Vermont State Parks offer a wide variety of camping experiences, including drive-in camp sites, lean-to's, cabins, cottages, remote campsites, group camping areas, and even an inn-style lodge, all surrounded by Vermont's beautiful mountains, lakes, forests and fields.
How do you find the right kind of camping for you? Read about the options below, and then spend a little time with our Park Finder to select activities and amenities that interest you.
If we can help you plan your perfect trip, give us a call at 1-888-409-7579.
First Time Happy Camper Program
Never been camping before? Or, if you have, has it been a really long time (like 10 years or so)? Vermont State Parks is here tell you how much you have been missing. Camping is a great experience that blends adventure with fun and relaxation in ways that binds friends and families together and creates life-long memories. Why are you missing out on all this?
The First Time Happy Camper Program might be just the thing for you. We’ll help you with free equipment, planning tips, set up help, meal advice, and we’ll throw in a free campsite for a couple of nights! Participating state parks include Bomoseen, Button Bay, Grand Isle, Stillwater and Woodford. First Time Happy Camper weekends will be scheduled throughout July and August.
- Fill out the entry form making sure to mark which weekend and at which of the 5 state parks you want to try camping. (If you don't have internet access, call 802-522-0841 and we'll sign you up). The “winning” entries will be randomly selected two weeks prior to the camping weekend.
- If you “win”, you will be notified and sent some information to help with your planning. You’ll get a detailed checklist of things you will need to bring like clothing, food and bedding. If you have a sleeping bag, bring it. If you don’t, you can either bring blankets from home or you can order up to six high quality sleeping bags from the Outdoor Gear Exchange for $34.95 each that can be shipped to your home or the park where you can pick it up upon your arrival.
- You arrive at the park at 5:00 pm the Friday evening of your camping weekend and a helpful and friendly Vermont State Parks staff person will greet you, show you around the park and help you get set up at your campsite. We will loan you the basic equipment you will need including a tent or two, a cookstove, a lantern and some sleeping pads.
- Staff will be available all weekend to answer your questions and otherwise make sure you have a great experience. You can hike, swim, fish and enjoy everything the parks have to offer.
- You leave the park on Sunday happy, relaxed and ready to go camping again sometime!
Thanks to our First Time Happy Camper sponsors:
Generally, most parks are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day or Columbus Day, with some opening earlier, and some remaining open later.
For a complete list, check out our latest Operating Schedule (PDF).
Using the Interactive Campground Maps
On each park page, there is an interactive map for that park. Clicking on a campsite on the map will bring up a photo of the site as well as a detailed description.
- Accommodates: Explains what size tent RV will fit on the site. Tent size is expressed in small, medium and large. RV length is expressed in feet.
- Maximum Occupancy: The maximum number of people permitted per site. For most sites, the maximum number of people is 8, but some smaller sites have a maximum occupancy of 6.
- Access: Describes whether a site is drive-in (vehicle) or walk-up. Most sites are drive-in, but some sites require campers to park below and then walk up some stairs, which is important to know for hauling gear and wood.
- Sun: Sunny, shady, partial shade, etc.
- Surface: Fine gravel or grassy.
- Water Access: Describes access to swimming area (not drinking water). Sites are coded as waterfront, water view, walking distance, driving distance or none.
- Pets: Explains whether or not pets are permitted on site. All campgrounds permit pets but pets are not permitted in cabins, cottages or picnic pavilions.
- Universally Accessible: Describes whether the site is accessible via wheelchair.
Campgrounds are usually laid out in loops with water spigots located every few campsites, centrally located restrooms (most with hot and cold running water) and coin-operated showers. Additionally, each campsite comes with a fire ring and grill (or fireplace) and a picnic table.
Many parks also have:
- horseshoe pits
- volleyball nets
- nature centers
- picnic pavilions
- dump stations
Most parks sell firewood and ice and many have nature programs, performances and other events.
At this time there are no hookups in any Vermont State Park campgrounds.
