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Home to one of the most instantly recognizable and visited cities in the world, it’s easy for the rest of New York state to be overshadowed by New York City. Even many New Yorkers may be surprised by the variety of natural wonders, historical sites, and spectacular camping destinations in the vast expanse of Upstate New York.
From the Atlantic Coast to Niagara Falls and the shores of the Great Lakes, New York is filled with forests, farmlands, mountain ranges, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and gorges. Its 180 state parks offer endless opportunities to explore the natural beauty through hiking, biking, nature walks, boating, kayaking, rock climbing, and much more. More than 45 parks have campgrounds that accommodate RVs. New York state park campgrounds are generally rustic, with some hookups and basic facilities, but they are some of the highest rated in the state. Many have historical sites, visitor centers, and interpretive programs to enhance the experience.
New York state parks protect some of New England’s most outstanding natural features and pristine wilderness and offer reasonable rates even for nonresidents, making them a great way for RVers to see this underrated camping destination.
To make a reservation, visit newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com/ or call 800-456-CAMP (2267).
Reservations can be made from 9 months to 1 day in advance. Unreserved sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Minimum stay requirements vary by park and by date. Details are provided on each park’s website and in the reservation system.
Most campgrounds can fit RVs up to 40 feet, but site sizes vary greatly by region and campground. Sites are searchable and bookable by RV length in the reservation system.
ADA-accessible campsites should only be reserved by groups that have at least one member in need of the accommodation. Accessible sites become generally available on a first-come, first-served basis once all other sites have been reserved.
Accessible sites are searchable and bookable on the reservation website.
Electric hookups are available at most campgrounds. Water and sewer hookups are available on a more limited basis. Sites with hookups are searchable and bookable on the reservation website.
Free WiFi is offered in some parks. If connectivity is a priority, contact the park directly to ask about WiFi and cell service.
Between July 1 and Labor Day, the maximum stay is 14 consecutive days. Back-to-back reservations are allowed at some campgrounds, otherwise campers must vacate for at least 48 hours before returning to the same park.
Most sites have a picnic table and a fire pit or ring. Basic campground facilities include vault or flush toilets, showers, potable water, and a dump station. Additional amenities include ranger stations, interpretive programs, playgrounds, camp stores, sports fields, marked trails, water access, and watercraft rentals. Details are provided on each park’s website and under “Services and Amenities” in the reservation system.
Campsite base rate: $15
Out-of-state residents surcharge: $5
Amenity surcharges: Additional fees are added to the base rate of some campsites for amenities, for example 30 amp electric hookup ($6), full hookups with 50 amps ($14) or waterfront location ($10). Details can be found under “Fees and Cancellation” on the Campground Details page. Rates are also provided by site / by date in the reservation system.
State park entrance fee: $6–$10. Annual pass available for $80.
Nonrefundable reservation fee: $7.25 ($1.25 registration fee for walk-ins)
Cancellation or change fee: $7.25
Cancellations within 7 days of arrival also forfeit the first night’s fee
Pets are allowed at some parks as long as they’re kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet. No more than 2 pets per campsite allowed. A rabies vaccination certificate is required. And of course, campers should always clean up after their pet.
Check park details and the reservation system for specific campground pet restrictions.
- Maximum occupancy per site: 2 vehicles, 6 people.
- Check-in time: 3 p.m. Check-out time: 11 a.m. (Some parks have a 5 p.m. check-in time. See details in the reservation system.)
- Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
- Alcoholic beverages: Permitted except in Stony Brook, Wildwood, and Beaver Pond state parks.
- Generator use: Permitted only 9 a.m.–11 a.m and 5 p.m.–7 p.m.
- Campfires: Allowed in designated rings or pits, following local advisories.
- Drone use: Restrictions vary; check with the specific park for details.
Watkins Glen – Finger Lakes
1009 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Known for its spectacular waterfalls, lush forest, and steep gorges, Watkins Glen State Park is the perfect base to immerse yourself in nature while touring the surrounding Finger Lakes region. The waterfall trail, which includes walkways and bridges built out of local stones, features 19 waterfalls within a couple miles. A number of trails run along the upper rims of the gorge. The park also features a seasonal Olympic-size pool and a children’s pool, a big playground, interpretive programs, and plenty of roadways for biking.
