Road trip season is right around the corner and what better way to celebrate than driving a few hours to a beautiful campsite. If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure outside of the city, we’ve found some of the best camping spots in New York State where you and your loved ones can get in touch with Mother Nature. Grab your favorite hiking boots, some sunscreen and your bathing suits and visit one of these stunning parks or campgrounds this summer.
13 of The Best Camping Spots in New York State
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Best for Mountain Views
- Distance from NYC: 2 hours and 30 minutes
- Type of Camping: RVs, tents and trailers
- Things to Know: fishing available, close to hiking trails, nearby lakes
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 amazing views of five different states. With over 200 tent and trailer sites, this campground is also great for fishing, swimming and picnicking.
Best for Lake Activities
- Distance from NYC: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- Type of Camping: RVs and tents
- Things to Know: nearby lakes, great bird watching, local education center
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 help create private alcoves for guests. Many travelers visit this park for stunning lakeside views of Canopus Lake where you can enjoy boating, fishing and swimming.
Best for Beach Views
- Distance from NYC: 3 hours
- Type of Camping: tents and trailers
- Things to Know: beach access, near a lake, great fishing
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.
Best for Glamping and Diamond Mining
- Distance from NYC: 4 hours
- Type of Camping: tents, RVs and luxury lodges
- Things to Know: access to swimming pool, nearby mountains, plenty of kid-friendly activities
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. Here 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, tube, kayak and canoe.
Best for Nature Lovers
- Distance from NYC: 6 hours
- Type of Camping: trailer, tents and cottages
- Things to Know: local nature center, access to swimming beach
Nature aficionados, Wellesley Island State Park is the place for you. 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, hiking trails, a seasonal butterfly house, educational displays and varied habitats. For those looking for a less rugged camping experience, the campground also offers fully outfitted cabins.
Best for Waterfall Views
- Distance from NYC: 4 hours and 30 minutes
- Type of Camping: tents, RVS and cabins
- Things to Know: near hiking trails, multiple waterfalls, near Ithaca
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.
Best for Year-Round Camping
- Distance from NYC: 5 hours
- Type of Camping: cabins and tents
- Things to Know: nearby hiking trails, whitewater rafting available, hot air ballooning nearby
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.
Best for Staying on a Secluded Island
- Distance from NYC: 5 hours
- Type of Camping: tents
- Things to Know: nearby golf courses, boat launches, great for fishing
Have you ever dreamed 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.
Best for Family Fun
- Distance from NYC: 2 hours
- Type of Camping: cabins, RVs and tents
- Things to Know: near local museums, family-friendly, nearby antiquing
Located between the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River, Rip 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, an outdoor movie theatre and much more.
Best for Hiking
- Distance from NYC: 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Type of Camping: tents and cabins
- Things to Know: nearby lakes, accessible hiking trails, group camps available
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.
Best for Fishing
- Distance from NYC: 5 hours and 30 minutes
- Type of Camping: tents and RVs
- Things to Know: nearby hiking trails, accessible to rivers and ponds, summer recreation activities
Grab your fishing rods and head to Fish Creek Pond Campground where you’ll find several different species of fish. Fishers and boaters alike can head on their motorboats or rent a rowboat or canoe to spend time on the water. For those who’d rather stay on land, visitors can hike, mountain bike, hunt and play volleyball or basketball. Their best amenities? Flush toilets and hot showers.
Best for a Relaxing Getaway
- Distance from NYC: 4 hours and 15 minutes
- Type of Camping: cabins and tents
- Things to Know: nearby wineries, waterfall views, hiking trails available
Located in the Finger Lakes Region, Buttermilk Falls State Park is the picturesque escape from the city. Here is where you’ll find breathtaking views of waterfalls, lakes and gorges as well as woodland hiking trails. Many guests use the playing fields for outdoor sports or to simply relax on the grass. You can also spend time birdwatching, fishing, hunting, swimming and picnicking near your campsite.
Best for Lake Views
- Distance from NYC: 3 hours and 45 minutes
- Type of Camping: tents and RVs
- Things to Know: near Cooperstown, near hiking trails
Spend a few days relaxing by Ostego Lake at Glimmerglass State Park. Located outside the village of Cooperstown, visitors can spend time outdoors in the summer biking, hiking and fishing. Visiting in the wintertime? There are also plenty of activities to do in the colder months including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and ice skating.
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