Get the Dyrt

Your guide to the top five campgrounds in New York.

Words and photos by Ryan Fliss

When people think of New York, they often think of the city. Flashing lights, bustling streets, taxi cabs … but that’s only a tiny fraction of what the state has to offer. From an outdoors perspective, New York has some of the best camping on the East Coast.

In the spirit of New York camping, we want to highlight some of the most-loved campgrounds in New York. From the Catskills to the oceanside to the miles and miles of national forest, New York is a playground for campers.

Activities abound at Beaver Pond in Harriman State Park, NY.

Harriman State Park is due north of NYC and offers a wealth of outdoor activities: “31 lakes and reservoirs, 200 miles of hiking trails, two beaches, two public camping areas, a network of group camps, miles of streams and scenic roads, scores of wildlife species.” If you like the outdoors even a little bit, you’ll love Harriman State Park.

Catskills mountain camping at Woodland Valley Campground, NY.

New York’s Catskill Mountains draw visitors from around the country, and Woodland Valley Campground is one of the best Catskills camping spots. With 70 sites, the campground is not overly crowded despite its popularity. While some campgrounds in this list are close the city, Woodland Valley is the real deal, out-in-the-sticks, back-to-nature experience.

Boat-access island camping at Indian Lake Islands Campground, NY.

Camping at Indian Lake Islands Campground is a special experience. All sites are water-access only, so whether you canoe, kayak, or ford the river, you have to work to get to your site. This means each campsite is uniquely secluded and different from the others. It’s no wonder New Yorkers and out-of-staters keep coming back to this site—there’s so much to explore. This campground is perfect for the more adventurous camper. Pack your backpack, and go!

Unique city camping experience at Camp Gateway Brooklyn, NY.

You’re not actually camping on a city street at Camp Gateway in Brooklyn, NY, but given how close you are to the city’s attractions, you might as well be. The campgrounds let you enjoy everything it has to offer, and then escape the city streets for a night in your tent. Get the classic camping experience, complete with picnic table and fire pit, then tour the city’s museums and visit the Statue of Liberty. All from your campground.

Classic camping close to the city—Clarence Fahnestock State Park, NY.

Clarence Fahnestock State Park is a short train ride from the city but feels like you’re in the thick of nature. And you are, as the campgrounds are surrounded by the area’s natural rock ridges and dense forest. Because it’s so close to the city, yet offers secluded campsites, this park fills up fast. Be sure to book in advance.

Cotopaxi is sponsoring the New York campsite review contest on The Dyrt. The short of the contest is this: Review NY campgrounds, win $100 Cotopaxi gift cards. There are 40 chances to win this summer, June – September. The top 10 reviewers every month all win, so you have good chances of winning. Read more here.