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Tent in campsite
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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

By Jacqueline Nochisaki, Juliet Izon and 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.

Note: New York's Department of Environmental Conservation is actively working to safely reopen campgrounds this summer. Opening dates for campgrounds and day use areas are listed here as well as important information for campers.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best weekend getaways from NYC

The best places to go camping near NYC

Hither Hills Montauk
Photograph: Shutterstock/Elzbiet

1. Hither Hills State Park

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

2. Rip Van Winkle Campgrounds

Note: Rip Van Winkle is open for self-contained camping units only. All planned activities are canceled; pools are closed; and group gatherings are not allowed. 

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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Wildwood State Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Wildwood State Park

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

NY camping camp site
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Note: Minnewaska's parking capacity has been reduced. Boating, scuba diving, equestrian use, climbing and bouldering is not permitted until further notice. 

The Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground is a minimalist operation with 50 sites all 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 Park
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

Harriman State Park New York
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6. Harriman State Park

Note: Camping at and in the vicinity of the Fingerboard and Bald Rocks shelters has been temporarily suspended. 

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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Hammonasset Beach State Park
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7. Hammonasset Beach State Park

Note: The campground will open on July 1, 2020. 

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

Round Valley
Photograph: Shutterstock/Malgosi

8. Round Valley

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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campsite on governors island
Photograph: Collective Retreats

9. Collective Governors Island

Attractions Parks and gardens Governors Island

Glamping more your speed? This swanky facility on Governors Island has your number. Guests can choose from accommodations like the communal Three Peaks Lodge or splurge on a private tent with an en-suite bathroom. And no roasted hot dogs here: The on-site chef creates a multi-course, farm-to-table dinner every night.

8 minutes by ferry

Fahnestock Park
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10. Fahnestock State Park

One of the most popular camping sites in New York State, this 14,000-acre park offers 80 campsites and enjoy swimming in the stunning Canopus Lake and hiking on part of the actual Appalachian Trail. 

1hr 15mins by car

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Cedar Point State Park NY
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11. Cedar Point County Park on Long Island

Note: Camping units must be self-contained through June 30th. Tent camping will open July 1st.

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

Lackawanna State Park PA
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12. Lackawanna State Park

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 Park
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13. Macedonia Brook State Park

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 NY
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14. Taconic State Park

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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Peekamoose State Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

15. Peekamoose Mountain

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

Kittatinny Campground
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16. Kittatinny Campground

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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17. Malouf’s Mountain Sunset Campground

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

Fort Wadsworth
Photograph: Courtesy NPS Photo

18. Fort Wadsworth (CLOSED)

Note: The Fort Wadsworth campground is currently closed. 

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.

40mins by car

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Floyd Bennett
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19. Floyd Bennett Field (CLOSED)

Note: Floyd Bennett Field is open to the public, but the campgrounds are currently closed. 

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.

40mins by car

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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Khürt L. Williams

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