For a complete listing of park amenities and activities, please see our Park Finder or view our campground amenities list (PDF). More information can also be found by visiting the individual park pages or by using the interactive campground maps.
Camping Sites and Facilities
Tent/ RV sites come with a fire ring (or fireplace) with grill and a picnic table. Some sites are in the sun (on grassy terrain) while others are in the woods (often on gravel). Most sites accommodate up to 8 people. For a detailed description of a site, plus the RV length that site can accommodate, check out the specific park's interactive map.
A lean-to is a 3-sided structure that can accommodate up to 8 people. They shelter campers from wind and rain, keep gear dry and kids will love to use them as a stage for performances. Each site comes with a fire ring (or fireplace) with grill and a picnic table.
Tent placement in a lean-to: There are several ways to handle tent placement in or around a lean-to site. One way is not to use a tent at all and just set up your sleeping pads and bag inside the lean-to. Some campers use mosquito netting in the lean-to's to keep out the bugs.
Other campers will set up their tents inside the lean-to. This keeps them dry and out of the wind.
Still other campers will use the lean-to to store gear and food, and set up their tents outside. This allows the lean-to itself to become more of a kitchen, a living room, the game room, or just a common area.
Lean-to dimensions: (most lean-tos)
- Floor is 13'4" wide, 9'3" deep
- Front opening is 7'5" inches high, 13'4" wide
- The lowest height (at the back of the lean-to) is 4'3"
Our cabins are cozy, one-room units that sleep four people comfortably. All cabins are constructed with the same layout, using native materials.
Amenities include bunk beds and a futon or sleeper couch (linens, blankets, and towels not included) a table and two chairs, overhead light and an electric outlet. Cabins also have a covered front porch, a picnic table and a fire ring with cooking grate.
Cooking is done outside, so remember to bring your own cookware. Bathrooms and showers are located within easy walking distance.
Each of our unique cottages have multiple rooms which sleep four to six comfortably and include all the necessary furnishings, including one to two beds, one or more bunk beds, sleeper couch or futon and bureaus. Pillows, blankets, linens and towels are not provided. Each cottage has electricity, heat, indoor kitchen with refrigerator, stove, freezer, toaster or toaster oven, microwave, coffee maker, cookware, sink and indoor bathroom with toilet and shower. The common area includes tables and chairs.
There are three ways to make camping reservations with Vermont State Parks. They are:
- reserving online
- calling the Reservation Call Center at 1-888-409-7579 (Mon–Fri, 9am–4pm)
- calling the park directly (during the season)
Reservations can be made up to eleven months in advance up to the day prior to arrival. Same day reservations can only be made by calling the park.
Reservations for cottages, group camping areas or picnic pavilions cannot be made online. Likewise, cancellations or changes to reservations cannot be made online. These must be handled by the Reservation Call Center or the park.
Note: Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance. The inventory for the entire month opens the first business day of the month at 9am for all parks with the exception of Burton Island (where the inventory opens the first business day at 9am, on or after the 15th of each month).
ORclick here to set up or change your account information >>
Competition for Popular Sites
When making reservations online, a campsite may show as available on the park list, but you do not have a “lock” on that site until your payment has been successfully completed. It is possible that someone else may be trying to reserve the same site as you and may complete their payment first. If this happens you will get an error message explaining the site is not available. If you navigate back to the site list page, the site list will refresh, you can then select a different site. It is possible that the site may become open at a later date if the other party cancels.
Camping without Reservations:
If you’re feeling spontaneous, you can camp in a campground without reservations, space permitting. Most parks, even in summer, will have at least a few sites available, especially mid-week. Vermont State Parks do not hold a specific number of sites open for “drive-in” campers.
