Camping in Connecticut State Parks
Whether you prefer camping in the comfort of your RV, cabin camping, or getting away from it all with a hike into one of our backpack camping areas, find it all here in Connecticut State Parks. Across the state, you’ll find traditional campgrounds, backpacking lean-tos, riverside spots only accessible by boat, and even sites designed for horses in a variety of settings. From shadowy woodlands, sandy shoreline beaches, inland lakes, to secluded islands, discover the perfect spot for our next outdoor adventure.
General State Park Camping Guidelines
- Fires are permitted in designated fireplaces only.
- Fireworks (including sparklers) are prohibited in all state parks and forests.
- Alcoholic Beverages (in containers smaller than one liter are permitted), unless the park is alcohol free.
- Pets are prohibited in State Park camping areas, but permitted at State Forests. When and where permitted, animals are limited to two per campsite and must on a leash not to exceed seven feet in length. Dogs must have rabies vaccination and owners may be required to show proof. Pets must not be left unattended.
- Weapons: Except as specifically authorized, no firearms, archery equipment or other weapons may be possessed in any campground or recreation area.
A Notice to Campers
Camping areas are located on State lands that are also open to hunting. Hunting may occur year-round, however, the peak season in Connecticut begins the third Saturday in October and runs through December. Hunting is not permitted on Sunday.
If you are camping in an area where hunting is permitted, please note the following precautions:
- Wear bright clothing such as a fluorescent orange vest or hat. Avoid brown, tan, gray or white.
- If you see someone hunting, call out to them to identify your location.
- Let someone know where you are going, and when you will return.
- Camping Party: The campsite fee covers six (6) persons, including children. However, a camp registrant may occupy a campsite with all his/her children under 18 years old for the basic campsite fee regardless of the total number of family members. Upon check-in, all campers must be registered to the campsite. Changes and additions to the list of registered campers will not be permitted.
- Camp Visitors: Visitors are allowed to enter state campgrounds from 8:00 a.m. to sunset and may stay until 10:00 p.m. Daily parking rates apply for visitors arriving in out-of-state registered vehicles. Designated parking areas must be used.
- Equipment: Camping equipment is subject to the approval of the campground supervisor on duty. All equipment must be removed from the campsite at the end of each stay.
- Minors: Minors (under 18) must be accompanied by an adult who accepts responsibility for the camping party.
- Motor Vehicles: No more than two motor vehicles (with proper passes) are permitted on a single campsite. Vehicle passes are nontransferable. The speed limit within campgrounds is ten miles per hour.
- Occupancy: Occupancy of the camp lot is required within the first 24 hours. A campsite unoccupied during this initial period is declared an open site and will be reassigned with all payment forfeited. If you are unable to arrive the first night, please telephone the campground. Campers arriving after 10:00 p.m. will be required to set up in a temporary stopover area until the following morning. Transferring or subleasing campsites is strictly forbidden.
- Period of Closure: Campgrounds are closed from January 1 through mid-April to prevent damage during periods of freezing and thawing and to relieve soil compaction.
- Quiet Hours: These are observed between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Reasonable levels of sound may not be exceeded at any time.
- Recycling: Place your trash and recyclables in the appropriate receptacles provided.
- Unreserved Lots: All lots that are not reserved may be available on a first-come, first-served basis, except for the following campgrounds, where walk-ins are not permitted: Devil’s Hopyard, Pachaug State Forest (Mount Misery and Green Falls), Mashamoquet Brook and Wolf Den.
Cabin Rental Policies
All cabins are 14 feet by 17 feet, have two rooms, and can sleep six. There is a double bed in the front room and two bunk beds in the back room. Cabins do not have kitchens or bathrooms.
- Cabins will not be rented to anyone under the age of 21. Registrant accepts responsibility for all members of the camping party.
- Cabins can comfortably sleep four people. Maximum camping party is six people.
- Two (2) vehicles are allowed per cabin site with the exception of Kettletown State Park which allows only one (1) vehicle per cabin site. All extra vehicles must be parked in the visitors parking lot.
- No open flames (i.e., candles, oil lamps, grills, etc.) are allowed inside the cabins.
- No cooking or food preparation inside cabin, or on the porch, ramp or decking.
- No smoking inside the cabins.
- No pets are allowed inside the cabins in any campgrounds.
- No hardware or other items shall be affixed to the walls (e.g., clotheslines, pictures).
- No painting, papering or defacing of cabin interior is allowed.
- Renters may not remove furniture, brooms, or floor mats from the cabin.
- No more than one tent and one screened gazebo may be erected on the cabin site.
Reserve a Cabin or Campsite
Reserve a campsite up to 11 months in advance of your arrival date.
- Online: Visit Reserve America
- By Phone: 1-877-668-CAMP (2267)
Cancellations and Refunds
- Reservations may be cancelled via Reserve America up to two days prior to your intended stay.
