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The best places to go camping near NYC

Trade in the urban jungle for lush forests at these spectacular places to go camping near NYC

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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As much as we love summer in the city, sometimes we just need a quick escape to reset our batteries. Fortunately, we don't need to go far—New York has access to everything, even camping grounds. You don't need a wilderness survivor to do it, either. There are sites all around the city to fit each kind of camper, from the serious "roughin' it" types to those who put the glam in glamping. There are plenty of things to do outside, whether you want to really rough it in the outdoors or just go for quick day trips. Read on for our list for the best places to go camping near NYC, from NYC parks to lakeside properties.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best weekend getaways from NYC

The best places to go camping near NYC

With 189 ocean-side campground sites in Montauk, it’s no wonder this is the favorite of many New Yorkers. A must-do: check out the "walking dunes" trail on Napeague Harbor; thanks to strong winds, they "walk" to the southeast about three-and-a-half-feet each year. The trail will take you through "The Cranberry Bog," where wild orchids, carniverous sundews and cranberry plants grow. 

2.5 hours by car

This 160-acre oasis in the Catskills, technically in Saugerties, offers cabin rentals, RV parking, group sites and space to pitch a tent. You can choose the type of setting you'd like to camp out in including the River's Edge, the Ledges and Lover's Lane (a cozier corner of the park reserved for couples — no kids!). Every site has a fire ring, a picnic table and access to the campground's general store, firewood, public phone, and facilities. 

2hrs by car

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You'll have 600 acres of undeveloped hardwood forest to explore, including a high bluff overlooking Long Island Sound. There are newly built cottages nestled among the trees for 2-6 people, or bring your trailer or tent to set up your temporary home. The grounds offer swimming in the Sound, shaded picnic tables, fishing and hiking, paddle boarding and more. 

2hrs by car

The Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground is a minimalist operation with a pavilion and cooking area, bathhouse and restroom facilities, and circulation trails. There are 50 parking spots and all sites accommodate up to two tents (and four people) per pad. This campground is perfect for hikers who want to explore the superb Shawangunk Mountains (better known as "The Gunks"). The park itself boasts 50 miles of footpaths, three lakes and multiple waterfalls. 

2 hours by car

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North-South Lake Campground
Photograph: Courtesy New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

5. North-South Lake Campground

Weighing in as the biggest campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve, this popular spot contains over 200 campsites, two swimming beaches and picnic areas with charcoal grills. The hiking is also top notch: On a cloudless day, some vantage points allow for views of five states simultaneously.

1hr 50mins by car

With 31 lakes and reservoirs, 200 miles of hiking trail, and two beaches, you could visit this park in Rockland County all summer and still see something new every time. The group camps here have all the creature comforts: dining halls, tent platforms, and even three-sided shelters. 

1hr by car

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Note: The campground will open on Memorial Day Weekend. 

Summer camping is perfect at this Connecticut spot, which, with two miles of beach, is the largest shoreline park in the state. It also boasts 550 campsites, plus adorable wooden "rustic cabins" with bunk beds. And don’t miss a visit to the onsite Meigs Point Nature Center to brush up on your indigenous flora and fauna. 

2 hr, 20 min by train

This reservoir and surrounding trails in New Jersey is one of the only parks in the area to offer true wilderness camping. Sites located on the eastern side of the reservoir are reachable only by a steep three-mile hike or by boat. Don’t forget your trail mix. 

1 hour, 15 minutes by car

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Governors Island

Glamping more your speed? This swanky facility on Governors Island has your number. Guests can choose from accommodations from the seriously luxe Outlook Shelter—with private, custom-designed bathrooms, rain showers, spa tubs and a king-sized bed—to the Journey+ Tents, which fit a King bed or double Twin beds and are located near private shared bathrooms. And no roasted hot dogs here: The on-site chef creates a multi-course, farm-to-table dinner every night.

8 minutes by ferry

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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. 

2.25 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. 

2.5 hours by car

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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. 

2hrs 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.

2hrs 10mins by car

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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.

2hrs 15mins 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.

2hrs by car

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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.

1hr 30mins by car

Club Getaway
Photo Credit: Eric Nurbin

18. Club Getaway

Club Getaway offers a different kind of camping experience just north of the city in Kent, CT. The 300-acre camp is located on a gorgeous lake in the Berkshire Mountains and has been hosting camp groups, corporate outings, weddings, family camps and more for the past four decades. A special weekend camp for adults called Camp Getaway is open weekends through Halloween. 

1 hour, 30 minutes by car, Chartered bus transportation is available from Midtown Manhattan at an additional cost

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