Sometimes its great to camp with a bunch of family and friends in an action-packed park on a big lake or near popular hiking trails or tourist attractions. But sometimes, you might want to have more of a quiet camping experience.
You might be surprised to hear that you can usually find quiet - or more quiet - camping at most any park midweek, in May or June, or after Labor Day.
Some parks, though stand out as our favorites for quiet camping. These tend to be smaller parks that attract visitors of the quiet kind. Here are our top picks for quiet camping:
Knight Island and Woods Island State Parks are secluded islands in Lake Champlain. You can only get to these parks by boat - power boat, sail boat or canoe or kayak. Knight Island has seven secluded lean-to's and one campsite. Woods Island has five secluded campsites. These sites can be reserved in advance. Both islands have sweeping views and epic Lake Champlain sunsets. Both islands have a network of trails. If you ever wondered what it might be like to have your own island, these parks are for you and are well worth the challenge of getting there.
Big Deer and Ricker Pond State Parks: In the northeastern part of Vermont is the 26,000 acre Groton State Forest. Within the forest you will find six state parks, each with its own character. For quiet camping in the Forest, try Big Deer State Park, which is just across the road from the busy Stillwater campground. Because Big Deer isn't on the lake, it tends to be quiet, and the lean-to's and tent sites are situated in beautiful, mature woods. When you're ready for a swim, lake access is just a short drive or bike ride away. Ricker Pond state park, is a quaint little park located on, yep - Ricker Pond. You can access great biking from the Cross Vermont Trail which intersects the park. Loons and friendly mallards are park residents. In both parks you can access the multitude of trails, lakes and ponds of the Forest, or visit the Groton Forest Nature Center.
Seyon Lodge State Park: At the Southern edge of the Groton State Forest is the unique Seyon Lodge State Park. Its not a campground at all, but a lodge-style inn. Seyon Lodge is located on Noyes Pond, which is the only public trout fly fishing pond in Vermont. There is a trail around the lake, and again, access to all the forest's recreational opportunities. While you are staying in any Vermont State Park, you can visit all the others for no additional charge. The Lodge offers single and double room accommodations, serves fantastic home made meals with fresh Vermont ingredients and is a favorite for a peaceful getaway.
Brighton State Park: Way up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is Brighton State Park. The park actually has two distinct recreation areas: a large day use beach located on the large lake, Island Pond, and a quiet campground that surrounds the shores of Spectacle Pond. There are trails to hike around the lake, a hidden amphitheater, a beautiful campers beach, play areas and a nature museum.
D.A.R. State Park: In the western part of the state, on Lake Champlain is D.A.R. state park. Although it is on the lake, there is no swimming beach at this small park, which tends to be quiet. Situated on a bluff overlooking the lake is a beautiful stone picnic shelter with Adirondack chairs for you to sit back and enjoy the view. There are sweet lawns and this park has a huge population of cottontail rabbits. You can swim at the newly built pool at nearby Button Bay State Park. There is also great bike riding in the area.
Mt. Philo State Park: Mount Philo State Park, with its expansive view of the Champlain Valley is one of the most popular day use parks in the Vermont State Park system, but believe it or not - it is one of our most quiet campgrounds. There are only seven campsites and three lean-to's at this park, making it one of our smallest campgrounds. In the quiet of the evening, it is a special treat, especially in bright moonlight, to visit the top of the mountain and look down at the valley below.
Coolidge State Park: Located within the 21,500 acre Calvin Coolidge State Forest, Coolidge State Park is another park in our system that was constructed by the CCC. There still exists in the park the log lean-to's with handmade tables and stone fireplaces. The road to the park is too steep for large RV's, and because its not located on a lake, this park tends to be very quiet. Some of the lean-to's have the most magnificent views in the parks and are favorites, particularly during fall foliage season.
Townshend State Park: Another gem, this park is just down the road from busy Jamaica State Park. It too is a small park not suitable for RV's and has beautiful stone CCC era buildings. There are tent sites, tent platforms and a couple of lean-to's. Several streams run through the wooded park and the sound of trickling water and birdsong are prevalent. On Saturday night, the rangers Pat & Gary play guitar and welcome campers to participate in an open mike sing-a-long. On the river nearby, there is a covered bridge with rope swing, or you can visit the large Townshend Dam Recreation area, with large lake and beach run by the Army Corps. of Engineers. You can also take a trip to nearby Jamaica State Park and walk on the West River Rail Trail or the trail to Hamilton Falls.