Are you, like me, sick of staying inside your house? Are your windows and small spaces making you feel a little crazy? I know that for me, even when life is normal, and not surrounded by a pandemic, getting outside helps alleviate some of my stress.
Right now, while stressors are even higher than normal, camping is a great way to take a break and do so in a healthy and safe way. And even though the summer season may be drawing to a close, camping is a viable outdoor activity right until December, especially with the right equipment.
Campgrounds allow you to disconnect from the onslaught of media and screens, the ever-present COVID updates, plus, it’s just fun! Where else can you gather with a close group of friends or family and consider s’mores and weiners a full meal?
The Best Camping Spots in New York
Here are seven incredible spots to go camping at near New York! Whether you’re near Long Island, headed to the Adirondacks, or visiting the Finger Lakes region, there’s something for everyone.
Hither Hills State Park
Hither Hills State Park is located on Long Island, on the eastern part of the South Fork. Nestled in among the sand dunes, this state park offers nearly 170 campsites that are oceanfront. What could be more relaxing than falling asleep to the sound of waves? Don’t worry though, there are still bathroom facilities, so you won’t have to rough it too much. The park itself spans 1,755 acres, and has been open to the public since the early 1920s. There are nature trails, hiking trails, and recreation programs to keep you busy, yet chill. Need a break from COVID? This is the perfect spot.
Wildwood State Park
Wildwood State Park offers more than 600 acres to explore and discover. The park is located along the Long Island Sound and with five trails, a baseball diamond, a basketball court, and a horseshoes pit, there’s definitely an activity for everyone. It’s definitely one of the best places to camp in New York. The campground has both trailer and tent sites, plus they’ve recently added cottages that can accommodate up to six people.
These cottages are ideal for your COVID pod— you can pile in up to six people, and enjoy the screened-in porch, full kitchen, and more. Get away, relax and enjoy some outdoor time while still having access to amenities!
Watkins Glen State Park
What is sure to erase COVID from your mind? The waterfalls at one of the best camping in NY locations. Watkins Glen State Park, located in the Finger Lakes region, boasts nearly 20 waterfalls along a two mile hike. The path will weave you in and out and through the waterfalls. Nature isn’t the only thing that draws happy campers to Watkins Glen; there’s an Olympic-sized swimming pool, as well as more than 300 campsites to stay at with your family. If fishing’s your thing, make sure to visit the nearby Seneca Lake, and Catherine Creek. The creek is especially known for its spring run of rainbow trout.
Letchworth State Park
If you’re craving the expansiveness of the Grand Canyon, but don’t feel like traveling all the way to the southwest, Letchworth State Park should be on your list of places to visit. This stunning park just southwest of Rochester, NY, and spans over 14,000 acres. The park follows the Genessee River, through a deep gorge, with cliff heights of 600 feet at some points. While not as renowned as the actual Grand Canyon, this “Grand Canyon of the East” is perfect if you’re wanting to stay closer to home during the time of COVID. There are plenty of water activities here and lots of great hiking, too!
Hamlin Beach State Park
This unique campground is on the south shore of Lake Ontario in New York. If you choose this as your campground in NY, be sure to explore Yanty Creek Environmental Nature Trail, which is part of Yanty Marsh. A lake shore wetland, the area is chock full of amphibians, turtles, birds, and other wild critters.
If birding is your jam, Hamlin Beach State Park also has you covered; they’re especially known for migrating waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds. The park has over 250 tent and trailer campsites and stunningly clear blue water with sandy beaches for your kids to play in, socially distanced, of course!
Kayuta Lake Campground
Nestled in the foothills of the Adriondacks, Kayuta Lake Campground is definitely one of the best places to camp in New York. If you decide to stay here, Kayuta offers a range of camping spots, from tent camping to rugged cabins to a variety of electric RV hookup sites. You can socially distance on the lake using kayaks and canoes, or by renting pedal carts and zooming around the campground. Kids can play shuffleboard, cornhole, and even Putt Putt. In case you were wondering, Kayuta is dog-friendly, so your four-legged friends can come along for the vacation! Get out of the house and into the wild. If you’re craving waterfalls, Pixley Falls State Park is nearby and has a beautiful 50-foot waterfall you can easily access.
Hunter Lake Campground
If you’re considering a vacation in the Catskills, Hunter Lake Campgrounds might be the best campground in NY. A quiet, family-friendly campground, it’s located in the western Catskills, just 2 1/2 hours north of New York City and 90 minutes from Binghamton. Hunter Lake is an 85 acre lake. The campground offers two restroom facilities as well as hot showers. Bring your pets, as long as you have an up-to-date copy of their rabies vaccine. Tent site prices are very reasonable— they start at $32/night— and so are RV sites, with a base price of $40/night.
As you’re thinking about where and when to travel to some of the best campgrounds in NY, one thing to consider is how you’ll schlep all the gear you need. Pro tip: if you are traveling in smaller groups this year, it may not make sense to rent an entire school bus or coach bus. Instead, you should consider a sprinter van rental. Bus.com offers, minbus rentals, shuttle services and luxury sprinter van rentals in New York for between 10 to 15 passengers that can be driver by a member of your group of a chauffeur — your choice!