Choose from cushy Airstreams, cabins, and tents in America's quintessential summer vacation destination.

By Lindsay Lambert Day
May 16, 2021
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A tent at the end of a tree lined path at Terramor Outdoor Resort, Bar Harbor, Maine
Credit: Max Ablicki for Terramor Outdoor Resort

This spring and summer, travel will be all about having space — and lots of it. Happily for those who want to escape into nature, but prefer plush mattresses over scratchy sleeping bags, glamping resorts offer fresh-air surroundings as well as creature comforts ranging from spa-like bathrooms to fully kitted-out kitchens.

Travelers can take their pick of glampsites around the country, but New England's rugged coastline and serene woods — plus a handful of new glamping properties — make it a quintessential summer vacation destination for both longtime and fledgling outdoor enthusiasts. "The New England area...is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast," says Mimi Dufault, general manager of AutoCamp Cape Cod, which opened in Falmouth, Massachusetts, on April 1.

From minimalist Airstreams in Cape Cod to bright and breezy canvas tents on Maine's rocky coast, here are seven of the best places to go glamping in New England.

AutoCamp Cape Cod, Falmouth, Massachusetts

AutoCamp Cape Cod, Falmouth, Massachusetts
Credit: Matt Kisiday

On April 1, AutoCamp debuted its first East Coast outpost with the opening of AutoCamp Cape Cod. Guests can choose from Airstream Suites, luxury tents (available April through October), accessible suites, and X Suites. Airstreams and X Suites have queen-size beds, sleeper sofas, and private bathrooms with rain showers, plus microwaves, mini fridges, and private fire pits with built-in grills for campfire cooking. (Tip: Add a gourmet s'mores kit to your room tab when checking in.) Guests staying in tents get around-the-clock access to bath facilities in AutoCamp's modern Clubhouse, which is also home to a boutique stocked with groceries, gifts, cooking supplies, and branded gear.

On-site activities include yoga, campfire chats, and, eventually, farm-to-table dinners. Another can't-miss experience is pedaling along the Shining Sea Bikeway. (You can bring your own bike or borrow one.) The 10-mile-long paved path runs from Falmouth to Woods Hole and meanders directly behind the property, taking cyclists, walkers, and runners past wildlife-rich marshes and white-sand beaches.

Under Canvas Acadia, Surry, Maine

Under Canvas Acadia, Surry, Maine
Credit: Courtesy of Under Canvas

Beginning in mid-May, guests can check in to Under Canvas Acadia, in Surry, Maine. The new resort sits on 100 acres of waterfront land, roughly 20 miles from the state's popular Acadia National Park and 25 miles from downtown Bar Harbor. Outfitted with West Elm furniture and decorated in light, breezy neutrals, tents span three categories, from the two-person Stargazer to the family-friendly Cadillac Mountain Suite. The latter sleeps up to seven and features king-size beds, a private lounge and deck, and two private bathrooms.

Between Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, and the resort's own immediate surroundings, there's a lot to do, including whale watching, hiking, cycling, and stargazing. To ensure campers don't miss anything, guest experience coordinators can help curate a customized itinerary, complete with experiences such as guided hikes, a sunset or astronomy cruise, and lobstering — a no-brainer when in Maine. Guests who don't feel like going far for food can stay on site for campfire cookouts, s'mores, and breakfast and dinner prepared with locally sourced ingredients.

Terramor Outdoor Resort, Bar Harbor, Maine

A tent at the end of a tree lined path at Terramor Outdoor Resort, Bar Harbor, Maine
Credit: Max Ablicki for Terramor Outdoor Resort

Another new glamping option arrived in the Bar Harbor area in the summer of 2020, when Terramor Outdoor Resort opened on Mount Desert Island, less than 10 miles from the center of the seaside town. Set on 60 acres, Terramor offers 64 tents. They're split into five categories, with options suitable for anyone from solo travelers to families of five (some categories have kid-friendly bunk and twin beds). To soak up every second of Maine's glorious summer weather, book a tent with an outdoor shower. Screened porches, private outdoor fire rings, overhead fans, heaters, and cozy Pendleton blankets make communing with Mother Nature all the more comfy. At the Lodge, Terramor's hub, guests can grab to-go lunches for long hikes, grill their own meals, or sit down for a dinner featuring Maine ingredients. Saw the sun rise from atop Cadillac Mountain and then kayaked Frenchman Bay? Recap every exciting moment while sipping regional craft beers at the Lodge's bar.

