Whether you're wanting to take a hike through the Adirondacks, or save on a trip to the Big Apple by camping nearby, The Empire State offers a variety of camping options. With campgrounds in every region of the state, you'll be sure to find opportunities that appeal to you.
Best Camping for the Adventuresome
Whether you're into spelunking or geology, these campgrounds could be your next home away from home.
Ace of Diamonds Mine and Campground, Central New York
Grab your prospector's tools and head over to Ace of Diamonds Mine and Campground to dig for Herkimer diamonds. Campsites include electricity, water and picnic tables and are located right where you dig. If you're not concerned about money, $1500 will get you a guided mining tour where you and your tour guide will use hydraulics and heavy machinery to dig right inside the mine.
Ausable Chasm Campground, Ausable Chasm, Adirondacks
If exploring caves is your thing, Ausable Chasm Campground has a spot with your name on it. The campground is located at Ausable Chasm so the falls, hiking trails and caves are literally in your back yard when you camp here. In addition to Ausable Chasm, you can also take a guided lantern tour through the caves at night. Additional activities include white water rafting and tubing down the river. Self-guided tours of the chasm's hiking trails are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting. All tent sites are primitive, but the campsite boasts a full range of comfort amenities such as hot showers and a convenience store.
Hither Hills State Park, Long Island
Hither Hills is somewhat of a well-kept secret when it comes to its offerings to the general public. While beach-goers flock to the "walking" dunes of Napeague Harbor during the warmer weather, Hither Hills offers a broad variety of activities to its visitors including hunting, horseback riding and fishing. Visitors can also rent beach vehicles that are like ATVs made specifically for the beach. Like most state parks, the camping sites are primitive. Most sites are located on, or very near, the beach.
Campgrounds for Nature Lovers
These campgrounds are were made for those who love to just commune with nature while they're camping.
Alger Island State Campground, Old Forge, Adirondacks
Alger Island only has two tent sites (although there are 15 lean-tos), so you can be relatively assured that you won't have too many neighbors. You also won't have too many amenities - pit privies, hibachis, and picnic tables are your only creature comforts. The island is only accessible by boat. Campers can enjoy fishing for trout, Atlantic salmon and more. Those who enjoy hiking will like the hiking trail that goes around the island.
Bear Spring Mountain, Catskills
Bear Spring Mountain is one-of-a-kind in New York State. Located at the edge of the Catskill Forest Preserve, the campground boasts canoeing, fishing and miles upon miles of riding trails. It is the only park in New York State intended specifically for horseback riding enthusiasts. The campground itself offers only primitive camping, but has sufficient amenities for those who are bringing their equine companions.
Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca
So named after its main waterfall, Buttermilk Falls State Park is a paradise to those who love hiking and simply observing nature. The campground is primitive, with no utilities. However, don't let a lack of utilities stop you from visiting. The park itself offers a snack bar and other amenities for the visitors who come every year to enjoy swimming in the falls, hiking the trails or watching ample wildlife in the meadow.
Camping With Kids
With an abundance of amenities and planned activities, these places make ideal vacation spots for families.
Adirondack Camping Village, Lake George
There is literally something for everyone at the Adirondack Camping Village in Lake George. The tent sites are secluded, so you're not on top of your neighbor, but you also can find sites that have electric and water. In addition, the campground has a full range of amenities including a nightly movie and daily hay ride.
All Adventures Campground, Allegheny
All Adventures Campground boasts a variety of amenities for when you just don't feel like roughing it. Amenities include private showers, campsites with electricity and water, and swimming pools. On top of great amenities to make your stay more comfortable, you can hike the Old Pennsylvania and Shawmut Historical Railroad Nature Trail, as the trail passes through the campground. However, what this family-friendly campground is especially known for is great social activities including a Christmas in July event.
Darien Lake Campsites, Niagara
If you've ever wanted to do the Darien Lake Theme park experience, but weren't crazy about spending the money for a hotel, the on-site campgrounds might be just what you're looking for. Packed with amenities like water and electricity that make camping with kids in tow easier, Darien Lake offers three campgrounds. One that is less than five minutes away from the park and two located within a five to ten minute walk. Ride all day, and roast marshmallows by night when you choose one of these campgrounds. The campground price here includes admission for two people in your party - but you can always add on extra tickets.
Best Places for Water Lovers
Whether your ideal camping vacation includes fishing, kayaking, canoeing or just frolicking on the beach, these campsites deliver.
Alpine Lake RV Resort, Saratoga
The name might make a would-be tent camper pass this gem by, but rest assured, Alpine Lake has tent sites as well. Noted especially for being child-friendly, this lakeside camping resort boasts some waterfront tent sites, a beach, swimming pools, fishing and boating. You may also want to check out the recreation pavilion or participate in one of the many planned events.
Back Bay Campground, 1000 Islands
If you ever wanted to camp right on the lake in the 1000 Islands, Back Bay Campground is the place to go. All tent sites are primitive but some sites are right on Black Lake. The campground is largely populated with those who absolutely love to fish and boat; however, there are nearby things to explore for those who are sick of the smell of fish. Don't have your own boat? Don't worry - Back Bay will rent one to you. If you do have your own boat, plan on renting dock space.
Bedford Creek Marina & Campground, 1000 Islands
Bedford Creek Marina & Campground combines the best of amenities with the best of lakefront camping. Swim on the private beach, fish in lake Ontario, or bond with the seasonal community at a prime rib dinner. It's all part of the ambiance at Bedford Creek. If you get tired of being on the lake for the day, check out one of the many nearby attractions that the region offers.
Planning Your Trip
Reservations for all state parks are made through Reserve America, while you can make reservations with private parks online at that park's website. The ideal camping season is from mid-June through late August, although you will find most campsites open from about mid-April through October or November. Campers visiting New York should also pay special attention to the state's firewood regulations and ask the campground's employees questions regarding the firewood you are planning on using.