One of the best things about living in New York City, for New Yorkers, is the proximity of everything around the city and how easy it is to get there. This also means that anyone who's within a train ride to the city also has access to these super cool destinations that are just outside of city limits - which makes the city somewhat of a transportation hub. So while many people think that the city is the premier destination in New York, we're here to talk about what lies just outside of it.
If you're looking to make your city trip worth it but don't necessarily enjoy the idea of spending all that time in an urban oasis or just want some quiet days in conjunction, fear not - that's what campgrounds are for. It's hard to believe that less than two hours outside of Manhattan sits beautiful forests with lush greenery, and even mountains, but here we are. For the best camping within driving (or Amtrak distance) outside of New York City, these campsites have everything you're looking for.
Rip Van Winkle Campgrounds
If you've driven through upstate New York then you've likely seen the signs for Saugerties. This town is about two hours outside of the city in the Catskills and has become a popular destination for camping and hiking thanks to 160 miles of woodlands.
The campground at Rip Van Winkle is top-notch with a general store for all potential last-minute camping needs, a fire pit at each site, picnic tables, public phones, and on-site facilities. There are even specific campgrounds for couples and adults as well as those reserved for families with kids.
Hither Hills State Park
Still considered one of Montauk's hidden gems, Hither Hills is a semi-remote destination on the East End of Long Island, New York. While it is roughly three hours by train and a little more than two by car, it's worth the ride. Rather than heading upstate, this destination is super easy to get to by taking the LIRR from Penn and transferring, or jumping on the Hampton Jitney.
The campground at Hither Hills provides spots for 189 campsites, and there's plenty of hiking to be had in and around the park. The best part, though, is the location of the campsites - they're right on the beach, providing some of the best beachfront views in New York.
Wildwood State Park
Wildwood is also out on Long Island but isn't as far as Montauk, situated in the town of Riverhead. This off-the-beaten-path park recently added brand new cabins to their campgrounds so not only can campers bring their own tents, but they have the option to upgrade, as well.
With dramatic views of the Long Island Sound and access to recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, hiking, paddle boarding, and more, this park has everything that nature lovers crave.
Known in short as the 'Gunks,' the Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground is pretty basic but great for those who are adventurous at heart. It's also the perfect destination for rock climbers since that's partially what the area is known for and is only two hours outside of the city.
The campgrounds accommodate parking for up to 50 cars and sites are big enough to permit two tents, so while it's smaller than many others, it's no less impressive. Numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, and gorgeous mountain views can be explored just a short distance away from each campsite.
Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park is only about an hour outside of the city by car which is pretty amazing, considering the wide expanse of its grounds. The park is home to more than 200 miles of hiking trails and has a whopping 31 lakes, each offering its own unique views of the park.
You'd likely need an entire week or more just to explore everything this park has to offer but if you're camping there, you're starting off on the right foot. Harriman is also home to dining halls, three-sides shelters, and camping platforms, making this park a pretty high-end campsite destination.
Collective Governor's Island
If you're feeling the camping itch but aren't keen on leaving the city, don't worry - Collective Governor's Island has you covered. This glampsite wonderland is only 8 minutes from the mainland by ferry and provides everything you could ask for with a campsite that's pretty luxe.
Featuring private bathrooms, spa tubs, rain showers, and options to upgrade to a king-sized bed, this camping trip might seem more like a spa getaway than a camping trip. Dinner is also catered on-site every night, and that's not even the best part - the views of the city across the water are especially beautiful.