The Ultimate Guide to RV Camping in Massachusetts

Travel Inspiration

In our opinion, the very best way to see New England is via RV, and the state of Massachusetts is no exception. Taking an RV allows you to hop from one place to another and really take in all the beauty and history the area has to offer. In fact, some RV enthusiasts might even go so far as to say RV camping in Massachusetts is the only way to see the state properly!

All that said, there are some things you’ll want to know before RV camping in Massachusetts. That’s where this article comes into play. From where to stay to what to do, we’ve collected all the info you’ll need to plan your trip in the guide below. 

Preparing for RV Camping

First things first, the prep work. You’ll need an RV of course, and you’ll need to load that RV up with all the gear you need for a safe and successful camping trip. Have your own RV? That’s great—use that! However, those who don’t have an RV should look into a Massachusetts RV rental

Choosing the Right RV for Your Needs

Okay, so you need to rent an RV. But how do you know which RV to rent? With so many choices, it can be overwhelming for sure. 

We recommend starting by asking yourself whether you prefer to drive the RV yourself or have someone deliver it for you. If delivery is preferred you’ll narrow your options a bit, since not all RVs are deliverable. Meanwhile, those who want to drive the RV themselves will limit themselves to a motorhome—unless, of course, they have a truck large enough to safely tow a trailer. 

Other factors to consider when choosing a rental RV include the size of the rig (it needs to be both small enough for your campsite and big enough for comfort), sleeping spaces, and of course, any included amenities. 

Packing Essentials for a Successful Trip

Some rental RVs come equipped with many camping essentials. Others will include nothing at all. Find out what your RV rental includes so you know what you do and don’t need to pack.

The packing list below is basic, but will help get you started:

  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • First aid kit
  • Bug spray and sunscreen 
  • Tools
  • Entertainment (books, games, movies, toys for kids)
  • Outdoor recreation gear
  • Electronics and chargers
  • Pots, pans, and dishes
  • Paper towels
  • Groceries
  • Flashlights
  • Folding chairs
  • Bed sheets
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Pet gear
  • RV leveling blocks
  • Sewer hose and adapter
  • Freshwater hose
  • RV surge protector

Of course, there are plenty of other items you may want to pack. For more suggestions, check out this RV packing list.

Road in Massachusetts

Considerations for Camping in Massachusetts

Every state has its own set of laws surrounding RVing. In Massachusetts the laws are pretty basic, but it’s still a good idea to go over them before you cross state lines, as you definitely wouldn’t want your trip ruined by a traffic ticket. 

The total length of any rig (including tow vehicle) driving in Massachusetts should not exceed 65 feet. Trailer length should be 33 feet or shorter, and motorhome length should be 45 feet or shorter. No RV may be more than 8.5 feet wide and 13.5 feet high.

Planning to tow a trailer behind your trailer? Unfortunately for that plan, this is not allowed in Massachusetts. Additionally, sleeping in state rest areas is prohibited where posted. Lastly, LP gas is not allowed between Boston and east Boston, in the Sumner and Callahan tunnels, or in the Prudential and Dewey Square tunnels. 

Lastly, we must mention the fact that driving an RV through any New England state is a little bit tricky thanks to very crowded roadways that often have tight turns and narrow lanes. Parking can also be a problem, as many lots are on the smaller side. Pay attention and take it slow when driving your rig in order to stay safe. 

Finding Campgrounds

Ready to find a place to park while RV camping in Massachusetts? Lucky for you, there are lots of great options. From luxury campgrounds and urban RV parks to rustic state park campgrounds in the middle of nowhere, there is a campsite for everyone in this amazing state. 

Exploring Public Campgrounds in Massachusetts

First on the docket: Massachusetts’ public camping options. These include state park campgrounds as well as camping areas run by the National Parks Service. They are perfect for those who like roughing it in the wilderness while enjoying some beautiful views. 

National Park Camping

While Massachusetts does not have any full-fledged national parks, it is home to a number of sites run by the National Parks Service. One of these is the beautiful Cape Cod National Seashore.

There are several RV camping options in Cape Cod, but most of these are privately run RV parks or state park campgrounds. If you wish to spend your trip in an NPS-run camping area, you will need to head to one of the beaches that allow free dry camping. These are amazing and allow you to camp right by the water, but you will want to make sure you understand how to drive on sand and how to park safely before you go. 

