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Here's what families need to know about camping in 2020

Our state-by-state update has the latest rules

Written by
Oliver Strand

Can NYC families go camping in 2020? The answer is yes...depending on where you want to go and when you want camp.

Even then, it's not as simple as grabbing your gear, packing s'more fixings and pretending like it's 2019. For one, not all campgrounds will reopen. (The Appalachian Mountain Club made the decision to reopen some facilities in July, and keep others closed for the rest of the season.) For another, many of the ampgrounds that are open are limiting or shuttering facilities such as visitor centers, dining halls, concessions, playgrounds, swimming pools and even restrooms. 

camp hike camping park
Photograph: Shutterstock

To add to the confusion, it's not easy to stay on top of the regulations. Each state in the region has issued guidelines that we list below, but rules literally can change overnight. Our advice: If you plan to head to one of the best places near NYC to go camping, always call ahead to get the latest information.

Of course, you don't need a tent to spend time outdoors. The best hiking trails for NYC families make the perfect day trip, while our curated list of the best bike trails for families in NYC will get you off the beaten path—and away from the crowds. Have a look below for camp information for different states. 

• New York: Private campgrounds are open. Reservations are required to camp in New York State parks—no walk-ups. The Department of Environmental Conservation allows back country camping on public lands for groups of 10 or fewer.

• New Jersey: Private campgrounds are open in New Jersey, but public campgrounds remain closed and have yet to announce a reopening date. 

• Pennsylvania: Private and public campgrounds are open.

• Connecticut: Private campgrounds are open. Public campgrounds in state parks and forests will begin a phased reopening starting July 1.

• Massachusetts: Private campgrounds are open, but public campgrounds remain closed until July 1. Online reservations will be made available for public campgrounds starting Monday, June 22 at 9am.

• Vermont: Private campgrounds are open. Public campgrounds in state parks are scheduled to open June 26, and no backcountry camping is currently allowed. Note that out-of-state visitors might be required to quarantine

camp beach
Photograph: Shutterstock

• New Hampshire: Private campgrounds are open for New Hampshire residents and long-term visitors only. Public campgrounds are closed, and plan to reopen for New Hampshire residents and long-term visitors only.

• Maine: Private and public campgrounds are open for residents of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and visitors who meet quarantine and testing requirements. Those who have reservations that are not from the three states can either get a refund or book their trip for a later date.

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