Staying at the forested campground allows you to hike earlier or later in the day and avoid day-tripping crowds. Over 200 RV sites are spread out along several loops. For the most part they are spacious and provide ample privacy among the tall trees. A limited number of sites can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet. A few sites offer electric hookups; these sell out quickly. Campsites have a picnic table and fire ring, and access to restrooms, showers, and potable water.
Letchworth State Park
1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427
Another spectacular upstate New York park, Letchworth is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” It was even ranked “Best State Park in the United States” by USA Today in 2015. The park offers three major waterfalls and soaring cliffs, plus more than 66 miles of hiking trails, kayaking, white water rafting, fishing, and a range of nature programs for all ages.
The sprawling campground has over 250 sites for RVs, all with electric hookups. More than half of the sites can fit rigs up to 45 feet, although maneuvering around the forested campground may still be tight for a bigger rig. Site levelness and privacy vary among eight different loops, but for the most part they are spacious and private. The campground provides well-maintained restrooms and showers, laundry, potable water, and a dump station; the park has several amenities including a pool, sports fields, a store, and concessions. Make your reservations early for this bucket-list destination.
Hither Hills State Park
164 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY 11954
For an unforgettable Atlantic Ocean beach camping experience, head to the very tip of Long Island. That name will make sense as you drive over 100 miles east from Manhattan, a trip that can take anywhere from 2.5 to 5 hours depending on traffic. The journey is worth the effort once you arrive at the park on a narrow peninsula, surrounded by sand dunes and woodlands, calm bay waters, and pristine ocean shoreline. You could spend your entire stay traversing the park and the last few miles of the island to Montauk Lighthouse.
Hither Hills’ campground is located right on the beach, with more than 150 grassy sites that can accommodate RVs. All sites are dry camping, and about a dozen can fit RVs up to 40 feet. Bathrooms, showers, a dump station, and a convenience store are available. There’s plenty to keep campers active here—biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, and surfing, plus recreation and interpretive programs. Savor the sunsets and starry skies, and understand why families have been returning year after year to this beloved New York state park.
New York state park campgrounds that accommodate RV camping
Allegany State Park – Quaker Area
Allegany State Park – Red House Area
Bear Mountain State Park
Beaver Pond Campgrounds – Harriman State Park
Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park
Bowman Lake State Park
Burnham Point State Park
Buttermilk Falls State Park
Canoe-Picnic Point State Park
Cayuga Lake State Park
Cedar Island State Park
Cedar Point State Park
Chenango Valley State Park
Cherry Plain State Park
Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park
Coles Creek State Park
Cumberland Bay State Park
Darien Lakes State Park
Delta Lake State Park
Dewolf Point State Park
Eel Weir State Park
Evangola State Park
Fair Haven Beach State Park
Fillmore Glen State Park
Four Mile Creek State Park
Gilbert Lake State Park
Glimmerglass State Park
Golden Hill State Park
Grass Point State Park
Green Lakes State Park
Hamlin Beach State Park
Harriman State Park
Heckscher State Park
Higley Flow State Park
Hither Hills State Park
Jacques Cartier State Park
Keewaydin State Park
Keuka Lake State Park
Kring Point State Park
Lake Erie State Park
Lake Taghkanic State Park
Lakeside Beach State Park
Letchworth State Park
Long Point State Park – Finger Lakes
Long Point State Park – Thousand Islands
Macomb Reservation State Park
Mary Island State Park
Max V. Shaul State Park
Mills-Norrie State Park
Moreau Lake State Park
Newtown Battlefield State Park
Oquaga Creek State Park
Robert G. Wehle State Park
Robert H. Treman State Park
Robert Moses State Park – Thousand Islands
Sampson State Park
Saratoga Spa State Park
Schodack Island State Park
Sebago Cabin Camp – Harriman State Park
Selkirk Shores State Park
Southwick Beach State Park
Stony Brook State Park
Taconic State Park – Copake Falls Area
Taconic State Park – Rudd Pond Area
Taughannock Falls State Park
Thacher State Park
Thompson’s Lake Campground – Thacher State Park
Verona Beach State Park
Watkins Glen State Park
Wellesley Island State Park
Westcott Beach State Park
Whetstone Gulf State Park
Wildwood State Park
For more information on New York state park campgrounds, visit parks.ny.gov/.