Rolling forests, sandy beaches, and rural retreats give campers options in the Nutmeg State.
What it lacks in size—this tiny New England state is just 110 miles in length—Connecticut makes up for in landscapes and rural charm. Whether you’re hiking part of the Appalachian Trail or the New England National Scenic Trail, cycling or horseback riding through the state parks, or kayaking and paddleboarding at the beach, campers will find plenty to entice them out of the city. While summer sees Connecticut’s beach resorts brimming with vacationers, New England’s rolling woodlands and epic hikes are most spectacular in fall, when the countryside is ablaze with autumn colors.
The sweeping woodlands and patchwork slopes of the Litchfield Hills afford some of Connecticut’s most enchanting views. This is the spot for fall foliage walks, leisurely bike rides, and trout fishing along the Housatonic River. Hop between the chocolate-box villages of Kent, Cornwall Bridge, and Litchfield; dine at farm-to-table restaurants; then park your RV or pitch your tent at Lake Waramaug State Park, Housatonic Meadows State Park, or Macedonia Brook State Park.
A ferry ride from Long Island and a short drive from NYC, coastal Fairfield fills up with weekending New Yorkers come the summer months. Check into a beachside cabin or seafront RV park at beach resorts like Stamford, Bridgeport, and Fairfield, or head inland to hike in the hills, admire the mansion houses and golf courses of Greenwich, or go glamping in the woods.
While the state capital of Hartford is the biggest draw to Connecticut’s central region, pastoral farmlands, pretty villages, and state parks dot the banks of the Connecticut River Valley. The best camping options are in the state parks, whether you prefer a tranquil spot by the riverside in River Highlands State Park, boat-in camping at Selden Neck State Park, or exploring a medieval castle at Gillette Castle State Park.
Connecticut’s cultural capital and foodie hub, New Haven is famous for its prestigious museums, Yale University, and award-winning pizzerias. Hop between beach towns along the north shore of the Long Island Sound and you’ll find great family campgrounds, amusement parks, and sandy beaches, or pitch a tent right by the beach at Hammonasset Beach State Park. Further east, the white sand beaches of Rocky Neck State Park are a bird-watching hotspot, especially in spring.
You’ll find old-fashioned seaside resorts, and leafy country escapes in equal measures in south-eastern Connecticut’s Mystic Country. Once you’ve hit the beach and the seafront casinos, head inland to cruise the Thames River, drive the National Scenic Byway of Route 169, or fish and paddle at Mashamoquet Brook and Hopeville Pond state parks.