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Connecticut might not be the most obvious place for an RV rental trip; it’s not far from the bustling cityscape of New York, campgrounds can be hard to find, and you’d be trading the open roads of the west for the much narrower and slower country roads of New England. But that’s part of its charm - staying in an RV campground in rural Connecticut means never being far from the major attractions, while also having the peace and quiet of rural life. Little City Campground outside Haddam might be the perfect example of this.
Most of the campsites at Little City Campground have electrical hookups, and some have full hookups for your rental RV. Sites are large and can accommodate a 60-foot-long vehicle; there are also fire rings and WiFi at each of them. For such a small campground, it has a large range of amenities, like laundry facilities, hot showers, and a pet area. You’ll also never be bored while camping at Little City Campground as there’s a swimming pool, a fishing pond, horseshoe pits, a playground, and a small game room.
It’s a little bit off the beaten path, with the only town with much of a population being Middletown, about 20 minutes' drive away. This is also where you can get onto Interstate 91, which runs between Hartford and New Haven, and where it connects with Interstate 95 and New York City.
While the Connecticut coast and Hartford metro might seem like endless urban sprawls, the far eastern portion of the state is for outdoor lovers. The Connecticut River flows through Haddam and not far from where you’ll be camping with an RV; one of the more exciting activities is to rent a kayak and paddle around. Just be sure you have a way to get picked up downstream or enough energy to make your way back upstream.
If you’re a sea kayaker, the Thimble Islands just off the coast of Branford (about half an hour's drive from the campground) is one of the most unique places to paddle. For centuries, wealthy New Englanders have built their houses on these pint-sized landmasses, with many taking up the entire island. Kayaking through them is a chance to see these lavish homes up close, in a way few others can.
There are four state parks within a short drive from Haddam: Millers Pond, Eagle Landing, Higganum Reservoir, and Haddam Meadows. The latter sits on the western shore of the Connecticut River and is a favorite among Haddam residents. A small sandbar on the river’s shore is an excellent spot to do some fishing or go for a swim. Hikers will enjoy the flat and easy trails that crisscross the park.
Perhaps the most interesting state park in the area, though, is Gillette Castle, a 100-acre green space with a medieval castle as its centerpiece. The castle isn’t ancient though, it was built during America’s Gilded Age, for playwright William Gillette. As the man had no heirs, the state took over the opulent house after his death, and it's now open to the public for tours.
Haddam straddles the Connecticut River, and throughout its history, the river has been a major contributor to its economy and culture. One of the more unique features of the town’s infrastructure is its swing bridge, which has a nearly 500-foot-long section of roadway that rotates 90 degrees to allow larger boats to travel upriver.
Despite Haddam’s small size, you’ll find several great independent restaurants flanking the river; most serve Italian cuisine, pizzas, or down-home American dishes, but a couple of the eateries located farther from the town center have a more eclectic menu. Several gas stations and convenience stores on the river’s western shore are stocked with snacks and basic food supplies along with a grocery store where you can pick up everything needed for a big campground meal.
If you’re hoping to make your motorhome camping trip a romantic one, there are several places you’ll want to stop in East Haddam, starting with the Allegra Farm and Horsedrawn Carriage Museum of New England. In the summer, you can hop on a carriage ride through the surrounding greenfields, and when the snow starts falling, sleigh rides are in full swing. The museum area includes exhibits showcasing how the farm’s carriages and sleighs were used in Hollywood productions. From there, hit up the nearby winery or cider company; both will show you how their delicious drinks are produced and give you a taste of their product. Animal lovers will also enjoy the many farms that grace the Haddam area, each being home to a friendly cadre of horses, sheep, and even llamas that you can socialize with.