The 5 Best Places to Camp in New York State

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: January 24, 2023
© YingHui Liu/Shutterstock.com
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When you think of New York you may think of the hustle and bustle of downtown New York City. But if you want to get away from the bright lights and city life, New York has many peaceful, beautiful retreats, right near the city and in New York State. Pack your sleeping bag or back out the camper, here are the 5 best places to camp in New York this summer!

1) Niagara Falls Campground & Lodging

Niagara Falls
One of the best places to camp in New York this summer is Niagara Falls Campground and Lodging.

©YingHui Liu/Shutterstock.com

Until you see Niagara Falls in person, it is hard to understand the magnitude of the amount of water that plunges over the falls! Visiting Niagara Falls on the American side offers great views of both the Horseshoe falls and Bridal Veil Falls. You can hike down to the Niagara Gorge on the Cave of the Winds tour where you can experience the hurricane-like bottom of the Bridal Veil Falls (rain ponchos provided). Maybe you want to take the Maid of the Mist boat tour to experience the full force of the falls or try a helicopter ride over the falls to witness how a seemingly slow-moving river can come crashing down over the falls.

The closest campground to Niagara Falls is only 6 miles away and has all the amenities you need. There are 67 RV sites with full hookups and 8 tent sites with electricity and water. Enjoy a splash in the pool, stop by the gift shop, or cook up some s’mores by your campfire.

LocationOnly 6 miles from Niagara Falls
Nearest CityNiagara Falls, NY
RV Sites67 sites with full hookups, water/electric/sewer (20, 30, 50 amp)
Tent Sites8 sites with water and electric
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
WiFiFree
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, swimming pool, playground, gift shop
Pet FriendlyYes, dog walk area
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestComfortable camping only 6 miles to Niagara Falls.

2) Lake Erie State Park

Lake Erie
Can you imagine sitting at your campsite with this view of the sunset over Lake Erie? Then you need to camp at Lake Erie State Park.

©iStock.com/becky johnson

Located on the south shores of Lake Erie, the Lake Erie State Park offers hiking trails, access to the lake, picnicking, and fishing. Anglers fish for sunfish, yellow perch, white bass, small-and largemouth bass, and walleyes. The campground is situated on a bluff overlooking the lake with the perfect place to watch the sunset over the waters of Lake Erie. There are 99 RV/Tent sites, some with electric/water, and 10 cabins available to rent. Have some fun at the volleyball court, basketball court, or try the 18-hole disc golf. Definitely one of the best places to camp in New York this summer!

LocationOn the south shore of Lake Erie
Nearest CityDunkirk, NY
RV/Tent Sites99 sites
Cabins10
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, playground, volleyball court, basketball court, pavilion, gazebo
Pet FriendlyYes, limit of 2 pets
ReservationsYes, some walk-in sites as well
What makes it one of the bestBeautiful sunsets over Lake Erie!

3) Hither Hills State Park, Long Island

Long Island New York
Hither Hills State Park on Long Island is one of the best places to camp in New York this summer because it is right on the ocean!

©iStock.com/Jin Huang

Imagine stepping out of your camper and walking a block to the sandy beach. If this appeals, then staying at Hither Hills State Park on Long Island is the best place to camp. The 189-site campground is right across from the beach. The ocean beach is perfect for swimming, walking in the sand, jogging and sport fishing. There are flounder, scup, triggerfish, striped bass, and blues that you can catch right from shore. Deep sea fishing tours are also available for an exciting day trip. You can also visit The Napeague Bird Conservation Area where you will see least terns, piping plovers, osprey and maybe even a short-eared owl. The conservation area provides a safe place for these birds to nest and thrive. Hither Hills State Park and campground is a  great getaway for the New York native or visitor!

LocationRight on Long Island, on the ocean
Nearest CityMontauk, NY
RV/Tent Sites189 sites, water but no electricity
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, camp store
Pet FriendlyNo, no pets allowed
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestSteps to the sandy beach on the ocean!

4) Gateway National Recreation Area, Camp Gateway

Whimbrels on the beach
Another great park with beach access is the Gateway National Recreation Area.

©Safa Shahidi/Shutterstock.com

To really get away from it all try tent camping at Gateway National Recreation Area at Camp Gateway. The National Recreation area spreads across New York and New Jersey (the Staten Island campground is closed for the summer of 2022 so head over to the New Jersey side to stay at Camp Gateway-Sandy Hook). No cars are allowed at the campsites but don’t worry, it’s only a short hike to the campsites. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring, charcoal grill, and food storage container. There are restrooms and water available but no electricity or showers.

Use Camp Gateway as a home base to enjoy all the activities in the park like the beautiful beaches for swimming, surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, kite-boarding, or hiking in the sand. Hike to the North Beach Observation Deck for a picnic, where you’ll find tables and a view of New York Harbor. Then head over to the Visitor Center at Keeper’s Quarters where you can learn about the piping plovers, American woodcock, and oystercatcher. Keep an eye out for these birds and other wildlife while taking the lighthouse tour. With such a variety of activities, this really is one of the best places to camp this summer!

LocationGateway National Recreation Area
Nearest CityHighlands
RV/Tent sitesYes, no electric, just water
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, visitor center
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestBeautiful beach, lighthouse, hiking and fishing!

5) Catskill Mountains, North-South Lake Campground

Phoenicia
The Catskills are a beautiful setting.

©Jose F. Donneys/Shutterstock.com

About two hours north of New York City is the Catskills in Greene County. There are a few great options for camping in the Catskill Mountains, some with spectacular views with others right on the water. You can hike to Kaaterskill Falls, try mountain bike trails, or enjoy the day kayaking on the lake. Bring your fishing gear to fish for brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass, and black crappie. The most popular campground in the Catskills is the North-South Lake Campground with 219 sites and access to both the North and South Lakes. Both lakes have beautiful beaches and boat access for kayaking, canoeing, or SUP’s. Another one of the best places to camp in New York this summer!

LocationIn the Catskills
Nearest CityHaines Falls, NY
RV/Tent Sites219 sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, hot showers, playground, boat launch, volleyball, charcoal grills
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestTwo lakes to choose from for twice the fun!

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The Featured Image

Niagara Falls
© YingHui Liu/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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