For a complete list of park fees, please visit our fees page.
|Camping Fees||Tent/RV Base Rate||Lean-to Base Rate||Prime Sites||Non-Resident||Extra People Over 4 (max 8)||Pets|
|Most Parks||$18||$25||Add $2||Add $2||$5 per person, per night||$1 per pet, per night|
|Burton Island||$18||$37||N/A||Add $2||$ per person, per night||$1 per pet, per night|
|Green River Reservoir||Regular: $5 per person, per night. 3 people min, 7 people max||$1 per pet, per night|
There is an additional, non-refundable $7 reservation fee per site.
Payments in full are required at the time of reservation. Vermont State Parks accepts MasterCard and VISA online.
Your refund will be issued in the same payment method in which the payment was originally received. Optionally, you may choose to receive your refund in park credit, which must be used by the end of the calendar year. The credit can, however, be used to make camping reservations for the next camping season.
Camping Policies & Rules
- Maximum of 8 people and 2 vehicles per site
- Check-in is between 2pm and 9pm. Check out is by 11am
- Firewood from outside Vermont is not permitted
- Generators may only be run from 8am to 10am and from 4pm to 6pm
- Quiet hours are from 10pm until 7am
Minimum/ Maximum Nights
- There is a 2 night minimum for advance reservations at all parks except Green River Reservoir
- 1 night reservations are only available to people travelling to the park under their own power (hiking or paddling) or to those camping in a group camping area.
- All parks have a maximum stay of 21 nights.
Camping with your Pet
- Pets are permitted in all campgrounds for a per-night fee
- Pets must be safely confined or on a leash no more than 10 feet in length
- Please respect others by keeping your pet's barking to a minimum
- Pets are expected to have current vaccinations
- Pets are permitted at designated cabins beginning in 2018. See the full cabin listing here .
If you wish to change your reservation after it has been made, you may do so at no cost, providing you keep the same number of nights and sites. The reservation may be moved to different dates or to a different park, within the current camping season.
Reducing number of nights: If you reduce the number of nights on an existing reservation it is considered a cancellation and rebook. You will lose your original $7 non-refundable reservation fee and there will be a $10 cancellation fee per site. You will also incur an additional $7 reservation fee, per site, for your new, reduced-nights reservation.
Tent/RV sites, lean-to and cabin cancellations: If you cancel your reservation prior to 2:00 p.m. on the day before your expected arrival date, you are entitled to a refund of all fees except a $10 cancellation fee and your $7 reservation fee paid, per site.
If you cancel after 2:00 p.m. on the day before your expected arrival date or if you come camping and need to leave prior to the end of your stay, you can receive a refund for the unused portion (except for the required minimum), per site, if you notify the park staff before departing. No refunds will be issued for an unused portion of the required minimum reservation period. If you are charged for the minimum number of nights that were in effect when you made your reservation, then the cancellation fee will not be charged.
Cottage cancellations: If you cancel your cottage reservation 30 days or more prior to your expected arrival date, you will receive a full refund less a $10 cancellation fee and your $7 reservation fee paid. If you cancel 14 - 30 days prior to your expected arrival date, you will receive a full refund less the equivalent of a two night stay; if you cancel less than 14 days prior to your expected arrival date, you will receive no refund.
For more information, please review our Official Rules Document (PDF).
- A group consists of 8 or more people
- 4 people per site minimum
- Reservations can only be made calling the reservation call center at 1-888-409-7579 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm) or by calling the park directly
- Groups must be supervised by at least one adult who shall be responsible for activities and behavior of group
- A Group Use form must be submitted within two weeks of making reservation
Parks with Group Camping Areas
- Allis State Park (24 people max)
- Camp Plymouth State Park (Can accommodate smaller groups or larger gatherings of over 100)
- Coolidge State Park (Maximum of around 20 people)
- Kettle Pond State Park
- Lake Shaftsbury State Park (Maximum of 120 people)
- Underhill State Park (75 people max)
- Wilgus State Park (24 people max)
Groups pay $6 per person, per night in addition to one $7 non-refundable reservation fee. 50% deposit required at time of reservation, balance due upon arrival.
