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The 15 best places to go camping near NYC

Get ready to be one with nature at these awesome places to go camping near NYC. Great for fishing, hiking and exploring!

Sometimes when the city starts to close in on you and that distinct-yet-nebulous haze of hot garbage feels a little thicker. Luckily there are lots of options for great day trips, including places to go camping near NYC. Sure, there are plenty of things to do outside and you can hang out in NYC parks, but frollicking on a lonely mountainside isn’t exactly an option. Lucky for you, this kind of escape is just a few hours from the center of Manhattan. Here’s our ten favorite spots to go camping that are just a train or car ride away.

RECOMMENDED: The complete guide of weekend getaways

The best places to go camping near NYC

1

Hither Hills State Park

2.5 hours by car

Each one of the 168 sites at Hither Hills is oceanfront property. Located on Long Island’s South Fork, this park’s main draw is the sandy beach steps from your campfire pit. A must-do: The self-guided nature trail at the edge of the park that features the Walking Dunes—sand dunes up to 80 feet high that, thanks to strong winds, “walk” to the southeast about three-and-a-half-feet each year. This campground books up fast, and with summer so close we can taste it, make your plans in a hurry. 164 Old Montauk Hwy, Montauk, NY (631-668-2554, nysparks.com)

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/ChrisJB

2

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

2 hours by car

The Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground on the Minnewaska State Park Preserve opened just last year. The minimalist, tent-only sites are nestled in the Shawangunk Mountains among beautiful waterfalls and sheer cliffs and ledges. Test your hiking mettle on more than 50 miles of paths, plus, the rugged, rocky terrain makes it a great spot for those into bouldering and technical rock climbing—but they won’t kick you out if simply marveling at the scenery is more your speed. 5281 Rte 44-55, Kerhonkson, NY, 845-255-0752, parks.ny.gov)

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Jean Gazis

3

North-South Lake Campground

1hr 50mins by car

Reigning in as the biggest campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve, North-South Lake allows for quiet, secluded areas for you to set up camp in one of its 219 campsites. Upon pitching your tent, hike along the Escarpment Trail that leads you past historical, breathtaking sites like Kaaterskill Falls, the Scribner Saw Mill and Newman’s Ledge…plus less breathtaking sites such as Alligator Rock, which is, you know, a rock that kind of looks like an alligator. Haines Falls, NY (dec.ny.gov, 518-589-5058)

4

Cedar Point County Park on Long Island

2.25 hours by car

This 607-acre park in East Hampton has hundreds of campsites for both tents and RVs that are all a short walk from the sand. The park is known for its beautiful views of Gardiners Bay and its proximity to the historic Cedar Point lighthouse. Now abandoned, the lighthouse was built in 1860 and once guided whaling ships in and out of Sag Harbor. Take a quick walk to go explore it or take up another camping-friendly beach activity such as saltwater fishing or SCUBA diving. 5 Cedar Point Rd, East Hampton, NY (631-852-7620, suffolkcountyny.gov)

5

Lackawanna State Park

2.5 hours by car

No camper? No problem! Reserve a yurt—a round, canvas-and-wood walled tent—that features such comforts as a microwave and refrigerator and sleeps up to five people, bunk bed-style. There are only two in the 102-site, Pennsylvania campground, so book ahead. But yurt or not, the park, which surrounds the beautiful Lackawanna Lake, has plenty to offer your camping crew in the way of boating, fishing and swimming. 1839 N Abington Rd, North Abington Township, PA  (570-945 3239, dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks)

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Garett Gabriel

6

Macedonia Brook State Park

2hrs by car

Macedonia is a bit more of a trek than the other campgrounds listed, and being located on the Connecticut side of the Catskill Mountains, it’ll cost non-Conn residents a little extra cheese to camp. That being said, it’s worth it—especially if you want to escape both the city and its beloved inhabitants. Each of the 51 campsites in Macedonia is private, unique and without a whisper of that haunting cellphone service that beckons you back to work emails and the grid. Check out Kent Falls, Hilltop Pond and, of course, the Macedonia Brook when you’re there. 159 Macedonia Brook Rd, Kent, CT (ct.gov, 860-927-3238)

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/kenneth capser

7

Taconic State Park

2hrs 10mins by car

Taconic State Park is one of the more popular state parks for camping in New York and is great for casual campers looking to grill out, breath some fresh air and see the unblemished night sky like you’ve only seen on your iPad. A few of the campgrounds can get a little crowded, so depending on the experience you’re looking for, make sure to call ahead. Nevertheless, being able to stand under Bish Bash Falls, hike up Brace Mountain and step foot on the historic Appalachian Trail is worth the stay itself. 253 NY-344, Copake Falls, NY (parks.ny.gov, 518-329-3993)

