean every year. But then I traveled cross country with Brock, and realized how much I was missing by spending my free time at the beach. And I didn't hate our way of travel, I just hated sleeping in a tent (which we rarely did). So our Four Wheel Camper is THE BEST THING EVER because
1) I don't have to sleep on the ground
2) We can cook inside if we want (remember? I'm a mosquito magnet)
3) It doesn't get damp and cold like a tent... in fact, it has a heater!
4) It is easy and quick to set up and tear down.
So instead of In-Tents... lets get intense with camping! I want to post about our various campground we visited throughout New England last month. Some we loved, and some not so much. And for once, we didn't sleep at one Wal-Mart the whole way.
Day 1: Buck MotorSports Park, PA
NOT AN ACTUAL CAMPGROUND! If you follow us on Instagram (@theadventuresofrubyd) you know this already, but Brock's dad is good friends with the owner of "The Buck" and he (the owner) happily let us park there for free that first night. This means a few things: no other campers, wide open spaces, and no bathrooms/showers. Fortunately, while I hate sleeping on the ground, I have no problems popping a squat to pee. Perfect for a free night, and so much better than a Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, that is the night of the Great Camper Flood of 2017 (see Almost Leaf Peepers blog post) and so it wasn't an easy night, but it wasn't due to the campground. Ruby skipped showering and bathing, and had a bit of fussing to fall asleep, but it only took her 45 minutes or so. If we were passing through and the owners were kind enough to let us stay again, we definitely would.
For this price, we loved this campground. There was a beach area, a playground, and these cool camping platforms, for tents (wooden platforms raised off the ground for nice smooth sleeping...still hard, still cold, but minus the lumps and bumps). Showers were included in that price, and they were non-gender specific bathrooms, which is GREAT for us, because then Brock can be in there helping me with Ruby. It was a pretty campground, and fairly clean (save for the water ballon scraps Ruby found... because Ruby can find all the trash, even the tiniest pieces) and we really enjoyed our stay there. Would we stay again? Yes! It is a great spot northwest of NYC, for those of you who avoid I-95, and was our cheapest campground. It did, like most East Coast parks, have inconvenient dumpsters. There were bear warning signs everywhere, but the only dumpsters were located in a central area, near the registration site. Most parks we have camped at on the East Coast have this as their set up, which we find annoying, and not very conducive to keeping a clean camp.
Cost: approximately $30
We LOVED this campground. It was so CLEAN! No trash, and pretty empty (we were there on a Tuesday night in August....) and so quiet! It was our favorite of the whole trip, and the only way it could be better was to have a playground. Showers, convenient dumpsters, big wonderful pine trees, plenty of room for Ruby to run... we highly recommend this campground. Bathrooms were gender specific, so showering was trickier... one of our methods was for me to shower first, walk out in a towel, collect Ruby, and then shower her, and then both of us get dried and dressed. That was the method we used here. Ruby got really good at campground showering, even enjoying it and asking to do it again! Good thing she has little crocs to wear in the showers!
Day 4: Nickerson State Park, MA
Cost: I can't remember exactly. I found online that it was $35, but I felt like it was closer to $50, so there may have been an entrance fee.
Over priced, but we were on Cape Cod, so it was understandable. A fantastic playground area, which Ruby loved, but the park was pretty crowded (also understandable). Gender specific showers/bathrooms, so this time, we employed method 2: Ruby and I showered her off first, I gave her to Brock to get ready for bed, and finished my own shower alone. Sometimes I just need a long camp shower, you know? This campground had one major flaw: POISON IVY. Our site especially had it EVERYWHERE, and while camping, we generally let Ruby wander a bit and play, this was more difficult due to the poison, and we had to keep a hawks eye on her. I would NOT recommend it to someone who is severely allergic. Fortunately, the three of us came away with no poison! Would we stay again? Probably not. But it allowed us to get out to the national seashore, so it was good for our needs.
Day 5: Wompatuck State Park, MA
We really enjoyed this campground too! Only like 40 minutes south of Boston, we found it to be incredibly clean, conveniently located, a great price, and huge beautiful campsites with plenty of room to roam (with a lot less poison!). We would definitely camp here again. Convenient dumpsters, decent (gender specific) bathrooms/showers, and beautiful old towering pines that smelled amazing. However... no playground. Poor Ruby... had to play with rocks and dirt and sticks instead.
Cost: $26 (with water and electric)
Well... this was a great price for a spot that included water and electric. It was also cool, because we met up with Seattle friends Clay and Bree and their two adorable girls, Gemma and Roxie, and Ruby LOVED LOVED LOVED playing with them! However, it was kind of an RV park, and we felt a touch out of place. There were new amazing (and cheap) washer/dryers for campers to use, so that was a nice perk too. Showers, but no playground. Camp office hours were only 9am-4pm, so it wasn't easy to pay for our site: we arrived around 5pm, and left around 8:30am, so we slipped a check under the door. This camp is only available to military and their families. While it felt like an RV park, they did have some tent sites too. Only 35-45 minutes north of Boston, the location was perfect.
Day 7: Camden Hills State Park
Well this was an expensive surprise. It was the perfect location for our road trip plans, but wow... what a price! It was a mediocre campground, clean, gender neutral showers (which were actually pretty nice) and only a few swings, no playground, but it felt like a lot of money for us to park and sleep there and be there for approximately 15 hours. This was also the campground where Ruby got her tick bite, so that wasn't too fun. Overall, not a bad campground, and they seemed to have some local hiking, so might be worth checking out. We would maybe stay again, or maybe find a Wal-Mart instead... it depends on when we last showered!
An expensive campground for no shower, but it supported the National Parks, so we were OK with that. Pretty campground, and nice and clean. We tried to keep our kid a bit cleaner, since no shower, but that is tough. We also could walk to the shore, and explore a bit, which was nice.
Also no showers, but they were within biking distance. Too bad we didn't take our bikes! We enjoyed this campground too, for the time we were there.
Day 10: Salisbury Beach Campgrounds, MA
Well... we practically paid $50 to camp in a Wal-Mart with showers. Seriously. It was RV central... and everyone looked like they were parked for the summer. The beach was nice, and Ruby and I enjoyed that, and the play ground was top notch, BUT...we were surrounded by RVers. Which is great... we applaud you, you RV readers, but the neon glow from the pink flamingos in the site across from us kept me up for a minute that night. Flags hung from trees, lights and lawn ornaments adorned the campsites, and we felt like ... well... out of place. I should have brought some decorations for us to feel a bit more in place! Expensive, but at least we finally had a shower.
Day 11: Spruce Run Campgrounds, NJ
For our last campground, we LOVED this one! There was some litter, but it had multiple playgrounds, gender neutral bathrooms, convenient dumpsters, a beach area... everything we could want! It was a good last night on our trip, and a great location for our stopping point.
All campground reviews are based on our personal experience, and we are not being paid to write these reviews. Go out, and get intense with nature... or in-tents... whatever your preference. Do it, before winter comes! Adventure on, my friends!
Let me know... where is your favorite spot to camp in New England??? Do RV, tent camp, or something in between?
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