7 Camping Spots Near NYC for New Yorkers Without a Car
- 16 Jul, 2015
New York City is known for a lot of things, but camping isn't on the short list. Even though there aren’t any camping opportunities in the city proper, world-class campsites are closer to NYC than you might think. Take a break from the fast pace and bright lights of the city & hop on the train to one of Foundry35's top 7 woodsy NYC weekend getaways.
The spot: Visit this historic 508-acre park situated on a peninsula on the east shore of the Hudson River for the camping closest to NYC on this list at only 1.5 hours via train outside the city. Croton Point Park is home to a nature center, historic wine cellars thought to be the oldest in New York State, and Native American oyster shell middens from 7,000 years ago. The park features amenities like beaches, picnicking sites, ball fields, kayaking, as well as a museum. If you’d like to spend some time outdoors but aren’t comfortable yet with camping in your own tent, you can also rent a cabin for a rustic but comfortable stay in the wilderness.
How to get there: Take the Metro North Hudson line from Grand Central to the Croton-Harmon stop. You'll see it on the peninsula just to the west of the stop.
Total Travel Time: 1 hr 30 mins
The spot: For a more traditional camping experience, you’ll love checking out this 14,000-acre state park. The campgrounds have over 80 different campsites each with private picnic table and fire ring. Whether you want to camp somewhere a bit more remote and off the beaten path or you’d like a more communal experience, there are many different options available. The park’s natural rock ridges even form private alcoves for many campsites. The large beach at Canopus Lake is a main attraction, as is the nature center. On weekends the camp organizes hikes and craft activities.
How to get there: take the Metro North Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to Cold Spring Station then take a local taxi to the park about 5 miles east of the train stop.
Total Travel Time: 1 hr 45 mins
The spot: For a beachy camping experience near the city take a trip to the wild dunes of Fire Island. Fire Island is an easy way to get away from it all; it's a place where you can appreciate the beauty of nature and cavort on the beach at the same time. Fun fact: Otis Pike on Fire Island is the only federally designated wilderness in the State of New York. You can choose to camp in the wilderness area itself, or you can pay for a campsite near the visitor center where you’ll have running water, showers, food, and more. Try visiting in late fall or early spring. Pay $20 at www.recreation.gov to reserve a wilderness/backcountry permit so you can set up a tent and camp out (3-night limit).
How to get there: take the Montauk-bound LIRR from Penn Station and get off on the Patchogue stop. Then hop on the ferry at the Patchogue-Watch Hill Ferry Terminal and then once you arrive check in at the Watch Hill Visitor Center.
Total Travel Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
The spot: For the casual or first-time camper, Malouf’s might be the best way to get outdoors for a day or two. Hike in to your campsite from the shuttle dropoff at any of 4 access points, and then let Malouf's handle the rest. Malouf’s will supply you with everything you need to spend a relaxing weekend in the woods. You can bring a tent or rent one of theirs, and each campsite is private & has its own fire pit. Once you arrive, you’ll find lots of gear waiting for you. The Malouf’s chow box will provide you with almost everything you’ll need for your stay from pots and pans to a pad of paper and a deck of cards. Just bring your sleeping bag & mat, clothes, food & drink, and personal items. Malouf's also has primitive sites for campers who prefer to bring all their own gear.
How to get there: Malouf’s is a hike in / hike out camping resort. Take the Metro North Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to the Beacon Train Station and then take the Malouf’s shuttle to the trailhead of your choice. Visit the title link for a map and more info.
Total Travel Time: 2 hrs
The spot: Cedar Point, once a busy port for shipping farm goods, fish, and timber, is a woodsy AND beachy option in East Hampton that offers individual and organized group camping areas. Here you’ll find rowboat rentals, picnic areas, nature trails, fishing, hiking, a playground, saltwater fishing, scuba diving, and of course the beach. The area covers 607 acres and is known for having plenty of availability at its many campsites. There are even showers and an on-site store for when you inevitably forget sunscreen.
How to get there: Take the LIRR from Penn Station toward Montauk and get off at the East Hampton stop, then either bike the 6 miles to the campground (bikers stay free in a designated biker’s campground for 1 night!) or arrange for a taxi ahead of time.
Total travel time: 3 hrs
The spot: Hither Hills State Park is a campground for water lovers. The 168-site campground offers a 2-mile sandy ocean beach and a 40-acre freshwater lake. Anglers can fish year-round and even obtain a permit to fish after-hours in the moonlight. The amenities are plentiful and include hiking trails, biking, horseback riding, a picnic area, showers, a playground, sports courts (basketball, volleyball, tetherball, and horseshoes), and even wintertime cross-country skiing. Hither Hills is the most full-featured campground on this list and is particularly well-suited to family gatherings large and small.
How to get there: Take the LIRR from Penn Station to Montauk and get off at the Montauk stop (last stop). Pre-arrange for a taxi (or hike!) to take you the final 5 miles west to the state park.
Total travel time: 3 hrs 30 mins
The spot: Six hundred acres of undeveloped hardwood forest make up the Wildwood State Park. Book your campsite online before you go and enjoy the beach, biking, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and cross-country skiing at this park located near Long Island Sound on the north shore of Long Island. Two miles of beach extend along the sound for fishing and swimming, and each campsite has a picnic table with nearby dumping stations. You and yours will enjoy a nature trail, twelve miles of marked hiking trails, basketball courts, ball fields, a playground, and showers, amongst other amenities at Wildwood State Park.
How to get there: Take the Ronkonkoma-bound LIRR to the Riverhead stop, then take a cab 15 mins northwest to Wildwood State park.
Total travel time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Know of a good spot we left off this list? Drop a comment below and fill us in!
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