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Pack your hiking boots, bathing suits, and sunscreen and get out into the great outdoors for an unforgettable and affordable camping trip in New York State. From the heart of Finger Lakes wine country to the home of baseball, here are some of the best places to set up camp and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones and Mother Nature.
New York State Parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation have campsites that can be booked through ReserveAmerica.com. New York State also has a variety of privately-owned campgrounds perfect for all your camping needs.
1. Scaroon Manor Campground & Day Use Area (Adirondacks)
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Once an upscale summer resort for the big city’s high society and a filming location for 1957’s Marjorie Morningstar starring Gene Kelly and Natalie Wood, this tranquil campground on the banks of Schroon Lake now makes for a more down to earth Adirondacks retreat. Take a hike and discover the remains of the old 500-seat amphitheater that hosted famous entertainers in its heyday, hit the beach, rent a canoe or kayak, or get in some quality fishing time. Fish include lake trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, bullhead, and pickerel. The campground also features accessible showers, restrooms, picnic area, and fishing pier. Nearby you’ll discover a natural wonder of the Adirondacks, Natural Stone Bridge and Caves Park — the largest marble cave entrance in the eastern U.S., and just 30 minutes away you can enjoy scenic gondola rides, hiking, and mountain biking at Gore Mountain. Scaroon Manor offers 60 sites at $25/night.
2. Moreau Lake (Capital-Saratoga)
Nestled amid hardwood forests, pine stands, and rocky ridges, Moreau Lake State Park offers quiet solitude within its woodsy campgrounds that have both tent and trailer sites. Find shady picnic groves, nature trails, a boat launch, fishing holes, and a sandy swimming beach on the tranquil lake for all your favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors. Beach chairs, umbrellas, rowboats, kayaks, and paddle boards are all available to rent on-site. Head into Saratoga Springs, located just 20 minutes away, to enjoy all its main attractions from the museums and mineral waters at Saratoga Spa State Park to the thrilling summer races at Saratoga Race Course. Moreau Lake offers 145 campsites from $18 to $22 a night. Cabins and cottages are also available starting at $300 per week.
3. Kenneth L. Wilson Campground & Day Use Area (Catskills)
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The rustic wooded campsites at Kenneth L. Wilson Campground in Mount Tremper offer a secluded nature escape in the heart of the Catskills, where old stone fences stand as relics to the area’s farming past. It’s no wonder the campground was recently recognized in the Hudson Valley Chronogram Readers’ Choice Awards in the Nature and the Outdoors category as campers can enjoy a wealth of activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and casting a line or paddling about the scenic lake in a canoe or kayak. Venture off-site to explore the quaint villages of Woodstock and Phoenicia, where there’s golfing, shopping, and great eating to be had (a trip to Phoenicia Diner is a must!). The historic city of Kingston, New York’s first capital, is also just 30 minutes away. Kenneth L. Wilson offers 76 tent and trailer sites at $22/night.
4. Verona Beach (Central New York)
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Located on the eastern shore of Oneida Lake, with 11 sites boasting views of the water, Verona Beach State Park is a camper’s delight perfect for picnics, sunbathing on the beach, splashing in the water, and hiking the wondrous “Woods and Wetland” nature trail. The lake, Black Creek, cattail marshes, and bottomland hardwood swamps also give Verona Beach one of the most diverse aquatic habitats in the area. Just 30 minutes away, marvel at nature’s beauty as you gaze upon a 167-foot waterfall that formed 10,000 years ago at the 194-acre Chittenango Falls State Park. Verona Beach offers 46 campsites ranging from $18-$31 a night.
5. Cooperstown Shadow Brook Campground (Central New York)
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Knock it out of the park with a camping trip to the home of baseball. Cooperstown Shadow Brook Campground is nestled on 20 beautiful acres surrounded by mountains, rolling hills, and farmland. On-site you can enjoy a fully-stocked three-acre catch and release fishing pond, heated pool, arcade, rec center, general store and weekly activities that are fun for the whole family or head into town to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame, The Farmers’ Museum, Brewery Ommegang, the Fenimore Art Museum, and more! Cooperstown Shadow Brook Campground offers tent sites ranging from $35 to $45, with cabins and trailers available at varying rates.
6. Allegany State Park (Chautauqua-Allegheny)
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With over 65,000 acres of primitive forested valleys, Allegany State Park is the largest state park in New York State. With two sandy beaches, miles of paved bikeways, picnic areas, fishing piers, lakes, two museums, and more, boredom is out of the question when you camp at one of its two developed areas: Red House and Quaker. Best of all, the park is only 40 minutes away from the National Comedy Center and Rock City Park for some fun outside the campground. Allegany State Park offers more than 300 campsites ranging from $18 to $31 per night (cabins and cottages start at $154/night).
