Finding A Place To Camp Before You Go
Check out the DECinfo Locator to browse state lands with primitive campsites. Use the “Outdoor Activity” tab to find other recreational opportunities available at these destinations.
If you have a particular region in mind, try the Places To Go pages, which provide descriptions of individual properties. For recommendations, you may also contact the forester or Lands and Forests staff person in the regional DEC office nearest to where you’d like to go.
Q Can You Tent Camp In Ny
Yes, in NY state parks, you can tent camp. But there are a few things to keep in mind. State parks do not have completely flat campsites, and some sites may only be accessible on foot via rugged trails or steep slopes. Campsites without toilet/shower facilities require the use of a porta-john for restroom facilities.
Best Free Camping Spots In New York
Free camping in the Northeastern portion of the United States has gotten a reputation for being difficult to find.
But were here to tell you: there are actually a number of free camping spots in New York. You simply have to know where to look.
Weve been there, done that, so wed like to share with you our 5 Best Free Camping Spots in New York.
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What You Need To Know About Free Camping
Firstly, when you are free camping, you are not typically going to be provided with hook-ups for electricity, water, or sewage. Most free campsites are going to have few to no amenities.
You may get lucky enough for there to be a vault toilet and a trash can, but oftentimes not even that. So you pack it in and you pack it out.
Do not leave the campsite in any lesser condition than you found it. In fact, try to leave it a little better than when you arrived.
That also means you are likely going to have to supply your own power via a generator or solar panels, bring enough fresh water to last the duration of your stay, and have enough black/gray water capacity until you reach a dump station.
That said, here are our top five picks for free camping spots in New York.
Branches Of Niagara Campground & Resort
Now this is one facility that truly deserves to call itself a resort! Located on the popular tourist destination of Grand Island, the facility is also set along eight acres of picturesque lake. When you park your RV here for your New York vacation, youll also be conveniently close to some of the states most famous attractions such as Niagara Falls, Buffalo Zoo, Fantasy Island Fun Park, and Marineland.
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Hearthstone Point Camping Lake George
The southeastern corner of the park is home to Lake George, where you’ll find something for everyone: a bustling downtown with shops and restaurants, access to hiking and outdoor sports, and a beautiful lake where you can do just about any water sport.
If you’re set on primitive, RV, or car camping, check out Hearthstone Point, which is located just two miles north of the village’s main street. It’s accessible to people with disabilities, pet-friendly, and features amenities like hot showers, flush toilets, and a recycling center. Rates start at $22/night for in-state residents. Book it now.
While you’re there: Take advantage of the local attractionsâthe town has a lot to offer. Museums, antique shops, wineries, live music venues, amusementsâthere’s something for everyone.
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East Otto State Forest Campground
GPS: 42.4257, -78.7871
Located near the New York towns of East Otto and Otto, camping is allowed at 14 designated sites along Kriedeman Forest Road that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The sites are marked with a yellow camping disk.
These sites are numbered and have a primitive fire ring. There are no outhouse facilities. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.
East Otto State Forest covers 1,354 acres. No formal trails exist, but old ski trails and farm roads provide some opportunities for hiking.
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Fish Creek Pond Campground
Fish Creek Pond Campground is set in the Adirondacks, a wilderness and nature reserve.
This campground is most known for its scenic views. It sits on Fish Creek Pond and has steep hills that border to the west of it.
The view from this area can be seen by looking out across the pond at Mount Marcy or looking across the pond to Mount Emmons.
Fish Creek Pond Campground is most popular with cyclists, hikers, and anglers who enjoy trout fishing in Fish Creek Pond.
The campground provides:
- Cycling trails that start from campsite #47.
- A hiking trail near campsite #51.
- Two less-traveled roads for biking or walking.
To the south of the campground is a boat launch, and to the north, there is an Adirondack shelter.
There are around thirty-three sites in total, six of which have electric hookups and twenty-nine that can accommodate large RV or trailers.
The campsites are well-spaced, with plenty of room for tents and small RVs or trailers, and accessible by car, but the campground is also located near two access points that can be reached on foot or by bike.