Group Camping in Non-Group Areas: 1-night reservations available prior to June 15 (with the exception of Memorial Day Weekend) or after Labor Day. Otherwise, regular non-group camping fees and rules apply.
Remote Camping (Limited Facilities)
Remote sites differ from primitive camping in that the sites can be reserved and are located in designated areas. They may have a lean-to or space for a tent, a fireplace or fire ring, or picnic tables. Sanitary facilities are minimal and there is no potable water supply.
Remote sites offer great privacy, but it also means you have to paddle or hike with your gear and trash. Do not bring anything you are not prepared to carry in and carry out.
Each remote site has a designated occupancy based on the characteristics of each site. A reservation is generally required. Some sites may be available on a first come, first served basis. Please call the specific park for details.
Burton Island State Park: In addition to a developed campground, Burton Island, on St. Albans Bay on Lake Champlain, has 4 remote tent sites on the south side of the island, away from the developed camping area, office and park store. Access is by boat only. Reservations are made through the park. Also see State Parks of the Champlain Islands (PDF).
Green River Reservoir State Park: Near Morrisville, Green River offers 27 tent sites along 19 miles of undeveloped shoreline. Access is by car-top boat only. Green River is designated as a “quiet” lake. Internal combustion motors are prohibited. Reservations can be made through the park during the operating season and by calling the Reservation Call Center at 1-888-409-7579 in the off season.
Kettle Pond State Park: Located in the Groton Forest, Kettle Pond is a 109-acre undeveloped pond with five remote lean-to sites and one tent site. These sites are accessible by hiking, or portaging your car top boat to a small dock at the water’s edge, then paddling to your site. Kettle Pond also has a group campground located on the southeastern shore. There are a multitude of nearby trails and several lakes nearby. Reservations can be made through New Discovery State Park or by calling the Reservation Call Center at 1-888-409-7579. Also see Remote Camping in Groton State Forest (PDF).
Knight Island State Park: Also on Lake Champlain in St. Albans Bay, Knight Island has long been a favorite for those looking to get away from it all. Accessible only by boat, Knight Island has 1 tent site and 6 lean-tos, all very secluded. Reservations can be made online, at the park, or by calling the Reservation Call Center at 1-888-409-7579. Also see State Parks of the Champlain Islands (PDF).
Little River State Park: There are 27 remote campsites along the Waterbury Reservoir shoreline. There is no charge for these sites and they cannot be reserved. They are available on a first-come, first served basis and they are only accessible by boat or by hiking in. There are privies at these sites, but there is no potable water. View the site map here .
Osmore Pond at New Discovery State Park: Located within the 26,000 acre Groton State Forest, Osmore Pond is a 48-acre undeveloped, no-motors-permitted pond, accessible through New Discovery State Park. There are 4 remote lean-to sites and 3 remote tent sites, each with a fireplace and picnic table. They are accessible by hiking or boating, and for those without a boat, rowboats or canoes are available by the hour or with a “boat-to-remote” package deal. Hiking trails through Groton Forest are right outside your “door”. Reservations can be made through New Discovery State Park or by calling the Reservation Call Center at 1-888-409-7579. Also see Remote Camping in Groton State Forest (PDF).
Woods Island State Park: Approximately 2.5 miles from Burton Island, Woods Island has 5 secluded tent sites around the island. Reservations can be made online, at the park, or by calling the Reservation Call Center at 1-888-409-7579. Also see State Parks of the Champlain Islands (PDF).
Primitive camping is available in state forests and at some undeveloped state parks. This is not car camping -- you must backpack in at least 1,000 feet from any road. There is no public drinking water or toilet facilities, and there are no reservations or assigned sites. Vermont does not offer free, dispersed car camping on it's state lands.
- Camping must be at least 100 feet away from any stream or body of water.
- Must be 200 feet away from any trail or property line.
- Must be 1,000 feet away from any traveled road.
- Camping above 2,500 feet in elevation is prohibited unless otherwise designated.
