George Washington State Campground, in the small northern town of Chepachet, Rhode Island, is a rugged and wooded wonderland for those who enjoy roughing it. They do have 57 RV camping sites with restrooms and a new shower house though, so you won’t be roughing it too much. The name Chepachet is Pequot for “where rivers meet” because several rivers in the area, including Potomac, Cumberland, Chepachet, Roanoke, and Pascoag Rivers, meet there.
This 4,000-acre forestland includes 100 acres of campgrounds that are deep in the heart of the George Washington National Forest. Because it is in the middle of the woods, you will see plenty of wildlife such as whitetail deer, coyotes, foxes, voles, and shrews. There are also over 200 varieties of birds and waterfowl in the park so bring your camera.
Whether you come for swimming, boating, or fishing, the Bowfish Reservoir is a perfect place for any of these on a sunny day. And in the winter, the lake is also a popular place for ice skating. Although there are no electric or water hookups, the camping experience cannot be beat for those who love the woods.
In Chepachet, Rhode Island, on Putnam Pike, you can find George Washington State Park off Highway 44. It is just a half an hour from Providence and only six minutes from Glocester. Take Interstate 295 if you are coming from the east and Interstate 395 if you are coming from the north, south, or west. Whichever way you are coming from, the park is easy to find because of all the signs along the highways and the locals can also give you directions if needed.
Once you get off the main road and onto the backroads, you will want to drive slowly and be careful if you are driving a big rig or pulling a camper. The roads can be narrow and curvy, and you will also need to look out for wildlife crossing the street. The roads in the park are also narrow and the gravel roads by the campground have some potholes to avoid.
Most people who camp here just park their RV at the campsite and walk or ride bikes around the park because it is much easier than trying to maneuver with a large trailer or camper. Although there are a few parking lots big enough to park in, it is better to leave the rig back at camp.
If you like to fish, swim, or do some boating, the George Washington Campground is perfect because these sites are just feet from the Bowdish Reservoir where you can do all three and more. The 45 spacious campsites can accommodate up to six people each and include picnic tables, fire pits, and plenty of shade. The pad lengths run from 20 to 45 feet in length so you should check out the reservation page for the perfect size for your rig.
This campground is huge and covers over 100 acres of the 4,000-acre park. You can find the boat dock on the east end of the reservoir, which is right by campsite 26. The beach is closest to sites 18-25 and there are several restrooms located by campsites seven, 16, 23, 28, and 35. The park office is at the entrance to the park by campsite 45 and there is a dumpster nearby for your convenience. Water is available at various locations around the park and they built brand new shower houses. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash at all times.
The New Loop Campground has 12 campsites that are just to the east of the George Washington Campground. They each have a fire pit, plenty of shade, and a picnic table. The pads here run from 30 to 80 feet in length so you should not have any trouble finding a site that will accommodate any sized RV or trailer. However, it is important to reserve a spot well in advance since there is a limited number of sites and they fill up fast.
These are basic campsites that do not have electric or water hookups but there are several water spigots around the campground as well as the park that supply potable water. The restrooms and new shower house are close by and it is just a short walk to the beach and boat dock. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash or otherwise restrained at all times.
All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis if they have not been reserved. However, this is on a day-to-day basis and if anyone reserves the site you are at, you will have to move. Check with a park employee for more details.
The beach, which is just off the Walkabout Trail on the southeast edge of the Bowdish Reservoir, is close to the George Washington Campground. There is a lifeguard on duty from noon until sunset so if you swim at other times, you are doing so at your own risk. However, the water is shallow here, so it is great for kids and adults to splash around in on a hot summer day. So, don’t forget to pack the swimsuits and towels in your camper before your trip.
The 226-acre Bowdish Reservoir is great for kayaks, canoes, and other small watercrafts so make sure you attach your boat to the rig before heading out to the George Washington State Park. The lake is gorgeous during any season and has rocky shores with granite boulders lining the borders. The shoreline is also full of mountain laurel, birch, pepperbush, and blueberry bushes where many shorebirds and other waterfowl can be seen all year long.
You should pack your fishing gear in the RV before heading to the park because there are tons of hungry fish in the Bowdish Reservoir as well as the other two small lakes on the park property. You can use live bait and a big sinker to fish for catfish and other bottom feeders or attach a bobber and worm to catch some perch or crappie. If you like the challenge of catching large or smallmouth bass, try your luck with a lure or jig.
There are three hiking trails at the park to explore so get out of that RV and go for a walk. The Angell Loop Trail meanders along the southwest part of the lake into the woods past several streams and brooks. The Walkabout Trail takes you along the southeastern end of the lake, past the campgrounds, and through the evergreen and deciduous forest. You can choose the two, six, or eight-mile loop here. The Washington Trail goes from Route 44, through the park and past the New Loop Campground.
When it gets cold outside, grab your ice skates, hat, and mittens and head on over to the Bowdish Reservoir at George Washington State Park. The reservoir is popular with ice skaters in the area and since it is so shallow, it does not take many cold days to freeze up. However, you should always check with the park ranger to make sure it is safe to skate on before heading out there and do not forget to wear your heavy coat because it gets cold out there on the ice.
Pack the family in the camping trailer and head to George Washington State Campground for a picnic or BBQ. They have two large Adirondack shelters with picnic tables, restrooms, and BBQ pits perfect for any time of the year. The maximum amount of people they hold are 20 and you need to make a reservation online before coming. Shelter one is just past the George Washington Campground by the Walkabout Trail and shelter two is at the end of the road by the New Loop Campground.