8

Fahnestock State Park

1hr 15mins by car

Boasting more than 75 campsites and a huge beach surrounding Canopus Lake, it’s no wonder Fahnestock State Park is one of the most popular city escapes in New York. Work up a sweat hiking through 14,000 acres of forest, then top it off at the beach by diving into the freshwater Canopus Lake. Plus, in the winter, it’s a top cross-country ski spot, but we won’t talk about winter. 1498 NY-301, Carmel, NY (nysparks.com/parks/133, 845-225-7207)

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Selbe Lynn

9

Harriman State Park

1hr by car

Take the Palisades Parkway up to Bear Mountain and after a scenic 30 miles, you’ll be surrounded by roughly 200 miles of hiking trails, 31 lakes and unbridled Instagram potential of the NYC skyline far off in the distance. At Harriman State Park, you can flat-out unroll your sleeping bag next to Lake Tiorati and sleep there, find a stone lean-to sprinkled along the park and call that your home, or opt for more civilized camping in one of the park’s many cabins. Seven Lakes Dr / Bear Mountain Circle, Ramapo, NY (nysparks.com, 845-947-2444)

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/bettyx1138

10

Peekamoose Mountain

2hrs 15mins by car

The campgrounds in Peekamoose Mountain are for those who really want to rough it in the wilderness. Since the camping comes free, don’t expect the usual amenities that come with those other namby-pamby campgrounds. No, at Peekamoose, few of the sites are accessible with a vehicle, there are no pre-installed grills, and don’t even think about asking for hot showers. This is primitive camping, so go here if you feel the need to remind your friends that you were almost an Eagle Scout. Catskill Park, Ulster, NY (nynjtc.org)

11

Kittatinny Campground

2hrs by car

The Kittatinny Campground offers 350 secluded campsites nestled into the Catskills Mountains. Set up camp in the thick Catskill forest, or adorn your tricorn hat and pitch a tent along the Delaware River. Much like George Washington crossing the Delaware en route to war, you can cross the Delaware en route to zip lines and paintball at Kittatinny’s Adventure Center—bravery is bravery, in our book. 378 Route 6 and 209, Milford, PA (kittatinny.com, 570-296-5890)

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Chris Martino

12

Malouf’s Mountain Sunset Campground

1hr 30mins by car

If the sudden urge to escape the city is so strong you need to leave literally everything behind and take the first train out, then Malouf’s is the campground for you. Once you train there via Metro North Hudson River Line, you can only get to the campground by hiking to it. Then rent a tent and enjoy private campsites with covered platforms, fire pits and all the cooking amenities you’ll need. 1 Ferry Plaza, Beacon, NY (maloufsmountain.com, 845-831-6767)

13

Fort Wadsworth

40mins by car

Just a hop, skip and a 40-minute drive down to Staten Island is good ol’ Fort Wadsworth. Most people know it as “that old fort by the Verrazano Bridge” or “the place where the marathon starts,” but as of 2012 it’s been known as one of the most accessible campgrounds in New York City. What other campground can boast thousands of acres of wilderness, an unmatched view of an historic New York bridge and an old military base? Not many, and this one only has 7 campsites, so you better call ahead. Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island (nps.gov, 718-354-4655)

14

Floyd Bennett Field

40mins by car

If you’re driving to Fort Wadsworth but suddenly your friend decides she despises revolutionary-era military forts and would prefer to camp near a WWII naval air base, make a hard turn towards Floyd Bennett Field. Purposefully sleeping under the stars and cooking over an open flame has never been easier in New York City thanks to this sprawling, fully-equipped campground that features hiking, kayaking, fishing and many of the other –ings associated with camping. 50 Aviator Road, Brooklyn (nyharborparks.org, 718-338-3799)

15

Rip Van Winkle Campground

2 hours by car

If your idea of “roughing it” is an hour-plus wait for city brunch, this is your kind of camping. The campground covers 160 acres along a creek in the Catskills and offers hiking, biking, rock climbing—but it also hosts ice cream socials, has digital cable TV and boasts 10 kid-friendly activity zones. 149 Blue Mountain Rd, Saugerties, NY (888-720-1232, ripvanwinklecampgrounds.com)

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