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New York Camping

Camping In New York

Stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes and the Canadian border, New York State has a wide variety of regions to explore. Whether you are looking to explore the natural beauty of the Adirondacks, hike in the Catskills or admire the 'Grand Canyon of the East' from a hot air balloon, New York State has an outdoor activity for every level of interest. And, with 179 state parks throughout the state, camping in New York is always a great option for a weekend getaway or family vacation.

Best New York State Parks & Campgrounds

These are some of the most popular places to camp in New York based on our own experiences and top 10 lists from around the web. Use the jump links below to learn more about each area.

6 Popular Places to Camp in New York

  • Hither Hills State Park, Montauk, Long Island
  • Fish Creek Pond Campground, Adirondack Park
  • North-South Lake Campground, Catskill Forest Preserve
  • Watkins Glen State Park, Finger Lakes region
  • Letchworth State Park, Genesee region
  • Buttermilks Falls State Park, near Ithaca, NY

Where: Long Island

Why We Love It:

  • Oceanfront campsites
  • Hosted summer activities like movie nights, dancing, and more

Located at the eastern end of Long Island's South Fork, near the hamlet of Montauk, Hither Hills State Park is a dramatically beautiful combination of ocean, bay, lake and woodlands. The 1,755-acre park's campground features 176 oceanfront campsites for tents, trailers and RVs. Some sites are tent-only, so be sure to read the site description when booking.
Campers enjoy the two-mile sandy beach, a large freshwater lake, the Walking Dunes of Napeague Bay, and amenities that include camp store, picnic areas, playground, volleyball, basketball and horseshoes. During summer months, hosted activities like movie nights, folk dancing, children's theater, and environmental programs keep the family entertained. Hiking trails, bridle paths, bike paths and cross-country ski trails wind through the park. Anglers will be happy at Hither Hills State Park with the year-round and night time fishing available on both the ocean and bay sides of the park. A special permit is required to fish at night.
Note that pets are not allowed in the campground, so if you are camping at Hither Hills you will need to leave your four-legged friend at home.

When To Visit
Hither Hills State Park's proximity to New York City makes it a very popular camping destination, especially during peak summer months. The campground is open from early-April through late-November, with the peak season being mid-June to Labor Day when campers take advantage of sunny weather and beach with lifeguards. Shoulder seasons of spring and fall are chillier, but still beautiful and is a peaceful time of year to enjoy the beach.
Reservations at Hither Hills State Park book up quickly, with most summertime slots reserved as soon the 9-month reservation window opens. So, don't wait and start planning your visit to Hither Hills now!

Book a Campsite:
Hither Hills State Park, NY

Additional Campgrounds Nearby:
Wildwood State Park, NY
Heckscher State Park, NY

Where: 3.5 hours from Albany & Syracuse

Why We Love It:

  • Most campsites have direct lake access
  • Two different lakes for fishing, swimming, kayaking, and more
  • Has the longest open season compared to others in the Adirondacks

Located in the northern part of Adirondack Park in Upstate New York, approximately 3.5 hours north of Albany and Syracuse, Fish Creek Pond Campground is considered the most beautiful of the Adirondack campgrounds and is a staple of family summer vacations. The campground is situated on two interconnected lakes, Fish Creek Pond and Square Pond, with a natural sand shoreline and an abundance of swimming, motor boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing options. Upper Saranac Lake is a short drive for more open water boating fun.
The campground features 355 campsites, most of which have direct lake access, that can accommodate both tents and up to 40-ft. RVs. There are no hook-ups, but the campground offers hot showers, restrooms, bike paths, hiking trails, a playground, boat launch, volleyball and basketball areas, organized summer activities, and a seasonal ice cream truck.
Fishing is a popular activity in the Adirondacks. Both Fish Creek Pond and Square Pond are home to black bass, northern pike and pan fish. Trout and landlocked salmon can be found in nearby Upper Saranac Lake. Fishing licenses are not sold at the campground, so be sure to obtain yours in advance.