There are also camping options at the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, but since these campgrounds are on islands, they are only for tent campers. 

State Park Camping

As far as Massachusetts state parks go, we have to recommend Wompatuck State Park near Hingham and not too far from Boston. This beautiful park boasts 250 campsites, and 140 of them offer RV electrical hookups. Here you’ll find amazing hiking and mountain biking opportunities as well as some gorgeous scenery. 

Wells State Park in Sturbridge is another great pick. This park is beautifully forested with 12 miles of trails that are used for hiking, cycling, and more. There is a pond onsite for fishing, and the camping area offers 60 sites for tents and RVs alike. 

Exploring Private Campgrounds and RV Parks

Of course, the state’s private RV parks are also amazing options. From simple campgrounds that provide basic amenities such as hookups and dump stations to full-fledged glamping resorts, you will absolutely find an awesome private RV park that makes you happy. 

Spacious Skies Minuteman Campground is our top pick. This RV park is located in the historic town of Littleton and is near two national historic parks. It has a pool and a playground as well as two dog runs to keep the pups happy. 

Another great option? Boston Minuteman Campground. This one is located in the Boston area for quick and easy access to all the city’s attractions. A swimming pool, sports courts, and playgrounds will keep the whole family smiling while you stay in this awesome place. 

Boondocking in Massachusetts

Massachusetts boondocking is, of course, a valid option as well. Boondocking works well for those who need to save a bit of money, as well as campers who prefer to stay out in the wilderness with no one else around. 

The spots in Cape Cod National Seashore that we mentioned above are some of the best boondocking spots in the state. We also love the dry camping at Mount Grey lock State Recreation Area and Mount Everett State Recreation Area. 

Researching Campground Options and Making Reservations

The options above are fantastic, but are far from the only options in the state. For even more amazing Massachusetts campsites, check out BookOutdoors, The Dyrt, RoverPass, and Campspot. You might also look into Hipcamp and Harvest Hosts. These websites/services list a wide variety of campgrounds and even allow you to book online. 

Downtown Boston

Planning Your Itinerary

At this point, it’s time to plan your itinerary. Fortunately, it’s not hard to find things to do in Massachusetts. From the busyness of Boston and Cambridge to the relaxed and beautiful natural areas, there really is an attraction for every person and every occasion. Hopefully, the info below will help make your planning a breeze. 

Features and Attractions in Massachusetts

We highly recommend driving one of Massachusetts’ scenic byways when you arrive there. This will allow you to see a lot of the state’s beauty and will give you time to settle in. One of our favorites is the 24-mile-long Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, but any one you choose is sure to be great!

We also highly recommend making time for some of Massachusetts’ landmarks. These include Edith Warton’s home (“The Mount”) as well as the House of Seven Gables in Salem. The USS Constitution and Old State House in Boston are also worth seeing. 

Of course, some national park sites must also make it onto your to-do list. As mentioned above, Massachusetts is home to several of them, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one. We recommend the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

Festivals, Fairs, and Events in Massachusetts

Attending an event is a great way to make any trip a bit more exciting. This is just as true when RV camping in Massachusetts as it is during any other trip.

Some of the best annual events in Massachusetts include the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston during March, the Barnstable County Fair in Cape Cod during July, the Boston Marathon in Boston during April, and the Lowell Folk Festival in Lowell during July. 

Exploring Outdoor Activities

Getting outside is a must while in Massachusetts. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation and reconnect with nature while in the state. Whether you prefer cycling, hiking, kayaking, or fishing, you’re gonna find some way to enjoy the great outdoors during your getaway!

Hiking, Biking and Nature Trails

Is hiking your passion? Maybe cycling is more your thing? Either way, you’ll be pleased to learn that Massachusetts offers plenty of awesome trails that allow both hikers and cyclists to get out and explore nature.

If you’re a hiker, try out the following trails:

Meanwhile, cyclists should take a look at the trails below:

None of these seem like your kind of thing? That’s okay! Just head over to AllTrails, put in your own search criteria, and see what other gems the site pulls up for you.

Fishing, Boating, and Water Activities

Water always makes spending time outdoors just a little bit more fun. Fortunately, Massachusetts is home to plenty of bodies of water. Whether you enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, or kayaking, you’ll find opportunities for water recreation in Massachusetts. 

