It's always nice to get away, and here in Portsmouth, we've got one family-friendly location that can help you escape just a few steps from home.
The Melville Campground, located at 181 Bradford Ave., is in full operation and is at the height of the season.
That’s according to Bill Bryant, campground manager.
Bryant and his wife, Lisa, celebrated their 21st year of service on July 3.
“I love this job," he said. "I enjoy working outside and I like the people."
The 153-acre campground is owned by the town of Portsmouth and was deeded to the town by the Department of Defense in the early 1980s as surplus land, according to Bryant.
Campers come from all around the world, he said.
“We have many many campers from Germany. We also get ones from Holland, Australia, China, Canada and, of course, all over the U.S.,” he said.
According to Bryant, because Portsmouth is so centrally located, people use the grounds as a base camp to go to Boston, Mystic and Cape Cod for day trips.
“The day trips also include local attractions such as Green Animals and the mansions in Newport,” he said.
Melville Campground has 133 sites, 66 are for recreational vehicles (RVs) and 67 are set aside for tents.
The RV sites rent for $45 per night and includes water and electricity. A full hookup costs $50 per night and includes water, electricity and sewage connections.
The tent sites rent for $25 per night and only include a picnic table and a fire ring.
"We can get really packed on some weekends and have as many as 500 campers if we average it out as having two adults and two children per site," Bryant said. "Then there are the guests of our campers who pay $5 per adult and $3 per child. Those guest have to leave by 11 p.m. as to not put an extra strain on our resources like sewage and water."
“Sometimes," he added, "we get a few people who don’t want to follow the rules. Rules like quiet time at 11 p.m. or making a fire too big. When they get out of hand we have to call the Portsmouth police to come down. But most of the time they calm down before that happens."
Husband and wife Dick and Jackie Maciel have been coming to Melville for the last five or six years.
“We make our own homemade kites and are here for the Newport Kite Festival," Jackie Maciel said a few weeks ago. "We travel up and down the East Coast and love the campgrounds. But, we don’t like the fact that the rates have increased fees so much in the last two years."
Of course, you don’t have to come from far away to enjoy the experience.
“If you live here in town and you want your family to experience the wonders of camping come on down, we’ll find a spot for you,” Bryant said.