Twenty-One Great Campsites in Spitting Distance of NYC

Real campsites. None of that glamping stuff.

By Shari Gab

Twenty-One Great Campsites in Spitting Distance of NYC
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27 June 2016

There will be no air conditioning. No juice bars. If you’re lucky, there won’t even be wifi.

This is camping, people. Not the Ritz.

What there will be: stars you can actually see, the smell of a campfire, a flagon of hooch and you.

And as for where? At any of these 21 excellent camping destinations that aren’t too far from where you sit right now.

Now step to it. Nature calls.

Glimmerglass State Park
Cooperstown, NY - Four hours by car
Glimmerglass State Park, on the northern side of Otsego Lake, lives up to its name. The water's crystal clear, and the grounds are perfect for all things swimming, boating, exploring and relaxing.

Hither Hills State Park
Montauk, NY - Two hours and 30 minutes by car
Off of Long Island’s South Fork live 168 campsites, each just steps away from the ocean and complete with personal fire pits. It’s beyond beautiful. Thusly, it books up fast. Plan in advance.

Macedonia Brook State Park
Kent, CT - Two hours by car
Fifty-one ultra-private sites resting on the Connecticut side of the Catskills. What you will find: quiet ponds, roaring falls, babbling brooks. What you won’t find: even one bar of cell service any which way you go.

Rip Van Winkle Campground
Saugerties, NY - Two hours by car
The best of “both” worlds. A 160-acre creekside campground in the Catskills for adventuresome biking, hiking and climbing. Find yourself back at base camp for movies, group activities and ice cream socials.

Taconic State Park
Copake Falls, NY - Two hours 10 minutes by car
Not exactly roughing it, but you’ll be outdoors. Can get a little crowded, but offers some some solid hiking along Brace Mountain and the Appalachian Trail.

North-South Lake Campground
Haines Falls, NY - One hour and 50 minutes by car
The largest site the Catskills has to offer, with 219 secluded camp plots. Excellent for historians who love to hike with trails past Newman’s Ledge, Saw Mill, Kaaterskill Falls and Alligator Rock (named for its aesthetic, not its reptiles).

Alger Island
Old Forge, NY - Five hours by car
If you really want to give the middle finger to the city, this is for you. Accessible only by boat, privacy is a guarantee.

Cedar Point County Park on Long Island
East Hampton, NY - Two hours and 30 minutes by car
A 607-acre spread in East Hampton known for stunning views over Gardiners Bay. Good for Life Aquatic enthusiasts, non-passive activities include saltwater fishing, scuba and hiking to the nearby abandoned Cedar Point lighthouse.

Harriman State Park
Seven Lakes Dr/Bear Mountain Circle, Ramapo, NY - One hour by car
If you’ve ever been in Bear Mountain, you know what it is to look out over the majestic Manhattan skyline and not want to go back. You’re in luck. At Harriman you can simply throw down a sleeping back and rest your head near Lake Tiorati. In case of rain, there are cabins nearby.

Fahnestock State Park
Carmel, NY - One hour and 15 minutes by car
All camping desires will be met here. An easygoing escape complete with 75 sites, 14,000 acres of forest for hiking and the beach of freshwater Canopus Lake just moments away.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Kerhonkson, NY - Two hours by car
Want to climb on something other than a foam wall? Right this way. Set amid 50 miles of hiking trails, you’ll find rocky terrain and cliffs galore for all — strike that — most skill levels.

Kittatinny Campground
Milford, PA - Two hours by car
Three hundred and fifty private sites immersed deep in the woods. But nearby, families and/or adrenaline junkies will be drawn to Kittatinny’s Adventure Center with ziplining and paintball.  

North Pole Resorts
Wilmington, NY - Five hours by car
A privately owned campground on the banks of the Ausable River at the foot of Whiteface Mountain. Good for families, as it serves up both outdoor adventures and the creature comforts of the nearby Adirondacks attractions.

Malouf’s Mountain Sunset Campground
Beacon, NY - One hour and 30 minutes by car
Nature made easy. Not too far out of town, Malouf’s has everything you need with none of the fuss. Rent a tent on a covered platform complete with fire pit and cooking supplies on site. Bring your hiking boots: the grounds are only reachable via trekking in on your own two feet.

Fort Wadsworth
Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island - 40 minutes by car
Close, yet surprisingly quiet. You’ll get thousands of acres for adventuring plus that coveted view of the city skyline all in one. Sounds too good to be true? It almost is. With only seven sites in total, it would be best to book now.

Floyd Bennett Field
Brooklyn, NY - 40 minutes by car
A fully-equipped site just a quick jaunt outside the city limits with plenty of hiking, kayaking, fishing and people-avoiding under the night stars.

Watkins Glen State Park
Ithaca, NY - Four hours and 15 minutes by car
Breathtaking views of bold gorges and majestic waterfalls, Watkins is a Finger Lakes highlight. In case the quiet gets to be too much, nearby attractions include boating, car racing and some epic wine tasting.

Cherry Plain State Park
Petersburg, NY - Three hours by car
A romantic destination with 20 plots total next to a beach on Black River Pond with plenty of hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Saranac Lake Islands
Saranac Lake, NY - Five hours and 15 minutes by car
Set up camp on your own private island. There are a plenitude to choose from, and all are accessible only by boat.

Letchworth State Park
Castile, NY - Five hours and 15 minutes by car
Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth is worth the trek for the view alone. Activities include swimming, hiking and fishing, the camping spots are private and there are tons of amenities within reach. On the larger side of the grounds listed here. Good for families and even corporate retreats.

Peekamoose Mountain
Catskill Park, Ulster, NY - Two hours and 15 minutes by car
For really roughing it. There is no charge for camping. Translation: there are no amenities. None. You will be in the wild. It’s a little dangerous and a lot awesome.

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