Where Jason Voorhees won't get us...
October 12, 2010 4:36 PM   Subscribe

We need a new camping spot... outside of NYC.

We need a new camping spot within 2 hours of NYC.

We like to camp-camp. Read: no plumbing or electricity but we have some people who want to come with us who are less 'outdoorsy'? And would like bathrooms. We'd like to keep things as close to nature as possible.

So I'm looking for all great recommendations for camping locales ... for both with and without bathrooms but please specify.

Bonus points for great scenery, hiking trails, fishing spots, etc.

Any details are much appreciated. Thanks, guys!!
posted by mittenbex to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Via your criteria, you will love love LOVE Mount GreyLock!

Another good link here:


About 2/3rds of the way up the mountain is the campground.... not too many sites, easy to car-camp but feels like wilderness camping, first come/first served, inexpensive and MUCH nicer than the NY State Parks, amazing hiking & views right from your campsite, super cool Bascom Lodge at the top of the mountain featuring an important stop on the Appalachian Trail (OMG - thru-hikers!) also a cafe, books on the area, and evening talks/hikes by the Rangers.

I think it might be 3 1/2 hours outside of NYC, but totally worth the extra drive.

I've camped/hiked everywhere near NYC. Mount Greylock is truly unbeatable.
posted by jbenben at 4:59 PM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

Get a map of the Catskills!!! North/South Lake has campgrounds that get busy during the year, but are blissfully empty otherwise. The scenery there is unbeatable- almost every trail and mountain I've climbed in that area has had spectacular lookouts. Many lookouts also have views of the Hudson river. or have insane waterfalsl (i.e. the Kaaterskill Falls). The topo map will have them pointed out as stars (I think I use this set of waterproof maps.) oooh and North/South Lake is definitely awesome for non-outdoorsy folk- there's even a decent overlook half a mile from the campground!

This book has been super handy and accurate with regards to trail descriptions. It doesn't have all of them, but it has the more easily accessible ones: rangers guide to the catskills

Otherwise, most of the loops in the catskills can be done in a day hike, even for relatively novice hikers, but a few longer ridge trails can be easily be stretched out into a two day hike. As long as you camp on public land, and are 200 ft from the marked trail, and below the treeline, you can have yourself a lovely overnight. (haven't done that since I was a kid, so no guarantee from me as to if it's still fine now).

Here are some of the hikes in clickable format!

The catskills are about 2.5 hrs outside of NYC (exit 19 on the thruway).

Also the colors were spectacular this past weekend- you've got about 1-2 more weekends before things go greyish.

I really like the Catskills.
posted by larthegreat at 8:46 PM on October 12, 2010

I meant North/South Lake campgrounds get busy on holiday weekends, not year around.

Also look out for hunting season; wear bright colors in fall (preferably the toxic 80's neon colors that cannot possibly be mistaken for nature) and be aware of your surroundings.
posted by larthegreat at 8:49 PM on October 12, 2010

Seconding North/South Lake. Stay away on big vacation weeks, like July 4th. It is just noisy and crowded. During the weekdays in the summer, there is usually an opening for a walk in. Reservations are recommended.

Also try this site. NY State Parks Camping.

I don't live in NY anymore, but the Parks Dept was just starting to phase in the Reserve America booking system. There is a surcharge for booking, but it is mostly worth it. It would suck to go all that way just to be turned away.

Finally, some of the smaller parks are better than the big ones. With just about every park, there is a town that lies a few miles from the entrance where you can stock up on stuff. You will also see places to buy firewood along the road - some of them set up on the honor system to pay. There are some restrictions on firewood though because of bug infestation, so read up on the rules.

Have Fun!
posted by lampshade at 12:04 AM on October 13, 2010

An easy trip could be Round Valley in NJ. It's about a 1 hour drive, straight out Interstate 78.

The park surrounds a large reservoir lake. The campsites are not car accessible, they are a 3-6 mile hike around the lake. Campsites areas have a pit toilet and a water spigot.
posted by fings at 1:36 PM on October 13, 2010

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