Our Finest Family Fishing Vacations
September 29, 2010
Try these family-friendly fishing getaways, each featuring great fishing, diversions for the family and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors! (June 2009)
New England's anglers are some of the luckiest in the nation when family vacation time rolls around.
Freshwater fishing or coastal, tenting, RVing or resort accommodations; hiking, biking, beach combing, learning local history and folklore; flying, sailing and even submarine adventures are all within reach this summer.
Here's a roundup of some of the best family fishing destinations to explore in 2009:
Nutmeg State families are lucky because several destinations offer access to freshwater and saltwater fishing. Why choose between trout and stripers when you can have it all?
Gardner Lake, in Salem, Montville and Bozrah, offers anglers a shot at stocked brown and rainbow trout, walleyes, largemouth and smallmouth bass, chain pickerel and plenty of panfish to keep young anglers happy.
To the west is 190-acre Lake Hayward, another stocked trout water where anglers can also target largemouth bass and panfish.
For more details, check DeLorme's Connecticut/Rhode Island Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 37.
Acorn Acres, at 135 Lake Road in Bozrah, is a great base of operations for fishing and family fun. There are over 200 tent and RV sites, plus rental cabins. The area includes a bass pond and a trout stream that runs through the property.
There's an Olympic-sized swimming pool, hot tub, snack bar, adult lounge, tennis courts, shuffleboard, basketball, horseshoes, badminton, bingo, a playground, crafts, miles of hiking trails, hayrides and live music on weekends to keep the family occupied when they aren't drowning worms.
For more information, call (860) 859-1020, or go online to www.acornacrescampsites.com.
Salem Farms Campground, on the Alexander Road in Salem, has trailer sites with 30-amp service, water, grey water receptacles, fire rings and picnic tables. The campground recently added Wi-Fi Internet access and a new playground.
For more information, call (860) 859-2320, or visit online at www.salemfarmscampground.com.
Witch Meadow Lake Campground, nestled on the shore of a 14-acre lake, is at 139 Witch Meadow Road in Salem. Swimming, boating and fishing are allowed. Pedal boats, canoes and hydro bikes are available. A children's activity program is available.
For more information, call (860) 859-1542, or visit the Web site at www.witchmeadowcampground.com.
Rustic camping is available at 21 sites in Devil's Hopyard State Park in East Haddam. The biggest draw here, in addition to brook trout in the stream, is the 60-foot Chapman Falls, which flows into the Eightmile River. Trails here allow for hiking and mountain biking. There are cooking grills, picnic shelters, tables and pit toilets.
Call (860) 873-8566 for details.
Visit the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research center in Poquetanuck to learn more about this tribe. This is the largest such facility in the world, featuring exhibits on 18,000 years of Native American and natural history.
For more information, call the museum office at (800) 411-9671, or visit www.pequotmuseum.org.
A short drive to the southeast will give anglers saltwater access in Waterford and Mystic. There's plenty for families to do here, too. Visit the Mystic Seaport and Museum, where a recreated 19th century coastal village, preservation shipyard and working artisans bring history to life. Boat rentals are available.
Call (860) 572-5315, or visit www.mysticseaport.org.
Nearby in Pleasant Valley is the Submarine Force Museum. Board the USS Nautilus to get a feel for submarine life, and learn the history of this ship of firsts -- first nuclear powered, first to the North Pole and first to travel "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
Call (860) 694-3174, or visit www.ussnautilus.org.
For more fishing information, call (860) 424-3000, or go online to www.ct.gov/dep/site/default.asp.
For general travel information, visit www.visitconnecticut.com or www. tourism.state.ct.us/.
Ogunquit is a good base for saltwater and freshwater fishing with affordable accommodations for vacationing families. In addition to the surf-casting possibilities along North Beach, Footbridge Beach and Ogunquit Beach, an enjoyable hike along the Marginal Way Foot Path leads to any number of rocky nooks and crannies where anglers may fish undisturbed.
Boating access can be had at Perkins Cove Town Wharf.
Perkins Cove is home to several charter vessels. Sail aboard the Bunny Clark with Captain Tim Tower. Call (207) 646-2214, or visit the Web site at www.bunnyclark.com. Full and half-day fishing trips may also be had aboard the Ugly Anne. Call (207) 646-7202, or visit www.uglyanne. com.
Nearby freshwater fishing options include angling for chain pickerel and largemouth bass at Scituate Pond in York, or brookies and brown trout at Ell Pond in Wells. The Ogunquit River in Wells and the Merriland River in Kennebunk are also good trout waters.
Beach Acres Campground at 76 Eldridge Road in Wells is less than a mile from the ocean. The campground has 300 sites with full hook-ups that will accommodate larger rigs. There's a swimming pool and playground.
Call (207) 646-2288, or visit www.beachacres.com for details.
Pinederosa Campground at 128 North Village Road in Wells has 122 wooded and open sites, with water and electric hookups. The campground has a swimming pool and camp store. Pets are welcome.
For more information, call (207) 646-2492, or visit www.pinederosa. com.
The Ogunquit Resort Motel offers an affordable option for families who prefer rooms to RVs. There's a swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center and game room.
Rooms vary from simple bed and bath accommodations to suites with ocean views, full kitchens and Jacuzzi tubs. Continental breakfast is included.
The resort is close to Footbridge Beach. Several eateries are within walking distance. The Ogunquit House of Pizza is next door.
For resort information, call (877) 646-8336, or visit the Web site at www.ogunquitresort.com.
On Route 1 in Wells is the Maine Diner. Its home-style menu selections and prices don't hint at the national acclaim this eatery has enjoyed over the past 25 years. Almost as enjoyable as the food is their collection of memorabilia noting various brushes with greatness.
Next door is the "Remember the Maine" gift shop.
For details, call (207) 646-4441, or visit www.mainediner.com.
Next to the Maine Diner is the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. There's no entrance fee and the hiking trails are a great place to walk off a big meal!
If the family is fished and beached out, there's still plenty to do. Wonder Mountain, which features two 18-hole mini golf courses and a full arcade, is on Route 1 in Wells.
The Ogunquit Trading Post in Moody boasts 10,000 gifts to choose from for souvenir shopping.
Take surfing lessons or rent a surfboard at Liquid Dreams Surf Shop at 731 Main Street in Ogunquit.
Evening hours may be whiled away at the Ogunquit Playhouse, which brings "Broadway to the beach." Recent productions included Disney's High School Musical, Willy Wonka Junior, Treasure Island and Disney's Sleeping Beauty.
For saltwater fishing information, call the Maine Department of Marine Resources at (207) 633-9500 or visit www.maine.gov/dmr/index.htm. For freshwater fishing information, call the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife at (207) 287-8000, or visit www.maine.gov/ifw.
For travel information, call the Maine Office of Tourism at (888) 624-6345, or visit www.visitmaine. com.
The Falmouth-Mashpee areas of the Bay State offer vacationing anglers some great freshwater and saltwater options. Anglers are literally surrounded by great saltwater opportunities along this portion of Cape Cod.
Nearby freshwater options include fishing for brookies, rainbow trout and smallmouth bass at Ashumet Pond, fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass at Coonamessett Pond, fishing Johns Pond for bass and trout or fishing the twin Mashpee-Wakeby Ponds for largemouth and smallmouth bass, brookies, rainbows and brown trout.
The Cape Cod Canal Project in Buzzards Bay features some interesting campsites in two locations. The seven-mile-long, manmade canal bisects Bourne, offering ships a shortcut that allows them to avoid sailing all the way around the Cape.
Bourne Scenic Park has a tenting area as well as electric-water hook-ups for RVs. There's a camp store, a playground, electronic game room and children's activity program. Pets are allowed.
Anglers may fish along the banks of the canal except at Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the Canal Administration Area in Buzzards Bay. The area also has ample walking and biking trails.
For details, call (508) 759-7873, or visit www.bournescenicpark.com.
The Scusset Beach State Reservation is on the east end of the canal and offers 98 sites complete with electric and water hookups. Pets are not allowed.
Scusset's fishing pier, a 3,000-foot breakwater and 1.5 miles of canal frontage offer plenty of saltwater access.
Call (877) 422-6762, or visit www.mae.usace.army.mil/recreati/ccc/recreation/recreation.htm.
The Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center, at 60 Ed Moffitt Drive in Sandwich, offers guests a chance to learn about the history, features and operations of the canal. Exhibits include a 41-foot long U.S. Army Corps of Engineers patrol boat, and there's a 46-seat theater for viewing continuous showings on canal history, critters and wildflowers. There are also real-time radar and camera images of the waterway and a variety of interactive displays for kids of all ages. Admission is free.
Call (508) 833-9678 for details.
For more traditional digs, check out Bay View Campgrounds on Route 28 in Bourne. Sites are available for tents, pop-ups, RVs and motor homes. Pull-through sites are available upon request. The campground has a grocery store, restaurant, ice cream parlor and game room. There are three swimming pools and two playgrounds. There's also Wi-Fi, volleyball, basketball, tennis and planned activities. Professional entertainment is provided on weekends. Pets are allowed.
Call (508) 759-7610 or visit www.bayviewcampground.com/.
The Cape Cod Campresort and Cabins makes a great base camp for Cape Cod-bound vacationers. This location offers 230 sites including a secluded tenting area, full hook-ups and rental cabins. The campground has a lake for swimming, boating and fishing. Paddleboats and rowboats are available for rent. There are three swimming pools, a Jacuzzi, two playgrounds, a game room, Wi-Fi and an adult fitness trail.
For more information, call (508) 548-1458, or visit the Web site at www.capecampresort.com.
Be sure to visit the Cape Cod Children's Museum in Mashpee for some hands-on learning fun.
Call (508) 539-8788 or visit www.capecodchildrensmuseum.org.
Take a trip aboard the Cape Cod Central Railroad in Hyannis for a narrated scenic excursion or a mystery train ride. Call (508) 771-3800, or visit www.capetrain.com. Or, float your vacation time away with Cape Cod Duckmobiles, also in Hyannis, for a tour by land and sea.
Call (508) 790-2111, or visit www.capecodduckmobile.com.
For a bird's eye view of the Cape, join Cape Cod Soaring out at the Marstons Mills Airport for a sailplane ride. If something quieter appeals, visit Great Marsh Kayak Tours on Route 28 in Yarmouth. Check out www.greatmarshkayaktours.com.
There are several whale-watching excursions in the region including Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises (www.whales.net) and Captain John Boats Whale Watching and Deep Sea Fishing in Plymouth (www.captjohn. com).
For additional fishing information, call (617) 626-1520, or visit www.mass.gov/dfwele/dmf/.
For Bay State travel information, call (617) 973-8500, or visit www.massvacation.com.
Families that prefer mountain adventures can find excellent fishing, camping and fun in the Great North Woods region of the Granite State.
Clustered along the Canadian border in a r
elatively undeveloped portion of the state are large waters like Lake Francis, and First and Second Connecticut lakes. All three are excellent coldwater fisheries for trout and salmon. Or, try 359-acre Back Lake for brookies, browns and rainbow trout. Good brook trout fishing may also be had in area brooks, including Halls and Indian streams.
Lake Francis State Park in Pittsburgh spans 38 acres and offers camping and access to the 2,051-acre lake. There's a boat ramp able to accommodate most boats. The upper reaches of the Connecticut River may be accessed by canoe via Lake Francis. The campground has 42 sites, each with a fireplace, picnic table and flat area for a tent. Walk-in sites near the river, about two minutes from the parking lot, offer tent platforms. Sites are by reservation, but first-come, first-served camping is offered if sites are not reserved.
For state park information, visit the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation Web site at www.nhstateparks.org.
At Mountain View Cabins and Campground, 2787 North Main Street (Route 3) in Pittsburg, campers may opt for tent sites, two-way or three-way hookups or one of a dozen rental cabins. Pets are welcome. The campground office is five miles north of Pittsburg, less than one mile from First Connecticut Lake and only 17 miles from the Canadian border.
The Happy Corner Café is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The café office may be reached at (603) 538-1144.
Call (603) 538-6305 for more information about Mountain View Cabins, or visit the Web site at www.mountainviewcabinsandcampground.com.
About six miles north of Pittsburg on Hill Road is the Happy Corner Bridge. This covered bridge is one of the oldest in northern New Hampshire. This was once a busy neighborhood complete with a sawmill, starch mill, a store with a post office, a barbershop and Temperance Hall.
An elderly man once lived here who liked to sing, dance and play his Victrola for visitors. People often gathered at this "happy" place, thus giving the area its name.
The 160-acre Glen Resort in Pittsburg is a mile down a private road on the shore of First Connecticut Lake. Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining room, while boxed lunches are provided for midday meals.
Boats and motors may be rented onsite, and canoes and kayaks may be rented nearby.
Call (603) 538-6500, or visit www.theglen.org.
Be sure to visit the Pittsburg Historical Society and the Poore Homestead on Route 145 in Stewartstown Hollow (seven miles south of Pittsburg) to learn more about the unique history of this rugged region and the early settlers who lived here.
Take the family for a hike up the 1.5-mile Magalloway Mountain Trail. This is a moderate-to-difficult hike and is not for the very young, very old or faint of heart. At the 3,360-summit, there is a fire tower. Access is off the end of the fire road.
See DeLorme's New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 53 for details.
For more fishing information, call the New Hampshire Fish and Game at (603) 271-2501, or go online to www.wildlife.state.nh.us.
For travel information, call the state Office of Travel and Tourism at (603) 271-2665, or visit www.visitnh. gov.