If you're searching for a pet-friendly camping spot just a short drive from Boston, Harold Parker State Forest is definitely worth investigating. Located in Andover, just one hour north of the state capital, this pristine patch of forest offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, and fishing, but its standout feature is the inclusion of a pet-friendly campground.
The Lorraine Park Campground features 89 sites designed to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs. Each campsite comes with its own picnic table and grill, and as of 2019, there are 11 sites with electrical hookups.
Sites are large, well-spaced, and usually offer reasonable privacy from your neighbors, creating that unique "forest camping" atmosphere that can be hard to find in a busy campground. The restrooms and showers may not be the most modern facilities going around, but they're generally clean and in good working order. Each campsite also has a water spigot, and a dumping station is available if required.
Pets are welcome on all sites. Dogs must be leashed whenever they're outside your vehicle, while you'll also need to clean up after your pooch whenever required.
A daily parking fee is charged in Harold Parker State Forest from Memorial Day weekend until October 31. The fee is $5 for Massachusetts residents and $10 for residents of other states.
Camping costs $17 a night for Massachusetts residents, or $27 a night for out-of-state visitors. The camping season usually runs from early May until Columbus Day weekend.
Of course, how you spend your time in this 3,000-acre swathe of hemlock, hardwood, and white pine forest is entirely up to you. There are 35 miles of hiking trails to explore -- the Yellow Diamond Trail which takes in the pretty surroundings of Salem Pond is a particular favorite -- and more than 20 miles of mountain bike trails.
There are 11 ponds available where anglers can cast a line, or where kayakers and canoeists can enjoy a leisurely paddle. And with several other state parks nearby, you can always look for other pet-friendly campgrounds to visit along the way.
Best of all, Harold Parker State Forest's location just an hour from Boston makes it ideal for a quick weekend getaway your pooch will love.