Marina camping in Portland, CT

We’re in central Connecticut now.  On the recommendation of some fellow Airstreamers, we’ve settled in Portland on the banks of the Connecticut River at a marina.


We’ve camped at marinas before, most memorably in Florida’s panhandle, at Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado, and on Lake Powell.  Marina camping is a fun change when you can find it.  There’s always a guaranteed water view, and usually a background of boats coming and going that makes the camping feel more lively. There’s often an industrious feel about the place, with people working on boat repairs or getting their fishing gear together.

portland-ct-boats-on-river.jpgBeing post-Labor Day in New England, the weather has turned cooler and there is a distinct hint of fall in the air. Boaters aren’t as active.  The campground is empty except for us and an uninhabited fifth-wheel trailer, so we basically have the place to ourselves.

The campsite is at a marina on the Connecticut river in the town of Portland.  We’re the only ones in the little 22-site campground.  The season is mostly wrapped up after Labor Day.  The days are still nice, with low 70s expected all week (50s at night), but the kids are back to school and this is a pretty unknown campground.  I bought a week of camping for $150.  We see boats going by once in a while, little dinner cruises, students from some local school doing crew, etc.  But mostly it’s just quiet.

The downside of this particular campground is that it lacks sewer connections and has no dump station.  Campers get a referral to a city-owned dump station in town, which is only open Monday-Friday.  To use it, we would have to hitch up and tow into town, which is more effort than its worth.  We’ll be here for five or six days, and our gray water holding tank simply won’t last that long, so the solution is simply to use the marina’s public shower. That’s not a huge sacrifice, and the compensation is a fairly moderate fee: $150 for the week, or about $21 per day.

The plan for the next several days is to do a bunch of work (for some reason I’m amazingly busy with projects), get some schooling done, explore the town of Portland, and visit some relatives about 40 minutes drive away. It’s a pretty low-concept plan, but every full-timer knows that’s part of the lifestyle.


  1. says

    Having never been there, I woulda never associated that image with central CT. And lemme get this straight – the uninhabited fifth-wheel owner just left his awning out like that (not to mention right ‘in your face’, too)? Long as it’s safe and secure, sounds like a great deal to me.

  2. Tom says

    Wow! We live directly across the river (well, one mile south, to be exact) from that marina in Cromwell, yet never realized you could camp there!

    Glad you’re enjoying your visit to our area. Whenever I pass by the hot dog Bambi, I make it a point to buy some hot dogs from them. Thanks to the Minuet, I know what owning vintage costs… :)

    Most of the CT state rest areas on I-91 have dump stations.