Camping in New York

      Your game plan for unforgettable camping adventures in New York.

      Your Go-To New York Camping Guide

      Forget the honking taxis and bright lights – New York offers another side, calling all nature lovers! Swap the concrete jungle for the Adirondacks’ majestic peaks or the rolling hills of the Catskills. Here, camping isn’t just an activity, it’s an adventure.

      Picture this: crisp morning air fills your lungs, the sound of a babbling brook lulls you awake, and endless outdoor fun awaits. From rustic getaways to family-friendly havens, New York’s campsites have something for everyone.

      Best Places To Camp In New York

      The Adirondack Park

      Encompassing over 6 million acres of land, the Adirondack Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. This vast wilderness area features towering mountains, pristine lakes, and sprawling forests, offering something for everyone. Campers can choose from numerous state campgrounds, private campsites, or even opt for primitive camping in designated areas. Popular activities include hiking, biking, canoeing, and fishing while stargazing under the clear night sky is an unforgettable experience.

      The Adirondack Park New York

      The Catskills

      Located south of the Adirondacks, the Catskills provide another excellent option for a camping getaway. This region is known for its rolling hills, lush forests, and picturesque waterfalls. Campers can find a variety of camping options, including state parks, private campgrounds, and cabin rentals. Popular activities include hiking along scenic trails, swimming in natural pools, and exploring charming towns like Woodstock and Phoenicia.

      The Catskills New York

      The Finger Lakes Region

      Renowned for its 11 long, finger-shaped lakes, this region offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions. Campgrounds are situated around the lakes, providing opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing. Wine enthusiasts can enjoy visiting the numerous wineries scattered throughout the region, while history buffs can explore historical sites like the Corning Museum of Glass.

      The Finger Lakes Region New York

      Long Island

      Offering a coastal escape, Long Island boasts beautiful beaches, rolling hills, and charming towns. Campers can find various options, from beachfront campgrounds to state parks with more rustic settings. Popular activities include swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and exploring the various lighthouses and historical sites dotting the coastline.

      Long Island New York

      The Thousand Islands

      Located along the border with Canada, the Thousand Islands region is a unique archipelago consisting of over 1,800 islands scattered across the St. Lawrence River. Campers can access the islands by boat and camp on campsites located on some of the larger islands. Kayaking, boating, and fishing are popular activities in this scenic region.

      The Thousand Islands New York

      Western New York

      This region offers a diverse landscape, from the shores of Lake Erie to the rolling hills of the Allegheny Plateau. Campers can find options ranging from state parks and national forests to private campgrounds. Popular activities include hiking, biking, visiting historical landmarks like Niagara Falls, and exploring charming towns like Buffalo and Rochester.

      Western New York

      Things To Do In New York

      Central Park

      Spread across 843 acres in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park is a sprawling urban oasis offering a haven for locals and tourists alike. Whether you seek a peaceful escape from the city's hustle and bustle or crave an active adventure, the park caters to diverse interests. Lush greenery, serene lakes, and winding paths provide ample opportunities for leisurely strolls, picnicking on the vast lawns, or cycling along designated paths. Rent a rowboat and explore the serene waters of The Lake, or visit the iconic Bethesda Fountain and Belvedere Castle for picture-perfect moments.

      Times Square

      Times Square, known as the "Crossroads of the World," pulsates with vibrant energy, offering a quintessential New York City experience. Towering billboards illuminate the square with dazzling displays, creating a visual spectacle that enthralls visitors day and night. The iconic red TKTS booth offers discounted Broadway show tickets, enticing audiences to diverse theatrical productions. Street performers, costumed characters, and musicians add to the dynamic atmosphere while bustling restaurants and shops cater to various preferences.

      The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

      Housing an unparalleled collection of over two million artworks spanning various cultures and historical periods, The Metropolitan Museum of Art stands as a cultural treasure trove. Explore the vast Egyptian collection, marvel at the grandeur of European paintings by renowned artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, or delve into the intricacies of Asian and Islamic art. The museum also boasts captivating displays of costumes and armor, musical instruments, and decorative arts. The Met's rooftop cafe offers a picturesque setting to relax and reflect on the artistic treasures you've witnessed.

      The Statue of Liberty

      A symbol of freedom and democracy, the Statue of Liberty stands proudly on Liberty Island, welcoming visitors from around the globe. Ferries offer a scenic journey to the island, allowing you to admire the iconic landmark from afar before setting foot on its grounds. Visitors can climb the 393 steps to the statue's crown for breathtaking panoramic views of New York Harbor and the city skyline. Explore the museum located at the base of the statue to learn about its history and significance, and feel the weight of history as you stand beneath Lady Liberty's watchful gaze.