Recommended: How to get your fishing license: New York Hunting / Fishing License

When To Visit
Fish Creek Pond Campground has the longest season of all the Adirondack campgrounds, and is open from mid-April through late-October. Summer is the most popular, and crowded, time for this campground, with an abundance of warm weather activities and options for family fun. Campers can enjoy swimming, boating, hiking, and biking, and many end each day with a visit to the ice cream truck. Fish Creek Pond Campground is a very sought-after campground, so be sure to plan your booking well in advance. You can make a reservation up to 9 months in advance, and we recommend trying to book your site around that time to secure a spot.
If you have flexibility in your schedule, early spring and late fall can provide a bit more availability and still offer the beauty of hiking and boating in this gorgeous spot. The cooler weather of Autumn has the added bonus of a gorgeous display of fall foliage.

Book a Campsite:
Fish Creek Pond Campground, NY

Additional Campgrounds in Adirondack Forest Preserve:
Saranac Lake Islands, NY
Rollins Pond Campground, NY
Crown Point Campground, NY
Little Sand Point Campground

Where: 2.5 hours from New York City

Why We Love It:

  • A variety of trails start in or next to the campground
  • Great opportunities for wildlife sightings (wild turkeys, birds of prey, and more)
  • Outdoor activities include swimming, kayaking, boating, hiking, and fishing

North-South Lake Campground is the largest and most popular campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve. Located in the northern part of the Catskills, just 2.5 hours north of New York City, North-South Lake is a great spot to get away from the city and surround yourself in the natural beauty of the region. The campground features 219 reservable tent and trailer sites along two lakes with sandy beaches, open for swimming Memorial Day through Labor Day. Only non-motorized boats are permitted on the lakes with rowboat, paddle boat, kayak, and canoe rentals available onsite.
If hiking or nature walking is on the agenda, North-South Lake Campground is a great starting place. Numerous trails begin right in or near the campground. Enjoy the 2.5 mile walk around the lakes, the short hike to the incredible vista of the former Catskill Mountain House, or choose a more strenuous hike along the popular Escarpment Trail. Kaaterskill Falls, the highest waterfall in New York State, is also close by.
Wildlife viewing is a popular activity in the area. White-tailed deer, birds of prey, wild turkeys and songbirds are regularly seen by campers and hikers. Black bears are always active in this area, so always be aware of your surroundings. Fish are abundant in North-South Lake, including chain pickerel, brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, black crappie, and largemouth bass. Don't forget to obtain your fishing license before you arrive, as they are not sold at the campground.

When To Visit
North-South Lake Campground is open from mid-May through October. Visit in the summer to take advantage of the warm weather and outdoor activities. Get out on the water in a rowboat or kayak and explore the beautiful hiking trails and viewpoints. Fall foliage in the Catskills is best in September and October, peaking in mid-October. Take advantage of smaller camping crowds during this cooler, but beautiful time in the northern Catskills.

Book a Campsite:
North-South Lake Campground, NY

Additional Campgrounds in the Catskills:
Devils Tombstone Campground, NY
Woodland Valley, NY
Kenneth L. Wilson, NY
Mongaup Pond, NY

Where: Less than 2 hours from Syracuse

Why We Love It:

  • 19 different waterfalls to explore
  • Onsite Olympic-sized swimming pool
  • Nearby wineries and wine trail

