New York may be most famous for the Big Apple, but beyond the boroughs there are tons of natural wonder, ranging from mountains to valleys to waterfalls and oceans. Within state boundaries there are several spots where camping is possible — whether in a tent, RV or cabin. Here are campgrounds in New York State where you can sleep under the stars and start your own camping adventure:
HITHER HILLS STATE PARK
Montauk is for many Long Islanders the most remote of hamlets: located at the eastern end of the South Fork, it can take over an hour to get there from the western end of the Hamptons, and more than two hours from much of Nassau County. The Hither Hills Campground provides access to the Atlantic Ocean, including the ability to surf in one of nation's top spots to hang ten. The park is just over 4 miles from downtown Montauk, for those looking to check out area restaurants, shopping opportunities and other things to do.
Featuring a total of 189 sites, there are accommodations for RVs and tents; there’s no electricity but there are water spigots. Things to do while staying include hiking, fishing (both fresh and saltwater); there are ballfields, a playground and horseshoe pits. There’s a general store and boardwalk snack bar by the beach as well. Showers and a comfort station are available for campers.
Campsites are $35 nightly; $70 for non-NYS residents. Season ends Sept. 8-Nov. 19, depending on area of park. Minimum and maximum stays depend on availability and date of stay.
INFO 164 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk; 631-668-2554, parks.ny.gov.
LETCHWORTH STATE PARK
Found in Western New York’s Genesee Region within Livingston County, the park has long been billed as the "Grand Canyon of the East” because it holds 600-foot cliff walls carved by the Genesee River. The geographic scene is so large, the curious can actually go for an aerial gander via hot-air balloon (balloonsoverletchworth.com). Visitors can explore the nearby Rochester Metropolitan area, where all the dining, shopping and things to try are located.
Aside from the 270 campsites, there are 81 cabins available at Letchworth; cabins either have showers or central showers and either toilets, central toilets or central toilet buildings. Showers and a comfort station are available to campers. Hikers can try as many as 66 miles of hiking trails. The park also features the Autism Nature Trail (autismnaturetrail.com), a milelong, ADA-compliant and mostly wheelchair-accessible trail. There are biking and horseback riding trails as well, and park waterways can also be explored by canoe or via Adventure Calls Outfitters (7051 Lower Falls Rd., Castile; 888-270-2410, adventure-calls.com), which offers either white-water rafting or kayaking down the Genesee River (depending on water levels). To learn more about Letchworth, there’s the park’s Humphrey Nature Center, which hosts programming and environmental educational events.
Campsites are $30-$32 nightly; non-NYS residents pay an extra $5. Cabins range between $47- $149 nightly; some require two-night minimums, others seven-night minimums (prices reflect amenities). The 2022 camping season ends for all campsites Oct. 9, cabins between Sept. 4-Nov. 26 (depending on park area).
INFO 1 Letchworth State Park, Castile; 585-493-3600, parks.ny.gov
FISH CREEK POND CAMPGROUND
About 25 miles from the tourist-friendly and Olympic-famous Lake Placid, this getaway is within the Adirondacks in the village of Saranac Lake, a mountainous region dotted with lakes and ponds. For extended area exploration, The Wild Center natural history museum (45 Museum Dr., Tupper Lake; 518-359-7800, wildcenter.org) is about 11 miles away, and the Adirondack Interpretive Center (5922 RT. 28N, Newcomb; 518-582-2000, wildadirondacks.org) — featuring over 3 miles of nature trails and related educational programs — is just over 45 miles away.
The site — set around Square Pond and Fish Creek Pond — is notable for its sandy shoreline, ponds and rivers, and offers water access (both motorized and nonmotorized boats) to most of the available 355 campsites. Motorboat operators can also zip over to Upper Saranac Lake for miles of open water, while those using nonmotorized crafts can also check out ponds in the Rollins Pond Campground area and the St. Regis Canoe Area. Accommodations for RVs and tents are available, including hot showers and flush toilets, and visiting vacationers can try activities like biking, hiking and fishing.
Campsites are $22 nightly for New Yorkers; $5 surcharge per night for out-of-state residents. Season ends Oct. 22.
INFO 4523 RT. 30, Saranac Lake; 518-891-4560, dec.ny.gov
BUTTERMILK FALLS STATE PARK
Found in the Finger Lakes region in the Town of Ithaca, it’s less than 3 miles from the city of Ithaca’s downtown, where campers can find a bevy of restaurants and shopping spots. For an area event calendar check out visitithaca.com. Robert H. Treman State Park (105 Enfield Falls Rd., Ithaca; 607-273-3440, parks.ny.gov) is less than 2 miles away, which boasts nine miles of hiking trails, gorges and a dozen waterfalls, including the 115- foot Lucifer Falls. Guests can also swim in a pool below one of the resident cascades.
There are 25 campsites and 18 cabins available at Buttermilk; a comfort station and showers are available to campers for usage. The park’s name is inspired by the foam formed in the Buttermilk Creek as it flows toward Cayuga Lake — the longest of the Finger Lakes — and it’s just over 3 miles away at the northern edge of the city. There’s also a small lake in the park, as well as hiking that trails through woods and along a gorge and rim. Another nature trail rolls through the park’s Larch Meadows vale and wetlands; look for a stream-fed waterfall as well.
Campsites are $15-$19 nightly; $5 extra per night for nonstate residents. Cabins are $210-$238; cabins book at a one-week minimum from Fridays and Sundays through Aug. 25, two-night minimum after (three-day minimum Labor Day and Columbus Day weekends) until season ends Oct. 9.
INFO 112 E. Buttermilk Falls Rd., Ithaca; 607-273-5761, parks.ny.gov