- A $9.00 service charge will apply to each cancellation.
- Campers will receive a full refund minus the service charge if they initiate a cancellation at least seven (7) days prior to their check-in date.
- Cancellations made between seven and two days prior to the check-in date will result in a refund of the original payment minus the charge for one night of camping and the service fee.
- Refunds are not offered for cancellations initiated less than two days before the camping stay.
- Weather, site conditions, or other natural phenomena are not considered sufficient cause for granting a refund.
- Refund requests related to other extenuating circumstances that occur just prior to, or during, a camp stay must be submitted in writing to the state park or forest campground where the campsite was rented. The campground will verify registration and forward the request to the department for review and consideration.
- The backpacking campsites are provided for the true backpacker only and therefore the length of stay at any one location is limited to one night.
- Camp only in designated areas indicated on the map and by signs. Dispersed camping is not permitted.
- All hikers are requested to stay on the established trails and to respect the rights and property of landowners on and adjacent to the trail.
- Keep the trail and camping areas free of litter. Carry out what you carry in.
- Stay on the trail, which is marked by blue blazes. Double blazes indicate a turn in the trail.
- Travel and camp in groups of less than 10 if possible.
- Human waste should be buried. Move at least 50 feet from the trail and 200 feet from water to do this.
- Pets are not allowed at backpack camping sites.
- Please use backpacking stoves for cooking. If open fires must be used, please build them only in established fire rings and be sure fires are fully extinguished before leaving a campsite.
- Minors (under 18) must be accompanied by an adult in attendance who accepts responsibility for the camping party. Where the camping party consists of more than ten people, there shall be adult supervision in a ratio of at least one adult to each ten campers under 18.
Apply For a Backpacking Permit
Backpack camping permits are available by reservation only. Send an application form at least two weeks before an intended stay to the address on the application form.
Horse Camping Guidelines
- All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Camping is offered for riders who can provide their own mounts.
- Learn more about horseback riding in Connecticut State Parks.
River Camping Guidelines
- Availability: River campsites are available from May 1 through September 30. The length of stay is limited to one night.
- Access: Campers must arrive and depart by boat. Vehicle access is not available.
- Facilities: The camps offer primitive, riverside sites with fireplaces and pit toilets. Mooring or docking facilities are not provided.
- Hours: All visitors to campsites must leave the area by 8:00 p.m.
- Campfires: Use of downed timber for campfires is permitted. Campers may not cut live or standing vegetation.
- Leave no trace: Please take your refuse when you leave; refuse containers are not provided.
- Minors: Visitors under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult in attendance who accepts responsibility for the camping party.
Reserve a River Campsite
Reserve a river campsite up to 11 months in advance of your arrival date.
- Online: Visit Reserve America
- By phone: 1-877-668-CAMP (2267)
Youth Group Camping Qualifications
In order to qualify for Youth Group Camping, your group must be either one of the following:
- Youth Oriented: The group must have a demonstrated interest in social, educational or religious work with youth. "Youth" generally implies age 18 and under.
- Non-profit: the group must be sponsored by or affiliated with a school, church or recognized youth organization. Written proof of IRS non-profit tax exempt status is required when applying for a camping permit.
Youth Group Camping Policies
- The group leader (as named on the application) must be present during the entire stay and will serve as a contact person with park personnel.
- The group must have adult supervision in a ratio of at least one adult per ten campers under 18. The adult supervision ratio must also not exceed four per ten campers, with the exception of cub scouts who may be required to have a higher adult-to-youth ratio.
- Retain all or some of the vehicles in which you arrived for emergency purposes.
- At least one adult advisor should be trained in first-aid and should have a first aid kit suitable for group needs.
- Alcoholic beverages, pets, and electric generators are not permitted in youth group camping areas.
- Areas may be reserved for one, two, or three night stays. Duration of stay cannot exceed four days and three nights without approval of the park or forest supervisor.
Reserve a Youth Group Camp Area
Youth Group Camp areas are available by written application. Applications for a camping permit must be received by the appropriate district office at least fourteen (14) days prior to your camping dates. District offices can advise applicants of site availability but cannot take reservations by phone.
Send completed applications to the district office address listed for the youth area requested. All areas east of the Connecticut River plus Cockaponset Forest are reserved through the office in Marlborough. Areas west of the Connecticut River are reserved through the office in Harwinton.
- Groups of up to 50 youth may obtain a permit for $33, valid for a stay of up to three consecutive nights.
- For larger groups, an additional $33 fee will be applied for every additional 50 campers.
- When returning completed applications, please include payment by check or money order made out to "Treasurer, State of Connecticut."
- Groups canceling their reservation must inform the district office at least seven (7) days before a scheduled camping date.
- Cancellations made less than seven days before a scheduled date are not eligible for a refund, but the trip may be rescheduled within the current camping season if dates are available.