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In the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire, the Old Stage Campground is a picturesque RV park in the town of Madbury. It lies just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean and the vibrant city of Portsmouth, which hugs the Piscataqua River along the border with Maine.
RV camping at the Old Stage Campground is pet-friendly and accessible to even the largest rigs, with campfire rings and picnic tables available at each site. Water, 30-amp electric hookups, sewer, and cable TV are also provided, with the option for either sunny or shaded settings.
Recreational facilities at the Old Stage Campground include a swimming pool, game room, and a ping pong table, as well as basketball, volleyball, and bocce courts. Haunted hayrides, street hockey games, and dance contests are regularly on the calendar, as are children’s bingo and make-your-own-sundae events.
Camp in an RV near Madbury and head west to the Bellamy Reservoir, a 333-acre water body to the west of the Old Stage Campground. It’s a popular fishing destination, with largemouth bass, chain pickerel, black crappie, and horned pout all for the taking. It connects along the Bellamy River to the Bellamy River Wetland Preserve whose tidal creeks, woodlands, and fields provide habitat for native deer, meadowlarks, and waterfowl.
Continue driving southwest, and you’ll arrive at the Pawtuckaway State Park, which is one of the largest state parks in southeastern New Hampshire. It encompasses the Pawtuckaway Mountains, a rocky, circular range from an ancient volcanic ring dike that is believed to date to the Cretaceous period. Follow one of the hiking trails that lead to the summits of the North and South Pawtuckaway Mountains or go kayaking to explore the islands and scenic coves of Lake Pawtuckaway.
Hop across the border into Maine to visit the Rachel Carson Nature Preserve, a 9,125-acre protected area on the Atlantic coast. It’s named after the environmentalist Rachel Carson who is renowned for her book Silent Spring that brought attention to the effects of DDT on the environment and birdlife. The wildlife refuge encompasses barrier beaches, tidal estuaries, and salt marsh habitats, with piping plovers among the endangered species that find sanctuary here. Keep your eyes peeled for least terns, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles while exploring the Cutts Island Trail, a 1.8-mile loop that’s accessible to hikers of all experience levels.
The Old Stage Campground is a 10-minute drive from the center of Dover, which is home to numerous supermarkets where you can stock up on grocery supplies. There are also gas stations here if you need to fill up your RV rental and a great selection of fast-food restaurants and eateries for dining out.
While you’re in Dover, don’t miss a visit to the Woodman Institute Museum, which includes three Federal-style brick houses, one of which was the former home of abolitionist Senator John P. Hale. Its exhibits detail the local human and natural history, with highlights including a saddle in which President Abraham Lincoln once rode and a sword gifted by a Japanese delegate to a Portsmouth waiter in 1905. Also at the institute is the 17th-century William Damm Garrison, which is one of the oldest residences in Dover and houses a brass Napoleon cannon used during the American Civil War.
Traveling with kids in the Madbury motorhome rental? Spend a day at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire, an educational center that delves into the worlds of art, science, and culture. There are plenty of interactive and hands-on exhibits to explore, including the Dino Detective, Build It, and First Impressions areas. Get creative in the Muse Studio, read glow-in-the-dark books in the Cave Explorers exhibit, or check what’s taking place in the STEAM Innovation Lab.
Camping at the Old Stage Campground is also a good base for visiting Portsmouth, which is a popular seaport along New Hampshire’s coast. Spend an afternoon wandering between the 17th and 18th-century buildings of the Strawbery Banke Museum where staff dressed in period costumes demonstrate traditional crafts. You can browse the historical exhibits on display at the 19th-century Portsmouth Athenaeum or discover what makes the USS Albacore submarine so special. If you’re after some fresh air, head to the riverside trails of Prescott Park where musical concerts, theater performances, and open-air movies are held during the summer months.
Whether you want to birdwatch in the estuaries along the Atlantic coast or discover the historical sights of Dover and Portsmouth, book an RV in Strafford County and start planning your next vacation.