Let’s start by discussing the many fishing spots in Massachusetts. One of our favorite spots is Pontoosuc Lake just north of Pittsfield. This lovely lake offers smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, northern pike, and more. We also think Long Pond (located just 30 minutes from Plymouth) is an excellent spot. Here you’ll find some of the biggest largemouth bass in the state!

Want to go for a swim or relax in the sunshine? The beach is for you, and luckily, Massachusetts has a few great ones. Crane Beach is a gorgeous ocean beach just south of the New Hampshire border. We also love Wingaersheek Beach where you will find some excellent tidepooling. Of course, there is also Singing Beach where the sands actually sound as though they are singing to you.

Plan to go chasing waterfalls? You’re in luck because Massachusetts is also home to some great falls! Bush Bash Falls is found right near the New York border and is a gorgeous 200-foot cascade. We also love Wahconah Falls in Wahconah Falls State Park near Pittsfield. 

Wildlife Viewing and Photography

Hoping to see some animals during your time in Massachusetts? You’ll want to keep your eyes peeled while in the state parks, as well as at the Cape Cod National Seashore, as you might just catch a glimpse of deer, bears, snakes, sea lions, and more. 

Want even more great wildlife viewing opportunities? Head to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge!

Family-Friendly Activities and Attractions

If you’re visiting the state with kids in tow, you may be wondering what to do with the little ones while you’re there. Honestly, even the youngest travelers would likely enjoy many of the options listed so far, but below we’ve offered some suggestions with the kids in mind. 

Historical Sites and Museums

We always like to try squeezing a bit of learning into our family trips. In Massachusetts, this is easy to do thanks to the many amazing historic sites and museums. 

Adams National Historical Park offers a fantastic history lesson, as does Boston National Historical Park. Meanwhile, we love Old Sturbridge Village Living History Museum in Sturbridge, the Boston Museum of Science in Boston, and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem for even more awesome roadschooling opportunities. 

Amusement Park, Zoos, and Wildlife Refuges

For even more family fun, look no further than the local amusement parks. Massachusetts has a few awesome amusement parks, and visiting any one of these is sure to result in fond memories. We especially love Six Flags New Engle, which has something for everyone. 

Finally, we must mention zoos as great kid-friendly attractions. The best zoo in Massachusetts is likely the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. However, we also love Stone Zoo in Stoneham and Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon. 

Jellyfish: watch out for these while RV camping in Massachusetts on the beach

Safety and Preparedness when RV Camping in Massachusetts

It’s smart to go into any trip prepared for potential problems, and a trip spent RV camping in Massachusetts is no exception. Besides the usual packing of a first aid kit and the practice of driving safely, you’ll also want to prepare for the potential of natural disasters and wildlife encounters. Here’s what you need to know. 

Weather Conditions and Natural Disaster Preparedness

Blizzards and freezing rain are two of the most common natural disasters in Massachusetts. For this reason, we highly recommend that all RVers avoid traveling the state during the winter months. If you do have to travel to Massachusetts during the winter, be sure you are prepared with winter camping tips and gear. 

Another common natural disaster in Massachusetts? Flooding. Coastal areas are vulnerable to storm surges and tidal flooding, and inland areas can see flooding from snow melt and heavy rains, which can cause flash floods. 

To stay safe from flooding in Massachusetts, avoid parking near rivers and streams during the spring when all that snow is still melting. Park on high ground when heavy rain is in the forecast, and download a good weather app that will alert you of tropical storms and flash flood warnings. 

Wildlife Encounters and Precautions

Worried about animal encounters while in Massachusetts? Honestly, most Massachusetts animals will likely leave you alone. 

You do want to watch out for rattlesnakes and copperhead snakes while out hiking. Additionally, you will want to make sure to make plenty of noise while hiking to scare bears away. If you do come across a bear that isn’t scared, raise your arms to make yourself as big as possible and back away slowly. Use bear spray on bears that come toward you.

Additionally, you will want to keep an eye out for jellyfish while swimming in the ocean or playing on the beach, and get out of the water if a shark is spotted. 

More Inspiration for Your Massachusetts Travels

Clearly, RV camping in Massachusetts is an incredible experience and should absolutely be added to your travel bucket list. Looking for even more ways to make your trip to the area awesome? Check out the links below: