While Tom and I were on the shore of Massachusetts we stayed at Salisbury Beach Campground. Salisbury Beach State Reservation is one of the state’s most popular beaches and has 484 camping spaces. The campground is located on a peninsula between the ocean, the Merrimack River and a wetland marsh. There are three large parking areas for public access to the beach, for which they pay a day use fee.
Salisbury Beach campground itself is a little crowded, with so many people in such a small space, but it was surprisingly quiet. It is patrolled regularly by park law enforcement officials on horses to make sure the rules are enforced. Riding horses makes the officers seem more accessible with children crowding around them all the time to see the horses and ask questions.
Speaking of children, Salisbury Beach campground reminded me of a small village (about 1,000 residents) with children riding their bikes in groups up and down the paved roads. The speed limit in the campground is 5 mph with good reason: people are always out walking, riding bikes, walking dogs, and heading to the beach. So the roads are very busy with things besides automobile traffic.
All the camping spots are back-in and all of them have water. Most also have electric, but only 20 amp service, which meant that we had to be careful about what we ran. It was certainly doable, but some other big rigs stopped by and chose to stay at private campgrounds with 50 amp service because they didn’t want to juggle air-conditioning with the hot water heater with the other appliances.
It was an easy walk to the beach from the campground and we visited the beach every day. Because there was so much of it, it never felt crowded. The ocean right here is very shallow for a long way, so it is a great beach for young children. The waves were not very big or powerful. But the water was cold, so it was best for short runs in and out or for wading. Other activities at the campground included a movie night on Wednesdays and fireworks off the jetty on Saturdays.
Salisbury Beach campground is so large and there are no sewer hookups, consequently the dump station was a very busy place. We had to wait in line to dump when we were ready to leave. There was also a complete recycling center so we were able to recycle all the usual things.
Salisbury Beach campground was a great place to stay. It was reasonably priced, especially compared to the private campgrounds nearby. The beach was the biggest draw, but there were lots of restaurants close by and easy access to Boston on the commuter rail. It is certainly a place we would stay again if we want to be right on the ocean.