Sleep Somewhere Woodsy: 3 Vermont State Campgrounds Near I-91
So you want to camp, either to have fun or save $$$, and you’re in the Lebanon-Hanover-White River Junction VT-NH area? Here are 3 Vermont State Park campgrounds not far from I-91. They’ll be perfect if you’re visiting the area—there’s lots to do in the Upper Valley—or venturing into car camping for the very first time.
As state-run campgrounds go, State of Vermont campgrounds, while not for extreme tightwads, are reasonably priced. All the better that 3 of them are near the Upper Valley along the I-91 Connecticut River corridor.
This happens to be a spendy little area for lodging, since it offers an Ivy League campus, a major hospital, football frenzies, and a gateway to the mountains. These draw thousands of well-heeled out-of-towners.
Extra: plenty to do on the cheap…
While you’re camping in the Upper Valley, explore picturesque villages, the world’s longest covered bridge, Shakers, diners, a gorge, sculptures, a raptor refuge…Try kayaking, balloon gawking, or buying a tractor. Great potential for exercise in every direction.
#1 Wilgus, a Vermont State Park campground
The best thing about Wilgus is its location: right on the banks of the Connecticut River. It’s a great place to fish, kayak, or canoe. There’s a put-in at the campground, plus rental kayaks and canoes. Wilgus has a new restroom facility.
#2 Mt. Ascutney, a Vermont State Park campground
This campground lies at the foot of Mt. Ascutney, a prominent feature along the I-91 corridor. One of its biggest virtues is that a night at a State of Vermont campground will give you a one-day pass for any Vermont State Park. This means you can stretch your dollars and enjoy facilities such as the Mt. Ascutney summit road to go along with your overnight. And hey, if you’re camping at Mt. Ascutney, you might as well drive on up!
#3 Quechee, a Vermont State Park campground
Quechee is on the western edge of the Upper Valley and a quicker ride into the mini-metro area than either Wilgus or Mount Ascutney. The trail to water level at the famous Quechee Gorge goes directly from the campground. Alternatively, a short walk will take you to the historic Gorge bridge, so you can peer down from above.
If you’re looking for a large camp spot (e.g. for an RV), Quechee may be your best bet since it has a handful that are nice and roomy, as you can see from the example in the photo above. However (and this is a big however), check the campground map assiduously. Quechee also has some of the tightest spots around!
Tips for State of Vermont campgrounds
Tight. Many State of Vermont campgrounds are shoe-horned into a small acreage and crammed with camp spots. You’ll have to be neighborly and tolerant, as well as like kids and dogs.
Distance to the bathroom. Since facilities are centralized, bathrooms and water faucets may be quite a walk from your camp spot. A quick look at the campground map will help you figure this out.
Showers. State of Vermont campgrounds have showers; paid in quarters.
Reserve. Reservations are recommended.
No hookups. State of Vermont campgrounds do not have hookups.
Very woodsy. There may be a meadow for children’s play.
Bugs in early summer. Vermont can get very buggy. You will likely find a mosquito net useful, especially in late spring and early summer.
Many State of Vermont campgrounds offer lean-tos for a few dollars extra (lean-tos at Wilgus, above). Bring your own mosquito net or plan to rig your tent inside.
Add on a day of activities or homemade pie
Photo credits. Featured image… Vermont State Campground, IMG 4301: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Bo Gordy-Smith via Flickr. Screenshot State of Vermont. Making Coffee: CC BY 2.0 by Andy Arthur via Flickr. Kayaks under Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge near Wilgus Campground: Public Domain by Shari McBride via Vermont State Parks. View from the top of Ascutney: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Brenda from BPO, CT, US via Wikimedia. Quechee camping: CCO VT State Parks via Google. Quechee Gorge and its environs: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Sage Ross via Flickr. Row of lean-tos at Wilgus: CCO State of Vermont via Google+.