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Situated by the shores of the Housatonic River in Connecticut, and about an hour and forty minutes away from New York City lies Paugussett State Forest. The state forest is also just a few miles from Danbury, CT, Waterbury, CT, and New Haven, CT, and appeals to locals as well as motorhome camping enthusiasts from neighboring states due to its amazing hiking and boating opportunities.
Should you be a culture seeker interested in spicing up your state park RV camping trip with some shopping and dining, the state capital of Connecticut, New Haven, is barely 45 minutes away. To explore all the region has to offer, you’ll want to search for an RV in Fairfield County.
Encompassing about 1200 acres along the western shores of Lake Zoar, Paugussett State Forest is an ideal place whether you’re looking for a good workout or to disappear for a while. When camping at Paugussett State Forest, you’ll get access to a variety of off the beaten path trails depending on your fitness level. If you’re into boating, consider renting an RV with a tow hook so that you can bring along your boat. The park is also awesome for mountain biking as well as hunting. While camping in a rental motorhome at Paugussett State Forest, there are some nearby state parks to check out for even more activities. The Kettletown State Park is great for fishing, while the Naugatuck State Forest is a prime spot for cross country skiing in the winter.
When it comes to hiking, you’ve got a couple of trails to check out. Upper Paugussett State Forest is where you want to be if you’re looking for easier trails. Give the 3 miles moderately rated Lillinonah Upper Half Loop a try before considering the full 5.3-mile moderate Lillinonah Trail.
Ardent hikers will feel right at home at the Zion trail, a 6.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail with an elevation gain of about 1,072 feet. Dogs are allowed, but they have to be kept on a leash at all times. After a good workout, reward yourself with a swim at the adjacent Kettletown State Park.
After cooling those muscles, how about trying your luck at some fishing. With 23 miles of shoreline, Lake Zoar is undoubtedly a shore fishing paradise. The lake is populated with a variety of fish species, including trout, crappie, and bass.
At approximately 900 acres in size, the lake is just as good for boating. Boaters have access to boat ramps for launching canoes and kayaks into the long, narrow lake. When motor boating, keep in mind that the speed limit is 45 mph during the day and 25 mph during the night.
Situated just across the river from Paugussett State Forest, the Kettletown State Park is your best bet when it comes to camping with an RV as close as possible to Paugussett State Forest. The campground’s pull-thru sites are set on dirt and have no hookups, perfect for dry camping. Just be sure to bring along a couple of leveling blocks. The campground features a dump station, restrooms, and showers.
Dry camping sure isn’t for everyone. When you’re willing to sacrifice camping in an RV rental near Paugussett State Park for more amenities, consider the Branch Brook Campground in Thomaston. Newtown campers get access to full hookups alongside WiFi and cable TV. Additional amenities include a camp store, a pet area, and propane is available. For recreation, there’s a playground, a pool, and a recreational room.
Before packing up your Newtown camper rental and bidding the area goodbye, take some time to tour and appreciate even more of the region's attractions as who knows when you’ll be back? It wouldn’t be a bad idea to start off your tour at Yale University in New Haven. Founded in 1701, the Ivy League University remains an integral part of the community. Did you know that Yale, the third oldest university in the United States, is the largest employer in New Haven? The university visitor center is situated in John Pierpoint House, the oldest private home in the town. There you can organize for a guided tour of the stately gothic-style campus.
Should you be an art or history buff, you’ll love it at the Yale University Art Gallery. Established in 1832, it is the oldest college art museum in America. Even more impressively, it is the oldest university art museum in the western hemisphere. The museum, which was created after John Trumbull donated about 100 paintings of the American Revolution, has grown massively through the years. The museum now hosts about 250,000 objects, which are very diverse. Ranging from Mayan figurines and African art, the museum has something for everyone. The museum boasts of paintings from some notable names such as Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh.
Danbury is worth visiting if you’ve still got some time. In case your visit falls between September and October, you’d better visit the Blue Jay Orchards for a couple of fresh, crisp apples. The apple cider here draws in people from far and wide. Shopping lovers aren’t forgotten as Danbury is home to Danbury Fair Mall, the second-largest mall in Connecticut. Foodies are covered as the city has a diverse range of restaurants. Here, you’ll find just about anything from the traditional tabouleh from the Middle East to the yellowtail scallion roll from Japan.