New England Camping For Novices - My Family Travels

Are you ready to join an experienced camper and learn how to make New England wilderness camping more fun with young kids? Hope so!

As a native of Boston, Massachusetts, I have often sought out more remote New England towns for a relaxing retreat from the city. However, it wasn’t until recent years that I began to cultivate an interest in all the outlets these places had to offer for nature enthusiasts.

Mohawk Trail State Forest in Massachusetts
Mohawk Trail State Forest in Massachusetts

A love for the mountainous landscapes in Western Massachusetts and New Hampshire developed into a true passion for nature, camping and outdoor adventure.

Whether a novice or veteran camping family, these tips are designed to help maximize your experience and increase your comfort in the backwoods of New England.

Camping Comfort: Creatures, Climate, Clothing & Gear

First, how are you traveling? Will your family be tucked into a large RV or carrying your own tents? We like our pop up camper because it’s small, will carry tents too, and they’re pretty inexpensive. Here are some pop up camper buying tips if you are considering one.

New England summers can be hot and humid, drawing mosquitoes to the cooler waterfront campgrounds that families favor. In spring and fall, however, pesky insects have mostly dwindled away, making camping much more enjoyable overall.

Nonetheless, due to the dramatic fluctuations in weather that characterize New England, it is best to play it safe and come prepared with a good bug spray and a citronella candle. Ticks do not pose a particular threat in the autumn season in either of these two areas, but it can’t hurt to wear a hat to prevent any stragglers from getting tangled in hair and consequently on the skin.

The key to a successful fall camping is layers. Bring a variety of clothing: tank tops, long sleeved shirts, sweatshirts and a thin, well insulated jacket. This is especially important for campers who plan to hike. Since the weather can change unpredictably and quickly, especially at higher altitudes, it is best to come prepared with a variety of clothing options.

The temperature in the woods can lower significantly at night all year round, so a sleeping bag that shields from colder temperatures is a must. If planning a trip towards the end of the season, long johns are a nice companion for sleepwear. A foam pad is well worth the small investment as it helps to create a comfortable sleeping surface and protects the body from the cold generated by the ground.

Choosing a Campground that Meets Your Needs

hiking in woods
Once you’re settled, head out for a hike to stretch your legs.

I reviewed two popular campsites, the Mohawk Trail State Forest in Massachusetts and the Lost River Valley Campgrounds in New Hampshire. The main difference between these two camping options, besides being in diverse parts of New England, is that one is an official Massachusetts State Park and the other is a privately owned campground.

This seemingly simple fact dictates the atmosphere of each place and the surrounding areas.

Mohawk Trail State Forest, a Massachusetts State Park

The Berkshires in general is a peaceful habitat for those seeking a slower pace. This is not to say that options are necessarily limited in this area, however, it is fair to say that families may benefit by planning in advance if they intend on participating in outdoor activities off the campground. Mohawk Trail State Forest is significantly smaller than Lost River, and with less people on the campground it is fairly quiet and relaxed.

Lost River Valley Campgrounds, New Hampshire

The larger facility at Lost River Valley Campgrounds has a distinctively energetic quality about it. With more people around, is easy for kids and adults of all ages to intermingle with each other and socialize. And if traveling with a large group, getting side by side campsites is a more likely option due to the number of spaces available. In turn, the White Mountains, while still a paradise for nature lovers, is more commercialized than the Berkshires and therefore more options are available to accommodate all personalities within a family dynamic.

Despite the differences in character, both campgrounds provide all the conveniences and essentials needed for a pleasant family retreat into the mountains.

In beautiful and scenic parts of New England they are places where memories are made and not soon forgotten. And if these destinations don’t appeal, check out camping options and other summer vacation ideas.

My Favorite Campfire Recipe

And we can’t forget the food!

Of course, S’mores are the classic camp dessert; but this quick and easy campfire recipe for Orange Essence Fudge Brownies is a fun alternative for families to make together.

1 Orange/Person
1 package No Pudge! Fat Free Brownie Mix
1 6 ounce container of vanilla yogurt
Walnuts (optional)

Carefully cut a circle about two inches in diameter at the top of an orange. Use a spoon to remove most of the fruit from the inside leaving a small layer of pulp.

Add a six ounce container of vanilla yogurt to a package of No Pudge! Brownie Mix and stir together.

Fill each orange with brownie mix and wrap tightly in aluminum foil.
Tip: Makes sure not to overfill the orange, leaving an inch or so of space for the brownie to expand.

Using a pair of long armed tongs, place the chocolate orange directly in the campfire in a spot where it can cook evenly on all sides for about 15 minutes.

Carefully remove the orange using the tongs. After letting it cool for a couple minutes, remove the aluminum foil and enjoy this orange infused chocolate treat.

Try adding walnuts, marshmallows, gummy bears or other kinds of candies to the batter. And remember that cooking time can be adjusted to achieve the proper level of gooiness.

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