Tops'l Farm, Waldoboro, Maine

Tops'l Farm, Waldoboro, Maine
Credit: Carley Rudd

Archery, axe throwing, stargazing, barn bingo, and alfresco movie nights are just a few fun ways guests can spend their time at Tops'l Farm, an 83-acre farm and campsite tucked along the Medomak River in leafy Waldoboro, Maine. Room options include A-frame cabins that are furnished with twin beds and sleep two apiece, and a cabin suite featuring a queen-size bed. (For groups who want complete privacy, Tops'l takeovers include the A-frame cabins, a two-bedroom cottage, and a four-bedroom farmhouse. The only other souls you'll have to share space with are the farm's resident goats, sheep, and chickens.) Also on the list of can't-miss activities: canoeing on the Medomak and searching for aquatic critters in nearby coastal tide pools. Before hitting the road or hiking trail, head to Moody's Diner for homemade whoopie pies, donuts, and blueberry muffins, or grab a light breakfast and a to-go picnic made by the Tops'l Farm staff.

Getaway Blake Brook, Epsom, New Hampshire

Getaway Boston, cabin in the woods
Credit: Chris Shane @chrismshane/Courtesy of Getaway

About a 90-minute drive north from Boston, in the woods of Epsom, New Hampshire, travelers can unplug at Getaway Blake Brook, which consists of 31 one-bed cabins and 12 two-bed cabins. Available year-round, all of the cabins are heated and air-conditioned as well as equipped with private bathrooms, radios, wireless speakers, picnic tables, fire pits featuring grill grates, and kitchens stocked with cooking tools, grilling utensils, and dishes. (There are no TVs here, and that's precisely the point.)

The dog-friendly property is an hour's drive from Lake Winnipesaukee (think swimming, boating, and fishing), but guests can find adventures closer to their cabins, too: Bear Brook State Park, Northwood Lake, and the Oak Hill hiking trails are all within a 20-minute drive. A convenient five-minute walk takes Getaway guests to Blasty Bough Brewing Company, which offers an extensive menu of porters, ambers, ales, stouts, and other beers, plus hearty comfort food, such as pulled pork sandwiches and mac and cheese.

Sandy Pines Campground, Kennebunkport, Maine

Sandy Pines Campground, Kennebunkport, Maine
Credit: Douglas Merriam

Kennebunkport is perhaps best known for being home to the Bush family's compound, but you don't have to be a member of the former presidents' crew to relax in the charming coastal town this summer. Visitors can bunk in cozy cottages, safari-style tents, converted Conestoga wagons, Airstreams, Hideaway Huts (A-frames), and more at Sandy Pines Campground. With a heated saltwater pool, a playground, volleyball courts, and a kids' club, Sandy Pines is a resort-like family-friendly option. Plus, events like Sunday bingo give guests a chance to meet their fellow campers. Outdoor endeavors include stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, lawn games, and biking (on-site rentals are available), and Goose Rocks Beach, widely considered one of New England's most beautiful, is a mile away. The resort's Grand Lodge houses a snack bar (coffee, baked goods, and breakfast sandwiches) plus a general store stocked with the essentials (bug spray, snacks, and beverages for the big kids).

Normandy Farms, Foxboro, Massachusetts

Normandy Farms, Foxboro, Massachusetts
Credit: Courtesy of Normandy Farms

Opened 50 years ago (and located just a few miles from Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots' home field), Normandy Farms is ideal for families who appreciate having easy access to lots of entertainment options. Though the resort's setting is woodsy, not waterfront, its A-to-Z list of activities includes everything from bocce, cornhole, and disc golf to horseshoes, shuffleboard, and softball. There's also a bike park, an arcade, and a track for racing remote-control cars. Guests can choose between cabins, yurts, pop-up campers, and safari tents (minimum stays are required during certain summer periods, and pets are welcome in some units, so be sure to do your homework when deciding what to book). Fireplaces, in-room Keurig machines, hair dryers, and cable TV are among the standard amenities, but beware — in many cases, you'll have to BYO bed and bath linens.