7. Keuka Lake State Park (Finger Lakes)
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Raise a toast to summer on a camping trip to Keuka Lake State Park. Just named the second best place to camp in the northeast by TheDyrt.com, this campground is located in the heart of Finger Lakes wine country with breathtaking views of vineyard-covered slopes, glimmering water, and clear blue sky. From sunbathing and swimming at the beach to boating, fishing, and hiking, there’s plenty of ways to meet your outdoor recreation needs. Of course, make sure to leave time to explore the five nearby wineries along the Keuka Lake Wine Trail or learn about local history at the Finger Lakes Boating Museum and Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. Keuka Lake State Park offers 148 tent and trailer sites from $18 to $30 a night.
8. Green Lakes (Finger Lakes)
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Two glacial lakes surrounded by upland forest make up this picturesque state park where you can set up camp on grassy and wooded sites before heading to the lakeshore for fishing and swimming in crystal-clear water. Kayak and rowboat rentals are available for those who want to paddle the day away. You can also take a swing at the park’s scenic 18-hole golf course. Located just 15 minutes from Syracuse, Green Lakes makes for an equally convenient and beautiful place to spend a weekend in the woods while also getting some time in the city at popular spots including Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), Destiny USA, and more. Plan your trip around the Great New York State Fair for food, fun, rides, and great live entertainment. Green Lakes has 145 campsites ranging from $18 to $37 a night.
9. Letchworth State Park (Finger Lakes)
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Campers looking to add a dash of adventure to their trip will want to stay at the scenically magnificent Letchworth State Park. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs as high as 600 feet in some places surrounded by lush forest, earning it the nickname, the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Experience it whitewater rafting through the canyon or go for a real splurge with a hot air balloon ride (shared basket: $425/person; private flight: $1,950/couple). With 66 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, a special one-mile loop Autism Nature Trail, a nature center, museum, swimming pool, and guided walks, you’ll never want to leave. Sit down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the historic Glen Iris Inn and soak in the views of the Middle Falls. Letchworth offers 257 campsites ranging from $18 to $31 a night, plus cabins starting at $132/night.
10. Four Mile Creek (Greater Niagara)
There are many perks to camping at Four Mile Creek. Not only can you enjoy all your favorite outdoor activities like biking and fishing, but the park also has 10 coveted waterfront sites with spectacular panoramic views of Lake Ontario, hiking trails that wind along densely wooded bluffs, and a marsh that’s home to great blue herons and white-tailed deer. The best part by far is its location. Sitting just 15 minutes north of the mighty Niagara Falls, the campground offers discounted tickets to the Maid of the Mist boat tours and Cave of the Winds. Other nearby attractions include a tour of the Lockport caves, historical reenactments at Old Fort Niagara, and racing at Ransomville Speedway. Four Mile Creek offers 275 campsites with prices ranging from $18 to $35 a night. Brand new yurts are also available starting at $83.75 a night.
11. Wildwood State Park (Long Island)
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Sometimes camping is about getting away from it all and sometimes it’s about getting together. When you camp at Long Island’s Wildwood State Park, you can spend the day swimming and fishing on two miles of beachfront along the Long Island Sound or hiking along 12 miles of marked trails. Then, if you’re not too tuckered out, you can spend your night watching movies under the stars or square and line dancing. With 600 acres of undeveloped hardwood forest terminating on a high bluff overlooking the Sound, it’s also the perfect setting to take in a stunning sunset. Explore more of the region at the nearby Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard & Horse Rescue and popular Long Island Aquarium. Wildwood offers 314 campsites for $18-$35 a night, plus 10 cottages starting at $175/night.
12. Cranberry Lake Campground & Day Use Area (Thousand Islands-Seaway)
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Looking to really get away from it all? Then Cranberry Lake may be the spot for you as this campground is located in the Adirondack Mountains in one of the largest remote areas in all of New York State with thousands of acres of unbroken forest nearby. No matter how you choose to relax in the outdoors, Cranberry Lake has it all from a sandy beach to hiking trails with scenic vistas, fishing spots, and access to miles of unencumbered scenic waters to explore by your vessel of choice. Each site has a fireplace and picnic table and most have trees offering privacy from adjacent sites. About 40 minutes away in Tupper Lake, you can experience the beauty and wonder of the night sky at The Adirondack Sky Center & Observatory or head over to the Wild Center where you can walk along the treetops on the Wild Walk, a unique elevated trail that includes a four-story treehouse, swinging bridges, and a giant bald eagle’s nest offering a rare view of the Adirondack forest. Cranberry Lake offers 171 campsites at $20/night.
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