10 of the Best Camping Spots in New York State
Let’s face it, sometimes even the most die-hard New Yorker needs a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. For those thinking of an outdoor adventure, New York State has some of the most breathtaking camping spots in the country for you to get you in touch with Mother Nature. Brush up on those campfire skills and buy yourself a new pair of hiking boots and visit one (or two!) of these beautiful parks or campgrounds this summer. (Psst: Don’t forget the s’mores)
Note: Please be sure to check out each location’s availability and COVID-19 restrictions before visiting.
1. BEST FOR MOUNTAIN VIEWS: NORTH-SOUTH LAKE CAMPGROUND
Known as the biggest campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve, North-South Lake Campground offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains as well as several lakes. Hikers can enjoy the popular Escarpment Trail for a short hike or other strenuous trails that lead to vistas including Alligator Rock, Newman’s Ledge, Boulder Rock and Artist’s Rock. On a clear day, some of these spots offer views of five different states. With over 200 tent and trailer sites, this campground is also great for fishing, swimming and picnicking.
2. BEST FOR LAKE ACTIVITIES: FAHNESTOCK STATE PARK
Outdoor enthusiasts will fawn over the endless activities found at Fahnestock State Park. Located less than two hours from New York City, this park is in both Putnam and Duchess Counties and has 80 campsites that feature natural rock ridges that create private alcove for guests. Many travelers visit this park for stunning lakeside views of Canopus Lake where you’ll find boating, fishing and swimming.
3. BEST FOR BEACH VIEWS: HITHER HILLS STATE PARK
Grab your beach towel and head to Hither Hills State Park. Located in Montauk, Long Island and about 122 miles from New York City, this park is the perfect spot if you are hoping to combine a beach trip and camping trip all in one. The ocean-side campground features sport fishing, horseback riding, boating, hunting, biking and windsurfing as well as scenic picnic areas and fireplaces. A must-do activity is hiking the “walking dunes” trail on Napeague Harbor that move southeast a few feet each year due to high winds.
4. BEST FOR GLAMPING AND DIAMOND MINING: HERKIMER DIAMOND KOA RESORT
Yes, you read that correctly…diamond mining. Herkimer Diamond KOA Resort offers several unique amenities but their above ground surface mines are a can’t miss attraction. You can search for quartz crystals that were formed over 500 million years ago and keep whatever treasures you find. Next to the campsite you’ll find the West Canada Creek where you can fish, kayak and canoe. You can pick from an array of lodging options including cabins, luxury lodges and tent and RV sites.
5. BEST FOR NATURE LOVERS: WELLESLEY ISLAND STATE PARK
Nature aficionados look no further than Wellesley Island State Park. With over 400 campsites, this state park is located on the St. Lawrence River and offers guests a rustic camping experience where you can fish, hunt, hike, swim, bike and boat. One of the park’s popular attractions is the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, which offers nature exhibits, eight miles of hiking trails, live animals, educational displays and varied habitats. The center also overlooks Eel Bay where you can find four glacial potholes.
6. BEST FOR WATERFALL VIEWS: ROBERT H. TREMAN STATE PARK
Located in Ithaca, Robert H. Treman State Park is the ideal location for experiencing the scenic beauty of the Finger Lakes region. There are 12 different waterfalls throughout the park including Lucifer Falls, where hikers can view a majority of the park, and Lower Falls where you’ll find a natural swimming pool. The main attraction here is Enfield Glen, a scenic gorge that has numerous hiking trails along the way. Visitors can pick from tent and RV sites and cabins for their stay.
7. BEST FOR YEAR-ROUND CAMPING: LETCHWORTH STATE PARK
Voted Best Attraction in New York State by USA Today in 2017, Letchworth State Park is located less than an hour south of Rochester and is nicknamed the ‘Grand Canyon of the East.’ Camping is available all year long as well as other activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, bird watching, hot-air balloon rides and 66 miles of hiking trails. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, snow tubing and snowmobiling. There’s an activity here for everyone no matter what type of camping experience you are looking for.
8. BEST FOR STAYING ON A SECLUDED ISLAND: SARANAC LAKE ISLANDS PUBLIC CAMPGROUND
Have you ever thought of camping on your own private island? If so, a visit to Saranac Lake Islands Public Campground will make all your dreams come true. This campground is a boater’s delight with direct access to four lakes and miles of shoreline. On the Lower Saranac Lake Islands, you’ll find 87 water-access-only campsites that give guests a private camping experience. Guests can also enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking and watersports during their stay.
9. BEST FOR FAMILY FUN: RIP VAN WINKLE CAMPGROUNDS
Located between the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River, Rap Van Winkle Campgrounds is the ultimate destination for families. This campground offers tent sites, cabin rentals and RV parking for guests of all camping levels. You’ll be able to stay busy throughout your entire stay with amenities such as bocce ball, multiple playgrounds, a swimming hole and pool, fishing, pedal boats, horseshoes and much more.
10. BEST FOR HIKING: HARRIMAN STATE PARK
Harriman State Park is the second largest state park in New York State and is a mecca for hikers of all skill levels. With over 200 miles of hiking trails including marked and unmarked trails, this park lets visitors takes in the views of 31 lakes, two beaches and numerous rolling hills and streams. If hiking isn’t your thing, guests can also swim, fish, boat and bike.
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