Away from the highway and located on a scenic peninsula on the crystal clear waters of Otis Reservoir in Massachusetts, Tolland State Forest provides a camping experience that will make you feel like you are in the wilderness while providing access to clean comfort stations with running water and hot showers.
The 4,415-acre forest offers a multitude of activities from May to October, when the campground is open. Located just outside the campground, a public boat ramp allows easy entry to the reservoir from within the park, making it a breeze to drop your boat into the water. With the lake so close to your rig, you can anchor nearby or pull your boat up on shore for easy access to the water right from your site. With multiple activities like interpretive walks, boating, picnicking in the lakeside wooded park, swimming from the sandy beach, or hiking on the multi-use trail system, this lovely state park will help you reconnect with nature.
Though potable water is available within the park, there are no dump stations or electricity and the rules are carry-in and carry-out. So be sure to bring what you need and a way to take it with you in your camper when you go to enjoy this truly refreshing back-to-basics and natural camping experience.
Located off of Route 8, Tolland State Forest is less than 10 miles from the Massachusetts Turnpike and the town of Blandford. The roads to the park are well marked and easily navigated in your rig to bring you to the idyllic state forest and its peninsula campground.
Roads within the park are two-way and traverse several hills while winding through the forest and campground. Campsites have a two-vehicle limit or a vehicle and are back-in. However, there is a parking lot near the boat ramp, located just outside the campground, which includes space for vehicles with trailers. Other parking opportunities are limited in the park though, so it is best to enjoy the multi-use trails, as well as access to the beach and picnic area directly from your campsite.
If you choose one of the many waterfront campsites, it is permissible to pull your boat onto the shoreline or anchor offshore, so your watercraft can be just a few steps away from your campervan for an evening paddle before retiring to your campfire. During the day, the sandy beach is just a stroll through the campground as well. A nearby wooded waterfront picnic area provides a change of scenery as well as additional facilities for grilling and whiling away the afternoon.
Of the 92 campsites located in the Tolland State Forest, 63 are designated for RVs and all are back-in. If you are out of luck for nabbing your perfect spot, a few of the tent sites may be suitable for small campervans or pop-ups but it is best to ask at the headquarters before reserving something not listed for RVs or trailers. Happily, the easy-to-use online reservation system tells you which sites are best for your rig and the size limit on a site-by-site basis, making it easy to determine where you and your campervan will fit best.
All sites come with a fire ring and a picnic table and are situated amidst mature forests. The choice camping spots are right on the water with enough trees between each to make you forget you have neighbors while providing spectacular views of the lake as well as easy access to the water. The sites closest to the road and off the water are a bit more exposed and easier to access if you prefer not to back into a deep site.
Camping is limited to 14 cumulative days in any one Massachusetts State Park within a 30-day period. The campground is pack-in/pack-out, so be sure to bring a trash bag big enough to accommodate all of your needs. Potable water is available within the campground, but there is no dump station, electricity, or generator use (except for medical conditions). However, clean comfort stations with hot showers and flush toilets take the stress off your holding tanks, so no need to worry.
The 1,065-acre Otis Reservoir offers fantastic fishing opportunities for trout or bass in the cool and deep waters of the lake. A public boat ramp is located just outside the campground to make water access easy. However, there are no boat rentals, so be sure to bring yours and all of your gear. For those lucky anglers, a fish wash station is available at the comfort facilities within the campground. The scenic lake is perfect for exploration via motorboat, jetski, kayak, or paddleboard.
Located on a short path from the campground, a lovely sand beach offers the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. Whether you just want to enjoy the cool breeze off the lake and relax on the shore or venture into the clear and refreshing water of the lake, the swimming area of Tolland State Forest provides a way to enjoy the water while still being close enough to access your rig.
Tolland State Park is one of the selected parks in Massachusetts to allow Off-Highway-Vehicle use on designated trails. Obtain a free permit from the ranger’s station before heading out from the campground to enjoy the miles of trails through the forest. All OHVs must be registered and occupants must obey posted limits as well as wear a helmet. Plus, riders under 18 must complete a safety course before operating the OHV.
Even after the campground is closed, Tolland State Forest is accessible for legal hunting activities. With over four thousand acres of woods and easily accessible trials, those with hunting permits can look for game such as deer and turkey during the regular hunting seasons. During the time the campground is open, hunting is still legal during each game’s respective season. Check with the local rangers to see what opportunities are available and when.
Tolland State Park offers miles of multi-use trails through the 4,415-acre forest. Leave from your campsite and enjoy nature trails that meander through the woodlands. Loop trails can take you from the lakeside and inland into the rolling hills of the forest or along a marsh perfect for bird watching. A longer journey offers a one-way route to the southern portion of the woods and to Lost Wilderness Lake for a quieter water experience. All hikes are easy to moderate in difficulty.
With thousands of acres of forest, secluded lakes, and birding opportunities are innumerable at Tolland State Forest. Waterfowl such as swans, Canada geese, and a variety of ducks can be found on the lake while forest-dwelling species such as owls, woodpeckers, and cardinals can be spied from the woodland paths. Falcons, hawks, and other migratory species stop by on their seasonal journeys as well.