For more information on primitive camping, please call the district office that manages the land. Permits are not required. See below for where to go and who to call for more information.
Northwestern Vermont Contact: 802-879-6565
Camels Hump State Park
Northeast Kingdom Contact: 802-751-0110
Darling State Park, Groton State Forest, Mathewson State Forest, Victory State Forest, Willoughby State Forest, Bald Hill W.M.A., Bill Sladyk W.M.A., Roy Mountain W.M.A., Steam Mill Brook W.M.A.
Central Vermont Contact: 802-476-0170
Mt. Mansfield State Forest, L.R. Jones State Forest, C.C. Putnam State Forest, Roxbury State Forest, Washington State Forest, Pine Mountain W.M.A.
Southwestern Vermont Contact: 802-786-0060
Aitken State Forest, West Rutland State Forest, Plymsbury W.M.A.
Southeastern Vermont Contact: 802-885-8845
Coolidge State Forest, Dorand State Forest, Mollie Beattie State Forest, Okemo State Forest, Arthur Davis W.M.A., Les Newall W.M.A.
- Aitken State Forest Primitive Camping Guide (PDF)
- Arthur Davis Wildlife Management Area Primitive Camping Guide (PDF)
- Coolidge State Forest Primitive Camping Guide (PDF)
- Dorand State Forest Primitive Camping Guide (PDF)
- Molly Beattie State Forest Primitive Camping Guide (PDF)
- Okemo State Forest Primitive Camping Guide (PDF)
- West Rutland State Forest Primitive Camping Guide (PDF)
Off-season camping is available from November 1st through April 1st. You must apply for a permit at least three days before your expected stay. For detailed off-season park accessibility, view our Off-season Access Guide (PDF).
- Campsites cannot be accessed by RV’s or vehicles. Access is hike-in only.
- Please park only in a manner that allows access by others and please drive only on established roadways or parking areas.
- Water supply, restroom or refuse removal services or facilities are closed for the season.
- Leave No Trace: Carry in/ carry out... everything, even human waste.
- Have a plan. Snow plowing arrangements vary by location. Be prepared to dig yourselves out in the event of inclement weather.
- While hunting is not permitted in developed recreation areas like state parks during the regular operating season, hunting is allowed on most state lands during the parks off-season.
- Access is free of charge.
- Park staff are only present sporadically during the off-season. We invite you to be our "eyes and ears" by reporting to email@example.com anything amiss or out of the ordinary (vandalism, break-ins, inappropriate facility use, etc.).
Parks offering Off-season Camping
The seven-site horse camping area features a hitching post, water spigot and trough for watering horses. Just up the roadway, and past the toilet/shower area, is a horse washing station. Other pets are allowed at designated camp sites. There are also many miles of hiking on multiple use trails.
Horses are allowed in the group camping area on the south side of Buffalo Brook. The area consists of six lean-to's, pit toilets, a tie-off station, a manure “bin,” and a large field for activities. No animals are allowed elsewhere in the park. Camp Plymouth is a place for people who want to camp and then go elsewhere to ride. While there isn’t a horse trail system in the park itself, there are other areas close to the park offering many trails.
Meet Sarah, Frank and family. They are one of our favorite, and funniest Vermont camping families. They've had their share of fun times and near mishaps and are here to help you learn everything you need to know to have a blast in camp and on the trail.
Here are some great ideas for weekend getaways, including some rainy day options.
- Branbury State Park Weekend Itinerary (PDF)
- Button Bay State Park Weekend Itinerary (PDF)
- Grand Isle State Park Weekend Itinerary (PDF)
- Half Moon Pond State Park Weekend Itinerary (PDF)
- Little River State Park Weekend Itinerary (PDF)
- Quechee State Park Weekend Itinerary (PDF)
- Ricker Pond State Park Weekend Itinerary (PDF)
These handy, printable checklists and how-to instruction sheets give you everything you need in an at-a-glance format.
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