Oriented around the breathtaking Watkins Glen Gorge, Watkins Glen State Park is a popular state park within New York's Finger Lakes region. Visitors can climb the 800 stone steps of the two-mile Gorge Trail to pass over and under 19 waterfalls in the deep gorge. For those that don't wish to climb the stairs, the South Rim Trail and Indian Trail offer beautiful views from the gorge rim. Located four hours northeast of New York City, this stunning park is just a 2.5-hour drive from Buffalo and less than 2 hours from Syracuse.
Amenities for campers at Watkins Glen State Park include restrooms, hot showers, firewood sales, concessions, picnic areas, playing fields, a playground, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The park's 288 campsites can be reserved for tents, trailers or RVs. 52 of the sites offer full-hookup and a number of rustic cabins are for rent as well. Nearby Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes, is a fisherman's dream, known for its spring run of rainbow trout.
Watkins Glen State Park sits adjacent to the village of Watkins Glen, at the southern end of Seneca Lake. Campers can take a break from the campground life to visit some of the 30+ wineries of the Seneca Wine Trail, the nearby Corning Museum of Glass, or the Watkins Glen International Raceway.

When To Visit
While the park is open for day-use year-round, the campgrounds at Watkins Glen State Park are open from mid-May through mid-October. These long summer days are the best time to visit Watkins Glen for warm weather and outdoor activities. The pool opens in late June and is operational through Labor Day. Labor Day weekend is a crowded time for this park, so be sure to reserve your spot well in advance. Even in summer, be prepared for the gorge's unique 'microclimate' which keeps it cool and moist in the bottom of the gorge even on warm days.

Book a Campsite:
Watkins Glen State Park, NY

Additional Campgrounds Nearby:
Robert H. Treman State Park, NY
Buttermilk Falls State Park, NY
Sampson State Park, NY
Taughannock Falls State Park, NY

PRO TIP: Hoping to bring your dog camping? Some campgrounds allow dogs and others do not. Be sure to check each campground for location-specific rules. Also, be aware that dog-friendly New York State campgrounds require a paper copy of each dog's Certificate of Rabies Vaccination, to be presented at check-in. Metal collar tags are not sufficient.

Where: 45 mins south of Rochester

Why We Love It:

  • The scenery is very different from the rest of the state. It's the 'Grand Canyon of the East'
  • Voted Best State Park in 2015
  • Hot air balloon rides
  • Camping available year-round

Located about 45 minutes south of Rochester, Letchworth State Park is a spectacular area and was voted the Best State Park in the United States in 2015. Nicknamed the 'Grand Canyon of the East,' the park features steep canyons, three major waterfalls, and diverse forests. Activities in and around the park include 66 miles of hiking trails, mountain biking and horseback riding trails, accessible scenic overlooks, bird watching, cultural programs, and adventure outfitters for rafting, kayaking and hot-air balloon rides. In addition to 260 campsites, there are also 80 winterized cabins for rent as well.

When To Visit
Since Letchworth State Park offers year-round activities and lodging options (cabins in the winter), you can visit any time of the year. Specifically, summer is an excellent time to visit, not only for the beautiful scenery and abundant outdoor activities, but you can also take advantage of the summer amenities such as the swimming pool, camp store and concessions. Early Autumn is another popular time for spectacular fall foliage viewing. In the winter, visitors can enjoy the abundant cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails.

Book a Campsite:
Letchworth State Park, NY

Additional Campgrounds Nearby:
Stony Brook State Park, NY

Where: Right outside Ithaca, and 1 hour and 15 minutes from Syracuse

Why We Love It:

  • 18 different cabins available to book
  • Many waterfalls and creeks to explore

Buttermilk Falls is a great destination for hikers and adventurers looking to explore its many falls. From 165-foot Buttermilk Falls, to 42-foot Pinnacle Falls, and more, there is a lot of exploring to be had in this state park. Buttermilk Falls itself is a beautiful and intricate cascading fall over eroded shale and limestone. While not all falls are safely accessible, you'll see several along the gorge trail, with many fantastic photographic opportunities along the way. 18 cabins are available to books as well, making it an excellent glamping and winter destination.

When To Visit
Although the park is open year-round, the trails close in early November. The best time of year to visit is Spring and early Summer, or early Fall.

Book a Campsite:
Buttermilk Falls State Park, NY

Additional Campgrounds Nearby:
Robert H. Treman State Park, NY