Sitting lakeside in northeastern New Hampshire is the scenic Umbagog Lake State Park. Long before being acquired by the state in 1998, the park was once a settlement of the Abenaki Native American tribe. In fact, the park kept the name that it had long ago: The Abenaki word, Umbagog, means shallow water. Fast forward a few hundred years, and guests flock to the park to enjoy the rich history along with a plethora of beachside activities, including swimming, excellent fishing, wildlife viewing, and boating. Canoe, kayak, rowboat, and motorboat rentals are also available from the park for your convenience.
As one of the more recently acquired parks in the New Hampshire state system, Umbagog Lake boasts top-notch facilities for RV campers, including a base-park campground with 19 sites with electrical and water hook-ups available, three cabins, and 34 remote campsites located in isolated spots around Umbagog Lake. The remote campsites are only accessible only by boat, and transportation for remote site campers is available for a small fee.
The park stays open year-round for recreation, but staff and campgrounds are unavailable between mid-October and the end of May.
Lake Umbagog State Park is located in northeast New Hampture, just two hours north of Portland, Maine. The park is easily reached by NH Route 26, which runs along the lake's southern shore. Be aware that Route 26 is only a single lane in each direction, so those navigating large motorhomes should pull over frequently to let faster vehicles pass.
It's a very short drive from the entrance to the park, just off the highway, to the campground. The campground road is not paved, but it's still relatively easy for big rigs to navigate—there's no need to worry about sharp turns or steep inclines here. Winter weather may make it difficult to travel for those with large vehicles, so make sure you always check the local forecast and road conditions before heading out for some fun in the snow.
The Umbagog State Park features a lakeside base area campground consisting of 19 RV and trailer friendly sites, two of which are for first-come, first-served campers. Each site is equipped with a fire ring and a picnic table, and there are hookups for water and electricity for RVs, as well as a dump station and toilets located nearby. All sites require you to back in, and maximum length limitations vary between 20 and 40 feet. The campground is open from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend, and reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.
If you couldn't find an empty spot to park the rig at Umbagog Lake State Park, there are several alternative state parks in the area that offer RV and trailer friendly sites. Mollidgewock State Park is just under 20 minutes from the park to the northwest, and Jericho Mountain State Park is just under an hour to the south. Both of these nearby New Hampshire parks are extremely primitive, however, so be ready to rough it at some rudimentary sites and get back in touch with mother nature.
If you want to leave the camper behind for a few nights, there are 34 remote sites generally isolated in wooded areas and accessed by boat only. Each remote site has a fireplace, picnic table, and a primitive pit toilet. The park offers transportation to the remote sites for a fee. These campsites are carry in/carry out, meaning there are no trash cans or trash pick-up. The campground is open from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend.
If you're interested in fast-paced winter sports, tow the snowmobile behind the Sprinter and head to northeast New Hampshire. When the snow sticks, the trails of Umbagog Lake State Park become ideal paths for snowmobiles. The local snowmobile club does its best to keep the trails groomed, and the lake itself can be crossed when the ice is thick enough. The park provides access to the sprawling network of snowmobile trails across the state.
If you're looking for a change from the campervan for a night or two, Umbagog offers cabins that are available for rental. The four remote cabins are set on the northwest shore of the lake and offer spectacular views. Accessible only by boat, they also provide the ultimate in seclusion and privacy. If you didn't bring your own boat, rentals are available, as is transportation to and from the cabins. The Honeymoon cabin is the smallest, holding a maximum of three adults, while the largest, Ellis cabin, holds up to six.
The shores of the lake and the woods that surround it provide a vital habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, so don't forget your camera when you're packing the Airstream. The nearby presence of the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge means your chances are good for spotting birds such as loons, ducks, osprey, and bald eagles. Herons, sandpipers, and geese are all common, as are many species of raptors, such as hawks and falcons that also call the park home, but it's not just birds that live here. The park is also home to deer and moose, so keep your eyes peeled while you wander the trails.
Once the crowds thin for the season, consider taking your camera along in the Sprinter and heading to Umbagog Lake State Park. The fall is an especially scenic time to visit this park, with the fall foliage in full effect and the local wildlife feeling brave enough to venture out more than they do in the summer months. If you're lucky, you may spot a moose, loon, or osprey. You'll also be able to snap a picture of a scenic sunset across the lake with the mountain peaks jutting out in the background. Wherever you wander, be sure to have your camera with you to capture both memories and the picturesque flora and fauna surrounding the park.
Even if you're not an angler, the presence of Lake Umbagog presents many ways to pass the time. Nothing beats the heat of a summer's day like getting out on the water, and boating provides a way to escape the crowds during the park's busy season. Didn't bring a boat with you on this RV vacation? Canoes, kayaks, and rowboats are all available to rent at the park. A boat ramp is also available for use near the campground.
Don't forget to pack the fishing gear in the motorhome because the deep waters of Lake Umbagog are home to a wide variety of fish. You can cast out along the river as it enters the lake, or go straight to the southern end of the lake in search of some bigger fish. Smallmouth bass is particularly abundant, but the lake holds many other species that you're sure to encounter if you drop a line.
On a hot day, the waters of the lake can seem almost too inviting. Swimming is a popular activity in the park once the mercury climbs, and there is a beach area to accommodate everyone who wants to take a dip. Showers and restrooms make for a comfortable experience, and the roped-off area allows you to swim without fear of boats encroaching on your territory. The swimming area is a short trek from the campground, making it easy to go back and forth from the motorhome to the beach.
There's no better treat than an outdoor meal while on an RV vacation, and Umbagog Lake State Park is equipped with all the facilities you will need to enjoy your picnic. Within the campground, guests will find a private picnic table and fire ring within their site. You can also head to the beach to enjoy lunch with a view! Various tables are scattered along the shoreline, or you can get comfortable and enjoy your meal right on the sand after a full day of swimming or canoeing. Toilets are available in the campground near the beach.