Get to know campgrounds close to home and enjoy the beauty in your area. Some of the best campsites in New York are open year-round for activities ranging from swimming to ice-fishing.
Next time you want to go camping, consider looking into campgrounds in your area. There are most likely beautiful state parks and campgrounds not too far from your city. Traveling shorter distances is easier on you and the environment. Plus, if you have kids, you’ll be especially happy to avoid a long drive.
Not to mention, finding local gems means you can go camping more often for shorter time periods, like a quick weekend getaway. By day four or five, you might be getting sick of the rustic lifestyle anyway. Camping locally is not as much of a hassle because don’t have to stay for a whole week to make it worth it. You can just pack a couple outfits, stop at your favorite grocery store on your way out, and go on a spontaneous trip. Let’s take a look at the best campsites in New York.
1. Beaver Pond Campground
Nestled in Harriman State Park along Lake Welch is the Beaver Pond Campground. The campground is close to an extensive network of hiking trails as well as historical sites and several swimming beaches. Each camp site comes complete with picnic tables and fire rings with flip top grills. Full-service restrooms and a swimming pool are also available to all.
2. Caroga Lake State Campground
Caroga Lake State Campground is located on East Caroga Lake, in the southern portion of the beautiful Adirondacks. Hiking trails are abundant both around Caroga Lake and by the nearby Ferris Lake and Shaker Mountain. Popular pastimes include boating, swimming and fishing. Campsites come with picnic tables, fireplaces and charcoal grills. Restrooms are equipped with showers, and some of the local swimming beaches even have lifeguards.
3. Cranberry Lake Campground
Inside the Adirondack State Park is Cranberry Lake, one of the best campsites in New York as it’s the largest remote area remaining in the state. Campsites are separated by trees, offering privacy and seclusion. Each site has a fireplace and a picnic table as well. The area is great for hiking in both forested areas and along the water. Swimming beaches are easily accessible as well. Cranberry Lake is especially popular in the fall due to the beautiful changing scenery.
4. Fillmore Glen State Park
Located in the incredible Finger Lakes Region is Fillmore Glen State Park. The park has sixty campsites with access to showers, pavilions, picnic tables and playing fields. There’s also cabins available for those who are not comfortable camping. The park is a great visit in both summer and winter, with activities ranging from swimming, fishing and hunting to cross-country skiing. Complete with dense woods and five huge waterfalls, Fillmore Glen State Park is one of the best places to go camping in New York.
5. Delta Lake State Park
Close to the town of Western, is Delta Lake State Park. This park is great for both overnight camping and day-trips. Recreational activities available include hiking, swimming boating, picnicking, cross-country skiing and even shoreline and ice fishing for trout, pike, bass, and more. Sandy beaches and beautiful snow make it a great visit year-round.
The campgrounds are also wheelchair accessible, including many nature trails and pavilions. The park also has beach lifeguards, modern bathrooms, and a playground, so it’s a great option for families with children.
6. Lake Durant State Campground
With panoramic views of the Central Adirondacks and Blue Mountain, this campground on the east side of Lake Durant is a beautiful area. Canoeing, kayaking, and boating are all very popular on Lake Durant. Bring your own or rent a boat. Hiking trails, nature trails, biking areas and a sandy beach are also accessible to visitors. Facilities are accessible to disabled folks as well. Each campsite comes with a picnic area and fireplace. Full-service restrooms are available as well.
7. Mills-Norrie State Park
Made up of both Margaret Lewis Norrie and the Ogden and Ruth Livingston Mills State Parks, is the Mills-Norrie State Park. The Park resides on the west of the Hudson River and is open year-round for hiking, cycling, fishing, picnicking, sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Rental cabins and tent sites are available. Full-service restrooms are available and pets are welcome.
8. North-South Lake Campground
Within the Catskill Forest Preserve is the popular North-South Lake Campground. Visit the Catskills for hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and picnicking. Two beaches near the campground offer kayak and canoe rentals. There are also plenty of picnic tables, fireplaces and charcoal grills available.
Historical sights like Alligator Rock and the former Catskill Mountain House are accessible, as well as beautiful rock formations, waterfalls and mountainous lookout points. Some overlooks offer views of five states on clear days. You can even visit local villages for horseback riding, tubing, and visiting restaurants and shops.
9. Wildwood State Park Campground
Overlooking Long Island South is Wildwood State Park, covering 600 acres of undeveloped forest. Campers can hike, cycle, swim, go fishing, and enjoy swimming at sandy beaches. Cross-country skiing is also available in winter. There’s even basketball courts, playgrounds, and ball fields.
10. Letchworth State Park Campground
Known colloquially as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park follows the Genesee River through a massive gorge, over three huge waterfalls, between beautiful forested cliffs on both sides. There are over sixty miles of trails made for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. Visitors can also go kayaking and whitewater rafting.
Sustainable Camping Tips
- Look into public transport or carpool. For the benefit of the environment, we always recommend taking public transport when possible. If unavailable, carpooling is another way to save on gas and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Dispose of waste properly. When camping it’s important to always pack out what you pack in. In an effort to keep natural environments pristine, make sure to dispose of your waste correctly. Do not leave anything behind including apple cores, banana peels, or sanitary products. Make yourself familiar with the campground’s dump sites and dispose of your trash and recycling in the correct spot. This also helps to keep you safe from bears, as the campground dump sites are equipped to prevent bear break-ins.
- Store your belongings correctly. If your campsite comes with a bear box, use it. Don’t underestimate the power of a bear’s nose – there are over 6,000 black bears living in New York State. Place all scented goods in the bear box. This includes all food as well as lotions, toothpaste, lip balm, and anything else you can think of. When in doubt, put it in the box.
- Follow campground regulations. In order to keep yourself, wildlife, and the natural environment safe, listen to the campground authorities. Read the information posted as well as any information pamphlets and maps provided.
- Use wood kindling to start a fire. Instead of using gas fire starters, we recommend starting a fire with old newspaper and some wood kindling. This is a much more sustainable option. Just make sure to follow campground regulations in regard to where and when it is safe to make a campfire.
- Sustainable Travel: The 7 Best State Parks in New York
- 10 Best Hikes Near NYC You Can Reach by Train
- Wild Camping: A Beginner’s Guide to Free Camping in the US & Canada
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