Family Camping

Family Camping: Comparing Campgrounds on Cape Cod and North Conway 

Camping is a fantastic way to vacation. I have been camping with my children since my boys were 2 and 3 years old. I started camping in 2006 as a single mom with two, very active boys and a dog. I was stressed, overwhelmed, and struggling to find a way to relax on a vacation with a budget when someone suggested I try camping. I borrowed a tent, packed up food and the basics and I experienced my first camping weekend. Over the years, camping has changed for me; I camp with a camper and I am a happy wife with three kids and two are teens. What has not changed is the feeling I get on that first camping night when the food is put away, the kid's bikes are out of the truck, and my worries consist of thoughts about finding enough logs and sticks to keep the fire going for those yummy s'mores. 

That first trip camping over a decade ago was at Maple Park Campground in Wareham, Massachusetts. Our most recent trip there was just weeks ago during Labor Day Weekend and once again we had an amazing family vacation. For July 4th, we visited the Saco River Family Camping Area in New Hampshire and we have been talking about going back since we rolled out of there. We also enjoy trying different campgrounds in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but there are definitely particular reasons why we pick one campground over another. 

Events, Activities, and What to Do

Is it enough to keep your family happy for a week?

New Hampshire on the Saco River

A deciding factor for staying at a campground is the accommodations, events, and activities. We recently took a trip to the Saco River Family Camping in New Hampshire and enjoyed using the pool and swimming in the river. There are two playgrounds, although one was closed almost the entire time we were camping. (I thought fixing a playground during July 4th week was not ideal, but maybe it couldn't be helped.) For our 9 year old, the playground was a great place for her to find new friends. If you've been camping, you know that finding new friends is key for the kids and parents while camping. Kids love to make new friends while being outside and running about freely. Parents love this because the kids are outside, getting exercise, and not whining "I'm bored".  

Saco River Family Camping is on the river, literally. Get a site with water access or not, the river is easily accessible and a great ways to keep your family entertained and happy without spending a dime. Bring water and snacks, chairs, floats, sunscreen, and a book and you can spend all day, or many days, sitting by the river. Our teens loved the rope swings and our 9 year old was happy floating down the river and playing along the river's edge. While staying here, you can float for free just bring your own floats. Our dog also loved being in the river and we even bought her a life jacket so she could float down the river with us. 

For campgrounds not on a river, how about a pool or lake? Swimming is a wonderful activity for the entire family and very budget friendly. Saco River does have a pool, but we did not spend much time there since we prefer natural bodies of water.  

Wareham, Massachusetts at Maple Park Campground

Maple Park Campground in Wareham has two ponds and no pool, which is fine with us. The ponds have given us years of memories. The pond is clean and there's even a section roped off to walk out to the island in the middle of the pond. This section is perfect for parents with little kids because the water isn't too deep. Get down to the pond early and park your stuff near this section of the pond. We build sandcastles, swim, rent boats (not cheap, but not outrageous), and enjoy the great weather for hours and hours at a time.

Side note: For our 4th child, our lab, she has her own dog pond at Maple Park and she loves it. 

Maple Park Campground: A beautiful, clean pond with a view of the tiki hut that sits in the middle

Events and Activities: Planned by the Campground

Maple Park Campground

Carnival Celebration at Maple Park Campground: Pie Throwing

When looking for a family campground, we want a place with planned events and activities. At Maple Park Campground, there are lists of activities and events for each day of the week. These activities range from sand castle contests, softball games, arts n' crafts, and more. They also have activities that cost a minimal amount of money such as painting t-shirts or bingo, but if you're on a strict budget stick with the free activities. 

Taking the boat through a tunnel at Maple Park Campground's pond 

Castle Building Contest: The kids made a crab and it won!

Saco River Family Camping Campground

The Saco River Family Camping offered a fire truck ride with a bike parade for July 4th. This was fun, but the only free event my children participated in while we were there. They also have pedal bikes for rent. My teens liked this, but this was difficult for my 9 year old. In terms of events and activities planned by the campground, it was minimal at Saco compared to other campgrounds where we've stayed. 

At Saco River Camping

The Little Things Matter: Keep Mom and Dad Happy 

When deciding on a family campground, I also suggest you look for a campground with a store for the last minute necessities or for that extra roll of toilet paper.

Maple Park Campground office and store

I also love when a campground has a snack or coffee shack. When the 3pm slump comes around and I want to nap, grabbing a quick cup of coffee is the best feeling. Kids also love the store for a small treat and that souvenir sweatshirt you are going to wear for the next 3 days.

What's In The Area?

Saco River Camping, New Hampshire

I consider the area in case the weather doesn't cooperate and the family wants to leave the campground to shelter from the rain or cloudy, cool days. We love New Hampshire and enjoy leaving to go to the outlets, try local restaurants, and enjoy the shops well known in the area like Zebs General Store. When at the Saco River Camping Campground this past summer, North Conway put on an amazing fireworks show for the 4th of July celebration and we were lucky enough to be camping so close we went into town, had ice cream, did some shopping, and enjoyed the fireworks celebration all before returning to our site for a late night fire.

Maple Park Campground, Wareham, Massachusetts

From the campground, Cape Cod and Plymouth are just a drive away. Leave the campground and adventure off to Cape Cod for some clam chowder or take a quick drive to Plymouth to walk around downtown shopping in the local stores and enjoying the atmosphere. There's so much to do. 

Relax and Enjoy the Adventure

No matter where you consider camping, you and your family will feel relaxed and closer than you were before you took this adventure together. 


  1. I agree with you! you don`t have to spend a fortune to have fun with your loved ones ! I love camping as well :) thanks for sharing your experiences!!

  2. Very nice and helpful blog. Maple Park is definitely the campground with character and so much potential for making wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Oh this sounds LOVELY!! You are inspiring me to start camping!

  4. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. the lost ways book review


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