Address: 4523 NY-30, Saranac Lake, NY 12983, USA
Fillmore Glen State Park
Fillmore Glen State Park is a lovely 941-acre state park in New York’s Finger Lakes Region, located within Cayuga County adjacent to the Village of Moravia. The picturesque state park is located just five miles from the birthplace of United States President Millard Fillmore, featuring a replica of the president’s boyhood log cabin and exhibits connected to his life and legacy. Stunning hiking trails offer views of five waterfalls, leading to a swimming pond open to the public throughout the summer months. Year-round outdoor recreational opportunities include chances for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, fishing, and hunting. A spacious campground offers 60 tent and trailer campsites, along with amenities like showers, picnic pavilions, and dump stations. All overnight guests can make use of the park’s various sporting courts, along with a children’s playground and private swimming beach. A fully-equipped cottage is also offered for overnight rental, located on the shores of Cayuga Lake at Long Point.
1686 NY-38, Moravia, NY 13118, Phone: 315-497-0130
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New York State Forests
You can also find free camping in New York in a state forest. Most state forests allow for primitive camping in NY at no cost. You wont have many amenities, outside of a primitive fire ring , but you will be able to experience nature in solitude. To find New York State Forests on Campendium, select the “State Forests” filter on the New York State camping map page.
As you plan your free camping experience, youll notice that New York state parks do not offer primitive camping opportunities at no cost. State parks will offer activities like horse-back riding, fishing, hiking, and sometimes winter-sports like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, or snow-shoe hiking.
To visit state parks while camping for free, some adventurers pitch their tent at a state forest near a state park. You can then spend the day exploring the nearby state park! One popular state forest is the East Otto State Forest which is only an hours drive from Niagara Falls State Park.
Wherever you choose to go, free camping in NY can be one of the best ways to save money and experience the beauty of the northeast.
Chenango Valley State Park
- Wildlife viewing
- Group pavilions
Chenango Valley State Park boasts two kettle lakes Lily and Chenango. Fishermen can spot trout, bass, perch, or bullhead. Whereas bird watchers may glimpse woodpeckers, nuthatches, warblers, and thrushes. The lakes are also home to herons, ducks, and kingfishers. Golf lovers will appreciate the 18-hole golf course. And in winter, visitors can engage in sledding, or cross-country skiing.
The campground itself features 184 campsites and 24 cabins. There are also three pavilions which can accommodate from 50 to 800 people. Great for birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations.
The rates begin at USD$ 15 nightly per site and USD$ 87.50 per cabin. Prices for the pavilions range from USD$ 75 to USD$ 200.
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Free Camping Fully Stocked Campsites And Even A How
New York state will provide free First-Time Camper weekends throughout the summer in 2017.
Families that have never camped before will have the opportunity to learn if they enjoy sleeping under the stars before investing in their own gear by registering for a fully stocked campsite at a select state campground from July 7-Aug. 25.
New campers will be provided with a family tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camp chairs, camp stove, lantern, and even firewood. A camping ambassador will meet families at the campsite and help them get set up with a camping 101 lesson, and campers will have an opportunity to learn from experts on how to fish, hike, bird watch, paddle and more.
Reservations are required and will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis starting May 17 by calling 518-474-6718.
Information on the eight participating campgrounds follows:
1. North South Lake Campground
County Route 18
Take the Virtual Tour NORTH SOUTH LAKE CAMPGROUND219 Campsites
2. Wellesley Island State Park
44927 Cross Island Road
Take the Virtual Tour WELLESLEY ISLAND STATE PARK429 Campsites
3. Paradox Lake Campground
Take the Virtual Tour SCHODACK ISLAND STATE PARK67 Campsites
5. Kenneth L. Wilson Campground
859 Wittenberg Road
Take the Virtual Tour GREEN LAKES STATE PARK117 Campsites
7. Hearthstone Point Campground
Camp Chautauqua Camping Resort
- Location: 3900 W Lake Rd, Stow, NY 14785
- RV LIFE Campground Reviews: 6.8 average rating
This resort is located right next to Chautauqua Lake, and it has an emphasis on water sports and recreation. Fishing, boating, jet-skiing, swimming, and anything else that involves water is welcome here!
This park also offers a family-friendly petting zoo, seasonal activities, a pool, and community events throughout the season. This is a wonderful resort if you have kids or if you want to interact with a vibrant community.
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Best For Hiking: Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park is the second largest state park in New York State and is a mecca for hikers of all skill levels. With over 200 miles of hiking trails including marked and unmarked trails, this park lets visitors takes in the views of 31 lakes, two beaches and numerous rolling hills and streams. If hiking isnt your thing, guests can also swim, fish, boat and bike.
Camping Near You Find A Free Campsite
Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone’s GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.
Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. Freecampsites.net makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.
This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.
Please come back and let us know what you find!
We are not actively seeking Wal-Marts, truckstops or other parking lots and will not be adding very many of these. There are enough Wal-Mart and truck stop directories out there already. However, if a member of the community finds one of these locations to be useful for overnight RV parking and creates an entry, we may approve the listing.
Please come back and let us know what you find!
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Blue Mountain Campground Saugerties
How far it is: Three hours by busWhat to expect: Despite limited availability, Blue Mountain Campground is welcoming campers with the expected restrictions highlighted above. Nightly rates for a campsite start at $39you can rent both RV hook-ups and wooded tent campsites and will grant you access to plenty of hiking trails, including views of the nearby Haines Falls. Theres an on-site laundry room for guests, as well as full-service restrooms and a campground shop for any forgotten toiletries. If youre looking to get relatively far from the city for a basic camping experience with some hiking thrown in, this will check all of the boxes. Plus, this campground is open year-round, which is a relatively rare find.How to get there: Head to Port Authority Bus Terminal and catch the Adirondack Trailways bus. A round-trip ticket will cost $62.
New York State Firewood Regulation
New York State has a regulation that prohibits importing firewood into New York unless is has been heat-treated to kill pests. The regulation also limits the transportation of untreated firewood to less than 50 miles from its source or origin.
- Get your firewood from a local vendor and ask for a receipt or label that lists the firewood’s local source.
- If you choose to transport firewood within New York State:
- It must have a receipt or label that has the firewood’s source or origin listed and it must stay within 50 miles or that source/origin.
- For firewood cut from your own property, you must have a Self-Issued Certificate of Origin and it must be sourced within 50 miles of your destination.
- Only firewood labeled as meeting New York’s heat treatment standards to kill pests may be transported into the state and further than 50 miles from the firewood’s source. This wood should be labeled “certified heat-treated”.
For more information on the regulation, see our webpage on firewood and invasive pests. For additional questions regarding the regulation, please email or call 1-866-640-0652.
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The Magical Treehouse At Paul Smith’s
Treat yourself to a treehouse adventure in this out-of-an-adventure-novel AirBnb. Nestled in the woods near Paul Smith’s College, it’s a dreamy spot to set up camp for the night. The treehouse features a single room with a queen-sized bed, a table, and chairs. Below are the outhouse and cookhouse, which are in two separate buildings. During the day, take a hike or a nature walk, then come home and cozy up with a good book or warm up near the campfire. Rates start at $291/night. Book it now.
While you’re there: You’re only a half hour away from the towns of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, which are worth checking out. And don’t miss the Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center , a 3,000 acre preserve that offers year-round recreation and environmental education.
Finger Lakes National Forest
The Finger Lakes are a collection of eleven small lakes in the state. If you are planning on free camping in New York, you should definitely include a few nights in the Finger Lakes National Forest.
Backcountry camping, sometimes referred to as dispersed camping, involves setting up your tent at an undeveloped site. Set up your campsite at least 200 feet from developed trails or bodies of water. Plan to pitch a tent, but you may find that there is an established shelter or lean-to for your use.
Backcountry and dispersed camping is first-come, first-serve, so be prepared to arrive early and to be flexible. You should also plan to leave no trace and to avoid camping in areas with new tree growth. Dispersed and backcountry camping is permitted in most parts of the forest unless there is a specific closure due to weather.
Because these camping areas are off the beaten path, they are not likely to have amenities like a fire ring, picnic areas, or picnic tables. The trade-off for those amenities is privacy and a connection with nature that you might not experience in established campgrounds.
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Camping Near Me: Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach State Park is a charming 1,287-acre state park located on the banks of majestic Lake Ontario, within the picturesque town of Hamlin in upstate New York. The park was first opened to the public as Northwest Beach Park in 1929, set on the former farmstead of area settler Charles Wolf. Civilian Conservation Corps architecture remains today, including preserved historic beachfront and campground structures. 264 beachfront tent and trailer campsites are open to the public throughout the year, which offer use of amenities like modern showers, dump stations, and day-use picnic sites. All overnight guests can explore nature trails like the Yanty Creek Nature Trail, which features interpretive markers explaining the camp’s history, or enjoy opportunities for fishing, swimming, and boating on the beach’s shoreline.
1 Hamlin Beach State Park, Hamlin, NY 14464, Phone: 585-964-2462
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