      Governors Island

      Once a military base, Governors Island has transformed into a vibrant public space offering a unique escape from the city. Take a ferry to the island and explore its diverse offerings, including art installations, historical landmarks like Fort Jay, and open spaces ideal for picnicking, biking, or simply relaxing with stunning harbor views.

      The High Line

      This innovative park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan's West Side, offers a unique perspective of the city. Stroll along the landscaped pathway, admire the diverse plant life, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of art installations and pop-up performances. The High Line provides a refreshing escape from the urban grid and showcases the city's creative spirit.

      Brooklyn Botanic Garden

      Escape the concrete jungle and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Wander through themed gardens showcasing diverse plant life, from the vibrant Cherry Esplanade to the serene Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Participate in educational workshops, experience seasonal events like the Cherry Blossom Festival, or simply find peace amidst the calming greenery.

      Untermyer Gardens

      Nestled amidst the rolling hills of Yonkers, Untermyer Gardens offers a captivating escape into a world of classical European landscape architecture. Stroll through the meticulously designed Italian, French, and Walled gardens, admiring the cascading waterfalls, reflecting pools, and whimsical sculptures. 

      National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

      Baseball enthusiasts and casual fans alike will be captivated by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. Explore exhibits chronicling the evolution of America's pastime, witnessing iconic memorabilia, and learning about legendary players and teams that have shaped the sport's history. 

      Lake Placid

      Situated in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike or bike along scenic trails, go kayaking on the pristine lake or challenge yourself at the Olympic Jumping Complex, used during the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. During winter, the region transforms into a winter wonderland, offering world-class skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating experiences. 

      Thousand Islands

      The Thousand Islands, an archipelago of over 1,800 islands scattered along the US-Canada border in the St. Lawrence River, offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Explore charming towns like Clayton and Alexandria Bay, rent a boat to navigate the scenic waterways, or simply relax on the shores and soak in the breathtaking natural beauty. 

      Glen State Park

      Located in the heart of Finger Lakes wine country, Watkins Glen State Park boasts breathtaking waterfalls cascading down moss-covered cliffs, carved by glaciers over countless millennia. Hike through the dramatic gorge along Rainbow Trail, marveling at the natural beauty and the power of water. 

      Featured New York Parks

      Book an RV in New York

      Craving a unique New York adventure? Escape the ordinary and explore the Empire State's hidden gems and iconic landmarks behind the wheel of your own RV. From navigating the vibrant streets of NYC to immersing yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Adirondacks, an RV trip gives you the freedom to roam, rest, and experience New York at your own pace.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Yes, permits are usually required. State parks require reservations through ReserveAmerica. Private campgrounds have their own booking systems.

      Limited free camping opportunities exist on state land, but they fill up quickly. Research "dispersed camping" regulations before attempting it.

      Spring (May-June) and fall (September-October) offer pleasant temperatures and beautiful foliage. Summer (July-August) can be hot and crowded, while winter camping requires specialized equipment and experience.

      Many campgrounds allow pets on a leash with proper waste disposal and vaccination records. Be sure to check individual campground policies before booking.

      • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and appropriate clothing for the weather.
      • Campfire tools (if permitted), cooking gear, food, and water.
      • First-aid kit, flashlight, insect repellent, and sunscreen.
      • Map and compass (or reliable GPS device) and basic tools.

      Black bears are present in some areas. Learn about safe food storage practices and be aware of your surroundings while hiking.

      Hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, stargazing, exploring local towns, and visiting historical sites.

      Several campgrounds are within 2-3 hours of NYC, including in the Catskills and Long Island.

      Finding truly free and legal camping opportunities in New York is limited and challenging. Here are some resources to explore, but remember these options:

      • Dispersed camping: Some state forests allow "dispersed camping," where you can pitch a tent outside designated campgrounds. However, these spots are uncommon and fill up quickly, especially on weekends. Research regulations, permits, and specific locations carefully. Check the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website for details:
      • Primitive campsites: In rare cases, some state forests offer primitive, designated campsites with minimal amenities for free. These are often located in remote areas and availability is extremely limited. Be sure to research and obtain the required permits beforehand.
      • Boondocking: This term refers to parking an RV overnight on public land outside developed campgrounds. However, boondocking is generally illegal in New York and can result in fines.

      Pitching a tent in New York City, including Central Park, is strictly prohibited. Public parks in NYC are not designated camping areas and overnight camping is not allowed.

      No, camping is not allowed in Central Park. The park closes to the public at 1:00 AM and reopens at 6:00 AM, and overnight camping is strictly prohibited. There are designated areas for sleeping in public parks, but these are only intended for individuals experiencing homelessness and require a permit.

      It's important to be aware of regulations and follow responsible and legal practices while enjoying the outdoors.

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